Yaesu released the DR-2X repeater in fall of 2017. It was a "no-brainer" for us to decide to get two DR-2X repeaters to upgrade both VE7RSI and VE7RGP. They were placed in service on December 4 2018.
The Salt Spring Amateur Radio Society (SSARS) operates the VE7RSI repeater on 147.320 MHz with a + offset. It uses 88.5 Hz CTCSS for FM. Set your radio for 88.5 Hz encode and decode. On April 25 2014, with the installation of a Yaesu DR-1, it became a dual mode FM/C4FM repeater. It was replaced by a DR-1X on August 11 2016. It can seamlessly go back and forth between FM and Yaesu's digital C4FM (known as System Fusion) depending on what it hears. In turn, it was replaced by a DR-2X on December 4 2018. VE7RSI is located on Bruce Peak, so it has very wide area coverage.
Read more about VE7RSI.
We also operate the VE7RGP repeater on 444.550 MHz with a + offset. It uses CTCSS for FM, so set your FM radio for 103.5 Hz both encode and decode. As of October 30, 2015, it has been a Yaesu DR-1X repeater. It too will seamlessly go back and forth between FM and digital C4FM. VE7RSI is located on Bruce Peak, so it has very wide area coverage. It was upgraded to a DR-2X on December 4 2018.
Read more about VE7RGP.
VE7EMG is our newest repeater. It was placed on the air on October 15, 2017. It operates on 444.375 MHz with a + offset. VE7EMG uses DCS 073 for FM. Your radio should be set up for encode and decode. With AMS enabled (Automatic Mode Select) it will seamlessly go back and forth between FM and digital C4FM, just like VE7RSI and VE7RGP. While VE7RSI and VE7RGP are quite high up and have wide area coverage, VE7EMG is much lower and located on the north slope of Mt. Erskine. It should give good coverage on the north end of Salt Spring Island and a bit to the north, but because of terrain, it will have almost no coverage south of Ganges.
Read more about VE7EMG.
System Fusion is Yaesu's "brand name" for digital C4FM FDMA. For almost a year, VE7RSI was the only System Fusion repeater in the vicinity. By mid-2015, there well over two dozen of them around us. VA7ANI was the next one operating in Ladysmith on 146.980 MHz - 141.3Hz. It has since been moved to Nanaimo. VE7RGP was converted over to a DR-1X on Oct 30 2015. There are over half a dozen of them in Victoria, one on Gabriola Island, one in Delta, one in Richmond, one in Burnaby, two in Squamish, one in Whistler, one in Sequim and one in Port Angeles. Including the ones mentioned, there are now well over 40 C4FM repeaters in the vicinity.
The following page shows all of the C4FM capable radios. The crop currently includes the FT-70DR and FT2DR HTs. The latter has a greyscale touch screen. The FT1XDR HT is no longer in production. For mobile/base radios, choose from the no-frills budget priced FTM-3200DR which is 2M only, and more recently, the FTM-3207DR which is 70 cm only, and the FTM-100DR and FTM-400XDR dual band 2M/70cm radios. The "400" has a super-deluxe colour touch screen. The FT-991A HF rig includes 2M and 70 cm. With Canadian bandwith regulations, C4FM can be used on 10M and up. The FTM-400XDR mobile has an improved GPS receiver. With the optional MH-85A11U "camera-mic" the FT2DR and the FTM-400XDR can send colour pictures back and forth. Resolution is quite low, but perfectly suited to the screen size on the FTM-400XDR. Pictures are displayed in greyscale on the FT2DR screen.
According to RepeaterBook there were 407 System Fusion repeaters around the world as of April 19 2015. By May 16, there were 471 listed. By July 1, there were 565. By August 1 it had grown to 635. By September 1, there were 680. By December 1, there were 886. By December 28, it had jumped up to 943. Just a few days into January of 2016, there were 951. January 31 2016 was a red-letter day... there were then 1,000 System Fusion repeaters on the air, and these numbers only includes the ones that have been submitted to RepeaterBook, so the real numbers could be much higher. Some reports indicate there could be as many as 1,000 to 3,000 ordered. We know now that it was at least 1,000. As of April 10, there 1134 repeaters listed. By the beginning of June, it was up to 1220. By the beginning of July, it was 1252. By August 1, it was 1286. By October 1, it was 1418. By January 1 2017, it 1536. These are "just a numbers" but they do indicate how rapidly C4FM is catching on.
These two pages will list known C4FM repeaters in BC and in Washington state.
Developed by Yaesu, WIRES stands for "Wide-Coverage Internet Repeater Enhancement System" and WIRES-X is the latest generation. The interface that it uses is the HRI-200. It allows radios and repeaters to be connected world-wide. While it can be used in FM, using digital mode retains all of the slick features that C4FM users take for granted, such as crystal-clear audio, seeing the call sign and location of the station they are communicating with, and exchanging text messages and full-colour pictures. WIRES-X takes it a giant step further with world-wide linking. As well, voice messages can be recorded and left in a WIRES-X node and retrieved by other stations, as can text messages and pictures. Connections can be from node to node, or it can be to a "room" which is like a reflector that many nodes can connect to.
We don't yet have the funds to have a permanently connected WIRES-X node, but tests have successfully been conducted through both VE7RSI and VE7RGP to one... i.e. users have been able to go through the repeaters to a WIRES-X node and access other nodes around the world.