The DR-1X is On the Air!
You may have been wondering about our new repeater and its status. Well, wonder no longer: it’s on the air now!
Our engineering committee ran into a few issues preparing the repeater for installation, but without going into all of the gory details (see the recent Feedline articles for those), suffice it to say that enough of the kinks have been worked out to put the repeater on the air. One of the things you’ll notice immediately is that there are a few things still missing: scheduled announcements, voice identification, courtesy tone, etc. are missing temporarily because of some previously unknown limitations of the controller that was purchased to work with the new repeater. The new controller is already configured to do all of those things, but because of those limitations, we can’t use it the way we want. Consequently, the repeater is currently running on its internal built-in controller that doesn’t provide any of those features. The engineering committee is actively working on plan to remediate this situation so that those features will be back in the near future.
A few other tidbits about the new setup: one of the items purchased was a new (well, new to us!) Henry power amplifier to use with the new repeater. It was required because the old PA needs a smaller input signal than the DR-1X can provide. The new PA is currently outputting 70 watts (versus the MastrII’s 75 watts), so the output signal strength is nearly identical, but since the new PA is capable of a higher output, it will be raised to 100 watts output in the near future. The engineering committee has also installed a remotely-controllable power switch so that the new repeater can be power cycled through a secure internet connection in case any problems arise. A donated computer has also been configured so that the controller or other peripherals can be managed remotely too. All of this helps to ensure that we have the greatest amount of flexibility and control of the new setup.
Here are some tips for current Fusion radio owners to take advantage of the digital input of the new repeater:
If you want to take advantage of being able to transmit in digital you should set your radio to manual mode TX VW or DN.
VW vs DN
VW = The radio will use the full bandwith of the transmitted signal to transmit a high quality digital voice signal with no error correction.
DN= The radio will use half of the bandwith of the transmitted signal to transmit a lesser quality voice signal and the other half of the bandwith to transmit error correction and other data.
When to use which: You would generally want to use VW as your voice quality will be significantly better than DN, however when you are a greater distance from the repeater you should switch to DN to take advantage of the error correction and avoid drop outs when you are on the fringe.
Depending on your radio, you might also need to change your AMS settings so that it will always transmit in VW or DN mode while still receiving analog FM.
Keep an eye on the Feedline for more updates related to this project, but in the meantime, feel free to check out the new repeater and have fun!