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Project Progress




We are at the exploration and organization stage and trying to amass as much information as possible

As of June 27, 2006

We have contacted Icom America and received a reply from them and a referral to Icom Canada. We have not heard anything much from Icom Canada in BC in spite of 2 or 3 emails. However, we have been in touch with Eric Meth of Icom Canada Tech Support and initiated discussions with him. Eric is also the keeper of the Toronto DSTAR system.

As of July 7, 2006

We have initiated contact with hams in Calgary, BC, and Montreal.

As of July 13, 2006

We have applied for a government grant for financial assistance with this project. Waiting time is at least 3 months. In the meantime we will proceed with various steps to get thing moving.

As of July 20, 2006

We had a good meeting with Icom Canada who have indicated that they will provide support on this project. We are still negotiating the details.

At Icom Canada's request, we are giving serious consideration to including one VHF digital repeater and one UHF digital repeater in our configuration. The VHF and UHF digital repeaters will add about $5000 to the project cost, but may significantly enhance the project. We are presently looking for a backer (financial support) for this additional hardware.

In addition, we are looking for:

  • VHF repeater frequency pair
  • UHF repeater frequency pair

    As of August 8, 2006

    We had a good meeting this evening at Sobey's. In attendance were Ken VA3KA, Doug VE3XK, Dale VE3XZT, Graham VE3BYT, Tom VA3NFA and Rick VE3CVG. We had full support but regrets from Kieran VA3KS, Clare VE3NPC, and Bruce VE3CLN. We had lots of discussion and agreement on the following:

  • We will continue OARDG
  • For obvious financial reasons, we will move to a single site configuration, with digital (DSTAR) VHF/UHF/1.2GHz
  • We will pursue a legitimized site agreement for wherever we locate
  • We are looking for frequencies for VHF and UHF
  • EMRG may become involved when the system is operational but not at this time
  • Several people are prepared to purchase ID-1s at this time and that activity will continue, with references back to Ottawa DSTAR Project.
  • We are looking forward to further word from Icom Canada about mid-August
  • We are looking forward to Icom talk at Carp hamfest in September

    As of September 2, 2006

    The Carp hamfest was a resounding success and Icom Canada's Eric Meth brought a sampling of VHF, UHF and 1.2GHz digital ready radios. Eric also gave an interesting presentation on DSTAR and a demo using Icom's ID-1's for a point-to-point contact.

    Prior to the talk, Eric advised us that if OARDG purchases a VHF and a UHF digital repeater and a controller, Icom Canada will supply us with a 1.2GHz digital repeater and a high speed digital data module at no additional charge. This is the same promotion that was recently announced for the USA. This is very generous of Icom and we expect to take advantage of this opportunity. We are in the queue for this equipment pending our grant approval in October.

    As of October 22, 2006

    Suitable tri-band, vertical, repeater antennas have been received by BML. We continue to wait for grant approval. Our Linux guru has registered for the on-line system administrators course. We are still looking for a good site with wide coverage.

    As of December 14, 2006

    I have had further contact with the New Horizons people and will advise everyone of the details as soon as I have them in writing. Please stand by.

    As of December 21, 2006

    I am very pleased to inform you that we have received written communication from the Federal Government of Canada (Seniors, Children and Families Directorate) advising us that the Ottawa Amateur Radio Digital Group (OARDG) has been successful in their New Horizons Seniors Grant application for the deployment of a DSTAR system in the Ottawa area, and were awarded the full requested amount.

    This is incredible news and I am very pleased to share this with you just before Christmas.

    Very Best of the Season! Very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    As of December 27, 2006

    The Request for Firm Quotation for the Icom equipment went out today, with a closing date of Jan.07, 2007. The purchase order should be issued by Jan.10th or sooner if the grant funds arrive. Query for the data filter went out on last Friday but DCI is closed until January. I will be talking with John VE3IAO about the gateway machine in the coming week.

    As of January 2, 2007

    We have requested the callsign VA3ODG from Industry Canada and it appears that the request was acceptable.

    As of January 10, 2007

    The RFP has closed and we received 3 good bids and are in the final stage of vendor selection at this time.

    We have a source for duplexers for 2m and 70cm and we already had a donation of a 23cm duplexer. We are arranging to get the duplexers tuned by Maple Leaf Communications.

    We have obtained pricing from DCI for the pass filter for the 23cm data radio but need to specify the final frequency. The requirement and specifications for this filter remain suspect.

