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CRG (GB7PI) Progress To Date - 01/02/2008

Since GB7PI was conceived back in September 2007 things moved very quickly with the NoV being issued within 4 days of the initial application. With our contacts in Icom and discussions with them at the HFC we received an ID-RP2C and ID-RP4000V in early November at the same time ordering 8 D-Star radios, a mixture of IC-E91s and IC- 2820s, there were already 3 IC-2820s being used in the area so with at least 10 serial numbers we managed to get the repeater and controller for £1000 + VAT.

GB7PI went on-air at 11.30am on November 17th. We've had no problems with interference but we have noticed a slight `deafness' on the input similar to what was seen at Icom with GB7IC and we are addressing that as part of our ongoing technical to-dos. We don't have any gateway running on GB7PI but this was proposed to be working by Q1 2008. With GB7PI being on a commercial site getting a suitable ADSL (or DSL) line in will be expensive as we will need to pay business rates. As an alternative we have also received a couple of external weatherproof 802.11 units and the plan is to link the site with a local amateur for internet access. I'll let you know how this goes and how reliable it is. The coverage of GB7PI is staggering, a testament to digital signals vs. analogue. From mobile with a 3/4 wave antenna it can be worked from the bottom of the A1 in the south all the way up to Kettering in the north, a range about 60 miles.

East and west is about the same with users hearing it from Kings Lynn, Luton, London city airport (mobile), Dartford and the rest - much more than the 2m and 6m analogue repeaters on the same site.

In parallel to all the technical aspects of GB7PI I've also been doing D-Star presentations and demonstrations to the local clubs nearby. So far I've presented at the Huntingdon ARC, the CRG AGM and the Verulam ARC in St Albans. I've got dates for Harrow ARC on 13th March and Peterborough ARC on 28th May (TBC) and am waiting for proposed dates from the Kings Lynn ARC. Hopefully I've generated some more interest in D-Star and dispelled a few untruths.

All the above has only been possible with the help of Bob G1SAA, Rob M0ZPU, Daryl G0ANV, John M0EAV and the CRG committee.

For more information visit:
www.cambridgerepeaters.net
www.camb-hams.com By: Gavin Nesbitt,

(*Digital Smart Technology for Amateur Radio)

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