VE7RSI

The Salt Spring Island Amateur Radio Society (SSIARS) operates the VE7RSI repeater on 147.320 MHz. On April 25 2014, it was changed over to a Yaesu DR-1 which seamlesly went back and forth from FM and digital C4FM. It was subsequently replaced by a DR-1X on August 11 2016. The repeater transmitted a tone of 88.5 Hz while being used for FM right from the instalation date, and the same time has been required on the input too since July 14, 2014. If FM users program their radio for tone decode as well as encode, they won't have to listen to digital transmissions. If you have BCL (busy channel lockout) it would be a good idea to enable it, especially if you can do it on a per-channel basis. This will help prevent FM stations from doubling with digital stations. As with any mode of voice communication, it is a good idea to leave a gap of a few seconds in case another station needs to break in. This is especially important in dual-mode repeaters. If you are using the repeater for C4FM, the gap will allow time for an FM user to give their call sign to catch your attention.

The repeater will seamlessly go back and forth between FM and digital C4FM FDMA depending on what it hears.

Being located at about 700 metres (2300 feet) above sea level on Bruce Peak, it has a fairly large footprint.

As is standard on all repeaters, there is a time out timer. The TOT is set for three minutes. To prevent the repeater from timing out, try to keep your transmissions short. The TOT will reset when you unkey, but It is good practice to let the repeater drop between transmissions. This will make it easier for anyone with emergency traffic or otherwise to access the repeater. As on directed nets, it is best to just give your call sign to break in. Saying such things as station, contact, or break don't convey any meaningful information. Giving your call sign will get teh other station's attention and tell them who you are. It is just more efficient.

VE7RSI was first put on the air by FOSS (Friends of Salt Spring) around 1978 or a bit earlier. The original repeater glowed in the dark... it was all tubes! It started out on 147.330 MHz but was later moved to 147.320 MHz. FOSS handed the repeater over to the Salt Spring Island Amateur Radio Club several years ago. For a number of years, Cor Maas VE7BBG (SK) maintained the repeater for us. Sadly, Cor passed away shortly after his retirement in 2011. Cor was a great guy. Many people will remember him from pioneer work with EME.

Why The Changes?

While the old VE7RSI equipment was generally reliable, it was getting a bit long in the tooth. It was big and heavy and difficult to work on. In late 2013, the club made a decision that it would be a good idea to eventually replace it with something more up-to-date and easier to interface with external equipment. It was upgraded to a DR-1 and then to a DR-1X. We are looking forward to the the DR-2X installation later this year. FM isn't going to go away overnight, but digital brings many improvements and adds features previously just not available.