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Home | News | D-Star MN Network | Marathon & Events | 145.67 Packet | Software & Tutorials | Links | Contact
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General Notes
We provide state of the art FCC Part 97 digital voice and data capability for Amateur Radio Operators in our area.  The idea is we can set up mobile databases and mobile users anywhere, and routinely support large scale volunteer public service work (99% medical) using modern web applications.  Most of the served agency command centers and mobile units in our area are set up for our network.  We do not worry about the Internet being down, restricted or under attack.   The idea is any location in our area can reach at least two of our node systems.  We run a lot of power (30-45 watts ERP) on D-Star for link reliability.   Our equipment is installed in secure, locked commercial sites (average is 350' HAAT) and is open to general Part 97/Amateur use.  We have a fleet of VoIP digital voice/data repeaters on the Icom USROOT server courtesy of Icom America (KC0WLB B was the first) and are using that to support the Hospital Compact and National Disaster Medical Services.  We are fascinated by the gateway software.  If you remember it is the Internet and each site can be easily attacked and brought down remotely at any time you are ok.   Internet linking is cool but does not solve the "what if the Internet is under attack" problem in any way. 

The current thinking in emergency communications circles is the major threat to communications is Cyber Warfare.  If your systems are linked, and on the Internet, you get to participate in Cyber Warfare.  High speed amateur radio data is here, and legacy  analog /FM/ packet/ NVIS /PACTOR radio technology won't support data rates much about 9600 bps reliably. All of our served agencies expect us to be able to support modern, easy to use web based applications.  We announced the retirement of AX.25 five years ago.   Low speed data is close to useless for modern emergency communications. 
 