    Before we can get the 23cm filters tuned we need to confirm frequencies. We have requested frequencies from SLVRC, but not heard back yet. Also we have learned that there is a serious radar impulse noise problem blanketing the Ottawa area between 1250MHz and 1270MHz as well as some other frequencies. We feel that a relatively acceptable place to put the data radio would be 1299.0MHz which corresponds to the bandplan high speed data area.

    We feel that the narrow bandwidth of the low speed digital voice repeater will be less susceptible to the radar noise, but we are exploring further.

    As of January 16, 2007

    We have placed orders for the Icom equipment and expect delivery in the near future.

    As of January 19, 2007

    We have received confirmation from SLVRC that our selection of frequencies is acceptable. See the project description for details. The duplex filters are being tuned by Bob Morton (VE3BFM), and will be available in a week or so.

    As of February 12, 2007

    We have had to reissue the orders for the Icom equipment.

    We have all the duplexers, UPS systems, 13.8vdc power supply, gateway/server, routers, power control boards. We still need a filter for the 23cm data radio, and of course the repeaters and controller. We also need a 19" rack cabinet to mount this equipment in.

    No site yet.

    As of February 17, 2007

    Promotion:

    We have made 2 presentations so far: WCARC and OARC both went fine. At least 2 to go. After that we will probably post the presentation on the web.

    Our OARDG shirts and banner are here.

    We have had one tentative offer to help with the TCA article but it may be a while before our volunteer has time to tackle it.

    We hope to get an information table and a demo put together for Smith Falls flea market. We need volunteers to help prepare and staff. With a little luck, we will have a digital UHF repeater operational at the site.

    Hardware:

    Almost everything has been ordered that has to be ordered. Outstanding is some LMR400 coax and also some N-type connectors (andros type). Also we will need some DC wiring.

    Some hardware has been received. The rest will be here soon. The triplexer will be in Ogdensburg next week for pickup, the DCI filter for 23cm will be here the week after next, the repeater systems should be here next week, along with an ID-1 for testing purposes.

    We have antennas, duplexers, power supply, UPS, and remote control equipment.

    A rack cabinet is forthcoming from VE3CZO - thanks Wayne.

    Our low power UHF duplexer (for demos only) has arrived and being tuned by VE3CZO - thanks yet again, Wayne.

    The Intel server/gateway and router are ready but not finalized - no rush.

    The admin laptop is here but not yet operational.

    We still require 2 conventional roof-top antenna mounts to hold the 2 vertical antennas. These will need concrete pads for each leg as weights. I believe Dale VE3XZT will tackle this project when he returns.

    Site:

    We have had one tentative offer of a site. While it is a nice one, it is not a high one and in RF shadow, so not a first choice.

    We have also talked about Carleton U as a potential site. The Dunton Tower has great height but is loaded with antennas including cellular. Also it is close to the airport so prone to radar noise. Probably not a good or likely choice.

    I think what we need to address the site issue is a few organized hams, with a pre- determined and common story, and representing OARDG, to spend 1 to 2 days to explore potential sites and report back their findings.

    Finances:

    Financially we are on budget. Capital-wise we are pretty close to finished. We still have expense $. If there are no big surprises, we are in good shape.

    As of February 22, 2007

    The Icom equipment all arrived this morning in 5 large boxes, in perfect condition. Very exciting!

    As of February 27, 2007

    The Ottawa YMCA-YWCA has allowed us to locate our system of repeaters on their premises. This is the last major obstacle on the critical path of our project. Dale (VE3XZT) has agreed to co-ordinate the site preparation including setting up antenna mounts, grounding, conduit for feedlines, electrical distribution. Once this work is done, we will install the rack cabinet, and plan the coverage testing.

    As of March 22, 2007

    The equipment is installed and operational on VHF and UHF. Dale did an excellent job of getting antenna stands set up, the cabinet in place, all the conduit and antenna cables installed and the grounding in place. The work groups included Dale (VE3XZT) and several of his helpers, Ken (VA3KA), Doug (VE3XK) and Rick (VE3CVG). Remote testers included Tom (VA3NFA) and Manfred (VA3WK).

    Performance on VHF and UHF is acceptable but we are exploring methods to improve repeater receiver performance.

    23cm equipment is in place but not operational yet.

    The gateway equipment will be placed, but not turned up, on March 24/07.

    The gateway administrator names John (VE3IAO) and Alan (VA3STL) have been submitted for course registration.


    This page was updated on May 14, 2010 and is Copyright © 2006-2010 by Ottawa Amateur Radio Digital Group