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Last Updated: January 17 2009 23:55

GB3EE Update

Towards the end of 2008 a fault was reported on GB3EE, a quick check on air showed the repeater was apparently totally off. The following evening I called by the site, toolbox and testset in hand ready to try to make a repair.

The fault was easy to diagnose, the equipment cabin had been forced open and the repeater stolen from site.

A meeting of the repeater group in the following days decided that although a spare T300 repeater could quickly be made available it would be unwise to install it on the same site, since it was in effect impossible to make the site totally secure.

An alternative site was therefore found close to the original. This new site is some 40mtrs higher and is equipped with a much more substantial mast and equipment room than the old one.

After shouldering the responsibilities of the official 'keeper' for some time Steve G6IBQ decided that this was a suitable point to handover responsibility to me. I therefore took over as keeper of EE and dealt with the necessary paperwork to effect the site move. Whilst the site move was being dealt with by Ofcom and the RMC I decided that I would use the time to somewhat improve on the old T300 hardware that we had been using.

A Tait T800 repeater comprising T855 receiver, T856 transmitter and T807 PSU was acquired and built into a suitable configuration to use with a G1SLE Mk2 controller. Since reasonable internet connectivity is available on the new site it was decided that IRLP connectivity would be provided from a PC connected locally to the repeater. Whilst I'm OK with PCs and IT etc, it seemed to make sense to call in an expert for this aspect of the new repeater, Charlie M0DMF is much better at that sort of stuff than me, so while I got to work on building the repeater, controller, duplexer and filter Charlie got to work learning about IRLP.

In setting up a repeater with a directly connected IRLP node care has to be taken to ensure reasonably linear talk through audio response and reasonably flat audio to and from IRLP. Getting the audio responses just right took a little while, but by 7th Jan 2009 we were ready to go, GB3EE 'went live' again late in the afternoon.

Intial reports seem good, with coverage having greatly improved to the west, the 3 watt (5dBW) ERP allowed by the license proving sufficient to provide a decent signal from places as widely separated as Birmingham and Mablethorpe. I would be interested to hear your reports and comments, please use the contact me form on this website.

GB3DY, EE & RB Users Area

This area of the website is intended to provide some basic details for users of DY, EE and RB. These three repeaters have much in common, all use my Mk1 controller, all are built using Tait T300 base stations, and all are engineered by me. On air you will therefore find that the three have a similar 'sound and feel', you will also find that in spite of this they are not 'clones' and each repeater has it's own peculiarities.

GB3DY is located at Alport Heights near Wirksworth (IO93FB) it's the longest established of the three. Whilst I am 'station engineer' for this one the keeper is G3ZYC - Ian Sneap. Ian is MD and owner of Zycomm. The repeater is entirely supported and sponsored by Zycomm, no donations for the upkeep of this repeater are expected or requested. However if you need to buy a 2 way radio system or would like wireless broadband please check www.zycomm.co.uk and www.w3z.co.uk first. GB3DY operates on RB10 433T250/434R850

GB3EE was next to arrive on the scene in August 1989 from Spitewinter Hill (IO93GE). I have recently taken over from Steve G6IBQ as keeper of GB3EE, which operates on RB12 - 433T300/434R900

GB3RB is a relative newcomer, it first 'went live' April 2004. I'm both engineer and keeper for this one. The repeater is located in IO93IF and enjoys free use of the chimney of Rileys Television Services in Bolsover. Rileys Television are a small independent retailer of all household electrical goods, somehow they always seem competitive with the 'big boys' and the service is streets ahead, next time you want a TV or fridge give them a go - 01246 826578
This generous sponsorship takes care of most of the running costs, however donations towards other costs are always welcome please use the contact me form on this website if you wish to make a donation to GB3RB. GB3RB operates on RB8 433T200/434R800

GB3DY and EE are both very much wide area boxes, RB is more of a local service, though it often pops up in the most unexpected places.

All three repeaters are, in the best traditions of amateur radio, provided for the use of all radio amateurs. Whilst the keepers hope that priority will be given to mobile users fixed stations are always welcome. When using these repeaters users are always encouraged to leave frequent breaks in transmission to allow other users to join in. Users joining existing QSOs in this way should always be made welcome, and should never be made to feel that they have 'butted in' on a 'private' conversation.

All three repeaters provide basic talkthrough repeater service, with access by either 71.9Hz CTCSS or 1750hz burst. When accessing the repeater from cold you should press your PTT, pause and announce "G9XYZ golf nine x-ray yankee zulu listening GB3XX for calls"
"Blipping up" the repeater to 'see if you are in' without identifying yourself is rude, annoying to other users and technically illegal (check your BR68!). If the repeater is already in use when you 'arrive' wait for a break and quickly, but clearly announce your callsign.

All three repeaters are fitted with a reasonable timeout which will switch off the transmitter if a signal is received continuously for an unreasonably long time. This timeout should never operate in normal use (please!).

CTCSS is sent by all three repeaters only when signal is being received on the input, between overs the repeater stops sending CTCSS. This means that if you run your radio with CTCSS muting you will only hear speech, never any confidence pips or Morse beacons. If you do want to hear the pips etc. switch off your CTCSS decoder. When listening with your CTCSS decoder off you may notice that as a user stops transmitting the repeater sends a Morse S (di-di-dit) I (di-dit) or W(di-dah-dah). This is in fact a signal report - Strong, Intermediate or Weak. If you are consistently getting an S you may consider reducing transmit power, if you are hearing a W consider moving to better spot.

This core service is provided by all three repeaters.
In addition to standard repeater operation GB3EE also provides and internet gateway using the IRLP system. See www.irlp.co.uk for details of this service. Recently tests of a completely new service have begun on GB3DY and EE, this service is the Amateur Voice Switch. As this system is developed it will begin to allow DY and EE to be patched together into a 'super repeater' giving coverage equal to the sum of the two. For more details of the voice switch follow the Amateur Voice Switch link from the homepage. It is hoped that in time the voice switch will be extended to include GB3RB and possibly many more repeaters, and that unattended 24/7 operation will be allowed.

Since a small minority of users seem to be morally opposed to the provision of additional services such as these it is worth pointing out that Internet Linking and the Voice Switch are provided as optional extras. If you don't want to use the service then nobody is forcing you to do so. However please do respect the rights of others to use these additions, and before 'sounding off' about the how much you dislike these services at least read about them so you can understand them first. In other words "Please don't condemn what you don't understand!" Generally those who jump in feet first tend to do a great job of demonstrating outstanding ignorance.

On the subject of diving in with criticism please think about this first:- The keepers of these repeaters have given their time, money and expertise to provide you with a free (and excellent) service. They have done this in the certain knowledge that they will probably only ever hear from the users in the form of complaints.

Having thought about this, if you have any constructive comment about any of the three repeaters, the GB3EE internet gateway, or the Amateur Voice Switch, then please use the contact me form on this website. It's only by genuine constructive comment that the services provided can continue to be improved.

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