Nearly Thanksgiving Update

This update was delayed in the hope that the Stadium Remote would be back in operation, but that has yet to happen.  There are, however, other developments, most of which are probably generally known by now through other channels (RF channels, maybe, even).

Members of the Technical Committee mounted several expeditions to the County Yard in September and October.  Over the course of the visits, the following tasks were accomplished:
  • Replaced the Arcom RC-210 repeater controller;
  • Wall-mounted and connected the Telewave multi-coupler ("cavities") for the NORMAN APRS digipeater;  
  • Wall-mounted the existing Wacom duplexer; 
  • Installed the new radio for the digipeater and a new cabinet shelf to hold it and the TNC;
  • Relocated cabinet to allow more county equipment to be installed.

Cabinet with digipeater, repeater controller, repeater and power supply.
Above cabinet is multi-coupler (toward the rear) and duplexer (toward the front).  

Three things were driving these recent efforts.  Back a few years ago, the county needed to use one of the "retired in place" antennas that SCARS was using for the digipeater.  The expectation was that the county would only be using that antenna for a short period but that ended up not being the case.  No matter.  In the meantime, the RF portion of the digipeater was replaced with a new transceiver and, as noted, a shelf for it was built in the existing cabinet.  More importantly, the system was re-engineered to use a multi-coupler between the club's main two meter antenna and the duplexer for the repeater.  This allows both the digipeater and the repeater to use the same antenna at the same time without interference.

The needs of our hosts, Cleveland County, were the second driver.  The sheriff's office is in the process of installing new radio equipment at the county yard and SCARS needed to "reduce the footprint" occupied by club equipment.  With the wall mounting of the duplexer and new multi-coupler and inclusion of the digipeater in the cabinet that houses the repeater, this has been accomplished.

Lastly, the repeater controller needed to be returned to service.  The RC-210 controller was checked while it was out of service (See entry from July 10).  Unfortunately, no trouble could be found on the test bench.  When being re-installed, it was noted that the serial port interface was not behaving correctly as the configuration could neither be updated nor retrieved from the unit.  Reloading the firmware seemed to correct this issue.

Since the ATA that connects the controller to the PSTN was found to be dead and the WISP that has equipment at the same location had also needed to replace some equipment around the same time that the repeater controller failed, the general consensus of the Technical Committee was that lightning got into the building at some point this past summer.  If this is indeed what happened, it is entirely possible that the programming of the controller became corrupted without the controller itself being physically damaged.  Members of the TC will be monitoring the controller's operation in order to determine if there are any other anomalies.

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