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 Island Amateur Radio Society (SSIARS) 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 was been a Yaesu DR-1X repeater. It too will seamlessly go back and forth between FM and digital C4FM. VE7RGP is located on Bruce Peak, so it has very wide area coverage. It was upgraded to a DR-2X on December 4 2018. As of April 12 2021, we have also had a WIRES-X node on VE7RGP.
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 was using DCS 073 for FM, but this was changed to 88.5 Hz CTCSS on June 1 2019. 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 current C4FM capable radios. The list of HTs include the out-of-prodeuction FT-1DR, the budget priced FT-70DR, the greyscale touch screen FT-2DR and FT-3DR with its colour touch screen. It was possibly the best HT ever made until the updated FT-5DR came out! For mobile/base radios, the choices are the FTM-200DR, FTM-300DR and the older FTM-400XDR. The "200" is a dual band / single receive radio. It replaced the FTM-7250DR which is out of production. For a while, the budget-priced VHF-only FTM-3200DR and UHF-only FTM-3207DR were available. They were no-frills budget priced radios that covered just 2 m or 70 cm. Priced lower than the FTM-400, the dual-band single receive FTM-100DR was the ideal choice for a WIRES-X node, but it is no longer in production. The "100" has been replaced by the dual-band single receive FTM-200DR. It boats a colour non-touch screen.
The FTM-400XDR dual band 2m/70cm radio has a super-deluxe colour touch screen, but only does C4FM on the A band. The more recent FTM-300DR doesn't have a touch screen, but has dual-C4FM receive and many enhanced user features. The FTM-400XDR mobile has an improved GPS receiver over the earlier non-X model.
The FT-991A HF rig includes 2 m and 70 cm. It provides CAT control and access to the internal sound card for digital modes with a single USB cable. With Canadian bandwith regulations, C4FM can be used on 10M and up.
With the optional MH-85A11U "camera-mic" the FT-1DR, FT2DR, FT-3DR and FT-5DR HTs along with the FTM-200, FTM-300 and FTM-400XDR mobiles can send colour pictures back and forth. The FT-1DR can send and receive pictures, but it can't display them. Resolution is quite low, but perfectly suited to the screen size on the radios.
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 was 1536. By June of 2020, there were 42 in just BC alone, 48 next door in Washington state, and 2653 around the world. 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.