I jumped aboard the Yaesu ship today. Decided to quit waiting around while trying to find “the best choice repeater” – of many that are available. Ultimately, I wanted solid communications along the coast from north of Lake Quinault to Astoria. This provides coverage to Ocean Shores and Westport as well. My second desire is to have solid communications in the Grays Harbor core: Hoquiam, Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, Montesano – and onward to the Elma rest stop and beyond. Of course, linking the two areas of coverage is important…
Why the DR-2X? First, it is reportedly a reliable unit with the usual bells and whistles I’d expect from a radio. Second, it functions in analog and digital modes on the Fusion system. Third, the ability to tie the repeaters together to cover the areas I’m looking at is easy and fast. They can be linked via Internet, as well as one of the bands on the repeater, meaning I inherit a fall-back system in the event one linking method goes down. The plan is to put another repeater at my facility and use that for the internet and UHF link, putting it on a reliable fiber backbone to do the “heavy lifting” for the system (seriously, however, this really isn’t any heavy lifting… LOL). This also allows me to link other items of interest to me, such as emergency alerts for public notification as well as information back from the sites regarding antenna, alarm, and power status.
Yesterday I reached out to Yaesu since I have a resale account with them to find out what the cost would be to pick up their DR-2X repeaters — and the deal was good enough that I jumped in with both feet. 6-8 weeks from now I should see them arrive… Yaesu DR-2X Repeater Link
In the mean time, I’ll prep up at least one machine and get it ready to migrate to Nielton. I’ll probably use a relay rack and install a UHF and VHF duplexer, battery and charging system (may not be necessary), circulators, cables, etc. pending arrival of the DR-2x units. Once on-hand, the plan is to put it online in test mode, get it programmed and happy, and when done, transport it to Nielton for install. Hopefully, I don’t get snowed out – that’s really the only hitch in my giddyap… Assuming all goes well, I’d like to see Nielton on-line for Christmas. Then I can use the next one as a linking point, pending readiness for the next one at Cosmopolis…
As the project develops, I’ll drop some pix in here and explain how things are set up — and why certain decisions were made.
** Those of you who know me personally also know that I’m not big on running projects like this as a democracy. For over 40 years I’ve watched many projects go to crap because of infighting, mismanagement, politics, lack of ownership, and egos. By taking this approach, the project will get done – right. I’ve removed all of the drama that usually gets in the way. I do, however, have concern about my longevity. Due to some medical issues that landed me in the hospital recently, I’m thinking about what it means if I should become incapacitated or worm food. My plan is to identify someone who would like to inherit this creation while respecting my investment. They must have an eye for carrying the project forward. It means looking for someone in the 30-40 year-old range with a passion for technology, so that will remain high on my list. If you feel that you have such an interest, feel free to reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pulled a rack, UHF and VHF duplexer, got them set up… Finish doing the testing and adjustment of the duplexers, probably install power tomorrow. Progress!
Received word that the repeaters were shipped from Yaesu today – probably have them Mon/Tues and get things moving forward. Hopefully, I can beat the snow that’s bound to hit Nielton soon – depends on how everything lines up!
Repeaters have arrived. Got the first one in a rack and configured. Some additional work to do from here (fine tune duplexers, wiring) but pretty much ready to go…
Change is good. So, after much fighting with the duplexer in the initial build I opted to change out the duplexer with a different one – a Sinclair 400W with -100dB isolation. After tuning yesterday, I have it on the rack in test mode – and all appears to be very happy. Transmit is very clean and there’s no indication of it’s presence in the receiver.
Great progress over the last few days… Repeater installed and on-site testing performed. All appeared well… Today I took a long drive up HWY 101 and tested coverage on both digital and analog – very good from about Ruby Beach all the way into Hoquiam – full signal strength on the repeater return. Didn’t go south (yet) as I’m working to replace the antenna with a VHF Yagi pointed south down the coast, and a UHF pointed toward Hoquiam for linking and control. If my calculations are correct, I should be able to have very nice communications from Nielton to Astoria. Now for the next leg of the journey…
Useful Reference Information, Repeater Related
Nielton Point Site: 146.9600 (-) 203.5 Hz tone. In addition, the site is Yaesu Fusion compatible.
Duplexers / Cavities / Bandpass and Pass-Reject Discussions
Understanding Duplexers, PDF – How they work, tuning information.
Useful Approach to Duplexer Tuning, Video by K7PP
Tune A Duplexer, Video by Sinclair Technologies