The Yaesu DR-2XE Digital/Analogue 144/430MHz Repeater

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Tim Kirby G4VXE completes his look at Yaesu’s System Fusion by describing the DR-2XE repeater capabilities.

The Yaesu DR-2XE Digital/Analogue 144/430MHz Repeater

Tim Kirby G4VXE, Willowside, Bow Bank, Longworth OX13 5ER

E-mail: [email protected]

 

Tim Kirby G4VXE completes his look at Yaesu’s System Fusion by describing the DR-2XE repeater capabilities.

 

Readers who have been with us for the last two months will know that we have been revisiting Yaesu’s System Fusion, which encompasses both analogue (FM) and digital (C4FM) communications. When I visited Karl Brazier at Yaesu UK headquarters in Winchester, he had very kindly set up a complete demonstration of a Fusion system, including two DR-2X repeaters.

Although I cannot remember us reviewing a repeater in the pages of PW before, we all thought that readers might find it interesting to have an overview of the capabilities of these repeaters and perhaps gain some insight as to what goes on in the control room at your local repeater site. We also hope that repeater groups who either have the earlier Yaesu DR-1XE repeaters or those that are considering moving to a Fusion repeater will find this overview of some interest.

Normally in a review, I’d include some details about the manufacturer’s claims that we can use as a baseline to look at the equipment. However, in this brief overview, I’ll refer readers to the Yaesu website page that covers the DR-2XE if you want to look at this information in detail:

https://tinyurl.com/y8xk7ec4

I have, however, included some basic specifications (from Yaesu) in the sidebar.

 

Design Objectives for the DR-2XE Repeater

The DR-2XE was introduced in August 2017 and included features that could not be found in the DR-1XE repeater by virtue of hardware or software limitations. One of the prime objectives for the new repeater was the ability to link repeaters without recourse to the internet.

The DR-2XE also includes support for the Digital Group ID (DGID) and Digital Personal ID (DPID) functionality that I described in the Revisiting Yaesu’s System Fusion article (January 2019). I said, “It allows different radios to be set up with different DGIDs (there’s a range of values from 00 to 99). Radios set with the same DGIDs can hear each other, but radios with a different DGID, on the same frequency will not hear the voice traffic, although of course, the S-meter will indicate a signal”. In repeater terms, we might set a particular DGID based on geographical location, or as is practised in the USA, perhaps a club.

Digital Personal ID is used to identify a particular radio, which allows control operations of a repeater to be tied down to specific operators and indeed radios.

 

Getting to know the DR-2XE

The DR-2XE is a nicely packaged unit ready to fit in a 19in rack. It is a dual-band unit, capable of cross-band operation as well as dual receive. Like other Fusion equipment, it is fitted with Automatic Mode Select (AMS), so it is capable of detecting what type of signal it is receiving − FM, Digital Voice (Narrow) or Digital Voice (Wide) or Data Mode − and switching accordingly. Some repeater groups, for a variety of reasons, have opted to lock down the AMS capability and restrict the repeater to ‘just analogue’ or ‘just digital’.

The repeater has three power levels, 5W, 20W and 50W. It has protection so that if the temperature rises unacceptably, it will fall back to a lower power level. The front panel has a touch display that looks distinctly like the FTM-400 rig’s display, although of, course, there are many differences in the menu structure.

 

The Ins and Outs – the Connection Possibilities of the DR-2XE

The repeater has a microphone connector and a loudspeaker so you could, should you wish, use the DR-2XE as a base station and, indeed, some people have done just that. Normally, however, the microphone and speaker would be used when setting up or testing the repeater. There is an Accessory socket on the back that allows for connection of an HRI-200 interface box, which enables Wires-X connectivity (WIRES-X was described in the Revisiting System Fusion article) to be added directly. With the DR-1XE this was not possible, unless the firmware for the DR-1XE was the later 1.10Q version, so an external node station was needed to add WIRES-X to a repeater. Actually, in practice, this is probably still a good solution for most repeater groups, allowing for easier control of the Wires-X node and software.

There are two transmit and two receive antenna connectors on the repeater (N types). This causes some confusion. The repeater is capable of listening on two separate receive frequencies. Generally, this will be the repeater input but the second receive frequency could be used as a control channel to send codes in order to administer and configure the repeater. The repeater cannot transmit on both transmit antennas simultaneously but can be configured as required, to transmit on antenna A or antenna B.

