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Thursday
Sep012016

Tower & IRLP Node Projects

Over the last couple of weeks I've started moving forward with my tower project. After talking to a few amateur and non-amateur friends about putting up my tower I've now decided to re-design the mounting of it and turn the tower into a lay down tower. This will make it much easier to work on once it's up. If I was to put it up the way it was designed to be mounted it would be very hard to install or repair any of the antennas on it. Making it a lay down tower means I can easily lay it down to do repairs or install new antenna. I just now need to get pricing of the metal and other parts to install the tower. I still need to get more wire for the guy wires and more RG-213 coaxial cable. I'm guessing it will cost me around the $400 mark. The towers mounting is going to be the most costly part, currently around the $120 make. I have a friend that can do the welding and help design with how to rotate the tower. A bit of work but like I said I have a couple of friends that is able to help me with this side of things. I'm hoping to have the tower up by years end.
Once this project is completed I can then start work on my project, an IRLP node. This will be a stand alone node. It will not be linked to any of my repeaters, it will be a simple simplex radio what I can use to link to other repeaters or nodes around Australia or the world. To be truthful I think this IRLP node will be used more than the repeaters will be. Seeing my 2m repeater project sort of at a stand still at the moment due to the lack of available equipment (cavities), so I've decided to build my own IRLP node. I have the radio here I can use so it's only the cost of the IRLP kit which will cost me about $400 depending on what the Australian dollar is like at the time. I will be putting a couple of dollars aside each week for it. I don't see this IRLP node being on the air until next year. It's going to be my 50th Birthday present to myself lol.

 

I've put in a licence request for a 70cm (UHF) repeater for here. I'm working on installing a 70cm repeater as well as my 2m repeater. I've now added to this request a request for a licence for my IRLP node. This will only need a single frequency unlike a repeater which needs two frequencies. 

So I have a couple of big projects in the planning. My tower project has been on the planning table for a while now and now that I have decided how to mount it I can move forward with it. 

My IRLP project is a new project and will be the one I can see being heavily used once on the air. My goign to roder the IRLP node kit from the US, so I have to hope the Australian dollar is higher than it is at the moment. 

I still have my 2m (VHF) repeater project going but it's been put on hold as I've had issues with getting hold of cavities (filters) for it. I've been told that I might have some cavities available but I jsut have to wait and see. I would like it to be on the air and linked by years end or even on the air before my 50th birthday in November but I won't hold my breath. I think I will have my IRLP node built and on the air long before that repeater is on the air. Liek I've said I've put in a request for a 70cm repeater licence and I jsut have to wait and see. I would like to have both repeaters on the air soon. This will give local and travelling amateur radio operators two repeaters to use plus the IRLP node.

My plan is to have the IRLP node's radio coverage just for the town. I'm not really worried about a large coverage area for it. it's plan is to have coverage in the town only as the radio and antenna will be located at my place. It won't be mounted up with the repeaters which will be located on the town's water towers. It's really all about being able to use a simple handheld radio around town to talk to the world :) 

All these projects cost money but in a way it's not a highly costly projects. The tower project to complete wil cost about $400 to $500 to complete and the IRLP node will be around the $400 mark. This will be a kit that I just need to put into a case and wire up the radio and a little bit of programming. Seeing it's going to use a Raspberry Pi the cost of these things have came down a lot these days.