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SOTA-Link Project


#1

A few interested parties have got together to set up an experimental SOTA back-channel system. The idea of this is to provide a system that can be accessed using a HT to allow coordination of SOTA activations with chasers and other activators. The system envisaged requires bridges between various modes: C4FM-DMR-FM-DSTAR, and may ultimately include links to systems such as IRLP-IRN-Echolink-Allstar etc. This is very much a bottom-up project so anyone interested can get involved.

The first step has already been initiated in that an FCS “room” has been allocated to SOTA - FCS004-073. This is currently accessible using C4FM and DMR via any hotspot that will do cross-mode (eg openSPOT). Christophe ON6ZQ and I had a short QSO using it this morning and Mark M0NOM has indicated that he will try using it during a forthcoming activation. Anyone with a hotspot is very welcome to call in. I don’t think that unlinked FCS rooms are accessible in any other way at the moment (but I could easily be wrong!).

The next step will be to get a DMR talkgroup allocated and to bridge that to the FCS server. That will open up lots of other options.


#2

Hello, It is a long time (a least 2 years) that some of us use DSTAR on the dedicated Reflector SOTA (DCS033S).
When on summits it is very usefull. some of us are F5LKW, F4ESK, F4EGG, F5UBH, F6HBI.
Hope we can manage something.
Gerald


#3

Thanks Gerald; that’s interesting. Linking DSTAR with C4FM/DMR is slightly more tricky due to the different vocoders. I know it can be done though as there are examples of that in use. Maybe your French team could investigate linking DCS033S with FCS004-73? That would add DSTAR to the mix.


#4

Hi Richard,
I heard you mention this project at the end of your Interview with Eric on the QSO Today podcast and it immediately caught my interest as discussions of a “back channel” have been happening for a while.

I may be wrong, however my understanding of “AllStar” is that it provides an Asterix IPBX that can be connected to many (possibly all) of the various Internet based backbones used by amateur radio as well as analogue FM. I know a member of the club I am in in Australia (Ian VK2HK) has installed such a server and connected Echolink, IRLP, D-Star and his local FM analogue repeater into it, making it possible to talk between the networks. The advanced functions of the networks like finding someone by their callsign is not supported. Perhaps this is best thought of as a Teleconferencing room that can be accessed from any of the networks that an interface is installed for. In any case, this may be a direction to look at for a SOTA backchannel. An activator would of course need access to a linked repeater to be able to access this while climbing up the mountain or while operational on the summit. By having a link in from Echolink, Smart Phones as well as HTs could be used to access the “SOTA Room” as long as internet access via the cell system or a local Hamnet node.

Ed.


#5

Thanks for that Ed. I know little or nothing about how these things work and thus it is entirely possible (or even likely) that I will set off in the wrong direction. FCS was the first step as a few of use have C4FM HTs. We could really do with a networking wizard to get interested.


#6

Hi Richard

I am the keeper for GB7VO (Herefordshire’s only DSTAR Repeater)

If you get a DCS or XLX reflector working for a DSTAR to Fusion Bridge, let me know and I can update the list of reflectors that the local DSTAR repeater links to. Meaning that end users can link the repeater to the bridge and speak with you guys on fusion.

I am no networking wizard, but might be worth you emailing CQ UK Fusion Group as they have many networking Wizards amongst them!

73

Matt G8XYJ


#7

Hi Matt Thanks for that. I am already in touch with CQ-UK. Indeed, their room was very much the inspiration for the SOTA-Link Project.


#8

This thread is in no way tempting me to get a new HT :money_mouth_face:


#9

Hopefully it will be a little more tempting if we get the infrastructure working. At the moment it’s really only something for very early adopters. Actually if it works as I envisage and there is suitable infrastructure in your area you might not need a new HT.


#10

New check-ins at SOTA reflector FCS004-73

11-3 ON6ZQ, G3CWI
12-3 G?? (forgot call!)
13-3 KC9YEU, K7PEM, EA8/G0JUL, KJ4VO, HB9DQM, AB2HM


#11

Can I put a vote in for echolink interconnectivity pls. couple of reasons.

VK F calls cannot access any digital modes but can use EchoLink via radio or their phones.

thanks

W
VK1MIC


#12

Hello Richard.
I sent the question to the french d-star team about link between DMR / C4FM / DStar.
It already works on another reflector: DCS033D / TG208
We use it for 2 years now. We created a SOTA reflector: DCS033S or DTMF: D3319
Lars, SA4BLM had many sked by this way.
Here we are few hams to use Dstar: F5HTR - F4EGG - F4ESK - F6HBI - F5LKW - F5UBH.

73 ROGER - F5LKW


#13

Looking forward to this. I only have a DMR radio and I’m still getting used to the terminology and network topology, so I’m afraid I’m not much use. But I’ll be quite excited when there’s a SOTA talkgroup.

73,
Rex KE6MT


#14

@G3CWI Following up to our conversation on FCS004-73, it seems that I was wrong: at least on the popular BrandMeister DMR network, it is possible to access any dynamic Talk Group on any repeater simply by transmitting in it, and it will then be open for 10 minutes or so. And it should also be possible to link BrandMeister TGs with WIRES-X (https://bm.pd0zry.nl/index.php/WIRES-X) :grinning:


#15

Hi Richard,

I’m the keeper of the Shrewsbury Fusion WiresX Node MB6SY, which should be in range of some of the the local Shropshire summits - freq for anyone interested is 144.825 DV (it’s a simplex gateway). That will allow access into the Wires-X system so can link to CQ UK I don’t think you can make it link to a FCS though (If you can, please someone say). However as well as the node number it also has a room number which I’ve not used for anything. In essence it’s a room like CQ UK but at the moment only connectable to WiresX, if this is of any use to the SOTA community I’d be happy to set this up as a SOTA WiresX room.

Regards
Steve
G6UYG


#16

Hi Steve Thanks for the info. The Wires X room needs to be linked to be of any use and that can only be done using a gateway site that has the access to Wires X (such as yours!). You could link it to my FCS room using a 2m hotspot e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QpXHgWBd2w The video makes it look far harder than it actually is I think.

If you can provide that link from FCS004-73 to your Wires X room that would be great. I hope to be able to patch DMR in shortly. I will be monitoring FCS004-73 if you want to discuss.


#17

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the YT link - looks straight foward enough. I’m not sure how it would work in practice, in that the node has a number of local users who use it over RF as a gateway into WiresX (That’s also the purpose of the node as stated on the NOV). Let’s say one of them had connected the gateway to CQ UK or America Link, if I was also running a DV4 mini connected to FCS004-073 then that would pass the traffic coming in from the FCS system into the room connected to WiresX which in this case would be CQ UK or America Link.

The only way I can see it working (I’m far from a WiresX expert so may be wrong) is that we would need a WiresX gateway locked to a particular WiresX room that was used for SOTA.

Regards

Steve
G6UYG


#18

Hi Steve. All understood. Good to hear that your gateway has some users (!). Feel free to patch it through to FCS004-73 as an experiment as the FCS room is not being used much currently anyway. If that works then we can investigate a more focused gateway option.


#19

Thanks Richard, will do - be good to try it and increase my WiresX / FCS knowledge. Thinking about it a WiresX node without a NOV would be ideal to add WiresX to the Sota fusion system. The Node radio connected to a dummy load would be ideal, it only needs to radiate as far as the DV4Mini !!! In such an instance the WiresX room would be accessible across the whole of the WiresX system.

Regards

Steve


#20

Let me know how you get on. Once set up, we can try some tests on-air linking in via Wires-X gateways.