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.