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DR-1X digital repeater from Yeasu

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    Paul, KJ6MPZ

    I wanted to let every one know that Yeasu is having a special deal on the new digital repeater system. For $500 they are selling their new system to Ham clubs, with just a few stipulations, such as we cannot resell the hardware and we have to keep it in service for at least one calendar year. It take approx two months to get the unit, but we can then have a repeater that does both digital an analog. The system is dual band as well. And it is able to receive and transmit in both analog and digital modes at the same time……. The program ends June 30, 2015


    This is an interesting deal from Yaesu, giving clubs a subsidy to improve the number of digital capable repeaters in operation.

    I don’t think that we want to swap out our existing 100W Motorola Micor for a couple of reasons: The DR-1X is rated only 20W transmit power at 100% duty cycle compared to 100W+ for the Micor. The DR-1X draws 1.5A in receive compared to <0.3A for the Micor (so we either need a lot more back-up batteries or expect a much less time on back-up.) Our 2m system is voted: I don't see a voter option for the DR-1X: Adding one one requires the DR-1x to operate in FM only mode (no digital.) Also, from a systems point of view I think we should keep data off of our primary repeater so that we don't tie it up with large downloads (can't use the repeater 'cause someone's uploading pictures.)

    It might be interesting to set up a new repeater on a new frequency pair to play with this and see what we can do. Aside from the DR-1X we would need a duplexer (about $1400 new, we can probably find one used for about $500 – $700.) We’d also need a site with power, internet, and 4 season access. Internet linking is not built into the radio so to utilize any of those features we’d need to buy separate interface equipment (HRI-200: $125 plus a PC.) The DR-1X out of the box seems to only support radio-to-radio digital modes (more below.)

    According to the System Fusion web site, “At this time, the only way known to transmit data is by sending GPS information or using the optional camera microphone.” The SystemFusion radios can, of course, be used as conventional FM radios with FSK sending 1200 bps (9600 bps in UHF) but then there’s no advantage added by having the digital modes. I hope that we will see someone add access, somehow, to the higher speed data-pipeline built into these radios, but it’s not there yet and there’s no hint of when it might arrive.

    Is it a good idea to put up a voice repeater for data traffic? Repeater frequency pairs are scarce, but data frequencies are relatively easy to come by, and they can be reused. As a for-instance: We could simply add a digipeater in Pescadero on the same frequency that we’re already using on Skyline which would add a lot of covered area Coastside and redundant coverage to areas already served by our packet station. The hardware cost is lower than even the subsidized cost of a DR-1X and coordination of frequencies is comparatively simple. And it would work right now.

    So, in summary: If you have a good location for a repeater (power, internet, access) and you have an available frequency pair and you have a budget for all the hardware, SystemFusion might be an interesting experiment that shows some promise but has yet to deliver anything more than you can get with a conventional, 20W, FM repeater.

    Paul, KJ6MPZ

    This is why you are the “radio officer”…. I thought that the power was much higher. As far as as an additional repeater, we might be able to use the one where we have the voter site, here in Pescadero, or the other thought is if we use it for the 440 repeater, since that is on low power, (I only say this because I do not know what wattage we have on that repeater.)

    Once again, things are not as good as they seem…


    Our 440.100 is restricted to low power, to avoid interference with PAVE PAWS radar at Beale Air Force Base. That might be a good location for the DR-1X as it would add battery backup we’ve been needing for some time, now.

    The DR-1X is basically a pair of FTM-400 mobile radios in a box (or so I’ve read.) While they can put out about 50W the heat sink on the power amp isn’t sized for continuous operation at that power (even under heavy use, you wouldn’t expect a mobile to transmit more than half the time.) Repeaters transmit for both sides of a conversation, so they naturally see twice the usage. Yaesu de-rated the power amplifier to 20W for continuous use and has a fan to help keep it cool.

    On the UHF bands terrain blocks the signal and high power isn’t as important (compare the mobile vs. HT coverage of our 440.100 repeater on our “Repeaters” page) so 5W is probably plenty. That might be a good use for an experimental repeater.

    I know that Pat, KJ6GMG has SystemFusion on her FT-991. I think that there’s an FTM-400 and an FT1 among our members, too. Show of hands?

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