[OZAPRS] Considerations For Setting Up an igate (RasPi)

Jack Schultz jack at contrillion.com
Mon Dec 16 09:26:22 AEDT 2019

I won't comment on the hardware/operating environment considerations - but
my 2c is TX capability is much preferred - especially given its location
away from existing network coverage. The secondary benefit is another tropo

Another thing I will note is that VK3RMK-1 is not the most reliable
indicator of traffic - at a guess it is down most of the time. VK3RCU-1 may
be a better indicator but most of your traffic will be Murray Valley
Highway, so no source of data that picks up those who might travel out to
Cohuna. I drive to Kyabram (from Geelong) quite regularly and lose reliable
digipeater coverage around Nagambie, so if I travelled up to Swan Hill from
there (for example) I wouldn't get a single ping out under normal
conditions. So there may be more traffic passing through than you might
guess. Similarly VK3REG-1 in East Gippsland has significant downtime, so
misses a lot of the would-be traffic through the area.

On Sun, Dec 15, 2019 at 11:58 PM Marcus B <mrmabs at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hey all,
> I had a thought bubble, probably unlikely to have time to pull this off,
> but you never know. So right now we'll treat this as an intellectual
> exercise, with a chance it might actually happen.
> A couple of months ago travelling through northern Victoria I noticed a
> lack of coverage (between Robinvale & Shepparton), and thought about
> setting up a small igate at a relative's place in Cohuna. If I did this I
> would be doing it just after the new year, and I won't be able to visit to
> maintain it potentially for 10 to 24 months. It's also unlikely that I
> would go to the trouble to open a remote port to ssh in, so must be
> reliable hardware and software wise. I have access to WiFi.
> What I have today: Pi Zero W with a protoboard to connect TTL serial to a
> dorji board + LDO regulator, and a usb sound card. Also have 4.5m Jaycar
> telescopic mast and I could put a DIY 1/4 wave on top. Also, the further
> away from the house, the better, so that means, if possible, run off its
> own power. Maybe a 12V 12A SLA & 10W or 18W solar panel will do the job?
> I have not done much TX testing, RX seems to work fine.
> It's pretty flat out there, so at 4.5m above ground, I may expect about
> 5-10km coverage (running on HeyWhatsThat.com confirms that it would be a
> very patchy to the west, and then there's the trees, and house roofs), and
> unlikely to hear anything on 145.175 unless some serious tropo comes in. I
> can also look up how to get up an igate with direwolf easy enough. In
> reality I might be lucky to hear one station a month given the reports I
> have seen for VK3RMK-1.
> How should I set this up, purely as an RX only igate? I have also
> considered just getting it to TX occasionally (30mins?) just to say hello,
> but at 1W eh... At this location in about 1996 I was able to have a
> scratchy QSO on VK3RMM on 5W (HT) using a CFA 160MHz 1/4 wave at 10m; so
> it's not all doom and gloom. That 10m was a solid steel pipe and it is
> looooong gone.
> With all that, what could I do to make this set up better? Best bang for
> buck? (Obviously the dorji modules are pretty low quality.) Location is
> pretty much fixed. What about to improve reliability? Best ways to protect
> from heat (does it need it)? What sort of protection (power, temperature,
> etc...) should I consider?
> What else am I not thinking about?
> Maybe, alternatively, I could make a 2m WSPR beacon on a Pi with filter
> and attach a GPS :P
> 73,
> vk3tst / vk5wtf
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Jack Schultz
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