April Engineering Committee Notes & April Work Day

In the month of April, the Engineering Committee held a few on-line meetings and had a good turn out for our April work day at our new MoBap repeater site.  As the months move forward, we will knock items off our to do list, but will also add additional action items at the bottom with anticipated completion dates.  As we learn more about how SLSRC members use the repeaters, we will adapt our short term and long term goals for the SLSRC owned and maintained repeater systems.

One of the goals of the committee is to become proactive vs reactive with our repeaters.  We solve this problem by using technology to help us monitor the status of each repeater and have these systems tell us when problems might occur.  This monitoring is done over our point to point 5Ghz dish links at each of the repeater sites.  For example, the committee installed a temp probe attached to a Raspberry Pi Zero that graphs the temp and humidity in the 146.850 repeater cabinet every 30 mins and displays it on a webpage.  This allows us to build trending data and know when the cabinet might get overheated.  We can also alert by email when the temp gets too hot.  We also have installed RigRunner 4005i’s in each repeater cabinet for DC power distribution.  These devices are connected to the internet and allow us to both monitor and get alerts when amps or voltage drop above/below a pre-defined level.  We are able to turn off power to each component in the cabinet via the internet through an interface on the RigRunner.

For a quick status, all the repeaters are up and running at full power, but we do have some rain/water issues with the 146.970 repeater.  We will address this in June during the work day.  If you want more info about the SLSRC repeaters, please visit our Repeaters & Nets page.  This month the committee accomplished the following items.

  1. Completed the April work day at the MoBap repeater site (more details below).
  2. Received back from Yaesu a Fusion repeater with updated firmware.  This factory firmware update fixes issues with older firmware to connect a repeater controller to the back of a System Fusion repeater.  We also sent another repeater back for update late last week.  Once we are all complete, three of our five System Fusion repeater will get this firmware update.
  3. Scheduled a meeting with other System Fusion repeater owners in the STL/St. Charles area to start discussions around an internet linking system with our digital only repeaters.  This meeting is scheduled for June 4th.
  4. We worked on purchasing items for our 146.910 repeater work day in May.
  5. Purchased a Ubiquity sector antenna for the 9666 Olive Blvd site to point back to both MoBap and .91 to provide internet access to these sites.

Below are pictures from our April MoBap work day.  During the work day we removed the old antenna from the site, installed a new fiberglass antenna, ran two ethernet cables to the roof from the repeater cabinet, installed two dish point to point links and also installed a new switch.  One of the dish antennas point back to the .85 site, the other points to the .97 repeater to give this site internet access.

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