W8LAP VHF Repeater Upgrade Install is Complete
It’s been a long time in the making. The LCARA membership voted to purchase and install a new VHF 2 meter repeater and controller over a year ago. Over the past several months, the equipment was bench tested, configured, and made ready for installation at the W8LAP repeater shack a few miles east of downtown Lapeer.
Paul, AB8XL, and Scott, N8XP spent many hours testing the features now available with the new repeater system preparing it for introduction on the air. Along with the already utilized link to the KG8ID UHF repeater in North Branch, Michigan – the W8LAP repeater now has another link to increase traffic and utilization on the Lapeer VHF repeater.
The repeater now has a remote link to the W8LAP AllStar node – hosted at N8XP’s QTH – 4 miles from the repeater shack. This capability allows the Lapeer analog FM repeater to access other repeaters and individual AllStar user nodes anywhere. The AllStar node also has EchoLink enabled for additional amateur users to access the Lapeer repeater system.
AB8XL and N8XP installed the new repeater early Sunday morning – July 5, 2020 at 7:00am. Calls for signal reports started being requested around 11:00am. Paul and Scott were very thankful for the on the air assistance from responding local hams – K8EPL, W8YRC, KZ8TDP, KE8CZX, KE8ONN, and a couple others. Initial receive reports were very promising – with comments such as ‘great audio’ – ‘improved signal’… while transmit signals were able to make the repeater now with little to no noise on low power or an HT. Those involved are looking forward to the Tuesday Night Net at 8:00pm local time to see if others are having the same experience.
The primary components of the new repeater consists of a Motorola SLR5700 VHF 50W repeater, ARCOM RC210 Deluxe Repeater Controller, and auxiliary equipment to provide the AllStar node link. This equipment replaces the older repeater and controller that have provided countless years of service to Lapeer and surrounding communities.
There is still work to be done. It was noticed that the courtesy tone for users on the primary VHF port was occasionally missing. This did not seem to be a problem with users talking on ports 2 or 3. This small issue is being investigated and should be corrected shortly. The LCARA membership will soon be provided with a user guide and an updated list of commands to control the repeater. Users can record themselves and have it played back for review of their signal into the repeater. Instructions on how to link the AllStar node and optional access via other VOIP methods will also be distributed. For example – LCARA members will be able to request login credentials to access the repeater using an Android application – DVSwitch Mobile.
Users can continue to access the repeater using the KG8ID repeater in North Branch. They can now also connect to the W8LAP AllStar node 50544 or the W8LAP-R EchoLink node 52272.
The newly installed hardware has many features and capabilities to allow the repeater to be enhanced in the future. For more information regarding the W8LAP repeater system – please visit the LCARA website – http://w8lap.com