End of the line

After giving GB7CH a decent go, due to the lack of radio traffic and the cost of running it, GB7CH was powered off today.

The NOV has been rescinded and the hardware has already been bagged by someone.

During periods of high wind before I have had to keep my tower up to allow the repeater to continue working, but now I can drop it as required, saving the complaint from the rest of the household of the mast making a racket when twisting in the wind.

This website will close and the domain returned to the pool soon as well.

It has been fun running the repeater, but if no one wants to use it, there is little point in spending time and money on running it.

Use it or lose it!

Ok here’s the thing….
I have spent time and money putting GB7CH on the air to provide a way into radio / IP networks.

As I work mainly from home, it means that I personally don’t get a lot of use from the repeater as a hotspot services most of my needs.

With that in mind, what with the amount of electricity this uses, plus the noise and extra heat in my office, I am wondering what the advantages of me running the repeater are at all.

I have provided access to DMR, with static talkgroups on TS2 with TS1 being free for dynamic talkgroups, I have provided a gateway for Fusion and D-Star and I hardly see any RF traffic on the repeater, it tends to be network traffic only from the static talkgroups.

if you have an alternative configuration you would like me to try which provides a greater degree of utility and will increase the RF usage, please let me know, otherwise I will be looking at closing the repeater due to lack of interest!

You can contact me via my ‘Radio’ Facebook page (you can find me listed as M0MBD).

I will continue to run the repeater for a few more weeks and see if traffic picks up before i pull the plug.

Some Admin Completed

After dropping the ball last week, I updated the Brandmeister credentials in self care for the repeater. The default password no longer working from the 1st October and the result was the Repeater dropping off Brandmeister for a few hours until I sorted it.

I also noticed that the SSL auto-renew did not work correctly and so I issued a new SSL key and applied it to the Website DNS records manually. You will now not get the security warning when accessing the web site.

I have no idea why the SSL renewal went south, but it has been a common experience with all users of the Web hosting platform Plesk, which I host and manage all my web clients on!

In addition to the Static Talk Group dedicated to Loughton and Epping Forest Amateur Radio Society (LEFARS) on TS2 TG23511 I have also added Brandmeister TG235, the UK call TG as a Static Talk Group on Slot 2.

In addition, I am temporarily adding:

TS2 TG2350 UK
TS2 TG2351 (UK Chat)
TS2 TG2352 (UK Chat)
TS2 TG2353 (UK Chat)

I will see how it goes and think about TS2 TG 23526 (Hubnet), but I am worried about too much incoming traffic blocking the timeslot.

I am leaving Slot 1 for Dynamic TG use. Please disconnect from your chosen Talk Group when finished by making a Group Call to TG 4000.

Here one minute, gone the next

Continued issues with the broadband provider has cause the Repeater to go off-line again.

The issue is not the connection to the provider, download speeds are in excess of 300Mb/s and ping times less than 11ms. Noise up the up link side has reduced the Up-line speed to .06Mb/s which simply wont support a duplex connection to any of the network services!

Virgin have estimate a fix time “by 09:00am 27/07/21” by which time they will already owe me compensation for the loss of service!

Power Outage takes GB7CH off air

A very sorry looking charred cable, no longer connected!

Yesterday at around 6:30 BST the lights dimmed and fans started going off and on. Oh no another brown out like we had this morning I thought, but no, suddenly everything went off. A full on power cut.

The power company had to isolate the mains due to a cable fault, which manifested itself with clouds of smoke billowing up Tomswood Hill.

Whilst we battled to get dinner cooked on the gas hob with no access to the oven, microwave or kettle, the engineers dug up the road, revealed a pretty sorry looking cable and proceeded to strip back the ‘feed side’ ready for splicing. They were going to prep one side of the cable, restore power to the rest of the street and splice the repair to the remaining two houses ‘down line’ while the circuit was live!

I can’t say how impressed I was watching the guys recovering the service from what appeared to be a total mess.

Whilst chatting, they explained how you will never get a long term power cut as the electricity company would get fined a huge amount if the outage exceeded 12 hours!

I pointed out that if you had an electric car and were unable to charge it for 12 hours, you probably would not be going to work the next day as your car would not have enough time to charge!

Jokingly I asked, well how is the grid going to cope when we are all driving electric cars? It probably wont he jokingly replied in typically fruitier language than I can print here.

Well I hope he was joking!

GB7CH was fully back up and on-air within minutes of the power being restored at 10:09 BST.

Broadband Outage


Despite having a ‘Business Broadband’ service, it appears that nothing is sacrosanct and we have endured a few service outages of late.

When the service goes down out of hours, I am afraid that there is nothing much that can be done at the moment, and the trunk service to the Brandmeister Network is unavailable. During the day however the service is switched manually to a backup service and the trunk to Brandmeister is maintained, but sadly the Dashboard access from the website will not be available.

At the moment everything is switched back and running properly.

Thanks for your understanding, and bear in mind your expectations from this service which is provided entirely at my own expense.

GB7CH… It’s Alive!

As of 7th Dec 2020, a new signal was present on 70 cms band with the arrival of GB7CH, a new multimode digital repeater for South East Essex and East London.

Originally installed at Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker by George Smart M1GEO and designated GB7KH, it has been repurposed to provide a better coverage for those in the footprint of the coverage centred on Tomswood Hill in Hainault on the edge of Chigwell in Essex.

Please check on the Technical page for all the blurb, and status updates will be posted on here and any news about development work which is going to take place.

When using dynamic talk groups / rooms / etc, please release them after use
Brandmeister DMR: Please key TG 4000 to reset
YSF: Please check your radio manual or if you have a DTMF mic, try pressing the star button.
D-Star: Unlink from reflector as per your radios instructions.

The repeater is currently in a commissioning and extended test phase so please bear in mind that it will be subject to occasional reboots or downtime as things are modified and hopefully improved.

The plan is to continue to offer all three popular modes of: DMR (Brandmeister) Yaesu Fusion and D-Star unless there any issues that require the service to be pared back.