email - vk2yld at


Kurri Kurri,

New South Wales



LEDs connected to board

New M120 (don't forget fan!)

The new look node...

The rear panel...


Radio, new BNC and rebuilt... again...

Inside the case. The green glow is the SAS card.

The drive bay.  8x1Tb SATA disks. 1x 1Tb on the floor and 3x red LED fans.

Right side of case. Custom power cables and SAS signal cables 2x 4Ch

Left side of case. Panels on and ready for use

Right side of case. ready to have the panels put on.

The "Helm"

  The PC was a standard mini-tower with a 1200MHz AMD Athlon CPU, 512Mb RAM and a cheap video card.  Now, as the heat in the 'Territory quietly fried the original machine, and most of its internals, it was time for a rebuild.  The only survivors were the power supply, the V3 IRLP board and the SB-Live audio card.  Everything else was trashed..

  One problem though.. the LEDs on the board are a pain to see when the machine is on, especially if the side of the case is also on.  So, as with everything else around here, I modified it....  I removed the blank panel from the 2nd floppy drive hole and printed up a sticky label to go on it, drilled 6 holes through it and wired 6 LEDs with their dropping resistors from the panel via coloured ribbon back to the IRLP board.  I picked the raw signal from the transistors as I had added dropping resistors so as not to cook the on-board dropping resistors.  Now I have a front panel display and can easily see what goes on with the system...  I may have to change the LEDs to standard intensity though, these high intensity ones, you can read by them! COS-Green, DTMF-Blue and the rest Red..

  Please note.. If you don't have at least the "basic" backup, you're up s**t creek in a barbed wire canoe if the hard disk crapps out!.. As the original 80Gb HDD was unreadable after the meltdown, the backups were required.  You NEED a copy of the security keys (PGP) from the old setup or you will have to generate new ones along with all the grief associated.. not to mention embarrasment of having to explain all this to the IRLP volunteers who will have to re-activate you new setup... 


    BACK UP YOUR NODE - TWICE!... (No Joke!)  VERIFY THE BACKUPS AFTER CREATION then put one copy away safely!


  As the node in its former self was running CentOS-5, I figured it would be better to drag it into the modern times, so the reload process was done with the latest copy of the IRLP CD (Debian-10 Buster), and oh boy, was that another learning curve.  The system is totally different from the CentOS layout, and Debian does not use the old 'init' system so System-D is the new flavour of the build...


  My node also runs this website, so Apache2 is loaded.  It handles the mail with Postfix and mutt and I have samba loaded as well, configured as a NAS for my local network.


  The old FM-900 didn't survive the trip from the Northern Territory very well and only had an RF output of 8w.  Considering it was supposed to be 25w, I think it's sagged a little.  I got a second (or more) hand Motorola GM-300 from Mike, VK8MA to replace it, but this one had an output of 700mW and was deaf!.  Another radio in the junkbox was a Motorola M120, basically a 2 channel version of the GM-300 but it's RF board was faulty so.... The RF board came out of the GM-300 and was dropped into the M120.  A reprogram of the code plug and quick re-alignment of the RF section and the radio is ready to rip.  I hate those miniature UHF connectors that Motorola use, so I replaced that with a BNC while I was in there.

  All tested and working properly again.  I fitted the PC with a 700w power supply and so it can run all the 12v stuff and still have enough left for itself.  I made up a power tail with a molex plug and three anderson power-poles to pick up the 12v rail in the PC.  This will supply the radio and the controller eliminating the need for an additional external supply.


PC Hardware..



  The PC is now a 2nd hand maxi-tower, boasting a resurrected Gigabyte mainboard with an Intel Core-2 Quad Q6600 CPU @ 2.40GHz.  The surviving 700w power supply sits in the bottom and a low-buck Gigabyte (NVidia) graphic card feeds the original monitor.  There are 2 sound cards, an SB-Live and an Audigy-2, and the on-board audio is disabled in BIOS.  The SB-Live feeds the node radio, and the Audigy-2 feeds my FM transmitter as a private LPON radio station.  The two audio feeds are totally separate and operate independantly.  I have written a radio station control script to handle that task independantly.

  The common-mode choke you see in the bottom of the case is on the 12v rail that feeds out of the back to an Anderson power-pole that feeds the juice to the radio and the controller.  The other connector feeds the radio cooling fan and is hard-connected to the IRLP board AUX-3 FET.  The old LEDs are re-mounted in the front panel along with the label from the old machine.

  As this PC is also the home network NAS, I have added some storage...  A SAS controller with 8x 1Tb disks in RAID-5 and another 1Tb for the system with a 3Tb in a caddy for the nightly backup.  The disk light in the case is now 2-colour as I mounted an additional LED with the standard one, and now shows orange for the motherboard SATA controller and blue for the SAS controller.

The 'backup for reinstall' script was run on a weekly cron, so the required backup was on the backup disk  The OS loaded, and a software RAID-5 array built and mounted to the file system, then the IRLP reloaded and we are back in business..  Then I added the Apache web server, Postfix mailman,  Dovecot imap server, the radio station controller and samba for the windoze shares...  All the shares etc are on the raid array, so it can tollerate a disk failure, and with recycled disks this is very likely!!  The disk you see bolted to the bottom of the case holds the OS and the server constructs, all of which are backed up by 'rsync' to the removable disk caddy in the front panel (below the DVD burner) with a 3Tb disk installed and swapped out month about.

Building IRLP Node 6732