VE7EGO Update

This was a requested topic by Blake VE7DO.

Let’s Start With A Bit of Back Story

If you are new to the region, newly licensed, or new to NORAC you may not know the backstory of our two Yaesu System Fusion Repeaters on the Commonage Repeater Site VE7EGO.

A few years ago Yaesu introduced a repeater rebate program for a brand new repeater called the DR-1X. For $500 US dollars clubs could purchase these repeaters and encourage their membership to purchase the new digital radios compatible with the new Yaesu System Fusion digital mode also referred to as C4FM.

NORAC ended up purchasing two of these repeaters. One with a vote from the membership using club funds, and the second was purchased by crowdfunding additional money from local members willing contribute. Our repeaters arrived in late summer or early fall of that year and I spent the first few months getting to know how they operated and testing them. And at the time NORAC didn’t know where we wanted to put these new repeaters yet.

That question was sort of answered for us in the spring of 2016 when a wind damaged the VE7EGO repeater tower and it came crashing down, destroying the tower, taking out power and internet access to our repeater shack, and other damage to related equipment.

Over the last two summers multiple work trips were made to the site to recover old equipment, install a new donated tower, installed new antenna’s, and install the two new repeaters, all to get that site back on the air.

Thanks to Terry VE7TRZ for being our clubs technical lead over this busy period and also to all the volunteers who made trips up there to help out any way that they could. There were many of you and we all appreciate your efforts. THANKS SO MUCH !!!

Now that winter is fast approaching the discussion came around to how the VE7EGO repeaters could be configured so we could hopefully get the most use out of them over the first upcoming winter season.

So before we go any further let’s quickly discuss what happened last week.

So a work part went up to Silver Star to replace some parts in the VE7RSS repeaters controller. That job failed and unfortunately the repeater controller is now off getting hopefully repaired.

The reason we are talking about this on the night dedicated to the VE7EGO repeaters is that one of those repeaters was scooped up from that site and taken up to Silver Star to get the RSS repeater back online.

As you should all be aware VE7RSS is the club anchor repeater and it’s the host for both club weekly nets, and it’s our primary repeater for use in an emergency.

So with one the EGO repeaters filling in at the RSS site, we just need to keep that in mind as we discuss the upcoming changes to the VE7EGO repeaters.


TWO REPEATERS / ONE CALLSIGN – So when thing are normal, (which right now they are not), there should be  two new Yaesu DR-1X repeaters at the VE7EGO repeater site using the same callsign, one operating on VHF, and the other on UHF.

VE7EGO UHF – I’ll start with VE7EGO the UHF repeater which is the one on Silver Star filling in for VE7RSS.

When VE7RSS is repaired and this repeater is brought back to the Commonage VE7EGO site here is the change you will see on that repeater.

NORAC has two pairs of coordinated UHF frequencies that are currently not in use. The repeater will be changed to operate on one of these pairs. Some testing is required and we don’t know yet with frequency will work best but Terry VE7TRZ and his team will announce that when the change is made. I’ll also update the Repeaters pages on the NORAC website to reflect those change when it happens.

Going into the Winter months the UHF EGO repeater will be kept in the AUTO mode for both the input and the output. This means any Amateur Radio Operator with an analog FM UHF radio will be able to use the repeater to talk to others in analog FM, but that also means that any Yaesu Fusion UHF radio owner will also be able to use the repeater in Digital C4FM mode. The repeater will understand what signal is coming into it’s input frequency and it will match that signal type for the output frequency.

Analog FM in becomes Analog FM out, and Digital C4FM in becomes Digital C4FM out.

Yaesu Fusion radio owners will be able to use this repeater in both modes since Fusion radios have an Automatic Mode Selection feature abbreviated to AMS which allow the radio to also switch automatically to the correct mode for the signal that it hears. If you have a traditional analog FM radio you will be able to transmit and understand the analog FM output only. On that type of radio any digital transmissions will sounds like digital noise.

The VE7EGO UHF repeater will be for local rag chew between people with or without Fusion digital radios.


VE7EG0 VHF – Even more changes are happening on the VHF side of the EGO repeater.

First off the currently published frequency will stay the same, it’s not changing.

Second we’re switching it’s operating mode to be ANALOG in and ANALOG out, not digital, and I’ll explain why in a few minutes.

Third we’re purchasing a Yaesu Wires-X modem and building a remote node that will link this repeater to the Internet.

The node will be hosted at a club members QTH somewhere in Vernon where we get a good clean signal into the repeater. The host will be donating a little bit of his hydro bill and a little bit of his high speed internet connection so this project can happen.

All the components for the node (expect for the purchase of the Wires-X modem) have already been donated.

This includes

  • Quad core Windows PC and monitor
  • An already club owned Kenwood dual band mobile with 9600 baud packet ability.
  • A 12v power supply
  • And a VHF base antenna with coax.

When this is all assembled we’ll have a node that we can easily access over the winter months because it’s not located in a repeater shack. We’ll be able to tweak the software, do software updates, do some remote control of the node over the internet, and if everything crashes, we’ll have a local ham host that we can call who will reboot the PC for us since it’s in a corner of his shack at home.

This new Wires-X node of ours will be linked to the VE7EGO repeater 24/7 and we’ll be able to link it over the internet to popular rooms on the Wires-X system like the CQ-Canada Room where there are often 10-15 other linked repeaters from around Canada linked into this one room. This room also has cross Canada Net every Wednesday evening.

A few minutes ago I said we would be switching the VE7EGO VHF repeater to fixed Analog mode, why are we doing that. Well there are a few simple answer.

  1. We all have Analog FM radios and this gives everyone a chance to play around with an internet linked repeater.
  2. We have a spare club own dual band FM mobile radio with a packet port which is perfect for the job of an analog node.
  3. We are experimenting and evolving the system. We have a very short time to secure the EGO site before winter and this is a plan that we can achieve in a relatively fast manner.

Now, for those of us who have purchased a Yaesu Fusion digital radio why don’t we get to use the cool digital linking mode features of our new radios. Well I apologize, but there just aren’t enough of us right now to make that worth while. We would be creating a linked digital repeater that only half a dozen people would be able to use.

Also to create the same setup but in totally digital mode, the club would need to spend at least another $500 more to replace the Kenwood dual bander with a brand new Yaesu Fusion digital dual bander.

My hope is that we’ll enjoy and get some steady use out the analog linked repeater and that will generate enough excitement to purchase the extra new radio next year and upgrade our node from analog to digital. That would be an easy upgrade to too if we had the extra money then.

With the controller for VE7RSS damaged right now, we may be thankful we took the cheaper option in case be need to purchase a new controller in the coming weeks.