Allstar voting/Simulcast

We’ve been using Poor Man’s voting with a PL tone that hasn’t been very effective. So we’re going to use Allstar and its voting capabilities. I know fully well that Allstar can be used to create a very capable controller but we’re going to connect it to our RC210’s. We’re going to do this at three sites. We will be using a pi3 to handle the voting and from there I have an RTCM that I assume I will simply interface to the controller. I would need two more. As I understand it Micro-Node is no longer accepting new orders. Many thanks to him for his years of service to the ham community.

At any rate, is this the preferred method of connection? I know that I can take a FOB and modify it but I’m kind of a perfectionist. What is the best way to interface the pi3 to the controller?

The only thing I’m going to do it each side is set them up so that they provide weather and the FIPS code activation at that repeater location in a manner that does not send it across the entire network. But we’re going to keep it simple other than that. Of course I know that I’m going to need GPS to lock the transmitters and fortunately our provider has 5.8 GHz connectivity between sites. That’ll give us low latency. Any recommendation on an inexpensive GPS module?

What are some other considerations I should have? This will be our first real deployment of AllStar. We want Allstar/IRLP/EchoLink running across the network. I’m assuming that we can do this with one Pi3? I’m also assuming that a daemon runs separately for each service? We will be connected to a IRLP conference channel full time that only an admin can change.

The only thing other than voting that we’re going to do is set up weather and FIPS code activation pertinent to the site so that it doesn’t go across the entire network. We will do a phone patch using Vonage and the built-in phone patch on the RC210. They all have RTC’s and audio delays.

To do voting, the RTCM needs to be directly connected to the receiver’s discriminator output. The discriminator signal can not be processed, equalized or delayed before it reaches the RTCM.

···

On Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 8:42 AM K6ECS via AllStarLink Discussion Groups <noreply@community.allstarlink.org> wrote:

We’ve been using Poor Man’s voting with a PL tone that hasn’t been very effective. So we’re going to use Allstar and its voting capabilities. I know fully well that Allstar can be used to create a very capable controller but we’re going to connect it to our RC210’s. We’re going to do this at three sites. We will be using a pi3 to handle the voting and from there I have an RTCM that I assume I will simply interface to the controller. I would need two more. As I understand it Micro-Node is no longer accepting new orders. Many thanks to him for his years of service to the ham community.

At any rate, is this the preferred method of connection? I know that I can take a FOB and modify it but I’m kind of a perfectionist. What is the best way to interface the pi3 to the controller?

The only thing I’m going to do it each side is set them up so that they provide weather and the FIPS code activation at that repeater location in a manner that does not send it across the entire network. But we’re going to keep it simple other than that. Of course I know that I’m going to need GPS to lock the transmitters and fortunately our provider has 5.8 GHz connectivity between sites. That’ll give us low latency. Any recommendation on an inexpensive GPS module?

What are some other considerations I should have? This will be our first real deployment of AllStar. We want Allstar/IRLP/EchoLink running across the network. I’m assuming that we can do this with one Pi3? I’m also assuming that a daemon runs separately for each service? We will be connected to a IRLP conference channel full time that only an admin can change.

The only thing other than voting that we’re going to do is set up weather and FIPS code activation pertinent to the site so that it doesn’t go across the entire network. We will do a phone patch using Vonage and the built-in phone patch on the RC210. They all have RTC’s and audio delays.


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For a GPS, look at the Garmin GPS18X LVC
Rick

Okay. So then obviously no squelch and no PL?

Excellent! Thank you. I’m guessing that that attaches to the pi 3? This is all new to me I just know what I want but getting there means I have to ask a few questions. I hope you all will bear with me.

The discriminator audio is always on, not squelched. The squelch is done in software in the RTCM as it listens to the discriminator noise. The voter software also determines the signal quieting to pick the receiver with the best quieting and re-evaluates that every 20ms (by default). You can read about it here.
If CTCSS (PL) is desired then either a logic level output of the receiver that indicates if PL is detected, needs to be connected to the PL input of the RTCM, or a separate PL decoder would be needed to output the logic level to the RTCM.

