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Posted: 4/20/2016 1:19:58 PM EDT
Our clubs 70cm repeater let the smoke out and has been off the air for a while. Mostly we used it as a backup to the 2m repeater and was handy for public service events. It also was used for those 'does this mic sound better or this one' contacts. Most of the traffic was on the 2m repeater where the ragchews have a home. Now I get word that the 2m repeater is having sensitivity issues and the antenna is crooked on the tower.

Great. Knowing the past BOD they couldn't come to a decision as to where to have the meetings much less coughing up the cash to fix the repeaters. However in a bit of a coup a new group ran and took over the board with the intent of making things happen. There are succeeding.

The monthly newsletter said our new 70cm repeater has arrived and we are waiting on the duplexers and other assorted widgets to get it going. In addition a new 2m repeater has been ordered but is on backorder. Reason for the backorder is that Yaesu is running a special on their new System Fusion machines for $600 and demand is outstripping supply. So in the end we will have a matching pair System Fusion machines with the C4FM digital protocol.

Stoked in that the advantages of digital phone will be in our future. Also the high speed data function of the protocol can be useful for the when the next storm hits. Still trying to figure out just what other options other than still photos and text messaging can be sent over high speed data. We've experimented with PSK31 over a conventional analog FM repeater and the results were pretty cool. Problem is that you only have one data stream which hogs the entire 25khz bandwidth. Not cool.

And if that isn't enough, the areas first D-Star gateway has gone online through the local OEP. While I'm not a fan of amateur radio over the internet there is one part of it that is useful. Being able to listen to local VHF/UHF traffic when I'm well out of repeater range. Due to my job when the next named storm enters the Gulf I immediately go on call. Frequently I'm in the middle of evacuating our aircraft, materiel, and personnel to a safe area till the storm passes. Then return and screw it all back together and get back to the business of transporting ass and trash to the offshore energy industry. So when I'm stuck in BFE waiting on the storm I can listen in on the D-Star repeater to what is going on at the QTH area.

So, gonna have to get new radios to take advantage of the new digital protocols. Also will have to really study up as plowing new dirt with this stuff. Those that have used D-Star and/or C4FM chime in and educate me.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 6:49:31 PM EDT
Originally Posted By HankEllis:
...Yaesu is running a special on their new System Fusion machines for $600 ...Those that have used [System Fusion] chime in and educate me.
View Quote


Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your new board may be in for a real bad time. The DR-1x repeaters have been nothing but trouble, and the teething period is insane. A local club was shipped two, back to back, with dead transmitters. The duty cycle rating on them is pathetic: recommend turning them down to 20W or less and run an external amp if required. Not possible to have a courtesy tone if run in mixed-mode. Not able to be coordinated as narrowband, as even "digital narrow" isn't. actually. Narrowband. No way to eliminate the squelch tail with CTCSS, and if run without, I can sometimes hear a "double squelch crash" on some local machines.

You can't save enough money to make up for the fact that they're sub-standard repeaters. If you are not yet under contract, get out. If you are, see if you can break. Find a nice, quality, commercial machine with 100% duty cycle at the desired output, and do it right the first time.

Best of luck.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 7:50:24 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By PowerPointRanger:


Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your new board may be in for a real bad time. The DR-1x repeaters have been nothing but trouble, and the teething period is insane. A local club was shipped two, back to back, with dead transmitters. The duty cycle rating on them is pathetic: recommend turning them down to 20W or less and run an external amp if required. Not possible to have a courtesy tone if run in mixed-mode. Not able to be coordinated as narrowband, as even "digital narrow" isn't. actually. Narrowband. No way to eliminate the squelch tail with CTCSS, and if run without, I can sometimes hear a "double squelch crash" on some local machines.

You can't save enough money to make up for the fact that they're sub-standard repeaters. If you are not yet under contract, get out. If you are, see if you can break. Find a nice, quality, commercial machine with 100% duty cycle at the desired output, and do it right the first time.

Best of luck.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By PowerPointRanger:
Originally Posted By HankEllis:
...Yaesu is running a special on their new System Fusion machines for $600 ...Those that have used [System Fusion] chime in and educate me.


Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your new board may be in for a real bad time. The DR-1x repeaters have been nothing but trouble, and the teething period is insane. A local club was shipped two, back to back, with dead transmitters. The duty cycle rating on them is pathetic: recommend turning them down to 20W or less and run an external amp if required. Not possible to have a courtesy tone if run in mixed-mode. Not able to be coordinated as narrowband, as even "digital narrow" isn't. actually. Narrowband. No way to eliminate the squelch tail with CTCSS, and if run without, I can sometimes hear a "double squelch crash" on some local machines.

You can't save enough money to make up for the fact that they're sub-standard repeaters. If you are not yet under contract, get out. If you are, see if you can break. Find a nice, quality, commercial machine with 100% duty cycle at the desired output, and do it right the first time.

Best of luck.


Our club in NoVA had two DR1x repeaters both with the same issues. Neither could make it more than a month before their outputs would be below a watt.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 9:37:46 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By gcw:
Neither could make it more than a month before their outputs would be below a watt.
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Oh freaking nifty.

At the least I'm going to wait on buying new equipment until whatever teething problems the new machine will have are sorted out. I had already decided to wait out the Fusion equipment. However the D-Star thing might be a go. The machine is online and so far have no reported problems.

Worst part of all this is that I'll have 3 VHF/UHF rigs to tinker with and keep running. D-Star, Fusion, and FM simplex. Ain't giving up good ole FM simplex. 100w and a cheap beam and you can do a hell of a lot. In fact our net starts in half an hour. Gotta go.
Link Posted: 4/21/2016 8:59:21 AM EDT
Our DR-1X repeaters have been great.  We have reduced the TX power to drive external amplifiers, though.  Care does have to be taken in the setup of the DR-1X as it does with any repeater and most hams do not have the skillset or knowledge to do this properly.  I'm thinking about raising funds for a third DR-1X for our club before the promotional pricing goes away.  I'd like to have a spare onhand so that we can get a busted system up and running quickly, although we have not had the first bit of trouble since our two went into service last year in September.
Link Posted: 4/21/2016 10:44:03 PM EDT
I just got done talking on one...first time I haven't heard it drift (I have a narrow filter on my radio so it picks it up unlike traditional wideband setups). Wires-X has some PL related issues, well actually it's not Wires-X but the lack of a filter to scrub PL on the audio interface. The controller just IDs whenever the timer expires (and loud enough to make anyone using the repeater unintelligible during the ID).

For the price...you can purchase a Hamtronics receiver (show me another receiver that has 100 dB adjacent channel rejection) and an exciter. You probably have a spare (working) Micor or Mastr PA laying around to put behind the exciter...for about the same price.

Something to consider.
Link Posted: 4/22/2016 10:37:31 AM EDT
Did a little digging online for DR-1x repeater problems. Biggie is that on 50w you run a big risk of burning out the finals due to the low duty cycle. Run it at 20w and you can ragchew away.

Our repeater guy does tower work for a living. Some of what he does involves microwave repeaters for the TV broadcast stations and cell tower work. He is on the repeater frequency coordination committee. Without him our junk would have been off the air a long time ago.

We're committed to the DR-1x machines and I have no stroke anymore with the BOD. Knowing our BOD they probably just asked our repeater guy for direction and took his word for it. Seeing as this is what he does for a living I would take his advice also.

Back on track. So the question still remains. Has anyone used the digital voice of D-Star and/or C4FM? Where can I find a tutorial for using these new modes?
Link Posted: 4/23/2016 11:16:31 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By HankEllis:
Did a little digging online for DR-1x repeater problems. Biggie is that on 50w you run a big risk of burning out the finals due to the low duty cycle. Run it at 20w and you can ragchew away.

Our repeater guy does tower work for a living. Some of what he does involves microwave repeaters for the TV broadcast stations and cell tower work. He is on the repeater frequency coordination committee. Without him our junk would have been off the air a long time ago.

We're committed to the DR-1x machines and I have no stroke anymore with the BOD. Knowing our BOD they probably just asked our repeater guy for direction and took his word for it. Seeing as this is what he does for a living I would take his advice also.

Back on track. So the question still remains. Has anyone used the digital voice of D-Star and/or C4FM? Where can I find a tutorial for using these new modes?
View Quote


Be careful when you say C4FM. P25 is C4FM...

I've never touched DStar...P25 and DMR I use on a daily basis.
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