EI2GCP - APRS Weather Station & Digipeater live in Galway

Submitted by gerry on Thu, 12/11/2014 - 13:28

The Galway VHF Group Amateur Radio club has been doing some improvements on the APRS network around Galway. This includes adding a weather station - EI2GCP-2  - and renaming the digipeater to EI2GCP-10, and adding iGate functionality.
The weather station transceiver Philips PRM-80 ex. PMR rig to replace my Yaesu FT8900, which, in testament to its reliability, had been on the roof, through all weather, for over 4 years, without a moments down-time. I am glad to have it back though. The WX beacon and digipeater duty is handled by an Argent Data Tracker-2 unit, with an ADS-WS1 weather sensor cluster. The iGate is APRX running on a PCEngines WRAP SBC with Voyage Linux.

On the day of the installation, it was with trepidation that I opened the IP65 box that the previous incarnation of EI2GCP-2 had lived in for over 4 years. However, my fears were unwarranted, as it looked as it did when we installed it, with not even an additional spider occupying the box.

The new gear fitted in the box snugly, bit with enough room. A few additional holes had to be bored and grommeted for the weather-station one-wire feed and the ethernet for the iGate connectivity.

Once this was all connected and verified, the weather sensor cluster was mounted on the pole that already held the Cushcraft Ringo-Ranger 2m co-linear. If ever there was an antenna I would recommend unreservedly, this is it. It has withstood Atlantic storms, lightning and the corrosive sea air that pervades Galway. We did a little preventative maintenance on the antenna. Tightening the top-section and cleaning the phasing loop connections. Once done, the SWR was re-verified at 1.2:1. Reasonable by anyone's standards.

The wind-vanes and anemometer needed to be aligned W-E, so this was verified with a compass, all clamps tightened and cables cable-tied to avoid flapping in the inevitable winds.

There are further plans for expansion of the APRS network towards the north of County Galway with a digipeater on Knockroe, which should hopefully reach out as far as Roscommon to the East, and well into Mayo, Leitrim and South Sligo in the North. This is planned for January.

There are other plans in various stages of execution, including a 4m EchoIRLP gateway in Galway city, which is partially installed at this stage, and a 70cm Repeater + EchoIRLP gateway in north Galway.


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