That’s what I did!!! The South of Shropshire is lacking good coverage so I made my own.
I now run 5 watts from a Yaesu FT1D when Mobile or Pedestrian and the system at home seems to be working well.
The Mobile is nothing more than a 1/4 wave on the roof of the car, whilst the Pedestrian system is either a Helical Whip on the handheld or a simple 2m Dipole, wedged onto a rucksack.
I made the dipole when I first started SOTA, copying M0JDK’s approach of simply stripping the black coating off of a run of coax to 19 inches long and separating the braid from the inner and then sticking the whole thing in 40 inches of 20mm conduit (Apologies for the mix of both imperial and metric!)
The iGate itself is fairly simple.
I initially did this
I used a spare netbook, colinear and Yaesu VR-500 Scanner. This system convinced me that it was worth investing in an APRS system.
So, to save power looked at ditching the netbook and going down a Raspberry Pi route, however it would’ve worked out more expensive. So in the end I went for this
Also bought this
After some setting up, I had a fully fledged iGate and Digipeater that works off a 12v 3a power supply I made for my Intermediate project.
The rig is a Wouxun KGUVD1P, plugged into an X30 colinear (Duplexer at the bottom - meaning I can still use the antenna for 70cm DMR for the local repeater).
When I use 2m FM or SSB from home, I turn off the digipeat function, so the system becomes a Receive only iGate.
I believe that advanced licencees are allowed to run an unattended node on 2m, however I may seek out an official NOV if the system continues to have more 3rd party traffic through it. If you’re an intermediate or foundation station, then you may have to have attended operation. I am sure a check online will alleviate any concerns you have.
The best thing about the Microsat System is the easy interfacing! Once the system is initially set up via USB, you can simply type the IP address you assign it, into a spare tab on your internet browser and configure from there, equally you can see the raw packets it receives via a PUTTY session on a Telnet tab.
One downside is that it needs a wired connection from your router. My shack is upstairs and my router is downstairs, so I ran some CAT5 in the end and terminated the ends with RJ45. I did look at possible ways of getting around this with wifi adaptors, but in the end the wired system is hard to beat.
As with WSPR, it is quite interesting to see what your station can hear on a month by month basis.
Here is the month of November 2016, picked up by my iGate
I do not need to teach Andy how to code, but I hope this may be of help to anyone else that is looking into a low power (Both RF and Consumption wise) system, that once set up, does not require a PC.