GB7FR On Air!


First switch on at 1224 UTC today. I need to nip out, so I’m going to jump in the car and try it out!

All being well, today’s the day!

I am going over to Andy’s this morning to test all of the equipment together. All being well, we will be on-air later!

Raspberry Pi and Arduino configured

Today I have MMDVMHost installed and ready to go the the Pi.  I have also flashed the newest MMDVM firmware to the Arduino.

I am meeting up with Andy on Friday to run the final setup and testing and then it’s back to my QTH to plug it all in. Not long now!

South Coast 9

It is my pleasure to announce South Coast 9.

South Coast 9 (AKA Sierra Charlie 9 or SC-9) is a group linking TS1 TG9 on South Coast repeaters to provide wide-area coverage along the A27 corridor.

Current participants are:

  • GB7BH (Brighton)
  • GB7FR (Ferring)
  • GB7PK (Portsmouth)

SC-9 is an rf access only network, so there is intentionally no corresponding reflector or provision for DMR dongle access.

SC-9 only has one rule; be considerate to your fellow operators. There is no specific etiquette or restrictions other than general good and considerate operating procedure. SC-9 is free from the “band police” and you are welcome to QSO as your normally would. SC-9 is not simply a calling channel.  If you want to join in with an existing QSO or If you need to place a call, a simple “break” and polite request should be all that’s needed.

MMDVM and radio testing results

Today saw the arrival of the MMDVM and Arduino from Bruce in Canada.

Andy has the TX and RX setup and on soak test. So far there have been excellent results with the Motorola GM350 radios.

So now, I have a couple of tasks to complete:

  • Make patch cables
  • Do a Linux / MMDVMHost build for the RPi.
  • Borrow a ladder and move the antenna to it’s final spot (It’s 1.5m low at the moment)

Radio and Duplexer being tested

Good Morning everyone.

Yesterday saw the duplex arrive. Andy G3UEQ has both the Tx and RX and the Duplexer for programming, and testing.

One of the key things for DMR is to get the deviation correct. Hopefully Andy will be able to do this for me. Once he’s finished, the plan is to get the repeater on the air, using his spare MMDVM and DUE, until the ones I have ordered arrive. All being well, I hope for FR to be on-air by the end of the week.

MMDVM, Duplexer and radios.

Both the MMDVM and DUE kit and the duplexer were shipped yesterday. Also, the radios arrived yesterday. Almost there!

Extra client-side functionality from the MMDVM repeater and dmrshark

Right from the beginning I wanted to be able to extend the basic functionality of the MMDVM DMR repeater beyond just simple voice traffic. Whilst BrandMeister and MMDVM are both great pieces of work, I’m not sure I agree completely with the BrandMeister architecture and the fact that pretty much all functionality is handled at the server, taking a lot of control away from the repeater keeper.

In my quest to be able to do more with the MMDVM from the computer side, I’ve been trying to get my head around the source code, because I’d like to be able to do things like filter talk-groups at the repeater and send DMR SMS messages.

During my research, I discovered dmrshark. Dmrshark uses libpcap to analyse the traffic flowing over a Hytera IPSC network and do things with the data gathered. It’s yet to be seen how much modification it will need to work with the homebrew repeater protocol but it could provide a useful tool for analysing what is going on, gathering data and responding to it.

I am particularly interested in the fact that it might be able to drive an SMS-based information system. Both SMS and IP data are currently under-utilised on Amatuer networks.

I built a system for information request and weather data transmission etc. for APRS a couple of years back. It seems to me that DMR SMS would enable this type of functionality whilst getting away from some of the limitations of APRS. APRS is outdated and does not scale well and there is much resistance to progressive ideas and development on the APRS network. DMR should be able to handle this type of system and voice traffic, with neither system causing any impact or degradation to the other.

Radios ordered!

I have ordered 2 x Motorola GM350s for the repeater.

I thought £120 for both, programmed was pretty good!

This radio thing is addictive. I shouldn’t really have spent the money as I don’t have it, but hey, that’s what credit cards are for, right ? 😉

All we need now is radios…

Yesterday I ordered the duplexer and the GSM switch (for remote shutdown).

We have reached the stage that all we require to get on the air are the TX and RX radios and a few bits of cable and connectors. I am estimating a cost of about £200 for two used Motorola PMR radios that are data capable.

If anyone has anything suitable, or wants to contribute to getting something that is, all help is appreciated.