There have been several conversations in past years about standardising and expanding the WARG network to both re-instate previous repeaters/sites, and to install new repeaters at key sites to expand coverage of the WARG network. The main aim of standardising equipment/sites is for ease of maintenance and repair. Fortunately, recent discussions have been gaining momentum and several projects are underway in achieving this.
Key discussions taking place have revolved around WHAT is the best solution for repeater devices, and linking radios, and how these can be standardised. The top contender was the Spectra MX800 due to features, reliability, and being locally manufactured here in Perth. Unfortunately, price was a prohibitive factor for these.
Second were the Icom IC-FR5000/6000 models as they provided all of the external connections through an auxiliary port which we required for linking and control. Hamtronics was also highly considered due to its good specs, particularly high sensitivity and selectivity, as well as it’s low power consumption for solar powered sites.
It’s expected that the Hamtronics will be used for linking transceivers between repeater sites. Whilst there are many potential contenders, particularly ex commercial such as the KL series, A key factor was the quantity and the longevity of supply, as well as warranty and support.
These “Repeater” discussions have led to more detailed subjects such as RF side standardisation, and CONTROLLER standardisation so that we can not only standardise the hardware throughout our network, but also standardise on the features and ‘brains’ of the network, in particular the WIA newslinking, ad-hoc user linking, and semi- permanent or ‘regional’ linking.
A group of WARG members have already made significant progress on designing a new “Complete Repeater Controller”. The Repeater Controller Project aims to design or source a controller which will meet ALL of WARG’s requirements. Although there are many highly capable controllers on the market, none seem to meet ALL of our requirements with future expansion/upgrades in mind. + link to design spec