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The VK5REX Icom G2 gateway is down!

I didn't really want the first new post for many many months to be bad news... but it is!

On Tuesday March 8th 2016, after eight years of 24/7 uptime, the Dell Poweredge 1750 computer that has been running the VK5REX D-Star gateway software has died!

While the failure happened "all of a sudden", I believe the problem has been building for quite some time.  Living near the ocean has many benefits for humans, but salt ladened air is terrible for electronic devices!  The building that VK5REX lives in is air conditioned... dry air, nice and cool.   But inevitably, salty air works it's way in and through the forced air cooling system of the Dell server.   When it hits the warm insides of the computer, the moisture evaporates leaving the salt behind. 

This last week has been unseasonably humid for Port Lincoln. A lot of moist air from the tropical regions of Australia has been making things a little uncomfortable down here.  I believe this extra moisture combined with the salt residue has caused the server to fail. 
Upon opening it, I was greeted with a LOT of moisture on the internal boards, cooling fans and metalwork.  A quick "taste test" shows it to be very salty.

So what's next??   Well, a D-Star repeater with no gateway is a little boring! 

I'm committed to bringing an Icom G2 gateway back online as soon as I can.  The last backup was emailed to me from VK5REX two days before the failure.  I've never performed an Icom G2 re-installation after failure before... so it will be a learning process. :-) Other add-on software I used on VK5REX was not included with the weekly backup... g2_link, the ircddb client and ccs7 client will all need to be manually re-installed and configured.

I have secured a replacement rack mount server.  The party involved with donating the server will be acknowledged on the VK5REX website as things progress.  It was most heartening to see many amateur operators offer donations of suitable computer equipment in order for me to get VK5REX back online.

In the meaning I have a stop-gap measure in place.   I have set up a Debian computer running the excellent G4KLX open-source ircDDB Gateway software and have it connected to the existing Icom D-Star repeater controller and RF hardware.  At the moment it does not accept any incoming connections, nor does it have a dashboard page.  It's more to give local users the ability to establish outgoing connections to Dplus, Dextra and DCS reflectors.

Updates will be posted soon.


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