AREG’s VK5RSA Adelaide CBD repeater – supported by KernWi-Fi

One of the services that the Amateur Radio Experimenter’s Group provides is a network of repeater stations that cover the Adelaide metropolitan and surrounding areas. These systems operate on the 6m-23cm bands from 3 sites in and around Adelaide.

One of the first repeaters conceived by AREG was the Adelaide CBD repeater. Inspired in the 1990s by the original 438.025 VK3RCC repeater in Melbourne (which was located atop one of the hi-rise towers in Melbourne CBD), the intention was to reach the deep CBD buildings and the Adelaide foot hills shadowed by the existing repeaters atop the Mt Lofty ranges.

The AREG repeater in Adelaide was originally established on top of the original Angas Street police station building – then 11 stories high in Victoria Square. When that building was subsequently demolished, it was moved to another building off Flinders Street, where it ran for many years before finally developing a terminal fault.

Today, VK5RSA is back on what now is one of the best communications sites in the CBD. This is all thanks to the support AREG receives from KernWi-Fi, who are sponsoring access to Westpac House on King William Street in the heart of the Adelaide CBD.

VK5RSA operates on 438.025MHz TX -7.0MHz RX with 91.5Hz CTCSS

The repeater also received a major coverage boost when it was restored,  as we were able to connect it to the new central SA repeater network. This enhanced coverage for hand held users deep within the Adelaide CBD and extended it right across across central SA to places as far afield as Pt Wakefield, Yorke Peninsula, Victor Harbor and east as far as Tintinara.

AREG offers it’s sincere thanks to Phil Kern at KernWi-Fi for his support for the project to re-establish VK5RSA – it is fantastic to have been able to restore this service for the amateur radio community in Adelaide – and from such a fantastic site too!


About our Sponsor

KernWi-Fi supply FibreNBN, Fixed Wireless Internet, VoIP, Event Wi-Fi and Radio Communications to residential and businesses all over Adelaide.  They also specialise in servicing the black spots of Adelaide.  To learn more, visit their website!

They are 100% Adelaide based and owned Licensed Carrier and work with many local communities to provide high speed internet services. They also sponsor various community groups across the state.

AREG Considering adding DMR to VK5RWN – Interested?

AREG is always looking to promote new and varied areas of experimentation in Amateur Radio. As the custodian and operators of the first digital VHF/UHF voice repeater system in South Australia (the VK5RWN D*STAR system), the group has now looked at what other digital modes are not yet available in Adelaide.

Image courtesy vkdmr.com

With the recent demise of the VK5RSF and temporary VK3RWW DMR repeaters that were serving Adelaide, AREG members interested in DMR started investigating what would be involved in hosting a replacement DMR system at one of the club’s existing sites.

After considering our options, filtering solutions, internet connections etc a proposal is in it’s final stages of development to add a DMR repeater to the VK5RWN site on 438.900 (-7MHz) overlooking the Adelaide metropolitan area.

What’s left to do you might ask? Funding the DMR repeater controller purchase and the last of the build costs. The ongoing operating costs also need to be addressed (namely the power bill) which will be considered against the number of members actively interested in DMR.

How can you help? If you are interested at all in DMR, why not consider becoming a member of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group? If you have an interest in DMR or even skills to help maintain and operate a DMR repeater then we would love to hear from you. The more people interested in DMR that get involved with the group, the more likely it is that we will be able to bring this project to fruition!

Over to you!

Posted in DMR

AREG AGM: Friday July 16th – Presentation: Central SA Repeater Network

The next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenter’s Group will be our Annual General Meeting. This will be held on Friday July 16th.

The guest speaker for the evening will be Dean McGinty VK5HMV who will take us through the construction of the central SA linked 2m/70cm analogue repeater system and provide an insight into how it works. This is the network that the AREG Adelaide CBD Repeater VK5RSA is connected to on 438.025 MHz (-7MHz 91.5Hz CTCSS).

VK5RSA itself is proudly sponsored by KernWi-Fi who arranged access to the new home for VK5RSA atop Westpac House in the Adelaide CBD.

Presentation Details

The presentation will start at 7.45pm ACST, 8:15pm AEST (1015 UTC) from the club rooms at the Fulham Community Centre, Phelps Court, Fulham.