If you have an existing repeater controller, you can connect this through the 15-pin connector on the back panel – though you’ll need to look carefully at the compatibility and specifications − but you’re not able to use the 15-pin connector if you have the LAN-01A installed.

Most importantly, there is an option to add a local area network (LAN) card, the LAN-01A. This adds a connector for an RJ-45 networking cable, providing the ability to interlink the repeater with other repeaters, via TCP/IP networking. This may be through the internet but equally, it could be via a private network, where resilience is required. Or, alternatively, it would be very possible to have the repeater connected through a router to another repeater across the internet. However, if the internet link fails, then traffic could be redirected via another route – perhaps using a point-to-point RF connection.

The DR-2XE uses Internet-Linked Multi-Site Repeater System (IMRS for short) to communicate with other repeaters across the TCP/IP connection, so you’ll need to have installed the optional LAN-01A. If you would like to learn more about how to set up the IMRS connections, then you can find the documentation at:

https://tinyurl.com/ycoo75st

In analogue mode, the repeater has full CTCSS, DCS encoding and decoding capabilities as well as the ability to provide tone access. Yes, good old 1750Hz!

The repeater is capable of identifying by means of a Morse or voice ID as preferred. There is also the capability for message recording and playback in both analogue and digital modes, which could be used, where licensing allows, for news type items.

Emergency backup power switching is built in as standard, so that if the mains power fails, the repeater can switch over onto a backup battery.

A more detailed description of how to set up the DR-2XE is beyond the scope of this overview article. However, Yaesu have provided some excellent webinars on how to set up the repeater and some of the more detailed functionality. If you would like to know more, have a look at:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCSK4JvFtWc

for the basic setup and:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=vciN6uH90X8

if you would like to learn more about IMRS and the implementation of DGID. There’s a fair bit of detail there, but if you are involved in digital repeaters, particularly Fusion ones, I think you will find this very interesting.

 

Conclusion

The DR-2XE is the latest evolution of System Fusion repeaters from Yaesu. It builds on the functionality provided with the DR-1XE, specifically in terms of dual-band, dual-receive capability and with the introduction of DGID and IMRS, allowing a fairly rich capability of networking multiple Fusion repeaters together. Repeater groups who are interested in upgrading from their existing DR-1X repeaters to a DR-2XE should contact Karl Brazier at Yaesu UK in the first instance to see what options there may be.

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The DR-2XE costs £1249.95 and is widely available from amateur radio retailers. My grateful thanks to Karl at Yaesu for his demonstration and readiness to answer all my questions.

 

 

PW

 

Sidebar

 

DR-2X/XE Specifications (as supplied)

•           Frequency range: 144 to 148MHz, 430 to 45MHz

•           Channel steps: 5/6.25kHz

•           Emission type: F1D, F2D, F3E, F7W

•           Frequency stability: ±2.5 ppm (−4°F to +140°F (−20°C to +60°C))

•           Antenna impedance: 50Ω

•           Supply Voltage: AC 100 to 240V, DC 11.7 to 15.8V, negative ground

 

Current consumption:

•           1.5A (Receive)

•           13A (50W TX, 144MHz band)

•           14A (50W TX, 430MHz band)

•           Operating temperature: −4°F to +140°F (−20°C to +60°C)

•           Dimensions: 19″(W) × 3.5″(H) × 15″(D)

•           Weight: 22.05lbs (10kg) approximately

 

Transmitter

•           RF power output: 50/20/5W

•           Modulation type: F1D, F2D, F3E Variable Reactance Modulation, F7W 4FSK (C4FM)

•           Spurious emission: At least 60dB below

 

Receiver

•           Circuit type: Double conversion superheterodyne

•           Intermediate frequencies: 1st: 47.25MHz, 2nd: 450kHz

•           Receiver sensitivity: 0.3µV (Digital 2m/70cm) BER 1%, 0.2µV (FM 2m/70cm) 12dB SINARD

•           Adjacent Channel Selectivity: Better than 65dB TYP (20kHz offset)

•           Selectivity FM 12kHz/35kHz (−6dB/−60dB)

•           Intermodulation: Better than 65dB TYP (20/40kHz offset)

•           Audio output: 4W (4Ω, THD 10%, 13.8V; internal speaker)

 

This article was featured in the March 2019 issue of Practical wireless