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Upper Rio FM Society now has a D-Star Repeater: W5URD

Update: July 27, 2011  
The repeater's Internet router is out being reconfigured. This will take a couple of days to complete. The repeater will continue to operate locally without the router but remote connections and registeration of new users will not be possible until the router is returned and reinstalled.
Update: July 16, 2011


(click image for a full size map)

The Upper Rio FM Society is in the early stages of bringing a D-Star repeater online. The repeater will use the call sign W5URD (W5 Upper Rio Digital) and will be installed on Capilla Peak where it will have broad coverage. See the predicted coverage map to the left that Mike Eaton, K5MJE, produced.

For the next several weeks the repeater will be located in Paul Choc's, WA5IHL, shop (near Central and Eubank) while it undergoes final configuration and testing. Please feel free to use the repeater at this time -- with the understanding that coverage will be limited for a few weeks.

The repeater is operating on 444.525 Mhz (with a +5Mhz offset).

(click image to expand)


The short story - D-Star is digital HAM radio. Don't confuse D-STAR with technologies like IRLP and EchoLink. IRLP and EchoLink use standard analog modulation to transmit RF messages and Internet technologies to provide linking between stations. D-Star is simply a digital modulation technology. D-Star radios communicate point to point over RF by sending a digitized voice. D-Star can also utilize Internet technology to provide remote node linking but this is not necessary.

Any HAM can use the W5URD machine as a stand-alone repeater, but to access the full capabilities of D-Star, you will need to be registered. Registration is a simple matter of opening a web page, entering your name, call-sign, email address and a password.

Once your registration is approved (a quick process required to ensure that only licensed hams have access to the D-Star repeater network) you will be able to edit your personal information to define your "terminal". There is an excellent web page that describes the entire registration process at: http://www.dstargateway.org/D-Star_Registration.html

The long story - It would be foolish to try and reproduce on this page the wealth of information about D-Star that is available on the Internet. A good place to start is Wikipedia. Then Google "D-STAR".

The Upper Rio D-STAR repeater description
  • The repeater is an Icom ID-RP4000V
  • The repeater operates on 444.525 Mhz (with a +5Mhz offset)
  • The controller is an Icom ID-RP2C
  • A set of cavity filters are used for receiver/transmitter isolation
  • When installed on Capilla Peak, a preamplifier will be added to the receiver to insure that W5URD has good ears
The computer that runs the D-Star gateway software was custom built for the job including:
  • A 2.8 Ghz dual-core Intel Pentium processor
  • 2 Gbytes of high-performance RAM
  • 2 Intel Pro Series Network Interface Cards
  • 2 40 Gbyte solid state hard drives*
  • An Asus P5G41-M Motherboard
  • This system is connected to the internet through a commercial-grade Cisco 2621 router (very reliable)

*solid state drive were chosen both for reliability in the mountain-top environment and for performance (they are really fast!). They are being configure so that the "C" drive is automatically cloned to the "D" drive. Should the "C" drive fail we will be able to remotely power-cycle the computer which will force a reboot. When the system fails to boot from "C" it will switch to "D" and keep going.

The system is being configure so that in the unlikely event of a loss of power, the system will automatically reboot when power is restored. The system will also include a Uninterruptible Power Supply for the computer and router.

The planed repeater site is remote and difficult to access in winter (snow) and summer (fire danger). To improve reliability, an intelligent power distribution system will also be installed. The system will support an autonomous reboot capability (partial or complete power cycle) if a system hang is detected locally and a backup remote initiated reboot if a problem is not detected locally.

The repeater and controller operate on 12 Volts and will be connected to the Capilla site battery bank.





Updated July 17, 2011 - © 2011 Upper Rio FM Society, Inc.