For members who cant (or due to COVID dont wish to) attend in person, the program will also be streamed via Zoom.

Online visitors will be able to watch the presentation via YouTube thanks to Hayden VK7HH’s HamRadioDX Channel.

Links will be posted closer to the event.


AREG AGM 8:30pm July 16th

At the conclusion of the presentation, members will be invited to participate in the AREG AGM via Zoom and in person. The AGM will commence at 8:30pm and is expected to last no more than 15-20 minutes.

The event down at the hall will be run as a COVID Safe event. Note that given the rapidly changing COVID lockdown situation, the AGM will be deferred to being an online presentation should we be prevented from holding it in person at the hall.


If you want to  visit us in person, you can find the clubrooms here:

map

We look forward to seeing you all in July!

Adelaide CBD 70cm Repeater returns to service! (UPDATE)

After several years off air and/or operating from a temporary site in the western suburbs, the Amateur Radio Experimenter’s Group is please to announce that we have been able to negotiate a new home for the club’s VK5RSA Adelaide CBD 70cm repeater!

AREG has entered into a sponsorship agreement with KernWi-Fi, who are supporting the club by facilitating access to one of the premier communications sites in the Adelaide CBD atop Westpac House. At 134m high, this site is on one of the highest buildings in the city! AREG wishes to express it’s sincere thanks to Phil Kern (VK5ZEY) for his support of the VK5RSA repeater. It has been a dream of the club to gain access to the site for nearly 20 years and it is great to see it finally come to fruition.

The repeater itself has been rebuilt by Paul VK5BX & Dean VK5HMV, and was installed by Dean VK5HMV and Shane VK5NRV over this past weekend. This was the culmination of 9 months of discussions and planning by the AREG Committee, members on the repeater sub-group and the KernWi-Fi team.


 

VK5RSA operates on

438.025MHz (-7MHz input)

with 91.5Hz  CTCSS

 


NOTE: The repeater input frequency was changed Monday night due to un-resolvable interference from the co-sited commercial operators. VK5RSA is now operating according to the new 70cm band plan, with a repeater receive frequency of 431.025MHz. This is a -7MHz offset instead of the old -5MHz offset that was in use previously.

But Wait – there’s more!

In addition to being installed atop one of the highest buildings in Adelaide, VK5RSA is now part of something much bigger. It has now joined the growing Central South Australian repeater network, which provides coverage over most of central SA.

The repeaters in the network are:

Location / AreaCallsignOutputInputCTCSS
Adelaide CBDVK5RSA438.025MHz-7MHz91.5Hz
Adelaide RegionVK5RAD439.925MHz-5MHz
Adelaide NEVK5RKW438.050MHz-7MHz
Lobethal / Adelaide HillsVK5RAH146.775MHz-600kHz
Mt Bevor / Murray BridgeVK5RMB146.875MHz-600kHz
Victor HarborVK5RVH147.100MHz-1.6MHz

NOTE: With the network access comes a change in mind set for operators too. For all 6 repeaters to operate together, it is important for users to leave at least a 1 second gap after the repeater tails before transmitting. This will give sufficient time so that all of the transmitters and receivers can sequence correctly thus preventing one or more repeaters from being locked out.

The nominal best areas to access each repeater are shown here:

Strongest Serving Repeater Map (Note Victor Harbor not shown)

The coverage of the system is expected to be second to none in this part of the state. AREG hopes by making VK5RSA part of this network that it will help bring amateurs together on VHF/UHF and will drive new activity on these bands!

We look forward to hearing you on VK5RSA and the link network! Come and give it a go….

VK5RWN D-Star update

For information of all VK5RWN D-Star users, remote connectivity has been re-established late Wednesday evening, 21 October.

So users of Hot Spots, Dongles, DVAPs, you can again log onto the VK5RWN C or B modules.

If you have connection problems, you may need to update your hot spot Host Files. If the problem persists, email Ben VK5BB, and he will see what he can do to provide help.

You can also check the VK5RWN dash board to see connections and the Last Heard list,

vk5rwn.areg.org.au

For those interested in the technicalities, the problem was that when we reconfigured the local router that serves the VK5RWN D-Star computer, we missed setting some ports within the router to allow throughput.

