VA7RSI is up and running.

Hi Everyone;

VA7RSI is up and running—We seemed to have resolved the audio issue and the duplexer is as good as we can tune it with Al’s TinyVNA. I think at some point I’ll have to contact one of two Hams that have more accurate test gear to make sure we’re getting optimum isolation with minimal signal loss at our two frequencies, but for now I think it’s working. The location is not ideal—my place—but after I am convinced all the settings are good and it’s reliable we’ll move it to another home—which has yet to be determined. I will move the antenna higher when I can too.

Once again, you transmit to it on 223.140 with a 110.9 tone and you receive on 224.740—I took the transmit tone off for the time being. The talk-timer is set at 10 minutes for now and the ID is defaulted to the American timing of every 10 minutes until I can figure out how to interpret the meaning of all the timing parameters and other menu options. The ID-O-Matic IV is a simple controller, but does have some features that I have not taken advantage of yet. The TH-9000D transceivers also has some features which are designed for repeater operation, like CTCSS encode and decode tones, a CTCSS squelch detection option—rather than a carrier-detect, Its own talk time timers, and some other features which I will be experimenting with during the next few weeks.

With the squelch set for a CTCSS tone detect, this means that on the receiver, regardless of how the squelch level is set, the audio only passes through to the transmitter if it has the 110.9 tone on it. However I didn’t set the level to zero (out of 20) because I see the “busy” indicator remains on if I leave the squelch totally open, and I’m not sure that’s what I want…so I set it to 1.

On the transmitter though, I have the squelch set to its maximum of 20, so that nothing but the strongest signal could interfere, should someone come on in simplex mode. We’ll see how that works when the repeater has a better/higher location.

The next step is to add a transceiver for control functions—of which the only one needed is to remotely shut off the transceiver if it locks on for some reason. HamGadgets makes another kit just for this purpose, and I have some spare VHF 12VDC handhelds which I can install to work with it. The board plugs into the speaker jack and listens for whatever DTMF tone you set it to, and activates a relay—which will be in series with the transmitter’s power. Tone on/tone off—simple. If one of my old handhelds has CTCSS capability, then I’ll pick an odd 2m simplex frequency, a CTCSS tone and we will have rudimentary emergency shut off control. Once we get our Raspberry Pi/Arduino controller in there, we’ll replace all that—or not….we’ll see.

So over the next few weeks or months, when you can get into the repeater, I need to know from you how the voice audio levels are compared to the volume level of the voice and CW ID’er and the courtesy beep tone at the end of someone’s PTT activation. I am looking for a situation where the volume levels are all the same. But don’t forget that you must have a full quieting signal into the repeater and out of the repeater to do this. If you can’t receive a full quieting signal, chances are you aren’t making it into the repeater well enough either—as the signals should be reciprocal.

Thanks for your input during this trial period.

Gary VE7AS


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