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Voter system for repeater

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:16 pm
by jantonuk
Anybody have experience implementing a voting system to bring additional remote receivers into a ham radio repeater?

The LDG Electronics RVS-8 looks like it might have been a good choice but it is no longer made.

Commercial systems look to be many thousands of dollars.

John AL7ID
Fairbanks, AK

Re: Voter system for repeater

Posted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:57 am
by kkiddkkidd
Stay away from voters unless you are prepared to drop the big bucks for a good system or spend a lot of time screwing with it.

We have one of the LDG units on our rpter here and it really isn't very good. I set it up and it works OK but is very finicky about levels, radio compatibility, etc. We eventually went back to different CTCSS tones for the various receivers and use the LDG as more of an audio combiner.

Early in my 2-way radio career, we had a couple of GE voter systems and they were better than the LDG but not by much. I never had much interaction with those systems but heard lots of horror stories from the tech that covered that area.

I understand the new digital radio voting systems are pretty solid but they talk between themselves and decide which signal is best. Not to mention that they are pretty pricey.

Re: Voter system for repeater

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:40 am
by jantonuk

I thought about this for a little bit. So... I guess just changing the PL tone keeps the main RX from opening up when you're trying to hit the remote RX. And then if the RVS-8 sees only 1 input (because the main isn't opening) the voting choice is easy because there is only 1 input present.

Do I have that right?

And there's no scarcity of memory channels on modern radios. So no matter which memory channel you call up according to the tone / remote rx you want, you still have the repeater output frequency as the receive, right?

I was hoping to avoid asking users to change memory channels but I see where your solution is more stable and therefore more reliable.

How many remote receiver sites do you have?
If more than 1 are you using the same linking frequency to bring them back into the main site? Or separate freq's for each remote site link?
What kind of controller are you using?

Do you put a PL tone on the output?
I have come to like have PL decode to eliminate the vehicle noise.
Some of my radios will PL decode and encode on separate frequencies and some will not.
If I'm using a different PL encode to access the remote receiver, I might have to run carrier squelch on my mobile receiver for that memory channel on a couple of my older radios.

thanks for sharing your experience on this topic.

John AL7ID

Re: Voter system for repeater

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:24 pm
by kkiddkkidd
You are correct. Since there is only one channel receiving the "voter" puts it on the air.

All memory channels have the same 2m RX and TX rpt pair but a different TX tone for each remote receiver. We are currently using Kenwood mobiles in crossband mode for the remote receivers. IE, all receivers have 146.055 receive with different tone. Each cross band output is a different 440mhz channel.

The repeater owner (the local EMA) was wanting to eliminate the channel changes between different parts of the county but the voter and some of the UHF links were so marginal that we finally went back to separate CTCSS tones.

I think that we have about 6 remote receivers scattered around the area. The rpt TX is 100+ watts at a good central location but some of the receivers are fairly limited in their coverage but do cover spots that the main RX doesn't. Right now they are all on different UHF link frequencies. They tried it on a single freq with the different CTCSS tones and it worked OK since only one RX would be rxing at the same time. The voter of course required different link freqs since all receivers could be hearing a signal at the same time.

We didn't have output CTCSS at first but I think that they have added it to the TX exciter recently.