On November 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm, members of WTRA flipped the switch and placed the new WT4RA/R UHF repeater in service!
Through a promotional program offered by Yaesu and a generous allocation of funds by Isle of Wight County Department of Emergency Services, WTRA and Isle of Wight ARES/RACES was able to acquire one of the new Yaesu System Fusion repeaters at a price substantially reduced from retail, and finally complete the emergency communication capabilities envisioned by previous leaders of Isle of Wight ARES/RACES. The new UHF Fusion repeater will be utilized as the primary tactical (operations) channel for ARES/RACES activations, allowing operators at the IOWC EOC and the shelters to complete operational communications, leaving the VHF repeater available for logistical communications, traffic handling, Skywarn and inter-jurisdictional mutual aid communications.
The repeater was received at the county offices on October 13, 2015 and languished waiting for various schedules to come together to allow it to be put on the air. During the week of November 2 through 6, N4KIT set the system up in his shop and began the process of marrying the Arcom RC-210 controller, the Arcom ADR interface and the DR-1X repeater. On Saturday Nov 7, N4ACK and W4BJP assisted in the final setup and chekout to put the system on the air from the test bench. It was fired up at 5:00 PM Nov 7. The repeater was run in this configuration with coverage within 2 miles of Windsor for the week following. On Saturday November 14, W4RBH brought over his test gear and completed final checks of the audio levels. W4RBH, N4KIT and W4BJP then packed everything up and headed to the repeater site for final installation, and the fully functional UHF repeater was placed on the air at 12:00 PM. As Chris, Brenda and Dick headed out from the site with mobiles tuned to the UHF machine, WC4R checked in. The big surprise was that his location was mobile on I-64 at I-664 in Hampton!
The DR-1X 144/430 Dual Band C4FM/FM Digital Repeater brings together FT1DR, FT2DR, FTM-100DR, FTM-400DR, and current users of Conventional FM radios for the first time. Replacing a conventional FM repeater with the DR-1X provides continued use of conventional FM communications while integrating the use of digital communication functions through its AMS capability.
Users are encouraged to use the repeater (442.825 positive offset 5 MHz, 100 htz tone) and send reports to Chris N4KIT, Ron N4TJI, Dick W4RBH and Randy WB4KZI. Users that may have Yaesu System Fusion capable radios are also encouraged to try the repeater and please report any issues to the repeater committee. Analog FM users may hear the buzz of digital voice when digital users are on the repeater. You can prevent your reception of the buzz of digital signals by setting your receive tone squelch to ON, 100 Htz.
Many thanks to Ron N4TJI, Lyle N4ACK, Brenda W4BJP, Dick W4RBH, Randy WB4KZI and Charlie WB4PVT for their assistance in getting this project completed. In the near future, we will be completing integrating the VHF repeater, Remote Base and IRLP/Echolink on the Arcom RC-210 controller for the ultimate in flexibility in linking these resources.