How to Connect a BCM Link Radio to a BCR Repeater
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Hey everyone, this is Ron. I'm with BridgeCom Systems. I wanted to take a moment and talk to you guys about a product that we sell or package we sell, where we do what's called a link radio to one of our BCR repeaters. We make a series of radios called the BCM Series. We have a 2 meter, 440 and 220. What makes these radios valuable and versatile is the accessory port on the back of these radios. These allow for being used in link applications that you might need for when you want to link your repeater through our RF-links to other sites. And what I'm gonna do in this video is I'm gonna actually show you guys that arrangement and how it's done.
I've got on the bench here, I've got a BCR Repeater and this is actually a UHF version and I've got a 220 link here. Now, what I'm doing is we've got a cable pinout on our website and you can get this on our support page, but basically I've built this cable in accordance with this pinout diagram so that I can link the repeater to the mobile, or in this case the link radio. This is a simple link in that it's just a cable connection. There's no control as far as that goes between the link radio controlling the repeater. This is an audio link so for example, what happens in this arrangement is if the repeater receives a signal it's not only gonna repeat locally, but it's then gonna engage the link radio and retransmit it. So what's gonna happen in this case, is your gonna receive on your UHF side, not only transmit on your UHF, but you're also gonna transmit on your 220. Now the band plan is in the FCC, I'm sorry, the ARRL band plan has in each of the spectrums, it has link areas as part of the band plan. So in this case, I believe the link on the 220 is 223.64 is where that starts. In a moment I'm gonna jump into the computer and show you how this is programmed. So, you've got UHF receive, UHF transmit as well as 220 transmit. So if the link receives on the voice on UHF. Now if you're needing something a bit more exotic to where you're controlling stations in terms of DTMF sequences and things like that, I would recommend an aftermarket controller like an S-Com where you have multi-ports here. There's several of these on the market, S-Com being one that we recommend. Also, we've got the RC210 that we have cable pinouts for. But these controllers here will allow for you to do a lot more than just this simple voice link. So you've got multi-ports where the repeater would go, in this case, port one, the link radio could go to port two or port three and you could have multiple links. So you can get pretty crazy with how these arrangements are made. But in this case, what I'm gonna show you is a very simple link radio application for voice applications. So right now I'm gonna go jump into the computer, I'm gonna program up the BCR repeater and show you how that's done, and then I'm gonna go into the BCM radio and I'm gonna show you how that's done.
Okay, I am in the BCM Programmer version 2.3 and I am going to read the radio as I received it, and it should have the default program that comes with it out of the box. I've already looked and I'm on COM16 for this radio. So I'm gonna go ahead and click start and this should open the COM Port and begin reading the radio. Once this displays my channel settings, I'm gonna walk you through what needs to be set up as far as setting up a memory channel. So I've got these three channels and I'm gonna add a new channel and I'm gonna call it 220 Link and I'm gonna make this 223.64. transmit and I'm gonna set a tone of 100. So there's 100. Channel spacing is wide, I'm gonna just set the power level at five watts for this test. So I'm gonna click OK and now I've added a memory channel of 220 Link. Now, the next step that needs to be done is we want to go into this edit radio wide. This is a section that we want to look at the COS setting. Now, this is what's important. You want the COS, which stands for Carrier Operated Switch, we want that to be set for decode. So when we decode the PL tone of 100, we want to assert this signal, and this is what's gonna PTT the repeater. So as you can see, this is already set for decode. And that's pretty much it for memory channels. Also, you'll note that the model number is BCM-220, 144, 440. In this case, we're a 220. So all these settings are the same no matter what model you're in, so keep that in mind. The VFO Operation, don't mind that in terms of this because we're dealing with the memory channel. All you really need to be mindful of is this COS setting so that we decode, or we set the COS output signal on the 15 pin connector so that it goes low when it decodes a valid signal. So click OK and then you want to write this back to the radio, COM16. And this should set up the radio for linking operation. And when this is completed, we'll then go in and set up the repeater.
