Sunday, November 4, 2018

Galway VHF Group Projects Now Running on Site. Phase I Complete

On Sunday the 4th of November the Galway VHF Group Digital Repeater and Multimode Gateway became active from their new site on the western side of Galway City. Both systems had undergone testing prior to installation. The internet router seemed to be the only part of the system that may gave any major problems but after a lot of patience and TLC the system performed well. Both systems were set up on the Brandmeister Selfcare system allowing for basic remote control.

The components of the system were brought onto site at 11:30 am along with the Antenna systems and Mast. A 3 x 5/8 wave colinear antenna is used for the Repeater and a Folded Dipole for the 2m Multimode Gateway. The equipment for the Repeater and Gateway was installed in a Gator Case and it involved lifting the unit into the Hut with the connection of power and antenna feeders.

Joe, EI3IX, Tom, EI2GP, and Mark, EI6GUB, worked on the mountings for the mast and it was installed in record time. In the mean time, Steve worked on the 70cms colinear antenna and the 2m Dipole and associated feeders. Once the Brackets were in place the mast, with antennas fitted, was moved into position and secured.

The installation looked well and with the 2m Dipole antenna pointing in a North Easterly direction, we should see good coverage. A close up of the system is shown below. The Colinear is stated to have a gain of 11 dBd but is probably more like 9dBd.

The equipment was installed in the Gator Case and connected to the antenna system. The hut for the Equipment did not have a lot of room but was more than adequate to house the equipment. One had to wrestle with the Andrews Heliax and the Westflex 103. but with a bit effort and a few four letter words it finally seated nicely. Mark set up the mains connection while Steve EI5DD worked on the connection of the equipment.

With the Power connected, the router connected and the antennas in line everything switched on without a problem. A quick test with a handheld resulted in a contact via TG 2722 on TS 2.

Finally, the installation was tidied up and ready for testing. Everything was up and running by 1:45 pm. Remote access was possible via the internet allowing fine tuning of the settings on the Gateway Using the Brandmeister Dashboard, it was possible to remotely set up the Repeater.

The coverage of the 70cm Repeater is shown below. One week in, reports indicate that the coverage shown on the map are fairly accurate.

Both DMR and Fusion work well on the Gateway and using the "X" button, it is possible to scroll through the various rooms from other countries. Although a little early, the DMR Repeater appears to be running well on national and international Talkgroups.

Special thanks to John, MI0AAZ , for his assistance with software and connectivity issues and Aengus, EI4ABB, for his help with the tuning of the Cavity filters.