GB3OA update – February 2023

Just to keep everyone up to date on the latest status on the upgrade to the GB3OA repeater.

The new repeater hardware has arrived (Yeasu DR-2XE) and has been set up on the bench. It has a pair of dummy loads on the TX & RX sockets and in addition is now connected to an HRI-200 for WiresX operation. In terms of the native hardware, other than our usual concerns over having a remote Windows PC (we just know at some point that’s going to be a problem despite all the protection and options for remote access / restart), at the moment everything seems to be running just fine, but the intention is to try and iron out any gremlins before it goes to the repeater site. Please note that while you may ‘see’ GB3OA as available on WiresX (since strictly speaking it is), it is not physically on air. The old hardware is still operational on site. There is no current forecast as to when the hardware swap will take place.

The WiresX room associated with the repeater is SW-Lancs and it is anticipated that the repeater will be connected to this room as its default. If a user wishes to disconnect from the default room and connect up elsewhere, that’s fine. The only thing we’d request is that once you’re finished, please disconnect. The repeater will take care of automatically re-joining the SW-Lancs room. Please note that while the repeater supports both FM and C4FM, only C4FM can be used for WiresX for linking.

And now to the subject of cross-modes and bridging. While it’s already been mentioned, it is still worthwhile repeating that the WiresX system and all the other available C4FM linking systems for example FCS and YSF reflectors are totally separate from WiresX. You cannot assume that if there’s a WiresX room and a YSF reflector with the same name that they will be connected to each other. We’ve already set up a YSF reflector also called SW-Lancs. The intention was, and still maybe is to bridge between the two systems. This will allow a broader spectrum of users (essentially using hotspots) to connect remotely. We’ve been experimenting in achieving this bridge using a pair of hotspots. While it does actually appear to work, (it’s essentially an RF bridge), we’re not really satisfied with it, both the quality and reliability of the connection needs improvement. As it stands, it’s quite possible when the new hardware is deployed it will be without this bridge. If that is the case, it’s likely the SW-Lancs YSF reflector will be withdrawn to avoid confusion. If anyone has any suggestions as to how the bridging could be done better, feel free to contact us!

Keep an eye open here for more updates in due course.

The GB3OA team.

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