The GB7EC East Coast Solar powered digital repeater was installed at the hilltop site above Fettercairn, north-west of Laurencekirk in Aberdeenshire on Sunday 16th of August 2020.
It is intended to act as an experimental off-grid solar powered repeater with extensive remote control facilities over and above the mandatory remote close down requirements.
The repeater and ancillary equipment will be dependent on it's own self contained power sources it may be reduced in power or be restricted in modes or occasionally switched off at times to allow recharging depending on usage demands and environmental conditions.
It will have a range of energy saving features controlled by a telemetry link, which will also relay environmental data from the site.

GB7EC MAP Coverage is anticipated to be from Stonehaven in the North, South to Dundee and East to Forfar.
The main A90 road should have coverage for mobile stations from Tinkletap to Cookney a distance of approx.75km

It provides a slight overlap with the GB7DD DMR/NXDN digital repeater in Dundee and the Aberdeen digital repeater.

Due to it's exposed position a range of protective features that have been tested with the GB3ED and GB7EE repeaters will be incorporated in to the RF design and hardware implementation to make it more reliable and reduce the need for hands on maintenance.

From the first 5 hours of operation, the preliminary reports show coverage to be consistent with the prediction plots for mobile stations, however there have been reports of workable coverage beyond the plotted area by well-equipped mobile and home base stations.

We hope the experience of operating the repeater and the information gained will inform the construction of low cost , high performance digital repeaters that can be deployed in locations with minimum infrastructure to benefit the amateur community.
The work of Shane MM6SSI and Jack MM6WEB was very much appreciated on the day of installation. Access to the site is a real challenge and even more so when the hardware has to be moved unassisted over open very wet moor land, so hard manual labour all round was the order of the day.
Behind the scenes work makes all these ventures possible. The contribution in particular of technical expertise from Ally 2M0PMR, problem solving and specific hardware provision from Roy GM3SRV, IP connectivity expertise and resources from Graham 2M0IJU and general encouragement and logistic support from Martin MM0DUN have all played a big part in getting the repeater operational.
Shane MM6SSI in particular has contributed throughout the project from his initial "Why can't we".. enthusiasm, and in particular to the electrical engineering and installation of the bespoke renewable energy system and IP linking.
We anticipate that our ongoing links with commercial RF enterprise and an academic institution will expand the pool of knowledge to support the venture.
The repeater will operate exclusively in DMR mode during the initial trial period.
In order to establish the power usage pattern and to conserve energy the repeater will have no static talk groups enabled on either slot.
The repeater will be "put to bed at 11.30 pm and woken up again at 8am" to allow 2 hours of solar charging with no demand beforeswitch on.
Depending on the energy used it may have occasional periods of being switched off during the 11.00 hrs to 15.00 hrs period in order to allow battery recharging.
Coverage reports are particularly welcome for this repeater and can be sent to or posted on the DMR Scotland FB page.
Thanks to Colin GM8LBC for his patience and guidance in getting this experimental repeater licenced.
It's now up to the users to use it !
Allister GM7RYR - all about UK amateur radio repeaters
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