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A Trip to Fix a Ham Radio Repeater

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by VK7HH, Sep 20, 2021.

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  1. VK7HH

    VK7HH Ham Member QRZ Page

    On a sunny spring day, I decided to go for a drive to fix my 70cm (440MHz) amateur radio repeater. The repeater controller is based off Allstar/Asterisk node and there is an IP problem that required some diagnosing and tweaking. Join me on my road trip up to the site.

    VK6HIL, KC7ZXY and M1WML like this.
  2. KQ1V

    KQ1V Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd recommend using good quality analytical tools: service monitor, antenna analyzer, and Bird Meter.
    K0UO, M1WML and K4YNZ like this.
  3. KD5BVX

    KD5BVX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you watched the video you'd see that the issue he was fixing was actually an IP/networking issue and not RF, though.
    WB6CSH, KC7ZXY, VK2AAF and 6 others like this.
  4. KQ1V

    KQ1V Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Oh come on, man! I mean, yeah... sure, I really meant to say the most important tool you can bring are the Service Manuals.

    Either way, there is more than IP/Networking/RF Linking to a repeater. In fact, I'd surmise that the first fail points are Fans and then Control Units.

    But hey, I am no expert just an amateur.
    HB9EPC and M1WML like this.
  5. KD5BVX

    KD5BVX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Point was, in this case those pieces of equipment wouldn't have helped fix the issue at hand. Yes, they are vital to the installation or upkeep of a repeater but this video was about changing out a network switch so he could remotely manage it, no Bird Meter needed. ;)
    KC7ZXY, 2E0TWD, M1WML and 2 others like this.
  6. VK7HH

    VK7HH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I do have a service monitor, a HP8924C.... it weighs like 59 pounds! Lucky all our sites are drive to sites.
    I want to get a HP8920B but they are expensive still.

    I don't run fans in my repeaters as they don't need them. They have huge heatsinks capable of dissipating the heat and have 100% duty cycle. The only fans I think are in the power supplies! Antennas fail more regularly than equipment in the rack. Mother nature at her finest does that ;)
    WB6CSH, KC7ZXY, HB9EPC and 1 other person like this.
  7. KI5AAI

    KI5AAI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I went to mountain tops and many other locations in NH for years working on VHF/UHF comms for emergency services (Police/Sherrif/EMS) and never once ever have I seen a fan fail that was the reason for the trouble call. I think in over 30 years working electronics or being around electronics, I cannot recall ever having a fan fail that was the source of the failure of any system or sub-system.

    I guess our experiences must be different.
    WB6CSH, K0UO and KD5BVX like this.
  8. KQ1V

    KQ1V Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Specifically, I speak of the Motorola MSF-series, fan rack.

    Our experiences are different, sure.
  9. KI5AAI

    KI5AAI Ham Member QRZ Page Emergencey stuff I worked on was Motorola LOL. Just kidding..almost everything was Motorola. BTW: I have been formally trained at their campuses in FL and IL. Have worked decades on this stuff. Again..I guess you experiences were different :)
    WB6CSH, WB2YMU and KD5BVX like this.
  10. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Was the problem Port Forwarding ?

    That can be a big time problem when trying to control it remotely.

  11. VK7HH

    VK7HH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nope, the issue was related to packet collisions from the VOTER board on the Ethernet port. The issue is resolved by lowering the negotiation rate to 10M and the switch I had before wasn't a managed switch with the ability to do that.
    KD5BVX likes this.
  12. N6KZB

    N6KZB Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good job OM. Nice scenery on the way to the site.
    Bottom line is, you fixed the problem.

    It not always about the radio...........

    73 :)
    KC7ZXY and KD5BVX like this.
  13. KE6SLS

    KE6SLS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Nice video. I misread your call sign and first audio wasn't French Canadian :)

    Love the country scenery. I sure wish I could have made it ashore while active duty.

    The site looks VERY tidy. The sites I've worked it are, well, NOT tidy and often just plain stupid and/or dangerous.

    Thanks for the trip and a peek under the skirt!

  14. N8ZI

    N8ZI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I used to work on repeater sites years ago. One was on top of a 850' tall prominent building. That required security clearance then a trip up the elevator into a revolving restaurant. Yes the entire dining area rotated around for a 360° view. Finally a trip up the service elevator to the roof where only a 6" ridge stopped one from being blown off. Rather nerve racking.

    Another one was located on top of the highest hill in several counties. The issue was one of the big 3 auto manufacturers owned the 4800 acres of land as it was their proving grounds for prototype vehicle testing. You can imagine how strict their security was to the point you could not drive on their property unless it was in a vehicle they produced. Lucky for me and the club as I worked there and knew the right people hi hi.

    Those were fun times as both locations had magnificent views.
  15. WB2JIX

    WB2JIX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Maybe he meant to use a "Bird" to fly the meter up there???

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