The VK5REX D-Star repeater is located just outside the city of Port Lincoln on the Southern tip of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. 

Situated on the summit of Winter Hill (230 metres ASL) overlooking beautiful Boston Bay, the VK5REX repeater is able to provide exceptional radio coverage to both local and surrounding districts.

 

VK5REX was purchased and installed in July 2008 by Michael Carey VK5ZEA and Tony Carey VK5RF in conjunction with the Lower Eyre Peninsula Amateur Radio Club. One of the aims of establishing the repeater was to provide local amateur radio operators with a cutting edge digital radio repeater system with the ability to be linked throughout the world via the internet.

 

VK5REX is equipped with VHF (2m) and UHF (70cm) RF hardware

 

70cm "VK5REX B" uses an Icom ID-RP4000V D-Star Repeater. The standby/emergency 70cm "VK5REX B" uses a homebrew repeater based on Motorola MCS2000 mobile radios.

438.225 MHz -5.4 MHz

 

2m "VK5REX C" uses a homebrew repeater based on Simoco SRM9000 radios

146.9625 MHz -600 kHz

 

A .PDF document describing the ID-RP2C to DV Node Adapter/Hot Spot interface used in the VK5REX C module and what is needed to build one can be found in the downloads section of this web site.

 

The VK5REX gateway computer is running Icom G2 software using the K5TIT USRoot Trust Server.  The PC is a rack mount Dell Poweredge 1750 Xeon based server with a 36 gb SCSI RAID1 HDD array. It has dual redundant power supplies. Backups of the local D-Star database are emailed off site each week.

The entire VK5REX 19" rack has it's own 1.5 kVA UPS and the comms site has an 85 kVA backup generator for extended power failures.

 

The gateway PC is also running several add-on software packages in addition to the mandatory USRoot updates and patches.

 

  • Dplus - D-Star gateway linking protocol created by Robin Cutshaw AA4RC. At this stage all VK callsigns are treated as admin users on the VK5REX gateway. Dplus links initiated by an admin user do not time out. Dplus linking in the VK5REX Gateway computer is normally established with the g2_link software.  The legacy AA4RC Dplus software is still installed, being kept updated and can be enabled if problems arise with g2_link.

 

  • DStarMonitor - Written by Pete Lovall AE5PL, DSM forwards GPS information embedded in received RF transmissions to the APRS-IS system. Please do not enable automatic GPS beacons/transmissions while using the VK5REX gateway. If your radio is beaconing by itself and someone else wants to link a local module to a net, your periodic transmissions can (will!) interrupt the smooth running of the net. DStarMonitor also forwards received callsigns to the www.dstarusers.org web page.

 

  • Monlink - Is a software package written by Ken Adkisson WB4FAY. It monitors the dplus.log file and provides many functions including periodic voice announcements of the current Dplus Link. These are intelligent announcements and will wait until the channel is clear for 90 seconds before transmitting. Monlink will also reconnect a Dplus link that drops due to an internet connectivity issue. At any time a local RF user can set their URCall to "VK5REXLI" to make Monlink announce the current Dplus link.  Please note that Monlink does not operate when the g2_link software is running.

 

  • DExtra - Is an alternative open-source linking protocol similar to Dplus originally conceived and written by Scott Lawson KI4LKF. As with Dplus there are reflectors that allow multiple DExtra gateways to link together. I like to head over to XRF021 B for the Friday night CanNet each week... great bunch of guys!  Unlike Dplus reflectors, Dextra reflectors can be linked together creating HUGE networks of interlinked D-Star gateways. DExtra linking in the VK5REX Gateway is handled by the g2_link software.

  • xNet/DCS - The DCS reflectors are the next generation of Dextra/XRF reflectors.  Each DCS reflector can accomodate 26 modules (A-Z).  DCS linking on VK5REX is handled by the g2_link software.

  •  ircDDB - Is a system that provides timely database updates for callsign routing conversations across multiple networks. It is not limited to the USRoot Trust system. Stations calling via ircDDB from outside the USRoot Trust system still need to be registered on a USRoot Trust gateway.


Internet connectivity for the VK5REX gateway is provided by a 5.8GHz RF link using MikroTik hardware based on MikroTik RouterOS. This link connects the VK5REX repeater site with the home of Michael VK5ZEA where it makes it's way to the internet via a 512/512 symmetrical DSL connection. This internet connection is dedicated to internet linked amateur radio systems and is shared with IRLP node 6510 and the VK5ZEA-1 APRS I-Gate. The network equipment at the VK5ZEA QTH end is run from DC with a 6 x 2V 250 Ah gel battery bank to keep the internet connection alive during power failures.