June 11, 2018 - Trip to the VE7EGO Site on the Commonage for Repeater Swaps


Yaesu's DR-2X repeater upgrade program requires clubs to get their old DR-1X repeaters back to Yeasu within one month of the new repeater shipment. So, today Terry VE7TRZ and Mike VE7KPZ did a quick site visit to swap in the new hardware. The swap was a success, verified by several club members who assisted in both analog and digital testing.


Terry VE7TRZ
Garry VE7EIY (remote tester)
Brad VE7WBM (remote tester)
Mike VE7AM (remote tester)
Rick VA7EM (remote tester)


The usual route was taken to access the VE7EGO Commonage site. The road was clear of snow and surprisingly not very muddy. The biggest "challenge" was with a cow not wanting to get off "her" road.

Just before heading up to the site, Mike telephoned Kevin at 250-744-0732 who is in charge of exploding/disposing of WW2 munitions still in the hillsides. Upon departure from the site, Mike texted Kevin to notify him of our departure. Kevin likes to know both the ins and outs of our visits to the site.

Tasks Undertaken:

This was a quick visit to simply swap in the new DR-2X repeaters for the old DR-1X repeaters. The swap went smoothly with a quick transfer of repeater config and then a couple of configuration tweaks. Terry and Mike conducted some local testing and opted to adjust the squelch tails to make for a nicer analog user experience. The VHF squelch tail was set to 500 ms, while the UHF squelch tail was set to 700 ms. These settings suited Terry's Kenwood HT and Mike's Yaesu FT-70DR perfectly for analog transmissions.

Garry VE7EIY was the first remote tester. A quick QSO showed the VHF repeater working with great AF clarity. Mike also demoed for Garry what digital traffic sounds like, as Garry was using an analog-only radio.

Please note: we do have a 123 Hz tone on the analog output of the repeaters... so if you have an analog-only radio and like to use memory scan, go ahead and use that CTCSS tone so that your scan doesn't stop for digital traffic coming from these repeaters.

With a quick inspection of the antennae (all having survived the winter winds), that was it for the site visit. The old DR-1Xes were loaded into Mike's vehicle (actually Jane VE7WWJ's very capable '89 Jeep Cherokee) to start their return trip back to Yaesu USA.

In the evening, with everyone back at their QTHes, Brad VE7WBM and Mike did a little testing with WiresX. Way back when the club tested out WiresX in analog mode, there was a requirement to NOT use a squelch tail. With the club's WiresX node now exclusively running digital C4FM, this evening's test was to see if the now-enabled 700 ms squelch tail would affect the digital side of things. 

For the WiresX test, Brad hooked both our club's WiresX node and Rick VA7EM's WiresX node into Rick's private room. Brad then hit Rick's node via VHF while Mike hit the club's node via VE7EGO repeated UHF. Mike VE7AM and Rick later joined the conversation and all witnessed that a squelch tail does not affect WiresX digital traffic in any way.

After the evening's testing, the club's WiresX node was linked back to the CQ-Canada room, and Rick's node... well, we'll leave it up to Rick to link his node into whatever room he fancies.

Next Steps:

We have a lot more to do at the VE7EGO site this year. We have new antennae to swap in. We need to find some more rack screws. We have to setup the repeater remote control facilities. We have to setup the HAMwan linkage. We have to setup IMRS to link into the Okanagan C4FM network of linked repeaters. We have to further seal the cement at the tower legs (as there are a couple of tiny cracks that we don't want to develop into actual issues). We have to relocate the IRLP node from Brad's QTH back to the VE7EGO site.

Hopefully you, the reader, will join us on some of these future trips. Today's trip was a little short notice, but future trips will be well advertised likely via this website and the club mailing list AKA reflector.

In the short term, Mike VE7KPZ will be shipping the DR-1Xes back to Yaesu.

FYI and 73,
NORAC Vice President