Repeater update September 5 2018

Jeff Heavlin and I made a trip to Bucks Elbow this morning to address the linking of the 146.925 (Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital) and 146.895 (Bucks Elbow site). On August 29, we had done the first “phase” when we installed a newer link radio and moved the Fusion repeater from service as the 444.250 repeater to service as the new 146.925 repeater. The original controller and Vertex repeater were removed due to suspicion of causing the transmitter dropouts we were experiencing at that site.

Between then and now, we spent time working primarily with Arcom trying to understand the transmitter dropouts. The outcome was to learn there is “probably” a bug in the Arcom controllers that we can avoid by simplifying our programming, and avoiding certain programming sequences in the configuration files. My testing so far has been positive using these new guidelines, and I’m hopeful Arcom will soon provide a permanent fix. In the meantime, I remotely updated the applicable lines in the programming at all sites to avoid the dropouts. MJH has been totally solid, Bucks has also, and initial indications at Heard (146.760) are promising.

As part of today’s visit to 146.895, we updated the complete controller config file with a new and simpler config, then replaced the link radio. We also replaced the Fusion repeater with the Vertex repeater from MJH that we reconfigured for 146.895. The Vertex has a much “tighter” receiver front end and being a commercial type repeater should be more suited for use at a site with high RF exposure like Bucks.
All initial reports have been positive, and audio sounds good at both ends of the link regardless of where it originated. There will be some minor differences noticed due to the use of digital squelch over the link (DCS), but I’m hopeful the overall experience will be positive.

As always, I appreciate your feedback and reports,

Bill, N0WP