Chuck

···

On Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 11:45 PM K6ECS via AllStarLink Discussion Groups <noreply@community.allstarlink.org> wrote:

Okay. So then obviously no squelch and no PL?


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Previous Replies

KR8T
June 29

For a GPS, look at the Garmin GPS18X LVC
Rick

To do voting, the RTCM needs to be directly connected to the receiver’s discriminator output. The discriminator signal can not be processed, equalized or delayed before it reaches the RTCM.

··· (click for more details)

We’ve been using Poor Man’s voting with a PL tone that hasn’t been very effective. So we’re going to use Allstar and its voting capabilities. I know fully well that Allstar can be used to create a very capable controller but we’re going to connect it to our RC210’s. We’re going to do this at three sites. We will be using a pi3 to handle the voting and from there I have an RTCM that I assume I will simply interface to the controller. I would need two more. As I understand it Micro-Node is no longer accepting new orders. Many thanks to him for his years of service to the ham community.

At any rate, is this the preferred method of connection? I know that I can take a FOB and modify it but I’m kind of a perfectionist. What is the best way to interface the pi3 to the controller?

The only thing I’m going to do it each side is set them up so that they provide weather and the FIPS code activation at that repeater location in a manner that does not send it across the entire network. But we’re going to keep it simple other than that. Of course I know that I’m going to need GPS to lock the transmitters and fortunately our provider has 5.8 GHz connectivity between sites. That’ll give us low latency. Any recommendation on an inexpensive GPS module?

What are some other considerations I should have? This will be our first real deployment of AllStar. We want Allstar/IRLP/EchoLink running across the network. I’m assuming that we can do this with one Pi3? I’m also assuming that a daemon runs separately for each service? We will be connected to a IRLP conference channel full time that only an admin can change.

The only thing other than voting that we’re going to do is set up weather and FIPS code activation pertinent to the site so that it doesn’t go across the entire network. We will do a phone patch using Vonage and the built-in phone patch on the RC210. They all have RTC’s and audio delays.


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The RTCM communicates with the pi3 via the ethernet. Voting decisions are made in the pi3. Every receiving site needs an RTCM and a GPS. One receive site can also be a transmit site. If desired, multiple receive sites can be transmit sites, but that requires additional hardware and different GPS to lock all transmitters on exactly the same frequency.

At least one RTCM+GPS needs to be located with the single pi3 with no latency on the ethernet between them. All the other RTCMs+GPSs can be anywhere with Internet connectivity between them and the single pi3.

There is a capability for a backup pi3, but that configuration would need 2 additional RTCMs+GPSs that have no receiver connected to them.
Chuck

···

On Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 11:46 PM K6ECS via AllStarLink Discussion Groups <noreply@community.allstarlink.org> wrote:

Excellent! Thank you. I’m guessing that that attaches to the pi 3? This is all new to me I just know what I want but getting there means I have to ask a few questions. I hope you all will bear with me.


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Previous Replies

Okay. So then obviously no squelch and no PL?

KR8T
June 29

For a GPS, look at the Garmin GPS18X LVC
Rick

To do voting, the RTCM needs to be directly connected to the receiver’s discriminator output. The discriminator signal can not be processed, equalized or delayed before it reaches the RTCM.

··· (click for more details)

We’ve been using Poor Man’s voting with a PL tone that hasn’t been very effective. So we’re going to use Allstar and its voting capabilities. I know fully well that Allstar can be used to create a very capable controller but we’re going to connect it to our RC210’s. We’re going to do this at three sites. We will be using a pi3 to handle the voting and from there I have an RTCM that I assume I will simply interface to the controller. I would need two more. As I understand it Micro-Node is no longer accepting new orders. Many thanks to him for his years of service to the ham community.

At any rate, is this the preferred method of connection? I know that I can take a FOB and modify it but I’m kind of a perfectionist. What is the best way to interface the pi3 to the controller?

The only thing I’m going to do it each side is set them up so that they provide weather and the FIPS code activation at that repeater location in a manner that does not send it across the entire network. But we’re going to keep it simple other than that. Of course I know that I’m going to need GPS to lock the transmitters and fortunately our provider has 5.8 GHz connectivity between sites. That’ll give us low latency. Any recommendation on an inexpensive GPS module?

