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Late season repeater upgrades and repairs

Lee, VE7FET and Myles, VE7FSR have been busy this fall with late season repairs and upgrades to several mountain top repeater sites in the region, hoping to beat winter's icy grasp.

On November 11 the two made a trip to VE7IRN (Iron Mountain, near Merritt) to replace the old duplexer, replace a failed network card on the UPS, and add three IP cameras.  Breaking fresh snow, they arrived safely at the top on a frosty morning.  Lee worked on replacing the duplexer and swapping out the network card on the UPS, while Myles installed the IP cameras (two outside and one inside).  By early afternoon the repairs and upgrades were tested and complete.  You can view the new IP camera streams at (outside, east) and (outside, looking towards Merritt).


The microSD card on the Lolo APRS iGate failed in early November, and Myles made an attempt on November 20 to drive up to the repeater site to replace the APRS package.  He managed to make it almost to the top before he ran into a large windblown snowdrift about 500M from the repeater site.  After digging out for almost an hour, he managed to get his Jeep unstuck and turned around.  He decided it was time to head home and come back the next morning with the toboggan and snowshoes.



On Nov 21 Myles headed back up to Lolo, and made it (after several attempts getting temporarily stuck in the new snow that had fallen overnight) up to where he got stuck the day before.  Piling everything into a Pelican toboggan, he donned snowshoes and lugged the heavy toboggan up to the repeater site.  There were numerous large drifts in the 500M between the Jeep and the repeater site, and he had to dig out the gate to be able to open it enough to get through.  It was an absolutely beautiful day (although a bit cold at -6C) and the replacement and testing of the new APRS iGate went quickly.  The new APRS package also included a 1-wire temperature sensing system, and 4 DS18B20 temperature probes were installed -- one inside, one outside, and one each to monitor the Glenayre PA and Quantar chassis temperatures.

During the week of November 15 the APRS digipeater in Cache Creek went off the air. Myles made a trip to Campbell Hill on November 24, and unsure of what he might find he brought a new KPC-3+ TNC as there had been previous issues with the TNC at Campbell Hill.  When he arrived he discovered that the TNC had indeed failed, and he also discovered that the PCB fuse inside the Motorola GM300 radio had blown.  Not having a spare PCB fuse with him, Myles performed a field fix and bodged in a mini-blade fuse so he could get the digipeater back in operation.  After some testing he buttoned up the cabinet and left for home just before dark.

Hopefully there won't be any more issues this winter because it won't be long before the only access into the sites is by snowshoe or snowmobile.