• [KB6NU] W8SRC repeater features unique IDs and announcements

    From KB6NU via rec.radio.amateur.moderat@21:1/5 to All on Wed Dec 22 04:56:14 2021
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    KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog

    W8SRC repeater features unique IDs and announcements

    Posted: 21 Dec 2021 07:54 PM PST https://www.kb6nu.com/w8src-repeater-features-unique-ids-and-announcements/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

    The W8SRC UHF repeater in Dexter, MI may not have the best coverage in the world (although it does well for its terrain), but it can be a lot of fun
    to use for those in the area.  It has a number of features including Yaesu System Fusion, a NOAA Weather Radio alert receiver, and an HF/VHF/UHF
    remote base.  However, one of the most interesting features of this
    repeater, in my opinion, is its vast number of IDs and announcements.  In fact, you can ragchew for many hours on the system and not hear the same ID twice!

    The piece of equipment responsible for generating these announcements is
    the repeater’s controller.  The first repeater controller I used had numerous issues over the years, including one instance where it locked up
    my repeater in transmit mode and never identified.  Because of this, I
    figured that it was time for an upgrade.  Of course, I could have used my repeater’s internal controller (I use the Yaesu DR-1X repeater); however, I believe that a repeater should be an information source as opposed to
    having only a CW ID.  I received the S-COM 7330 controller as an early Christmas gift from my family in 2019.

    With the help of Bryan, KC8LMI, and his father, Bruce, KA8ZXX, I quickly learned the programming language of the S-COM controller and started to
    create many messages on it before it hit the airwaves.  Bryan used scripts from Kim, WA8KIM (who uses an extremely similar setup to mine, and whose
    entire script file is available on his website , and I decided to expand
    the number of IDs and announcements on the repeater in the years that
    followed.  These announcements were put together by combining individual
    words out of a 1,600+ word vocabulary list recorded by broadcast radio voiceover Sean Caldwell, N4VOX.  Click the play button below to hear
    examples of these announcements.
    document.createElement('audio'); https://www.kb6nu.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/W8SRC-Repeater-Sample-12-15-19.mp3

    One day in the fall of 2021, my great friend Chad Beach, W9GGA asked me
    about my opinions on the 7330 compared to my older controller.  I told him that the only thing I missed about my old controller was the fact that it
    had the ability to record custom announcements via a DVR (to which I would record the messages over the air).  This allowed me to implement a number
    of the IDs that many other broadcast radio voiceovers have recorded for me
    (Dan made a post a few years back on his favorites of these IDs), and I
    missed hearing these voices on my repeater for nearly two years.  I saw in
    the 7330 manual that it can do the same thing using a different
    process.  However, I was unaware of a piece of equipment I needed to make
    this work, so Chad suggested that I contact S-COM to find out.

    With the 7330, I needed to take my existing .mp3 and .wav files and convert them to the .ulaw raw file format with an 8 kHz sample rate using
    Audacity.  While I did that on the day after Thanksgiving, I edited down
    some of the dry files and amplified the levels to those similar to Sean’s vocabulary.  I even added Kim’s free-to-use custom vocabulary word files that Sean recorded for him in 2015.  Because I am a broadcast radio
    enthusiast myself (I host a morning show on my own Part 15 compliant FM
    radio station in Ann Arbor, of which Chad is the voiceover), this was a relatively straightforward procedure for me.  I even recorded an ID myself
    in the process.

    As I converted and edited the files, I posed my question to the S-COM email list, and a number of 7330 users from across the country were kind enough
    to help me with my issue.  They told me that the utility I needed was
    called BuildSpeechLib.exe and can be found on the latest firmware package
    via the S-COM website.  Because I am entirely a Mac user, though, I had to learn some basic Windows programming before I proceeded.  Believe it or
    not, the S-COM manual helped me with this process (specifically on how to create a directory)!

    After transferring all of my raw files from my Mac to my mom’s PC, I used BuildSpeechLib to generate a single file from all the raw files (called CustomAudioLib.bin).  At first, I used a different filename than suggested
    on the manual, which didn’t work, so I changed the name and it did work.  I then used a terminal emulator called TeraTerm (through which I program all
    the messages into my controller) to store the messages into the
    controller’s memory.

    I was a little confused on the instructions to do so; however, they made
    sense to me as I read the manual.  I was shocked to find out, however, that
    it took a few hours to load it when it should take only a half hour at
    most.  I finally pressed the delete key to cancel, and I tried seemingly
    every troubleshooting resort possible.  I even powered off the repeater for
    a few minutes to see if it made a difference.  Nothing seemed to work
    until I found out that my CustomAudioLib file that the controller generated
    was empty!  After re-running BuildSpeechLib to generate a new
    CustomAudioLib with all my files in it, I tried TeraTerm again (which, by
    the way, uses a similar process when storing my programming onto the PC),
    and it took no more than eight and a half minutes to load into the

    I decided to hit the hay at that point, and I started to program the
    messages into the controller the next morning.  Because I had a boatload of IDs already programmed into the 7330, I replaced some of Sean’s vocabulary announcements with my custom recorded ones, creating a nice balance between
    the two types of messages.  I also implemented the words “Stuart” and “Fusion” from Kim’s custom list into some more vocabulary messages in the process (I first knew Kim in 2015 and he was kind enough to include my name
    in his list).  I immediately noticed that the audio quality is
    significantly better than a recorded DVR track on my old controller!

    After loading the messages into the controller and storing the
    configuration into the PC, I decided to make a YouTube video (as a
    follow-up to my first video that showcases the controller) in case there
    are others out there who are struggling to get custom files into their 7330 controller.  In addition, I recorded all the messages that I could get with
    an old RadioShack handheld scanner and a Sony handheld recorder, editing
    the recording with Audacity.  I hope you enjoy the recording as much as I enjoyed hearing the custom IDs for the first time!

    The post W8SRC repeater features unique IDs and announcements appeared
    first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

    This posting includes a media file: https://www.kb6nu.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/W8SRC-Repeater-Sample-12-15-19.mp3

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