What are some other considerations I should have? This will be our first real deployment of AllStar. We want Allstar/IRLP/EchoLink running across the network. I’m assuming that we can do this with one Pi3? I’m also assuming that a daemon runs separately for each service? We will be connected to a IRLP conference channel full time that only an admin can change.

The only thing other than voting that we’re going to do is set up weather and FIPS code activation pertinent to the site so that it doesn’t go across the entire network. We will do a phone patch using Vonage and the built-in phone patch on the RC210. They all have RTC’s and audio delays.


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I don’t see this as doable now. We have a IRLP channel in the middle. Each repeater has a separate IRLP node. Each repeater has its own Arcom controller and what you describe suggests to me that we would have to scrap the controllers and build out an AllStar based controller. That’s not what we want.

Although we are on a INTRANET over 5.8 GHz and the chances of going offline are far less than the internet having a burp, each site would be hearing its own receiver and a port on the controller would be feeding in IRLP. I can hear a big howling loop. PL needs to be part of the process. I don’t know of a controller that has the ability to mute for example Port 3 if Port 1 or Port 2 are active and feeding IRLP on Port 3. Maybe I just need to switch to DMR with separate node IDs at each site and let the DMR Network figure it out. No, that won’t work either. Without synchronized transmit it would be nothing but whah, whah, whah at the crossover points. Maybe two receive sites and one transmit site?

The problem is that I only have one frequency pair and our main site can be heard throughout the coverage area and for the most part mobiles can get in but not always HT’s.

Each site needs to be able to go into failover mode or to be dropped out of the group in the event of a localized emergency. There’s no sense having radio traffic from 75 miles away being rebroadcast into an area that may have issues of their own. Only the third site is capable of being on its own pairs because they’re available.

With only one pair in the metro area I don’t see a solution to this. I wouldn’t need voting otherwise. Is there a solution that I’m missing? Maybe a hybrid solution?

Someone will correct me if I’m wrong.

I don’t think you can get true voting using a USB dongle and a Pi 3. If you want to connect different repeaters, you can use an Allstar node on a Pi on each repeater.

For true voting of remote receivers, you need the RTCM. The GPS connects to the RTCM. You’ll need one RTCM with GPS as the master, and an additional RTCM+GPS at each site. The RTCM has to be connected to discriminator audio and use its own squelch circuit so it can determine signal to noise ratio. They will all be synced for timing, so they can switch without hearing different audio delays. The RTCM connects back to the master node. All that is needed on the RTCM side is the master internet address and what port to use at the master site. The master node will be set up to use the voter channel,rxchannel=voter/<node #>.

You can use an RTCM without a GPS to link a repeater or receiver without voting. In this case the audio will be mixed like any other node, but you are not installing an Allstar node. Doing a connection this way doesn’t require any router ports to be opened or forwarded unless you need to telnet in to change settings (usually not needed)

Rick

···

On 6/30/2020 12:46 AM, K6ECS via AllStarLink Discussion Groups wrote:

| operations-admin | operations-admin
June 30 |
| - | - |

Excellent! Thank you. I’m guessing that that attaches to the pi 3? This is all new to me I just know what I want but getting there means I have to ask a few questions. I hope you all will bear with me.


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In Reply To

| KR8T | KR8T
June 29 |
| - | - |

For a GPS, look at the Garmin GPS18X LVC Rick


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There was software to have the same software do all 3, allstarlink, echolink, and IRLP, and it worked very well. It used to be in the distribution but the IRLP people asked for IRLP to be removed from the allstarlink software. There are people out there that have put the IRLP code back in so that everything works together in one system but I don’t know where to find that. Probably someone on here can address that. Maybe a Google search could find it. If you had that combined software then the voting would work for all 3 protocols without using the RC210’s.

···

On Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 7:40 AM K6ECS via AllStarLink Discussion Groups <noreply@community.allstarlink.org> wrote:

I don’t see this as doable now. We have a IRLP channel in the middle. Each repeater has a separate IRLP node. Each repeater has its own Arcom controller and what you describe suggests to me that we would have to scrap the controllers and build out an AllStar based controller. That’s not what we want.

