March proved to be a productive month for the Engineering Committee with quite a few projects completed or moving forward. As we work on our action item list, more details will be shared with SLSRC membership during the July general meeting, so please plan on attending for a comprehensive update. We do have a master plan that we are executing for the repeater systems in the St. Louis area. We are working with other clubs to make sure the SLSRC needs are met, but also making sure we are not overlapping resources that already exist in the STL area.
As some of you know, the 146.970 repeater had been off the air or running on very low power for some months. This repeater experienced an antenna failure due to a lightning strike or high winds that basically sheared the antenna into 2 pieces. During the March repeater work day our goal was to replace that antenna, clean up the repeater cabinet, check out the existing equipment and do preventative maintenance.
The 146.970 repeater is up and running with a new antenna, but we still have some work to complete as we noticed after a hard rain, it didn’t have the range it did right after the install. We also noticed a higher than usual SWR on the antenna, so we still have some things to check out in the coming months, but the repeater is on the air and we encourage the SLSRC membership to start using the 146.970 repeater.
In summary the Engineering Committee accomplished the following items in March:
- Completed an engineering work day at the 146.970 site to get that repeater back up on the air.
- Installed a point to point dish at the .97 site back to the 146.850 site to get internet access to the site (there are buildings in the way so we are going with plan B).
- Sent back to Yaesu one or our five Fusion repeaters for a firmware update. We will update at least 4 of our repeaters with upgrading the fifth to a DR-2X repeater.
- The club purchased repeater controller software, and we performed a backup of the 146.850 site to be placed on a backup repeater in case of a failure.
- Joe (W0FY) created a presentation regarding the inter-workings of a repeater. We will schedule a class for the Engineering Committee to discuss duplexers, controllers settings and all things repeater. The goal is to get all of the Engineering Committee comfortable in understanding repeaters and able to do basic troubleshooting.
- Started discussions with the MoDigital Group around System Fusion and WiresX coordination in the STL area.
- Scheduled the next repeater work day in April at the MoBap site to remove the old antenna in this location, install a new antenna and install two point to point dishes. One pointing to the .97 site, the other back to the .85 site.
- We also updated documentation, as documentation is an on-going process.
Below are some pictures of the final 146.970 install. You can see the new antenna and dish in one of the pictures. We had an awesome turnout and everybody in attendance did an excellent job working together to accomplish all the tasks.