Pietermaritzburg DMR Repeater Site ZS5PMB
At short notice, I, Shaun ZR5S, decided to go up to the Windy Hill high site to install our new Pietermaritzburg MotoTRBO DMR repeater. I was lucky to have ZS5ML Mike to join me. This was on Friday 10 July 2015.
We had it fired up within an hour. On the trip back to Pietermaritzburg, I tried many times to work someone but was unsuccessful. Later that evening it started working and I spoke to ZS6MSW and ZS5GR with crystal clear audio for over an hour using just 1W on a portable from Blackridge (25Km).
Today, Saturday 11 July 2015, I spoke to various hams around the world and to Division-6, but the Durban DMR repeater is not repeating my transmissions, so I cannot quite say that all is well, but these teething problems should be sorted out in due course. It is just an internet networking routing issue.
Now that we have a DMR repeater, I need to get an order together for some DMR portables for our members to try out this new mode. But the choice of radios is overwhelming. Big brand names like Motorla, Hytera come with a price tag to make one shudder. Chinese portables are out in the dozen at good prices, but lack product support. Some have GPS, full text keypad, large colour screens, while others look rather boring with only a PTT button and speaker and are more suitable to your average shop security guard.
Will our efforts suitably impress our members... I think so. DMR has firmly seated itself in the corporate sector and hams will manipulate it to suit our needs. DMR_MARC is a fast growing network.
What will become of D-Star? I am sure it will run in parallel with DMR and be just as popular. There are a lot of Icom radios out there that are D-Star ready.
This repeater was installed at Windy Hill. The mission was to enable portable comms in the PMB cbd, and to those mobile on the N3. Windy Hill is 20Km from town, but the signal was only S2-3. The Crafty-Duck hill was blocking the signal into the city.
I decided to move our DMR repeater to Hilton to improve the signal into town, and into Howick.
Hilton is 8Km from Town and from the quick testing I did yesterday, it seems better.
I also installed a Duplexer (donated by David, ZR6DLG) and tuned by Ronald, ZS6RVC. This enables us to use one antenna for both TX and RX.
I also installed a commercial di-pole antenna from WEBB, supplied by ZS6RVC. This robust antenna has no gain, but pushes more signal down into sleepy hollow.
We mounted the antenna at the very top of the tower, just below the top co-linear. I had to employ the services of Gavin Jones (professional tower climber) because none of us at MARC are brave enough to climb this high.
I wish our MARC members had there DMR radios already, to assist me with testing and playing.
Tune to FM 438.225 and see if you can hear the digital transmission.