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 steve2Hi, my Name is Steve M1ERS  I would like to tell you all about the Sheffield D-Star Project. I first became aware of  D-Star back in 2004/5 on a trip to the USA. The Lads over there have a large linked Repeater Network, and were in the initial stages of playing with D-Star.  It looked good  the audio was so intelligible,  but at that time we as UKRadio amateurs had no available frequencies on which to set up a D-Star Repeater. We therefore had to sit back and wait.

On my return  I was Talking to John at Icom,  and he told me they had obtained NOV’s for two test repeaters utilising D*star. They were however still waiting to receive the final go from Ofcom.

John and Don at Icom UK were finally able to put on air  GB7IC  in 2008  and so all was looking good. The time then came  for us to get started in Sheffield, so a group of 5 Amateurs here in Sheffield purchased the initial 2 Metre D-Star repeater plus controller.   We installed it on 14-03-08 and since that time we have had an operational 2m repeater on 145.7375 Mhz.  We also invested in a new Dell Poweredge T105 server to run the Gateway utilising the new G2 software.

Trevor  M0TWS & I started to install the Centos operating system on the Dell Server. After this was all installed we then had to set a new Class A Network which required a new router to run along side the existing Linksys Router, and of course nothing went to plan. Here we encountered a slight problem, as my PC was unable to burn the install CD’s from the ISO distribution we had downloaded earlier. To save time three of us were all trying to download the software, and in the end we finished up eventually getting the six ISO discs from M0ADS John.

So back to the plot, we finished loading the server with the Centos OS, plus the Icom G2 software. Hurrah! However not without the odd problem or two.

As usual another bug was found in the G2 software, so that was passed on to Darren G7LWT, of the UK-IT  and he thankfully sorted that out for us .

We then realised, owing to the way that the repeater has to see the gateway address specified by our Icom Japanese counterparts, that our normal routing of didn’t work, hence the search for a very specific router able to run the Class A network.

Two days later our router came, we put that in line with the system, at now at last the Icom repeater hardware, as well as the network cards could see the internet, and more to the point the main D-Star server of K5TIT. All that was required now was for the American server admin team to log us on the International server.

Whilst that was being done, Darren and Paul were able to telnet into GB7SF and able to tweak things, but ended up coming over to Sheffield, on a very late Friday evening, to finish off the repeater software settings. It was really just a good excuse to come over and have a cuppa tea and meet Steve M1ERS in Sheffield!

I thought I was good on the keyboard, but not so after watching Darren, I think I need to get more practice ! They were happy with the tea and broken biscuit’s, and I left them to it. They eventually left to go back home to Manchester around 0200 in the morning.

We would like to thank them both, and its always better to meet people face to face, after all the emails etc.

We still needed the American team to authorise us on the main Trust server, that was like waiting for ever owing to time differences, but eventually it happened.

Then GB7SF hit the world Wide D-Star system, the next problem was to log the users on to our brand new Server. Again another bug was found in the software, so John GM0OPS helped out on that. He was keeping the XYL happy on one of his Saturday happy shopping outings, and couldn’t wait to get back home to get stuck into the problem, so many thanks John for the help. Apologies to his XYL !