The Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet Counties Public Service Communications Organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public service organization located in Northern Michigan and formed to train Amateur Radio volunteers to be capable of providing assistance to area professional emergency communications services, increasing the Charlevoix, Cheboygan, and Emmet Counties emergency response effectiveness, and speeding the recovery effort in the event of a communications emergency. The CCECPSCO maintains communications facilities at the emergency centers in Charlevoix, Cheboygan, and Emmet Counties and participates in emergency drills and activations. Licensed Hams are encouraged to join, learn, and participate to advance their skills and provide a benefit back to the community. The CCECPSCO provides trained communications operators for RACES activation by our tri-county emergency manager.

Overview of the W8CCE-B D-Star Repeater System

Repeater: The repeater is Icom and includes the IC-RP2C controller and ID-RP4000V 440 MHz module.

TX RF piping: The repeater uses the same antennas as the 442.375 N8DNX analog repeater. The TX the transmit signal from the D-Star repeater goes into a transmit combiner (acutally a TX/RX UHF duplexer) that combines the transmitter output for the 442.375 N8DNX and 443.375 W8CCE-B repeaters which is then sent to a TX/RX band combiner and mixed with the 146.680 W8GQN repeater and then feeds into 450' 7/8" hard line. At the 400' level there's a TX/RX band splitter that separates the UHF transmitt and VHF transmit/receive and sends the UHF to an 8 by Sinclair dipole array for UHF and a 4 bay Sinclair dipole array for VHF.

RX RF piping: The UHF receive antenna, another 8 bay Sinclair, is 70' up the tower (470' level) from the UHF transmit antenna (this places it 1,000' above lake level). There's a box mounted right at this antenna that has a 10 MHz wide bandpass filter and then an Angle Linear dual-redundant high-level PHEMPT preamp (aprox 0.7 db noise figure). From the preamp box there's about 520' of LMR-400 running down to a booster amp in the equipment rack. That amp simply boost the signal after some 14 dB of loss in the transmission line to bring the signal back up a bit and feeds a passive splitter that then feeds the two repeater receivers. This configuration give us unusual receive sensitivity.

Gateway: The gateway computer is an HP DL385 server with 2 Gb RAM and running 2 72 Gb 10K rpm drives in a redundant RAID configuration. The system only has one single core processor in it, but can take up to 2 dual-core 3GHz processors. The system has a number of redundant features including dual Ethernet, power supplies, etc. It also has a separate Ethernet port for hardware "lights-out" management that permits full remote control and diagnostic access, including being able to restart and turn the computer on and off.

Network: The gateway computer is linked to the Gaslight Media office in Petoskey, about 10 miles away, via a Trango 5.8 GHz 10 Mb/s data link and then hits the 45 Mb/s DS3 at the office.