Tuesday, 19 November 2013

As part of an on-going upgrade of my computers (XP is not being supported by Microsoft after April 2014) I upgraded my APRS computer to Windows 7. UiView would not talk to the TNC and reported that either the COM port was busy or the TNC was sending the wrong responses.
Nothing I did would persuade the computer and TNC to talk to each other. So, nothing left to do but ask Mr Google.
After much reading, it seemed that the problem lies in the age of Uiview and it was never designed to run in Windows 7. However, setting the program to run in Compatibility Mode, choosing Windows XP SP3 and ticking the "Run as Administrator" box solved the problem.
The computer is now talking to the TNC and Uiview is running happily on a Windows 7 computer.
Sigh of relief! :-)

Thursday, 12 September 2013

G0ROZ-3 disappeared from the map and a check with aprs.fi showed the last beacon heard was at around 2300 Hours 10 September 2013. Today I made a trip up the hill and found the computer screen looking as above. It appears that the power must have gone down on 10 September and the computer did not re-boot itself correctly. A quick re-boot of the computer and all is working as it should again.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Today a team visited Eggardon Hill and replaced the aerial on G0ROZ-3. This new aerial has first-rate coverage and greatly improves the usefulness of the station. The first picture above is the view to the west from the aerial. In distance is Exeter and, not visible in the mist, Torquay. The second picture is of the new location of the aerial.
A good job by all involved!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

M1ABD went off air at around 1130 Hours yesterday, 18 May. I was unable to get to site until today and M1ABD was back on air at around 1630 Hours.
The computer was switched off again, although there was power and everything else was running normally. Tests showed that if the power was cut off to the computer it would not switch itself back on again when the power was restored. So, there must have been a power cut yesterday and the computer turned off until I turned it back on today.
This never used to happen as the computer had always come back to life on its own when the power came back. Will have to look further into this and, probably, get a new computer installed on site.

Monday, 13 May 2013

G0JIP is off the air due to TNC failure. G1YNY is looking to replace the TNC as soon as possible and also upgrade the radio. G0JIP will remain off air until the problem is sorted.
While working at the computer today, I noticed that the APRS map was empty. Checking the raw data at www.aprs.fi I found that M1ABD had not beaconed for over and hour and was, therefore, probably off the air. When I went to get the keys to the site I found that contractors had been working at the site today. On arrival at the site, I found the power was on and all the electrical equipment was working, except for the computer which was turned off. I re-started the computer and M1ABD burst into life again. I am not sure what the problem was, but it all appears to be working normally again.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

G0JIP has been re-vamped and is now in its permanent position. For those of you who have been paying attention, the callsign will be corrected as well! :)

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Pictures of the latest addition to the DPARS APRS network is G0JIP in Christchurch., Dorset. Station is managed by G1YNY. This digi should fill in some of the RF black hole around the Christchurch area.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Today 2E1EJC and M3GNY made a maintenance visit to G0ROZ-3 on Eggardon Hill. Site checked out and all appears to be working as it should. The beacon interval was adjusted but nothing else needed doing. Several test messages were sent to stations around the county. Above are pictures of the team posing at the work station! :)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

M1ABD disappeared from the map at about 0900 Hours on 19 March 2013. I made a trip up to site on the afternoon of the same day. When I got to the main gate I found that the SEB had pushed a letter through the gate saying that the power would be off from 0900 Hours that day until about 1530 Hours. So that would explain why M1ABD was not working. When the power came back on, the computer refused to restart and despite giving it a good kicking, sorry I mean re-boot, it appeared to be dead. So I hooked up the spare computer we keep at site and brought the dead computer home.

Above is a picture of the spare computer at work.

When I got the computer home and hooked it up, it decided it wanted to work after all. Examination revealed no apparent problems.
So this afternoon I took it back to site and swapped it over with the spare computer. All appears in order and M1ABD is working normally.

Above is a picture of the original computer back at work again.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The motherboard that was running my APRS computer has failed. First symptom was a failure to connect to the network. 2E1EJC was not sending to the internet from yesterday evening until about 1600 Hours today. I am now running APRS on a spare computer until the new motherboard arrives.

Friday, 11 January 2013

I visited the Eggardon Hill site today for routine maintenance on G0ROZ-3. I found that a fan on the computer was making so much noise that I could hear it outside the hut. On checking, it was found that the computer was running very slow. We keep a spare computer on site so it was just a matter of changing the Pentium 200 computer running WinXP to a Pentium 75 running Win95. I have brought the P200 back home and will see if it can be fixed or whether we need a new computer. Meanwhile, G0ROZ-3 is running and appears to be working normally.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

M1ABD-3 stopped working overnight last night. I visited the site this evening and found that just a re-boot of the computer and TNC is all that was needed.
The problem seems to be with the very old Timewave PK-12 TNC that we use. It seems to get confused and stops working every now and then. It just needs to be switched off and back on while the computer is not connected to it.
M1ABD-3 is now back on the air again.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Following receipt of an APRS message saying that M1ABD could not be heard in Devon, local checks were made and suggested that nothing was wrong. Today I visited the site and made some checks. All appears to be in order and working as it should be.
M1ABD was digipeating me from the depths of Wareham Forest over the weekend without any problems.

DPARS members have always had an interest in Packet operation and opened their first Packet station in December 1992. This was sited on Bullbarrow Hill, near Blandford Forum in Dorset. The node was known as SMOKEY and used the DPARS club callsign M1ABD. SMOKEY was a dual-port node, working on 2Ms and 70CMs. It became obvious that SMOKEY had very good coverage and provided links into Devon, Somerset, South Wales, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands.

A second node was very soon added to the network. This was sited on Eggardon Hill, near Bridport in Dorset. This node was known as ASKERS and used the DPARS club callsign of G0ROZ. ASKERS was also a dual-port node on 2Ms and 70CMs.

In 1995 the APRS protocol appeared in the UK and the club nodes were converted to APRS Digipeaters. SMOKEY’s callsign was changed to M1ABD and ASKERS callsign was changed to G0ROZ-3. A smaller Digipeater was set up at Dorset Police Headquarters at Winfrith and uses the callsign  M1ABD-3.

 Attempts were made to get a new MB7 callsigns but, as the sites belonged to the Home Office, this was not possible.

On March 29 2011 the computers at all three sites were updated. M1ABD is now running Windows XP and the other two are running Windows 98SE. All the computers are now programmed to re-boot themselves in the early hours of every Sunday morning. The old computers suffered from Memory leakage and ground to a halt about once a month. The automatic re-boot should stop this from happening and keep the sites running for longer without maintenance.