Over the last few weeks, the Galway VHF Group has been testing and putting the final touches to our APRS Digipeater. The final test, the burn-in, if you will, was performed over the last week at my home station, and, having performed perfectly, this morning, the weatherproof case containing the 10A power supply, Yaesu FT8900 and Argent Data Tracker 2 configured as a digipeater, was installed at the base of the antenna mounted on the roof of Airwire's Mervue data centre. Many thanks to Martin List Petersen, CTO of Airwire for donating the roof space. Thanks also to John Ronan Ei7IG and John McCarthy EI8JA for help, advice and EPROMs.
The Cushcraft ARX2 2x 5/8 wave collinear antenna just after the final tune-up. The antenna is mounted some 30 meters ASL, and has a great view to all horizons. It should provide good coverage well into Mayo, Roscommon and has no problem hitting the next digi at Devil's Bit, near Toomeyvara in Co. Tipperary, from where packets can be repeated through the South East Amateur Radio Group APRS network and into an iGate, where the various APRS viewing websites, such as aprs.fi can display the relevant stations.
Martin List Petersen and Enda Coffey EI3IS finishing the antenna installation.
The weatherproof case containing EI2GCP.
Plans for the future include adding weather reporting functionality, which will broadcast data from a weather station into the APRS network. We also intend on reviving the packet radio network in the Galway area. Packet radio, once very popular, has lost favour to the Internet, but for experimentally minded Radio Amateurs, still holds interest. I purchased an old Baycom ISA card which has 4 1200 baud packet modems on it a couple of years ago, and it looks like we'll be able to put it to use as both a packet BBS and a packet gateway to other bands. SEARG have a 4m link which we could link to, and the 10m band holds DX possibilities when the band is open.
For now, though, I look forward to exploring what APRS has to offer.