At the HARC meeting this week, their members voted to disconnect our loaned MARC repeater from the network for a limited time. Listening to them on air, a few reasons for this was heard, which include that some don’t want to listen to MARC’s conversations, don’t like the fact that hams world wide can connect to the network via Echolink, and also to improve the voice quality.
Unfortunately we did have an incident were 2 hams from the States connected via Echolink and proceeded to chat to each other. They sounded inebriated and did not use good operating procedures, like not using call signs on their overs. This did not create a good first impression of the linked network, even though there are mechanisms in place to disconnect unwanted visitors.
There was also packet loss at times, which obviously can happen when repeaters are linked via the internet. But the main reason for the “poor” audio was the narrow deviation of the repeater. Some could not connect with good signals to the repeater as before with their old radios.
The repeater was disconnected from the network on 23 March and is once again operating in stand-alone mode. It was also set to wide deviation, which results in much improved audio, similar to the old Storno repeater, when it was still working well.
Unfortunately, many are attributing this improved audio to the fact that the repeater is now disconnected from the network, and not because of the wide setting on the repeater.
We will have to wait and see what their decision will be at the end of this trial period while their repeater is operating in stand-alone mode, and evaluate our options afterwards. Members from MARC would love the repeater to be reconnected again in the future as they enjoy chats there with their friends in Durban, and to be able to listen in to their great evening nets.