As summer starts to heat up and the roof tops start to get warmer, the Engineering Committee will focus their efforts on training and knowledge sharing among the group indoors where it’s a little cooler! The committee has quite a bit of spreadsheets, documents and other material that are helpful during times of troubleshooting and maintenance. These documents and locations of knowledge need to be shared with the group to help build a strong and knowledgeable Engineering Team for SLSRC. We have many levels of knowledge within the group, and the goal is to share the knowledge and bring committee members up to a level that they are comfortable with, and then push them a little bit further!
During the month of May, the committee completed a work day at the 12555 Manchester Blvd site where the 146.910 repeater lives. This repeater is located on the roof of the Edward Jones building, which used to be Community Federal before EJ purchased it many years ago. This repeater has sight lines throughout St. Louis and to the south and southwest, which makes it a great STL metro repeater for those who are in South County and in the I-44 corridor.
One of the items on the to-do list was to replace the 20+ year old fiberglass antenna. The club purchased a new Commscope DB224-E four bay antenna a few years ago that was not being used, so the committee decided to replace the fiberglass antenna with this new aluminium antenna. Before replacing the fiberglass antenna, the 146.910 repeater had some occasional noise on it but we could not pin point it to something specific as it was either a bad antenna or water getting into the antenna/coax. After replacing the antenna, the SWR is now around 1.7 and sounds great, so looks like the old antenna was the issue!
The committee also linked up the 146.910 repeater site with the 9666 Olive Blvd location (146.850) with a point to point dish to gain internet access and command and control. We installed a Ubiquity switch, a RigRunner 4005i and removed the old repeater/controller from the cabinet to make room for the new equipment. The cabinet needed a good cleaning and we also labeled all the items within the cabinet and assigned an SLSRC asset tag on the more expensive items.
As of early June, all the SLSRC repeater sites are running as normal except for the 146.97 repeater site, as we continue to have some water issues. We were going to address these during the June work day, but decided to push them off until we replace that repeater with a Fusion DR-1X repeater in the near future.
Right now we are in Fusion repeater leap frog mode as during the May board meeting, the Engineering Committee made a motion to upgrade one of the Fusion DR-1X to a new DR-2X. The DR-2X allows linking to other repeaters via the internet from the on-board ethernet card and higher continuous power output along with other features we will utilize. The new DR-2X will be installed at the 146.94 site sometime during the end of June or beginning of July. The old 146.94 Fusion repeater will be re-programmed and installed at the 146.970 site sometime early fall.
During the general July SLSRC meeting, I will be giving a presentation about the repeater state of the union. I will focus on all the work the team has accomplished in the past 6+ months, what we still have ahead of us, and what the committee’s short and long term goals are for the repeaters and Engineering Committee. I hope to see you there as I think it will be an exciting presentation.
Below are pictures from our May 146.910 repeater work day. If you have questions about the Engineering committee or want to help volunteer, please see Kyle, AAØZ either at the next meeting, or shoot me an email via my QRZ page.