PEARS REPEATER MAINTENANCE LOG - 2014

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A record of trips to/work at various repeater sites by PEARS members or helpers (reverse time order)

DATE SITE PERSON/S ACTION
17 August Baviaaanskloof ZS2AE, ZS2AAW Trans-Baviaans Mountain Bike Race

Just to show its not all work - sometimes we get out into the sticks to relax and play radio!

Trans-Baviaans Race in full swing

 

The 2014 Kleihuise team (L to R)- ZS2AAW, Shaun, ZS2GV, ZS2NT, ZS2AE

7 August Baviaaanskloof Digi's ZS2AAW Trans-Baviaans prep trip

An opportunity was taken to visit these two sites to check on the Digipeaters installed there that provide essential AX25 data coverage of the Opening end of the Baviaanskloof for tracking purposes.

Adamskraal Digipeater

 

Studtis Digipeater

12 July Longmore ZS2AAW Battery Charging

A preventative trip was undertaken during the VW Rally event to pump up the level of the batteries at Longmore because of the many cloudy days in the week leading up to the event.  

Portable Generators x2 for redundancy!

 

Chargers busy - this shows the need for a beefy 12V charger of 50-60A... these two together only produced about 15-20A

21 June Longmore ZS2AE, ZS2AAW Prepare for VW Rally

The Longmore repeater was visited to check on Solar panel bush clearing and to install temporary batteries for the duration of the VW Rally in July.

ZS2AE trimming the long grass with a carpet knife!

 

ZS2GV Temporary batteries on loan AGAIN

5 June Lady's Slipper ZR2JH, ZS2AAW Re-install BBS PC

The BBS PC without the email server software, was re-installed on the mountain.  A UPS previously taken there is now being used to provide mains power to the PC, while a 600VA inverter is sought for the final power solution.  Of note was the mains had failed prior to our arrival, and immdeiately ALL Van Stadens wind turbines came to a halt, even with the almost galeforce Westerly wind blowing.  Goes to show that if the grid is absent, wind power means nothing :)

The new (repaired) LCD screen was also fitted, but could not be tested due to lack of mains, and no suitable power lead available to run it off the UPS. Cameras (x2) and soundcard leads all returned to normal, for the remote controlled HF rig sound

21 May ZS2AAW QTH ZS2AAW Email server

The PEARS Email server was previously loaded on the same PC that runs the ZS0NTP BBS, and is intended to run remotely at Slipper.  Due to numerous PC power supply issues, and a dubious wifi link to Slipper from Mount Rd, the PC was running for months in my QTH.  As can be seen from the log, various attempts to re-install the PC were met with Murphy in the form of power supply failure, screen failure etc.  Since the external emails are served directly to this machine from the internet, it needs to be online, and so when it fails, a trip HAS to be made to Slipper to re-instate emails.  The reason for using the BBS PC was that it is supposed to be remote, and un-fiddled with by human hands, and battery-powered via inverter.  But the 300W inverter can't handle the new 500W mains PSU, so that is also awaiting upgrading.  

The email server is now loaded on a machine that runs 24/7 at my QTH, is out of reach of fiddle fingers, and is now UPS and diesel generator backed.  The software was transferred with all settings and mail archives intact, so no messages were lost.  This now frees up the BBS PC to be moved back to Slipper, and to run the Skype interfaces to the Repeater network and the HF remote-controlled rig.

In addition, a new wideband Icom R10 receiver will be installed on Slipper, which will be a useful tool in remote interference tracing, and general interest receiving on all bands. It will also be available through the Ham Radio Deluxe remote control program.  Audio via another Skype installation. It however needs a wideband antenna - any offers or ideas?  Discone?

20 May Longmore ZS2GV VHF Repeater faulty

Glen happened to visit the site, and confirmed that the VHF Kyodo repeater was open-squelch, even with the RX antenna coax disconnected.  He duly packed the repeater into the van and brought it back to PE.

Investigations later showed the same fault on the bench, could be brought on and off by physical tapping of the chassis.  Moving the inreconnecting coaxes changed the RSSI level significantnly.  RX module was removed and all edge conenctors resoldered, plus one or two other suspect ones on the RX main PCB.  Re-assembled and tested fine.  RX Specs are good, opens at -123dBm

Noted that this repeater does NOT have the external squelch pot modification on the rear panel.

3 April Mount Road ZS2AAW Change linking chanel

Once again the 650 is manually relinked to the Slipper hub on 438.700, rather than the town UHF hub on 438.650, in preparation for the Ironman event on Sunday.  

2 April Home ZS2AAW Change Wifi access point to standby antenna

It would appear the main Access Point "PEARS_AP3" up on Slipper has failed - no connections possible, and not much scan activity, or very deaf.  Thankfully there is a secondary standby Access Point configured at Slipper, with the antenna mounted directly on the new Wifi box.  The main AP3 was disabled, and the secondary AP32 configured to behave as PEARS_AP3 for the interim.  This should allow all users to connect, even with the lower antenna height.

14 March Aliwal North - Access impossible

I received an email pic of an obstruction preventing access to Kramberg repeater sites near Aliwal North...

Access road obstruction!

 

31 January Mount Rd ZS2AAW Re-link the Town repeater for Herald Cycle tour

The repeater room is now nicely painted and cleared!  The UHF link channel was manually moved to Ch 2 to couple Town 650 to Slipper 700 for the weekend's Herald Cycle Tour activities.  Of note is the added access control system, we will need some codes soon...

Renovations completed

 

Repeater cabinet in the painted room, nice and clean!

 

27 January Remote ZS2AAW Lady's Slipper Wifi Config

Changes were done to the AP3 and AP32 ports at Slipper, to compare coverage and interference etc.  In the end, a frequency was found that would allow ZR2SDL at St Albans to remain connected with usable quality.  ZS2X and ZS2V were also finally connected again after just less than a year offline :(

26 January Ladys' Slipper ZS2AAW, ZS2AE, ZS2NT Lady's Slipper Wifi Investigation

ZS2NT gets to work, up the pole

A concerted effort was mounted today to cure the coverage problem from the Slipper Access Point. The box was removed by Nick, ZS2NT, and when on the ground, some tests were done using a temporary Cat5 cable to the equipment shelter, and a temporary 5GHz omni antenna fitted direct onto the box.  Sure enough, no scan results with the tempoorary antenna.  Fitted to the spare secondary AP showed plenty of scanned signals.

Test bench on mother earth, with temporary 5GHz omni

The RF pigtail was exchanged, and the original R5H radio card refitted.  Scan checks were positive.

Many hands make WiFi work...?

The spare secondary AP radio card (R52) was then removed, and the R52Hn card that was in the main AP slot was fitted to the spare slot, and of course the RF pigtail had to be changed thanks to it needing an MMCX connector.  So both main and spare now have MMCX RF pigtails, which is a far better connector.  The spare omni antenna was taped onto the spare AP port and the box refitted.  The original antenna connected to the main AP, and the temporary omni fitted directly onto the box, on the spare AP

 

All fitted back in place and closed up...

The BBS PC was re-installed, only to be removed again when the screen was found to be U/S, and no images could be seen.  Remote logging into the PC using VNC on a laptop showed a COM port error, so the machine was taken home again :(

 

The work team, ZS2AE, ZS2NT, ZS2WG

 

 

REPEATER WORK (current)

REPEATER WORK (2015)

(this page)

REPEATER WORK (2013)

REPEATER WORK (2012)

REPEATER WORK (2011)

REPEATER WORK (2010)

REPEATER WORK (2000 - 2009)

REPEATER WORK (1975 - 1999)

 

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