The DR-1X - like I mentioned it in the previous article - is a VHF/UHF digital C4FM/analog FM repeater. The unit is built on the receiving and transmitting stages of the FTM-400 digital/analog mobile radios, which have been complemented with a separate control unit, a 19” by 2U rack, and the front controls.
Important features of the YAESU DR-1X repeater:
Modulation modes: traditional FM, 12,5 kHz C4FM digital mode (V/D simultaneous voice/data communication mode, VFR voice communication on the whole bandwidth, DFR data communication on the whole bandwidth.
AMS (Automatic Mode Select), which detects, if the uplink signal is traditional FM or C4FM, and repeats it according to the mode set.
High output power 50/20/10W (in practice the output power of the repeater is re-programmed to 25/15/5W, in order to prevent the damage to the final amplifier because of a wrong antenna or duplex filter, or because of the insufficient ventilation of the room.)
Emergency operation: An emergency backup battery can be switched on, so the repeater remains in operation in a blackout, the time depending on the capacity of the battery.
A microphone can be connected to the front, for testing the transmitter of the repeater, and using the unit as a base station.
Built-in large loudspeaker and volume control on the front.
3.5 inch colour touchscreen display for easy programming. The large colour touchscreen display provides for easy configuration of the repeater. Practically all important functions are accessible and can be set up from this touchscreen display. These are the following: the transmit and receive frequencies (can be cross-band), transmit power (HI/MID/LOW), mode selection (auto or fixed), CTCSS and DCS codes, squelch level, remote or repeater mode, transmit inhibit, PACKET speed, deviation (narrow or wide, according to the width of the channel), setting the ID, frequency of transmitting the ID, ID announcement (CW or voice), announcement output level (HI/MID/LOW), in case of CW ID, the announcement speed, time out timer, display turn-on time, restoring factory defaults (it is very handy after some time). These are included on the operating manual with pictures, and can be performed easily. Other hardware settings have to be performed in an authorized service, according to the service manual.
As I mentioned it before, the receiver, the transmitter and the controller, are built in a 19 inch RACK. This makes the replacement of the existing repeaters, installing new repeaters, either in a RACK cabinet, or in a desktop format. On the back of the unit, N connectors are built by YAESU for the connection of the antennas. Since the repeater works in FM mode as well, the existing repeaters can be replaced without causing any disadvantage to the users of analog radios. They can still use it like before. The existing antennas, cables, duplex filters (after re-alignment) can also be kept.
The following accessories are delivered with the unit by the factory: Built-in power supply with power cable (only with the US models), 13,8V DC cable (EU models), SCU-20 PC cable, rubber feet. Optional items: MH-48A6JA DTMF hand microphone, MH-42C6J hand microphone, FVS-2 voice guide unit
See a few examples of the most important setup items:
When an existing analog repeater is replaced by a DR1X, the receiver should be set to AUTO (Auto Mode Select), and set the transmitter to fixed FM mode. When the repeater receives a C4FM signal, this is converted to an analog signal, and transmitted as an analog FM signal. When it receives an analog FM signal, it is further transmitted unchanged. In this case the data content (for example, GPS data) of the C4FM signals is not forwarded. Later, when the number of digital radios increases and there is a demand, the transmitter can be switched over to AUTO.
At the installation of a new repeater, at the beginning both the receiving and transmitting should be set to AUTO mode. In this case when the repeater receives an FM signal, it is repeated as an analog FM signal, when it receives a C4FM signal, it is repeated as a C4FM digital signal. The user units running analog only, cannot decode the C4FM digital signals. In their loudspeaker, a hissing noise will be heard.
Typical content of the 3.5 inch colour touchscreen display.
YAESU will contribute 600 euros to the installations, which means after receiving the installation and setup information, 600 euros will be credited from the debt of the distributor for each repeater. Anico Ltd. is a financing member of the Hungarian Radio Amateur Society, and will provide the repeaters free of charge to those clubs, who undertake the operation of the DR-1X for at least three years. Non-member clubs can also buy the repeaters at a very attractive discount, for 300 euros each.
As for all their products, YAESU has a two-year guarantee for the DR-1X repeaters, which can be validated through their distributors.