Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Galway VHF Group APRS EI2GCP

The Galway VHF Group APRS system is to be completely overhauled. The introduction of an I-Gate at the Galway City site in Mervue will feed data directly into the International APRS network enabling tracks to be viewed live on A weather station feeding live information into the network will also be installed at Mervue.

Pictured below, is the setup for the EI2GCP APRS I-Gate to be located at our Galway City site, Mervue. From top to bottom, Tiny2 TNC operating in KISS Mode, underneath,  PC Engines WRAP embedded linux board running aprx iGate software and below this, the Philips PRM 80 VHF PMR radio programmed for 144.800 MHz.

Pictured below, is the Weather station under test at EI3FEB's QTH. Judging by the sky in the background, the weather station will get plenty of abuse as Galway approaches the winter months. This Weather Station will be transferred to the Mervue site around the 25th of October.

On the 25th of October the APRS and Weather Station was installed at the Galway City Location in Mervue. The existing transceiver was replaced with a Phillips PRM 80 Commercial PMR set operating on 144.800 MHz. Strangely, the Yeasu FT8900 looked as good as new and was working perfectly despite being left on the roof for almost 5 years. The APRS I-Gate was connected to the Tracker2. The whole system is located in a weatherproof box on the roof. As is obvious, the box has protected the equipment well over 5 years.

The Weather Station was clamped to the mast and oriented in the correct position. The "Bird-Box" contains the pressure and humidity sensors, the two other items are the Anemometer and the Wind Direction indicator. All being secure, power was applied and connection to the internet was initiated.

Initially, information was not showing up on as expected. Settings on the I-Gate were changed by remote access which allowed the Tracker2 to communicate with the system that had previously been set up for a TNC2. Everything sprang into life with the new settings and results can now been seen on in the illustration below.

The Weather Station symbol has been staggered slightly to make it easier to click on the WX symbol. By clicking on the WX symbol an information box will open and show the up to date parameters recorded by the Weather Station. No rain in Galway since the since the Weather Station came on line. This will undoubtedly show some readings in the very near future.

Since the transceiver was changed, the setup seems more sensitive and is receiving more distant stations. Possibly conditions on 2 metres but maybe due to the different squelch system allowing weaker signals to be received.

Once the second Digipeater becomes functional from the Knockroe site, traffic from further afield will be relayed back to the I-Gate in Mervue. This will extend our coverage considerably and result in coverage overlapping other systems located in the Midlands and to the South-East. This will make it possible to track seamlessly across the country. It remains to be seen just how far the coverage extends if and when sytem becomes functional..

Frequency 144.800 

Call sign EI2GCP

                                                              Location       Mervue
                                                              Locator         IO53LG 
                                                   Co-ordinates  53.285981, -9.031202