The missing port numbers were not listed within the Icom manual for the setting up the D-Star system. However with some advice from a couple D-Star administrators, we identified the missing port numbers and I also then found them in older set up documents that were not checked in our search for answers. Isn’t that always the way of it?

It turns out that these ports are not needed by the main Icom D-Star system, which was working well without them, but are used by third party software that has been added to the D-Star operating system that allows additional services within the D-Star networks.

Have fun exploring and playing with D-Star.

VK5RWN DSTAR – We’re Back!

We are pleased to report that thanks to the hard work of our dedicated volunteers, in this case Matt VK5ZM, Ben VK5BB and Bob VK5FO, we have completed the cut-over to our new Internet link!

The VK5RWN D*STAR repeater has been reconnected to the internet as has the Weather Sonde receive station. The VK5RWN D*STAR Gateway is active and hotspot users should also be able to connect again to our host server.

(Note: Hot spot users may have to wait a few days to allow the Host Files to update VK5RWN’s IP address. It is also recommended that hot spot users log into their hot spots and force an update to the Host Files).

AREG has now moved to a new internet provider. We would like to thank Phil and Christine at Kern Internet for their help in re-configuring the on site router!

Other Dash Boards associated with VK5RWN are also back online, including the registration page and user access to their accounts.

(You may need to allow a security exception to access the pages the first time you log in via the vk5rwn.areg.org.au.)

Adelaide D*STAR users who are not already members of AREG are encouraged to join our group or make a yearly donation to our running costs, to support the D*STAR system here in Adelaide.

We hope you enjoy our return to service!

  • VK5RWN 2m 147.0375 +600kHz
  • VK5RWN 70cm 438.400 -5.4MHz

Note if there are users in Adelaide that want to experiment with the 1.2GHz ports, please contact us and AREG can look at re-activating them. They were disabled originally after they sat idle for 2 years consuming power for no reason. If interest in D*STAR on 1.2GHz returns we can turn them on again.

VK5RWN D-STAR Update – Progress!

As D-Star users in Adelaide will be aware, the club’s VK5RWN repeater has been disconnected from the Internet for several weeks now. This is due to AREG needing to change internet provider, coupled with installing a new microwave link to the site. This also created downstream problems with the LAN design and router configs at VK5RWN. We are happy to report that we have now made some good progress, with the link to our new provider Kern-WiFi successfully commissioned.

We are not out of the woods yet however. Running multiple 24×7 services on the live internet while making sure the site is not open to hostile online attacks is not a trivial exercise. It is taking us longer than originally hoped, to secure the new connection and re-open all of the services from VK5RWN (including the BOM Balloon tracking station and the DSTAR repeater).  With luck, that should be done in the next 7 to 10 days (after the Oceania DX Contest is complete this weekend).

Stay tuned for further updates! Meanwhile, local D-STAR contacts are still possible via the VK5RWN over the air on 147.0375MHz (+600kHz) and 438.4MHz (-5.4MHz).

VK5RWN D-Star repeater Network Link off line!

AREG has, for a number of years now, operated the internet link for VK5RWN via a number of free member provided services. Alas, our last member in 5.8GHz range of VK5RWN (who doesn’t have trees in the way) has left the area.

As a result, AREG is now moving the DSTAR internet service to a paid internet service (Kern WiFi) so the VK5RWN D*STAR gateway can continue. The new service was installed on Friday the 4th of September. We hope to complete the remaining network reconfiguration work over the next 2-3 days. As soon as thats done, D*STAR network services will be restored.

Meanwhile, the VK5RWN D-Star repeater is still fully operational as a local (2m & 70cm) DV repeater. However, as there is no Internet network connectivity at the VK5RWN site, remote linking of repeaters, reflectors and hot spot connectivity is not available.

AREG is sorry for any inconvenience that may be experienced, however please bear with us while we work to restore service within the next few days.

Can you help Us?

With the substantial increase in operating costs, AREG would encourage any and all D*STAR operators in the Adelaide area to consider becoming members of AREG or at least consider a yearly donation to the club. This will help cover the now more than $1000+ per year running costs for power and Internet.

Your support of the Adelaide VK5RWN DSTAR node is greatly appreciated!