Alright, it's closing the COM port, and the radio was written. Okay, gonna go ahead and do the repeater now. I'm in the BCR Repeater Program version 3.0 and I'm gonna create a new profile for this repeater. And I am doing the UHF, I don't want a password. And also, keep in mind I've done a video, and it's on our YouTube channel, where I show you how to create a codeplug for a repeater. I'm gonna quickly go through this. So I want to do a new channel. I am going to call this channel KC0QVT, my call sign. I'm gonna set my remote code for 1234. KC0QVT is my Broadcast ID. Broadcast interval of 10 minutes. Update rate, I don't want this updating unless there's been activity. So my receive frequency is gonna be 449.95, and well, we'll change this here in a minute. This is what's important for a link system. The COS settings in my case are gonna be on a valid signal, and I'll go back to this in a moment, but let me get the channel set up and then I'm gonna explain that. I'm then gonna put a power setting, I want this to do 40 watts, and I believe previously I determined that 40 watts, a power level of 535, will get me 40 watts. PreEmphasis needs to be on. I'll set a TX Timeout timer of 360, or six minutes. No courtesy tone delay. Cooling fan, TX only, I'm gonna click OK. Now, I'm gonna right-click here and create a new user. And I'm going to do a 100 hertz PL tone. So I'm going to set that up. I want 100 hertz on the transmit. Hold time, I like about a second. Don't want a tone in the tail. Tone-in-tail basically means the PL tone is present during the hang time. No courtesy tone. So I'm gonna click that. So this repeater is set up to transmit and receive a PL tone of 100 hertz on the frequency pair 444.95 with a plus five megahertz offset. So what's key for a link radio is this, the COS settings. What's gonna happen is that when this repeater receives 100 hertz PL tone, it's going to assert pin 17 by pulling it low. That's going to be set to the PTT input of the link radio. So pin 17 out of the accessory connector will go low on a valid decode of 100 hertz, and that's what happens here when you check that radio button. And also note that the channel spacing is 25 kilohertz, because we are on an amateur radio pair and we are doing analog operation. Okay, so that's what's key is the COS settings. So I am going to click OK and this will show you the PL tone and then you've got the summary of the station as well. So I'm gonna go ahead and write that to the repeater and as we determined, it's COM16. So I'm gonna go ahead and click OK. And this is dumping the information into the repeater. It dumps the receive module first, and then it dumps the transmit module. All right, that's how you set up the repeater, so now I'll go back over and show you the performance of this.
I've gone into the computer and I've put the programming setups that I've created and I've put them into the repeater and I've also put them into the radio. Just to review, I've built this custom cable, it's also connected to the accessory port of the link radio, as well as to the accessory port of the repeater. The key point is that there's a couple of de-emphasis filters put in line in the cable, and that's a resister and a capacitor. Just to give you some details on that, the audio coming out of the link radio is raw discriminator from the FMD modulator chip. So it's baseband audio, it's got no filtering. So we need to a de-emphasis filter on that prior to actually sending it in to the input, the TX audio input of the repeater. And likewise, the repeater has discriminator audio coming off of it, and this makes the audio of the transmission sound a lot better, so you definitely need these de-emphasis filters built into the cable, and that's what's outlined here, and it's got the respective values that you need to choose. And we also, by the way, have this cable available on our website if you want to purchase that. So I'm gonna demonstrate here real quick a call as received by the 220 link, and it'll cause the repeater to transmit and hopefully there won't be a whole lot of feedback here.
You can see here that the 220 link is keyed up and the repeater is transmitting. Check one, two. Now I've got the audio on the link, I'm gonna turn that down. Check, check. Okay, so the audio coming out is from KC0QVT. The audio coming out is on the repeater, as received by the AnyTone. So now I'm gonna key up the repeater, and as you can see, it's receiving, validating, and transmitting PL tone 100. And the link radio is now keyed up. Check one, two, one, two, check. I'm picking it up on the 220 link. So what you see here is a nice 220 link keying up a UHF machine and a UHF repeater keying up a 220 link, that would then cause another remote station to receive and then key up that repeater. So this is a nice way to do site linking. I hope this helps explain this arrangement. The programming is there, the arrangement, the cable, and you can build a nice 220, or actually, any kind of a link system. It doesn't necessarily have to be, you can use if you have a two meter machine and you want to do 440 links. But there's a lot of versatility there, and these BCM radios are excellent choices for link radios. They've got the power in the case of the BCM 220 we do 30 watts, the 144 we do 50 watts as a max, and the UHF, or the 70 centimeter does 40 watts. Hope that helps you guys. Let me know in the comment section below if you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them. Anyway, thank you so much for watching, 73.
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