Almost spring…. Since I was down with bronchitis last month, I’ll roll my December and January work together. So here we go:
While doing some work on an IRLP node for another repeater trustee, I stumbled across some DB9 and DB25 breakout units that make it much easier when working
out the pinouts of a particular connection. Basically our DB9, M or F, is built on a circuit board along with a set of screw terminals. Once your project is complete, you can then note your pinouts and build something more permanent.
The new website for the Indiana Repeater Council went live on January 1st. I was officially appointed as the webmaster at the November meeting of the IRC. hwi Prior to that meeting, I’d some some work with the site, but once the appointment was official things went into high-gear. If you have any suggestions for the website, please let us know. The IRC serves the amateur community and the tools we have should be useful to you. Next step will be migration of the back-end email, which while transparent to the end-user, will facilitate improved communication.
I was initially introduced to the DV4 Mini in December. If you aren’t familiar with this little miracle, it’s pretty cool. Basically it’s a USB stick that has a built-in 70cm transceiver. It allow you to establish a hot-spot for D-STAR, Yaesu System Fusion (CF4M), APCO25, DMR+, BrandMeister and dPRS. It does not include an antenna, and I polished mine off with a 90 degree SMA adapter. It runs $129 plus shipping and the software is freely available on the internet. Additionally there are some alternate third-party control panels. As of this writing my DV4Mini is running on a $99 WinBook TW700 from Amazon. The control panel I’m using also allow it to function as a link for a Fusion Repeater, which I’m doing right now. Of course, that pretty much makes the unit in-use all the time, so I guess that means I need to get a second one????
Continued my work on K9MMQ’s IRLP node. At this point, it’s ready to deliver. I plan to make an image of the micro SD card before I turn it over, so that Randy has a backup should the SD card fail. I’m not sure which machine he’s planning to connect it to, but those of you in the Ft. Wayne area can expect to see IRLP functionality on some of Randy’s machine in the near future.
Did some troubleshooting with IRLP cron jobs. I’d hoped to have the IRLP node connected TG #63951 on my Indy DMR machine automatically connect to some of the IRLP nets. After wrestling with it for quite some time, I reached out to IRLP support and they confirmed that what I had should be working. At this point, I need to circle back around and figure out how to get that fixed. For this of you who are linux savvy, I set CRON up just like you would on any other box. I can see in the logs where the job is getting kicked off, but the actual script never runs. I suspect there is something awry with the customizations done on the IRLP side.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been contacte by numerous hams with DMR questions some general, some code plug related. In each case, I was able to answer their questions or get them some examples to learn from. The DMR technology continues to expand throughout our hobby, which is rather exciting.
As some of you may know, Yaesu extended their System Fusion Repeater deal until 12/31/15. Figuring I couldn’t go wrong with a $500 repeater, I pulled the pin and ordered one. It arrived on 2/3/15 and so far I’m pretty impressed. I’m currently running it on a test pair at 5W into a dummy load for testing purposes. But as previously mentioned, I have it connected to the Fusion Reflectors via the DV4Mini and a cheap Windows 8 tablet. I do have a WiresX HRI-200 that I horse traded for and am currently waiting for Yaesu to approve my application before I can use that device. So far I’m pretty impressed with the repeater. The interface is nice and I was able to get it up and running with only minimal reference to the manual. Now to figure out how to interface it to a DMR TG…
I became involved with a vendor/protocol agnostic network known as BrandMeister. The system was original written in Russia and is currently supported out of the Netherlands. We do have a server here in the US. Basically this software, which runs on top of linux, has the ability to connect Hytera, Motorola repeaters as well as make connections to c-Bridges. There is additional functionality planned and I think this is a great thing. Since none of the vendors can seem to get on the same page or open up support for other technologies, this could be the one thing that blends them together. I currently have a connection to them for their USA Nationwide talkgroup, and am working on allowing DV4Mini hotspot access to the Crossroads DMR Statewide TG as well as a DSTAR Reflector (XRF317) that I’ve recently setup.
Had a very interesting c-Bridge outage. The coders of the c-Bridge software made some changes in how the licensing models worked and that negatively impacted the Crossroads DMR c-Bridge. However a quick call to BridgeComm and they put me in direct contact with the guys doing the c-Bridge work. They were able to remedy the issue and thanked me for bringing it to their attention as it would have impacted many other c-Bridges throughout the world as the day progressed. One cool thing that came out of our discussions was the topic of SIP capability of the c-Bridge. I’ve worked with the SIP protocol for over ten years now and the c-Bridge developers have ask me to bring my expertise onboard to help with functionality as well as documentation. I’m in the process of building new test c-Bridge that I can interface with Asterisk PBX as well as some IP phones. I’m really looking forward to contributing to this great product.
We built out a link to the Grant County ARC’s analog repeater (146.790) to the Crossroads DMR system. This will allow folks to only carry one radio and still be able to access their systems. Additionally they use this repeater for Skywarn activities, so we’ll see how that performs from the DMR side. Since this is mostly used into a local machine, if the IPSC network were to go down due to the storm, it will not impact the link’s functionality. While most of the work on this was done by Kevin (KB9CRA), I did all of the c-Bridge work to add it to the requested repeaters. I really enjoy opportunities to make technologies work for the end users.
Did some playing around with Global Tuners. If you’re not familiar with this website, basically folks with receivers connect them to a computer and make them available for use to other folks via the internet. It’s a great tool if you want to see what’s out there or if you want to check and see what you sound like. And there are some foreign countries that provide some interesting listening.
Received an email from Bob, N1XBM, who was setting up a club website based upon WordPress. As I use WordPress for all of my site, he somehow figured that out and reached out for some assistance. Much of it was questions on how I’d accomplished certain types of functionality within WordPress. I was able to share some of my tricks with him to help him get things rolling for his club.
I’m officially on the list to receive on of the first runs of the MMDVM board. This board will basically take two analog mobiles and convert them into a DMR repeater. The board itself speaks the Homebrew Repeater Procotol, which is something else that’s new. While you likely won’t see much adoption from commercial vendors, those of us in the amateur community will make use of it as it continues to develop. I’m excited to receive the board and home it gets here soon so I can play. Look for future updates here or on my website.
I’m not sure how many folks have heard of AMRPRNet, but basically they own a Class A (188.8.131.52/8) block of publicly routable IP addresses that are available only to amateur radio operators. You can apply for whatever block size you need and they can deliver it via BGP (border gateway protocol), IP tunnel, or Radio. More info can be found here: http://www.ampr.org
Lastly during my efforts to setup XRF317, I stumbled across a new reflector software called XLX Multiprotocol Gateway Reflector. The software was just released in December and supports DCS, DExtra and Dplus connections. The dashboard is quite well polished. You can check it out here: http://xlx317.crossroadsdmr.org
That’s pretty much what I’ve been up to. See you in March!