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
Due to the bush fires in the Adelaide hills mains power to the VK5RWN repeater has been lost. As of Tuesday the 6th of January the repeater sites 300Ah backup battery system has run out of power.
The bush fire has passed within 2kms to the north of the repeater site, for which we are thankful. Access to the repeater site is currently restricted due to road closures and the proximity of the fire ground.
Until the damage to the power infrastructure can be restored and road closures removed the VK5RWN D-Star system will be unavailable.
We thank you for your patience as we wait for the VK5RWN service to be restored. Our thoughts and best wishes go to those people who have lost property and homes in these recent fires.
73, Matthew VK5ZM
As was previously forecast in earlier posts, AREG has now installed and tested the secure Wireless link to the VK5RWN site. This means internet connectivity to the VK5RWN computer server is now independent of the Telstra phone line to the site.
As a consequence of these changes, IP addresses have changed which have affected a number of links on various D-STAR web pages. These are in the process of being updated.
One of these links is the VK5RWN Registration page link at the bottom of the http://www.dstar.org.au/registration.htm page, which currently does not work!
However, access is available for anyone wishing to register on VK5RWN or for existing registered users to access their registration details.
Access to the VK5RWN Registration page is via, https://dstar.areg.org.au/Dstar.do
The rest of the operation of VK5RWN has been tested and is believed to be operating correctly with all connectivity to the D-STAR world in place.
If anyone experiences any problems with access to VK5RWN system, or have any questions regarding the operation of VK5RWN, you may contact the VK5RWN D-STAR Administrator, Ben VK5BB at, firstname.lastname@example.org
As further changes to VK5RWN occur, more information will be provided by both the Local VK5 Broadcast medium and the AREG website.
73, Ben VK5BB
The AREG manages the VK5RWN D-STAR repeater system here in Adelaide.
Until recently, the yearly running costs of the VK5RWN D-STAR system was shared between the WIA and the AREG, with the WIA paying for the licence, power and the internet, while AREG picked up the bills for the telephone connection needed for the internet connection.
The WIA, who was sponsoring a large number of D-STAR systems around Australia, has made the decision to divest itself of the D-STAR costs by transferring the licence and full yearly running costs to the respective D-STAR sponsoring clubs and/or group. This means that the AREG is now financially responsible for the entire operating and maintenance costs associated with keeping the VK5RWN local D-STAR repeater system on air.
AREG have reviewed all aspects of maintaining the site and VK5RWN installation and are committed to keeping the system running. To assist with this, the AREG are currently implementing a number of cost saving initiatives to reduce the ongoing expenditure.
As was recently posted, the AREG are in the process of installing a high capacity WiFi link into the site providing alternative internet connectivity without the need for the fixed telephone line and ADSL. As part of the cut over process, it is expected the VK5RWN connectivity to the world wide D-STAR network will be interrupted a number of times over the coming weeks. We ask that regular users of the D-STAR system to be patient and understanding while these upgrades are in progress.
As changes to VK5RWN occur, more information will be provided by both the Local VK5 Broadcast medium and the AREG website.
73, Ben VK5BB
On October 18th the AREG installed a new 5.8GHz wireless link into the VK5RWN repeater system.
The system is on test for the next couple of weeks, the results have been very promising with the link providing in excess of 30Mbit throughput (full duplex). Certainly many times faster than the current 512kbit symmetrical ADSL connection.
Once the wireless link has been finally commissioned and cut over the AREG will be able to close the current ADSL and Telephone internet connection which will significantly reduce the on-going running costs of this site.
I’d like to thank Bob VK5FO, Ray VK5RR, Andy VK5AKH and Mark VK5QI for assisting me with the installation and setup of both ends of the link.
73 Matt, VK5ZM