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Portable Repeater Controller
This microprocessor-based Portable Repeater Controller was designed to quickly build a fully functional repeater 'in the field' in less than no time. Due to its universal design it can be used all the way from classroom instruction to 24/7 repeater operation. A fully functional amateur radio repeater system is created by just connecting two radios, an antenna, a power supply and optionally filters.
Examples of the use the Portable Repeater Controller are four amateur radio repeaters PI3ZAZ, PI6ZAZ, PI2GOR and PI6LMS, and a mobile repeater station for mountain rescue activities by the Swiss Alpine Rescue organization.
The Portable Repeater Controller is designed by Leo PA0LEZ (electronics) and Ivo PA1IVO (software) and is made available via Emco Electronics.
- Part of fully functional 24/7 repeaters
- Quick backup for existing repeaters
- Amateur radio shows and events
- Calamity and disaster communications
- Education and training in repeater usage
- Connect almost any receiver or transmitter (3.5 mm stereo connectors)
- CTCSS for RX and TX (only when supported by transceivers)
- 1750 Hz repeater activation
- Internal or external squelch system
- On-the-fly morse code generation for beacon and/or call (reduced volume during voice)
- Time out timer
- On and off timers for pre-scheduled operation
- Temporary PTT block for antenna maintenance
- Remote control test features
- Supply voltage monitoring (7-30 V DC)
- Smart energy saving power regulator, plus selectable LCD time-out
- Electronically adjustable signal levels by four digital potentiometers
- Real-time ADC audio level reading
- AUX connector for extra set of remote buttons
- Two multi-function I/O pins for remote controlled digital outputs or status info
- Field serviceable by through-hole PCB design
- User upgradable firmware (with free Windows software tool)
- 5V TTL UART interfacing (e.g. PC, laptop or Raspberry Pi)
- Open communication protocol for configuration and control
- Free Windows software for monitoring and configuration
Configurability and remote control
Almost all repeater controller settings are user configurable, which enables repeater builders to create a fully tailor-made system, based on the needs, and of course, personal taste:
Configuration settings can be made in four different ways, where the combination of these four configuration options creates a flexible and versatile system:
- Up to five different user-programmable calls (max. 15 characters, spaces allowed)
- Beacon and call speed (WPM), tone (Hz) and interval (minutes), enabled/disabled
- Roger beep tone (Hz), character, enabled/disabled
- CTCSS tone RX and/or TX (67.0 – 123.0 Hz), enabled/disabled
- 1750 Hz repeater activation, enabled/disabled
- Selectable configurability per RX channel (main or sub)
- And many more configuration items …
- With a PC connected via the serial interface. By storing different configurations on a PC, different repeater configurations can be activated with just a few mouse clicks.
- DTMF remote control via the main receiver input.
- DMTF remote control via a sub-band receiver input, creating a private configuration channel. Up to four controllers are addressable and can be connected to a single command receiver.
- Locally on the controller, without any additional equipment, by using the LCD and the high quality navigation buttons. In this way, last minutes changes are possible anywhere, anytime.
PCB width x height: 162.8 x 75 mm. See also the PCB Mounting details document.
Please check your local amateur radio regulations if (additional) licences are required to set up your repeater system.
System integration example
We are happy to share our extensive knowlegde about building repeater systems with you. Therefore, Emco Electronics offers free initial integration support to help setting up your (portable) repeater system with a Portable Repeater Controller (the initial integration support consists of e-mail correspondation in English or Dutch).
- PCB Mounting Details (pdf) to build the Portable Repeater Controller PCB on a front panel. Dimensions in mm.
The software in the Portable Repeater Controller (PRC) is called the firmware. When a new version of this firmware becomes available, the PRC can be upgraded. Read chapter 10.1 of the instruction manual for all details.
- Free PRC Firmware Updater Software (zip file).
- The latest firmware to download for owners of a Portable Repeater Controller from Emco Electronics: hex file version 2.0 (Save As PortableRepeaterController_2.0.hex).
- Previous firmware version 1.4 is also still available (Save As PortableRepeaterController_1.4.hex).
The PRC Manager is free Windows software for remote configuration and monitoring of the Portable Repeater Controller. Read chapter 10.2 of the instruction manual for all details.
Part Numbers and Prices
Additional information about these part numbers:
- The PRC-1 (Portable Repeater Controller (buttons included, no housing)) is a ready build and tested PCB with the latest firmware. It is a fully functional portable repeater controller, including an lcd and buttons, only without the PRC-HOUSING (Pre-drilled/milled housing for PRC-1). The PCB can be mounted by using the four 3mm mounting holes in the PCB.
- The PRC-HOUSING (Pre-drilled/milled housing for PRC-1) is a 1455K1601 Hammond enclosure. It has pre-drilled/milled holes that fits the PRC-1 PCB and comes with functional texts for all external connectors.
- The PRC-SER (USB serial cable) connects with a special 3.5 stereo plug to the PRC-1 (5 Volt TTL) and with a standard USB plug to your PC or laptop. This cable contains FTDI serial communication chip. No extra soldering required!
- The PRC-BTN (Set of extra buttons) is an extra set on high-quality navigation buttons (up/down/left/right/OK), the same as already mounted on the PRC-1 PCB. This extra set of buttons is mounted on a small PCB. Via de AUX connector, these buttons can be connected to the PRC-1 PCB which creates an extra interface (for example on the outside of a transparent box that carries a mobile repeater).
- All prices including 21% VAT. Shipping costs not included.
Figure 1: Front view of the PCB with the LCD and navigation buttons (PRC-1)
Figure 2: Component view of the PCB with main microcontroller (PRC-1)
Figure 3: Portable repeater controller (PRC-1) in housing (PRC-HOUSING)
Figure 4: USB serial cable (PRC-SER) and an extra set of buttons (PRC-BTN)
Figure 6: Portable repeater controller (PRC-1) as part of a mobile repeater box (picture taken at HAM RADIO 2017)