 
D-Star News
3/27/15: MPLS-E has a new thin client- a TL-WR841N.  This is how we do our DNAT magic for one to many on ID-1s. 
3/6/15: W8WRR is fixed- it was a controller programming error.  The Internet is WIMAX with a poor antenna. 
12/24/14: There is a new repeater in St Cloud - it has very wide coverage @443.850 KD0YLG.
12/23/14: If anyone has those Icom points we are collecting them.  It is Rick N0BJN in Little Falls.  Rick will also manage registrations.  madams634@yahoo.com
9/22/14: The "Greg" repeater stack looks like it will have a new 400 foot West Metro home. 
9/21/04: In September 2014 QST, it seems on Page 49 a light has gone on in Newington.  Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen we now have at least four incompatible digital standards for voice in Ham Radio.
9/18/14: Fargo is getting the new duplexer and raised antenna.  Thanks to Doug, Kevin and Paul.  The cans are being prepared for W8WRR 2M which needs more isolation on 2 meters.    We have another 400 machine, on SNP for now.   They have a new Fuision machione on 147.09.
4/28/14.  The KCOWLB gateway hard drive was replaced with an SSD unit.  All SSD from now on.  Ty Peter.  A new 440 deck is in hand to put up at our packet site, MPLSMN. 
3/15/14: No on Bloomington.  On to Plan B.  Probably another downtown site. 
11/24/13: Note we have a net Sundays 7:30PM CT on 53A.  We hit 15 check-ins on 11/24.  We now have 16 repeater RF decks in two states linked for the net.  Note Duluth is getting a better 440 duplexer. 
8/22/13: STPONE is back up, using the hardware from W8WRR.  We have a smaller antenna as the Comet GP95 was taken out due to the very common "wobble and bolt falling out" issue.  We are funded to add a 2M voice deck.  We have an appointment to replace the router behind MPLS-E so our any to any ID-1 support will be back. 
6/14/13: The W8WRR system for the Coast Guard Auxiliary is up.  We only have a spare RF deck for 1.2 in Shoreview, but it is usable with Dongles, DVAPS and of course ID1s. 
2/17/13: Peter KD8GBL and Robin have fixed Reflector 53 and many of the machines in Minnesota are on it.  We have designated 53B to the US Coast Guard Auxiliary.  One of the two $15 Tenda 268R routers in line @KC0WLB locked up after a big power "event" - we replaced it. 
2/16/13: Alan is reporting the Minneapolis 145.11 machine is up on 53A all day, as is the Duluth system.
2/10/13: Peter found us a virtual hosting provider (32 bit CENTOS 5.8 Linux, 1.5G, static IP @$18mo) and we moved Reflector 53 to it.  It is back up- thanks Robin:)
1/19/13: Fargo is up on the gateway.  https://kd0swq.dstargateway.org/Dstar.do
We have tested d-rats it works great.  Alan added 440 to the nice 145.11 system in Minneapolis.   The plan is two new sites- South #1 and South #2.  The controller for South #2 is here, and that machine is up on 1.2 here. 
12/15/12: Little Falls has ordered a 2 Meter deck for their repeater. We are hard at work on a South Metro site. 
11/20/12: One idea is to get a 2 meter deck for Little Falls under the promotion and move the 440 deck to the South Metro.  A way to fund the needed Internet is the open question.   We also discussed putting D-Rats on a Rasberry Pi which talks to the radio.  Then the laptops connect to the Pi via HTTP.  We are not fans of needing specific client software on go-kit laptops. 
11/10/12: We met with Ray Novak from Icom.  He is promoting D-Rats as an open platform for developing applications for emergency communicatons.  Icom has donated 200 repeaters worldwide, 120 in the US.  There is a promotion for adding RF decks to current systems this winter.  Keep your repeaters updated in http://www.dstarinfo.com/ as that data is used for pre-loading the IC-31 and 51 radios.
11/2/12: Fargo is moving ahead.  We have decided to relocate Reflector 53 to the cloud.  The UDP packet loss problems are back and a new hosting site and hardware upgrade are in order.  STPONE is having antenna issues. 
8/25/12: If you or your club have an ID-1, and are bored with our data-only, non-Internet network, you can access the 1000 linked G2 voice gateways.  1283.3 is probably the best machine for that.  Link to the A-deck and gateway and the rules were just changed to allow multiple decks to be on the same reflector.
8/14/12: If you have an Icom ID-880 make sure you don't block any of the cooling vents on the case- Dan Fish from Radio City took mine apart and showed me the path the cooling air must take.  I was blowing the 440 finals out- I had the radio RF module upside down in my trunk with the vents blocked.
7/7/2012 KC0WLB has moved to the coordinated pair 444.000
7/1/2012: Dan Skripka KE8TX has arranged significant new donations for R&D and infrastructure. 
6/30/2012: Rick Houle, KB0WWJ from Little Falls has donated an Icom 880 radio to our efforts.  That will go to the Maintenance Department for monitoring and test. 
6/23/12: Router behind router (adding a D-Star repeater to a home Cable setup) works nicely on a pair of the $15 Tenda 268R routers from Microcenter.  This will save us $30/month at Gem Lake.  That site actually reaches Forest Lake and I had a QSO with the folks from Wobasso, MN who have a system on a 360 foot State tower.  We are asking for donations of equipment such as Dongles for Fargo- NDSU- as they don't have any radios. 
5/12/12:  Duluth D-Star is up- 442.2 N0EO.  So is our reflector for Minnesota, 053.  Most of the action is on 53a. 
4/15/12: Rumor has it Twinslan is working on a Minnesota reflector- 053A :)  If so, our machines will be on it as a default.  Reflectors are really easy vs. "plain" linking which is a half channel- and the other user has to use the rx-cs key to reply. 
4/7/12: N0EO- Duluth- D-Star on 440 is being installed by Alan :)
4/6/12: The best dplus/gateway directions we have seen are here:
http://www.dstar.org.au/Australian_D-Star_Repeater_Linking_User_Guide_V1.1.pdf
3/18/12: Little Falls W0REA is in production status.  Thanks Peter for some Linux work.  We are working on the Fargo system next.  We are leaving our systems fully open for user reflector linking etc.
3/9/12:  We need folks to sign up on our gateways.  Some excellent directions are here:
http://www.dstar.org.au/registration.htm
2/28/12: The Little Falls system is on the air in test- K0LAV found us a lovely 90db Motorola duplexer from an MSF 2000.    The call is W0REA.  It is on 444.000. We got router behind router going (dual NAT) with the free Tenda W268R router they gave out free at Microcenter a while back. 
https://w0rea.dstargateway.org/
2/18/12: All the new repeaters are here.  The Duluth system went to Alan and they have a site (600') and callsign identified.  The Little Falls machine is under test.  We have a site underway for Fargo.  Our next sites look like Pequot Lakes, Rush City and possibly Medina.  
1/31/12: Repeaters are arriving for Little Falls, Fargo and Duluth.  Our next phase looks like Twin Cities-St Cloud, (Monticello), Twin Cities- Duluth (Rush City) and Twin Cities- Rochester (Hampton).  And what about Mankato?  Big issue- who pays for DSL...
1/22/12: Alan added three more systems to USROOT this week.  145.11 has excellent coverage, and the same from 1283.300 for ID-1 owners.  Icom will provide a machine for Little Falls next. We are announcing a statewide buildout. 
1/15/12: OK we're operational on KC0WLB on USROOT.  We have two RF decks- 440 DV 444.000 and 1.2 DV 1285.500, dual Internet feeds and emergency power.  This should hold us for the winter.  The Gem Lake /Twin Cities gateway registration site is:
 https://kc0wlb.dstargateway.org/
1/6/12:  Doug Reed, N0NAS tuned us up another duplexer, and we moved the 440 system KC0WLB to K0LAV's 120 foot tower in Gem Lake.  This will give us Ramsey County /Metro coverage for the winter.  A better site and more systems are on the way.  Anoka is reported to be close to having their gateway fixed. 
12/28/11: Our old four can duplexer was not happy- we are still planning a site move to K0LAV's place- the DSL is installed.  The 440 D-Star repeaters are yes two mobile radios inside and have wide front ends and you need real duplexers with notches.  Cheap mobile duplexers designed for tube radios with helical front ends are a no.   It's at 120 feet- good Ramsey County coverage. 

12/16/11: Our repeater, KC0WLB B is up on the gateway and USROOT.  I had a nice QSO with Bill, W9JLR near Hayward WI on one of the reflectors. 
12/10/11: You have not lived until you have installed the Icom 2.X Gateway Software.  It took me 16 hours and you must look in about five places to put together a set of directions.
11/23/11: Icom America has put us in charge of getting a linked repeater up on the USROOT server ASAP in the Twin Cities.   We still don't have one for a variety of reasons- but there are requests out from the group in Rochester.  Actually the NDMS folks and Hospital Compact can use it. 
8/24/11:  Note if you are using repeaters and ID-1s:  For some reason the callsigns are case and character position sensitive.  And a reminder you can use DNAT on the ethernet behind your repeater (a Cisco(r)  router can do this as well) and support one to many and many to many ID-1 connections. 
8/23/11: We were amused to read of the struggles of the accepted standard Amateur Radio solution (proprietary Pactor III/HF/NVIS) to handle real world data rates even for email in the current (Sept.) issue of QST.  This problem was solved five years ago and is in routine production use at two of the largest public service events in the world.  We are handling usable data rates for web applications. 
PDF Files to read:

Advice for Minnesota Hospitals and Hams working with hospitals (3/08)

Advice for new or prospective Hams (7/26/06)

Advice for current Amateur Operators (5/5/07)

Getting Started in High Speed Digital (1/1/08)