Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Illinois D-STAR Net

Every week on Wednesday nights at 9pm Central is the Illinois D-STAR Net on Reflector 001B. Normally hosted by Milt, K9QZI of Champaign, the net attracts amateurs from across the state to share the events of the past week. We spend a few minutes each talking about the hobby and just keeping track of each other.  Sometimes 10 people check in and we're done in 30 minutes, and other times it's over an hour!

If you're in Central Illinois, you can catch the net on the W9YR, W9PIA, or KD9AKF repeaters. And if you're using our Heyworth repeater, feel free to move it to REF001B if it isn't already there for the net!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How much to put up a D-Star HomeBrew Repeater?

We've got the Heyworth D-Star on the air...and completing the testing. I've gotten a couple of questions about how much it all costs. So to share with everyone, here's what we've invested:

Used Kenwood TKR-820 UHF repeater, narrowbanded $270
Duplexer - notch only, mobile type, donated $0
DVRPTR d-star connection, with cables and enclosure $130
Raspberry PI computer board, with case, with heatsinks, with power supply $70
Coax, donated $0
N-Connectors $12
Power strip with surge connector $15
Coax surge protector  $35
Antenna, donated $0

All together, we have $532 invested in the KD9AKF system. If you were building a comparable system, you would probably spend another $100-$200 on a duplexer, $100 for coax, and then anywhere from $150 to $350 for a quality antenna. Low end, you're looking at $900 for a complete system - high end, you should be under $1400.

We went really quick getting our system up and running - we went from "idea" to "working system" in 60 days. We'll end up having another $100 in labor costs to get the repeater reprogrammed for our final coordinated frequency.

We also have been really fortunate to have a great working relationship with the local grain elevator that is providing us with tower space. We're also getting a free internet connection from the wireless internet provider that is co-located at the elevator. How sweet is that!