Although we are on a INTRANET over 5.8 GHz and the chances of going offline are far less than the internet having a burp, each site would be hearing its own receiver and a port on the controller would be feeding in IRLP. I can hear a big howling loop. PL needs to be part of the process. I don’t know of a controller that has the ability to mute for example Port 3 if Port 1 or Port 2 are active and feeding IRLP on Port 3. Maybe I just need to switch to DMR with separate node IDs at each site and let the DMR Network figure it out. No, that won’t work either. Without synchronized transmit it would be nothing but whah, whah, whah at the crossover points. Maybe two receive sites and one transmit site?

The problem is that I only have one frequency pair and our main site can be heard throughout the coverage area and for the most part mobiles can get in but not always HT’s.

Each site needs to be able to go into failover mode or to be dropped out of the group in the event of a localized emergency. There’s no sense having radio traffic from 75 miles away being rebroadcast into an area that may have issues of their own. Only the third site is capable of being on its own pairs because they’re available.

With only one pair in the metro area I don’t see a solution to this. I wouldn’t need voting otherwise. Is there a solution that I’m missing? Maybe a hybrid solution?


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Previous Replies

The RTCM communicates with the pi3 via the ethernet. Voting decisions are made in the pi3. Every receiving site needs an RTCM and a GPS. One receive site can also be a transmit site. If desired, multiple receive sites can be transmit sites, but that requires additional hardware and different GPS to lock all transmitters on exactly the same frequency.

At least one RTCM+GPS needs to be located with the single pi3 with no latency on the ethernet between them. All the other RTCMs+GPSs can be anywhere with Internet connectivity between them and the single pi3.

There is a capability for a backup pi3, but that configuration would need 2 additional RTCMs+GPSs that have no receiver connected to them.
Chuck

··· (click for more details)

The discriminator audio is always on, not squelched. The squelch is done in software in the RTCM as it listens to the discriminator noise. The voter software also determines the signal quieting to pick the receiver with the best quieting and re-evaluates that every 20ms (by default). You can read about it here.
If CTCSS (PL) is desired then either a logic level output of the receiver that indicates if PL is detected, needs to be connected to the PL input of the RTCM, or a separate PL decoder would be needed to output the logic level to the RTCM.

Chuck

··· (click for more details)

Excellent! Thank you. I’m guessing that that attaches to the pi 3? This is all new to me I just know what I want but getting there means I have to ask a few questions. I hope you all will bear with me.

Okay. So then obviously no squelch and no PL?

KR8T
June 29

For a GPS, look at the Garmin GPS18X LVC
Rick


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Thanks for the reply,

The IRLP removal was some time ago. I still have the Dell PC that we had done the hack on. Needs a power supply. But I was under the impression that IRLP had consented to IRLP being added to Allstar. Dave Cameron doesn’t want to lose $$$, Bastard! LOL.We have the hardware for Echolink but I guess that means running a separate port and using a PC. Dammnit!

I also realized after I emailed you that you had actually answered the PL question. Once I read your message again I saw that there was a pin to apply the PL output from the repeater to or use a separate decoder. But I guess that also means that the controller need to mute audio once PL has dropped since there is no squelch if pulling from the discriminator. I have no problem with that and prefer it. Users on the other hand can be anal. No kerchunk and they lose it.

I’ll get this figured out.I have serious overlap issues and I’m not an RF engineer. I can guess that if I drop our power to 50 watts that’s only a 3dB difference and won’t matter. But the main repeater is for our mountains and as mobiles drop down into canyons 2000 feet below the repeater it matters! <insert a lot of 4 letter words here> We have 4 major lakes that are 2k or more below the repeater and I can’t afford multiple RX only sites. My dream has been to develop a RV/Travelers nationwide network where people could chit chat and know that at any time they could call for help and be heard. Many/most of the time they would be boondocking it in the woods somewhere. No cell phone coverage.

Thanks for your help. I’ll need to see if I can find a hack for the new distro for adding IRLP back in.