Linking Options at GB3OA
GB3OA runs on a Yaesu DR-2XE. If you’re within range of the repeater, you can use basic analogue or C4FM and hold QSO’s with other amateurs who are also within the coverage area of the repeater. Things don’t get simpler than this. Arguably this is not real linking, other than providing the ability for two stations who cannot hear each other directly to communicate!
Wires-X (within GB3OA’s coverage area)
In addition to the above, GB3OA is also connected (on site) to a Yaesu HRI-200 with a PC and an internet connection. This enables the use of Wires-X. It’s not the intention of giving a Wires-X tutorial here, there are many good ones available elsewhere, but suffice it to say users can make full use of the Wires-X features of the repeater. The repeater will normally be linked to Wires-X room SW-LANCS (05324). If you wish to connect elsewhere, simply disconnect the repeater and connect it to wherever you wish. Once you have finished, please remember to disconnect so that the repeater may automatically re-join room SW-LANCS. Similar to the basic repeater operation, using Wires-X on the repeater also means (obviously), you need to be within range of the repeater. Please be aware that to use the Wires-X on the repeater, you must be using C4FM.
Linking to GB3OA / SW-LANCS
There are two scenarios here. The first is that you’re within RF range of a node or repeater (which support Wires-X) and you wish to connect up to GB3OA / SW-LANCS. Simply use your radio and join the Wires-X room SW-LANCS number 05324. GB3OA will usually be connected there. The second is if you have your own Wires-X ready station at your own QTH. The simplest set up is what’s called Wires-X Portable Digital Node, the details of this can be seen here. Alternatively you may have a more traditional node set up using an HRI-200. Details of how to set this up can be found here. Whichever set up you have, just connect it to Wires-X room SW-LANCS (05234).
Hotspot – C4FM (YSF reflector)
A YSF reflector (GB-SW-LANCS) has been created for those with C4FM radios that have neither a local node nor a repeater with Wires-X they can access. Instead, set up a hotspot in YSF mode and arrange to hook it up to YSF reflector GB-SW-LANCS (number 01704). There are many tutorials available on the internet on how to set a hotspot up. Just so users are aware, since Yaesu do not allow any access to the Wires-X network other than with Wires-X equipment, the connection between the Wires-X room SW-LANCS and the YSF reflector GB-SW-LANCS is achieved using an RF bridge utilising both a Wires-X node and a hotspot both on dummy loads. If you want to see the dashboard associated with the YSF reflector, you can see it at https://ysfreflector.gb3oa.org.uk
Hotspot – DMR (XLX704-A or DMR2YSF)
What if you don’t possess any C4FM gear but do have a cheap DMR radio lying around? Again, you have two options. What’s detailed here is the where and what to connect to, details on how to do that can be found on hotspot tutorials elsewhere. The first option is to set up your hotspot to DMR2YSF mode and point the YSF part to YSF reflector GB-SW-LANCS (01704). The second option is to use DMR in DMRGATEWAY mode. Ensure XLX Master is enabled and set to XLX704 and module A. If you want to see the dashboard associated with XLX704 reflector, you can see it at https://xlxreflector.gb3oa.org.uk If you’re wondering how XLX704 is connected to GB-SW-LANCS, it’s achieved by running DVSwitch / MMDVM_Bridge on another server. You can see the dashboard of that here.
Why both YSF Reflector and an XLX Reflector?
An obvious question is why bother with YSF Reflector GB-SW-LANCS when XLX704 also handles C4FM? There are two reasons. The first is that the YSF Reflector was the first we deployed and everyone knows it’s there, we’re reluctant to retire it. The second and more practical reason is that the dashboard provides more information than that on XLX704.
Hotspot – D-Star
This is planned but not available yet. XLX704 will currently only transcode between DMR & C4FM. To transcode to D-Star we need to install a remote vocoder solution.
If you would like to monitor SW-LANCS (where GB3OA is normally connected to), try adding the channel XLX704-A to your Zello device. The channel is set to allow anonymous listeners.
General information on interconnectivity
At some point, our intention is to provide general technical information on how everything is interconnected. It has taken a little while to get an understanding of what’s possible these days, but it’s true to say there are some fabulous and free solutions out there that must have taken a considerable amount of effort to develop. All we’ve done is figure out what to use and how to join it all together. Credit must go the authors of all the software we use.