In the wild weather over the past few weeks the VK5RWN repeater system has sustained some structural damage. The original tower section is currently bent at a rather alarming angle and will require replacement.
In the past few days we have had our repair crew up there to shore up the tower section and make temporary repairs until a more permanent solution can be found.
There is still internet connectivity to the site and the D-Star repeater is still operational for the time being. Users may find that the coverage of the repeater is somewhat disturbed however.
In the coming weeks the antenna system will need to be upgraded, so there will most likely be a prolonged period where the system will be off air while repairs are being made.
Following up from the previous report that VK5RWN D-STAR system was off line due to site mains power failure.
Well the power came back on last night, 13 July 2016, but the internet connectivity did not?
A site visit this morning, 14 July 2016, identified that the POE power supply had died.
This is one of those little Blue QSKJ inverter modules that lifted the 12 volts to 16 volts to feed the router switch and the Ubiquiti WiFi unit up the tower. The faulty unit was replaced with a loan unit.
With the POE PS restored, connectivity was re-established and all is now good. Confirmed that the VK5RWN D-STAR system was fully operational and reporting to the respective D-STAR reporting sites.
Feedback on VK5RWN’s performance and operation may be sent to AREG, firstname.lastname@example.org or the D-STAR Systems Administrator, Ben VK5BB, email@example.com
During the wild weather in Adelaide over the past 48hrs, VK5RWN’s mains power was lost. Batteries held the site up for a while, but due to the extended nature of the outage these have now been exhausted.
AREG is monitoring for the mains power to be restored and will bring the system back online as soon as we can.
The Amateur Radio Experimenter’s Group wishes to advise that the 1299.700MHz 128kbit/s port of the VK5RWN D*STAR node has been placed into “hibernation”. In the entire life of the repeater this port has been accessed 3 times, and so rather than continuing to pay to keep it active it has been switched off. The equipment remains installed however so if you do desire to experiment with this aspect of D*STAR it will be a simple matter of contacting the club, and we can go and re-enable it for you. (This is to help further combat the $1000+ power bill the club foots to run this site each year).
Regards – The AREG Committee
Have you ever wondered how to navigate the myriad of ways to access a D*STAR repeater and make contacts either locally or via the gateways? The come along to the next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters’ Group on Friday October 16th where Ben, VK5BB, will take you through how to get the most from your D*STAR radio when using VK5RWN. He will include information on how to access gateways, reflectors etc and will give you clues on how to set up your D*STAR radio to make the best use of the available network that sits behind the AREG D*STAR repeater.
ICOM IC-91AD D-STAR handheld (CC BY-SA 3.0)
So if you are new to D-STAR or would like to know a bit more about how to use D-STAR, here is an opportunity to find out and meet with some D-STAR users.
The meeting will be held at AREG’s club rooms at the Reedbeds Community Hall, Fitch Road, Fulham. The doors will be open at 1930 hours for a meeting start at 2000 hours local summer time.
As well as the formal presentation there will be ample time to meet with AREG members and talk about any and all things Amateur Radio. Visitors are most welcome, so please come along all and say hello! If you need help finding the hall, call on the 439.900 repeater (91.5Hz CTCSS).
Coffee, tea and cake will be on for a light supper, over which guests and members may ragchew on topics of the evening. Put it in your diary, AREG meeting this Friday the 16th October, 7:30 pm!
VK5RWN D*STAR Repeater’s FUTURE without the WIA?
In November 2014, the AREG took over over the full maintenance and financial support the VK5RWN D-Star repeater system in Adelaide after it was originally co-sponsored by the WIA. Since then, AREG has been working to reduce the operating costs of providing this service to the Adelaide amateur radio community.
Currently VK5RWN is the single largest operating cost the AREG currently has on its budget (the power bill alone is ~$600/year). Insurance, license fees, maintenance and rent nudge this figure closer to $1000/year.
At this stage, the AREG committee has agreed that the club has sufficient reserves to be able to support the system until the end of June 2016, at which time the system will again be reviewed. In order to maintain it beyond this time, the AREG really needs the registered DSTAR users to offer their ongoing financial support. As such, the club is now actively seeking yearly donations or preferably more of the D*STAR user community to become members of AREG.
If you are a registered user of this system then please consider joining AREG and throwing your support behind it’s continued operation. Alternatively, you can also consider making a yearly donation.
AREG has not been sitting idle in trying to find ways to keep the system running. So far, the following strategies have been implemented:
- The ADSL Internet link and associated phone line have been replaced with a microwave system and donated internet bandwidth from a club member (This was the single biggest expense to running the system).
- The system power supplies were replaced with more efficient switchmode ones
These changes yielded an operating cost reduction of around $1000/year.
The next areas being tackled include:
- likely closure of the 1299.7MHz 128kbit/s data port (which records show hasn’t been accessed since being commissioned)
- review whether the 1273.7MHz port remains on air considering it’s very low utilization.
- replace the current PC with one that consumes a LOT less power
These changes will occur over the next 6 months, and will go someway to overcoming the operational costs of the site. None the less, it will still remain the most expensive to run site on AREG’s books.
The AREG is happy to report that the recent issues with D-Star DVAP and Dongles accessing and using VK5RWN has been resolved.
The issue turned out to be the Internet router config, which was blocking some necessary ports that weren’t identified at the time of cut over.
Thanks to Bob, Michael & Ben from the AREG D-Star team for resolving the issue.
73, Matthew VK5ZM
Now that the bush fires in Adelaide are over and vehicular access to the repeater site has recommenced, the VK5RWN D-Star services have been restored. All ports are operational and the wireless internet link re-established. Further changes to the internet configuration are planned in coming months. We thank the D-Star users for their patience while services were disrupted.
73, Matthew VK5ZM