As of Saturday, May 15th, The WS1EC UHF backbone connection is now online, and with it the Midcoast is reachable again from Cumberland County! The node is able to reach the new KC1JMH-15 node in Westbrook and on occasion the N1QFY-15 node in Gardiner, on UHF.
Of note, the node’s SSID’s have been updated: It is primarily accessible at WS1EC-15, BBS is now -2, CHAT is now -5, Winlink RMS remains -10.
The existing station consisted of a 2-meter Kenwood TK-760H that was donated by Brad Brown KC1JMH, connected to Raspberry Pi running linbpq node software with TNC-X hat via a custom TNC cable, all built and assembled by Roger Pience N1XP.
On May 15th, Brad met with James Fraser KB1SDK, a member of the Cumberland County EMA. An unused repeater was disconnected and a jumper run from the hardline to a Yaesu 7800r which was donated to the Wireless Society of Southern Maine. The radio was then connected to the Pi using a DINAH USB radio interface, which Brad had displayed at a club meeting in March, and curious to see how well it worked, had donated to the cause. On one end is an 8-PIN DIN or data interface port, the other is USB, inside is a CM108 soundcard that supports push-to-talk.
Direwolf was installed to be a KISS TNC sound modem. It took some tinkering with Direwolf to make it play nice with the DINAH USB radio interface; it turned out that the version of Direwolf in the Raspbian repository (1.3) is too old to support PTT over the CM108 chip in the DINAH. Once Direwolf was installed fresh from the git repository (1.7), there were no further problems.
Future planned updates include swapping out the higher-altitude 2-meter antenna with a dual-band antenna and connecting both radios via a duplexer. James plans on setting up a radio rack for the repeater, which will eventually see a higher-altitude UHF antenna, and a tray included to help consolidate the packet station into a neater but still air-gapped package.
Thank you James KB1SDK for making yourself available for this work detail, and Roger N1XP for the phone support for the software changes.