We’ve setup a slack for FSG/HamWAN Tampa Bay. It’s a bit more interactive than the mailing list, but is not meant to displace it, just add to the discussion.
Florida Simulcast Group is pleased to announce three new repeaters on the air in downtown St. Petersburg. Our repeaters are located at the 400′ (121m) level, and should service most of southern Pinellas county for portable users. These are linked full-time to our repeaters in Tampa and other systems depending on the mode.
Based on early testing we are seeing solid coverage of downtown and the beaches.
The frequencies are:
443.7625 NXDN (RAN1)
444.3750 Analog and P25 (146.2 PL/293 NAC) and Allstar Node 44233
444.9625 DMR (CC1)
All the above have a +5 MHz offset.
For more programming info on the digital modes visit kj4shl.com
Having three repeaters work well on a single antenna was no easy task. FSG had to employ extensive filtering, branching and combining to enable all repeaters to operate without causing self interference. A gallery of our testing and combining may be found online here, and a reddit thread describing the build is here
A short video tour is available on YouTube.
All repeaters make use of HamWAN for linking to other sites and beyond.
These are open for all amateurs to use and testing is encouraged.
With help from our technical committee members (Matt KA9RIX, Ryan KJ4SHL, & Bryan W9CR) the St Pete Site is online. We worked from 8am to 6:30pm on the 29th of December to mount the radios on the roof, run and terminate cable, ground all cables, move the 7′ rack up a flight of stairs and install the router.
This new site is 400′ high in the center of Downtown St Petersburg and will ensure solid coverage of the city and beaches to our standard 30dbi client radios.
All in all it went very well, and the major parts were in place by lunch time, with the 7′ rack being the fun part. We had to remount the 3.4 GHz link to Tampa, but fund it was aligned very well on the Tampa end with a -65 dBm signal and 130 mbit/s solid signal over 16 miles away. We still need to tweak the alignment at Tampa, but it’s working well for general use now. 3.4 GHz is a great band for linking on as there is practically no noise across Tampa Bay.
After the router (Juniper EX4200) was installed ISIS would not come up between the Tampa and St Pete Sites so we decided to pack it in for the day. We did have remote access from Tampa to the St Pete router and I was able to track the problem do to a WDS mode setting in the UBNT M3 radio link. With a software upgrade the ISIS protocol packets now passed across the backhaul link and routing was able to come up later Thursday evening.
We did some testing on Friday of coverage around St Pete and found from downtown with a 60 dBm signal 45 Mbit/s was achieved to a client radio. From Gandy Blvd and 4th Street North a solid -75 dBm signal was achieved at ground level with out a clear Line of Sight (LOS). At the Bay Pines VA hospital a -80 dBm signal was had.
We installed a test client at Matt’s QTH at 25′ and found a non-line of sight -75 dBm signal. We suspect going up another 10′ will greatly improve this signal. This is over 10 miles away and we’re achieving a signal able to do 15 Mbit/s.
Brent, W8XG did some testing from the roof of his condo building in Sarasota over 30 miles away and was able to link u
p at -87 dBm and get an IP address. He didn’t have much ability to test but was able to browse a couple internet sites. This was really unexpected and quite amazing!
We have a plot of expected coverage from the St Pete site with the 30 dBi client radio at 30′. The inner contour is for -75 dBm, and the outer is for -85.
This next map shows the combined coverage from the other Tampa site. This is predicting a 75dbi signal in the yellow at 30′ for 70% of the time.
You can download a google earth overlay of this.
We did some testing with a new client radio today, the Mikrotik DynaDish 5 from the St Petersburg Clearwater airport. At 8′ off the ground we had a -69dBm signal from the antennas 22 km (13.75 Mi) away in Tampa. A speed test showed a 22 Mbit/s throughput.
Once installed higher on the roof the signal should improve to -62 to -65 dBm and provide a great link into the HamWAN.
We’re making progress on bringing HamWAN to St Pete.
FSG has secured a site downtown and we have a full 3 sector setup and backhaul ready to go up.
The sectors are ready to go, and we expect to have 220, 440 and 900 MHz repeaters up at this site over the coming months too. We expect this to fill in all over St Pete and southern Pinellas County.
Our deployment of HamWAN, a multi-megabit internet connected network over Ham frequencies, is now live in Tampa.
With a proper CPE setup you can expect to get 10-20 MBit/s TCP throughput to your network. We support both IPv4 and IPv6 address space. Anyone who’s licensed (Tech or higher) can get on 5.9 GHz with equipment for under $200-250 dollars. This is perfect for linking repeaters and other critical points to the internet for redundant radio linking and high speed redundant IP data. Leave your TNC at home and experience what packet radio should have been.
Below is a coverage map showing a 30 ft client radio elevation (and clear line of sight) to our site in Tampa. This is an estimate for minimum signal (-75 dBm), as such if you’re marginal it may not work as well, even though the radios will work down to -90 dBm.
To get online please subscribe to our FSG mailing list and we can get you authorized and your client radio configured for our access points. We have a few test radios available if you want to test a site out before committing to it.
We now have the 220, 440 and 900 MHz repeaters online from high up in downtown Tampa.
The 444.575 test repeater has been removed.
224.280 -1.6 MHz and a 146.2 PL tone
This has been tested out to about a 50 mile radius from a 25W mobile. HT coverage is solid out to 15 miles and we have numerious reports of people running .3 to 1 watt HT’s from this distance.
443.525 +5 MHz and 146.2 PL and P25 NAC of 293
927.050 -25 MHz with DCS 546 and P25 NAC of 293.
900 MHz is narrowband FM, and we are investigating turning on “hearclear” companding.
All transmit PL and will respond to reverse burst if your radio is so equipped.
As of now none are linked as we are working on internet access at the site.
All these are open access, you don’t need to be a member of FSG to use them.
444.575 is now online from high up in downtown Tampa! It requires a PL of 146.2 Hz. P25 is supported with a NAC of 293.
Thanks to the hard work of our members we were able to bring this online over the weekend. It is a “Proof-of-Concept” repeater designed to cover downtown Tampa and the central business district buildings. This necessitated a lower gain antenna for solid coverage below the site and in the surrounding ground level.
The repeater consists of the following:
- 25W Motorola Quantar
- DB-404 Antenna
- Mobile notch duplexer
- DB-404 antenna
- 3/8″ feedline (2.3 dB loss)
We plan to change out the feedline to a higher quality Heliax cable which should improve the receiver.
Below is a projected coverage area of the repeater to a HT at 5W. We’ve had good mobile reports much further than this shows. Please try it out and report back on our mailing list.
Below are some pictures of the repeater site after we got done.
The board has unanimously voted to pursue club affiliation with the ARRL.
This requires us to have at least 51% of our general membership ARRL members. Please consider joining if you’re not already a member https://www.arrl.org/join-arrl-renew-membership/
We will be eligible for the ARRL insurance once this is complete.