Linked System Back In Service

After many months of varying states of operation, I’m happy to report the SMRC linked system is back in full service tonight. Thanks to the hard work of many of our members, we’ve got a fully functional system. A few notes on the current state of the system:

  1. The system is currently linked for analog FM use only. Each individual site repeater is set to use AMS (Auto Mode Select), so digital operations through a single repeater are possible (and work quite well, I might add); however, we are still developing a digital linking system for all three sites. Analog FM users should set a PL tone of 151.4 on both transmit and receive, as well as enable BCLO (busy channel lockout), if able, to keep from hearing/stepping on digital users.
  2. The main antenna at Alamo Peak has temporarily been removed from the tower until it can be properly remounted. The broken sidearm mount has also been removed from the tower. In the interim, a secondary antenna is being used with about 6dB less gain, so users in canyons or at the periphery of coverage are most likely to notice the impact. Plans are underway to remount the main antenna this coming week, so full service should be restored quickly.
  3. The audio gain on the Weed link radio needs to be adjusted. Users going through Weed will notice very high audio gain on TX/RX. We are aware of the problem, but will have to schedule a trip to the site to adjust the radio. The system is still usable via Weed, but if transmitting through that site, move the microphone a few inches further away from your mouth than usual. If it’s untenable, use the James Ridge repeater, if able.
  4. Once items #2 and #3 are accomplished, we will begin efforts to digitally link the system. The initial phase of that effort will involve linking the James and Weed sites via 2.4GHz microwave. Linking Alamo to the system will be a much more challenging problem. We are currently researching IP link radios in the 433MHz spectrum to execute this operation, but finding radios with enough gain and bandwidth to accommodate the digital link has proved difficult. Improvements in the bandwidth of LoRa systems may bring a viable solution in the near term.

The current state of the system is posted under the Repeater Info section of this site, so if you are new to the Club, or have had your machines programmed to use alternate PL tones during the interim status of the system, review your radio programming to ensure it matches the information here on the website.

Thanks again to everyone who has/is playing a part in getting the system back up to speed, and thanks to Club members for their patience while we have sorted through many technical issues. Watch the website for an upcoming multi-part write-up documenting the process we’ve gone through to get the system back in working condition.