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Motorola Quantar Repeater Controller!

prcguy

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I just discovered and purchased a tiny repeater controller for Quantars that plugs into the 50 pin back plane connector and gives you all kinds of remote control features like repeater disable, change channels, courtesy beeps, etc. It also uses the original repeat audio path inside the repeater retaining all your levels and that Motorola sound. Best part is its only $109.

The nice thing about being able to change channels is you can program your same frequency in a bunch of channels but with different PL or DPL or carrier squelch or dual mode or analog only, basically 15 different channels of changes called up remotely with an over the air DTMF command and the board mutes DTMF in the repeat path. There are several courtesy beeps and acknowledgment beeps available and the default courtesy beep is a faithful reproduction of the NASA beep we've all heard on space missions. My repeater users now love that beep.

The design, implementation, documentation and build quality are absolutely top notch. Here is a link to the controller and I just ordered another one just now. I love these things! QUANTAR External Control Module REV 1.1
 

prcguy

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There is one catch with that and I experienced it and verified with the mfr. If you make a channel that is P25 only then the repeater is not capable of demodulating audio and sending it back to the controller for DTMF decode. The repeater will be stuck on that channel and you would have to put your hands on it to change channels again. The mfr recommended if you want a P25 only channel make it dual mode with a DPL or an unusual setup where nobody would happen upon it in analog mode. Then you will have a back door in when you want to command something else via DTMF. Otherwise this little controller rocks.

Before I found this I was considering other brands of controllers which have their own repeat audio path and you loose the Motorola squelch and audio characteristics. I have a friend with an aging repeater that's not working very well and now I'm going to set up and donate a Quantar to freshen up the system and add P25. Can't wait to receive the next controller and get it all up on the mountain top. And maybe shop for another Quantar.

And another thing, I had a nice chat with one of the guys at the company and learned they have a substantial investment in precision cable making equipment. If you are building out a radio system and need large quantities of custom RF cables and jumpers that are thoroughly swept and tested, this company has the ability to do this very quickly.

Thanks for sharing. Ordering one for our Quantar. I like the ability to channel steer. This makes it easy for us to enable "P25 only" mode and go back to mixed/analog when desired. Price is good too!
 
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PACNWDude

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Oct 15, 2012
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Great find, this may breathe new life into some older Quantars out there. I currently have almost sixty of them in storage where I work now, and have been building four channel systems for remote sites. This provides a lot more capability and options.
 

prcguy

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You can ship a few Quantars here for storage, I will take good care of them!

Great find, this may breathe new life into some older Quantars out there. I currently have almost sixty of them in storage where I work now, and have been building four channel systems for remote sites. This provides a lot more capability and options.
 

vagrant

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Fantastic! The low cost, ease of installation and supported features are nice....and I just asked a buddy about the device and he said got one in trade from someone there at Northcomm a while back. Man, I am out of the loop. I guess we'll install at least one of them on the club Quantar and I'll save the other when I find a Quantar for myself.
 

prcguy

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Apparently you didn't see the 110w range 2 UHF Quantar I just got on Ebay and it came with a spare receiver shipped for $600. Its humming away right now in my garage.

Fantastic! The low cost, ease of installation and supported features are nice....and I just asked a buddy about the device and he said got one in trade from someone there at Northcomm a while back. Man, I am out of the loop. I guess we'll install at least one of them on the club Quantar and I'll save the other when I find a Quantar for myself.
 

vagrant

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Yes, you sent me a picture of the rack. Thank you for the burn in test. Please ship it via insured Ground service to my address. I still need a VHF one at a good price. Keep up the good work. You're sure to go a long way in this industry. :)
Apparently you didn't see the 110w range 2 UHF Quantar I just got on Ebay and it came with a spare receiver shipped for $600. Its humming away right now in my garage.
 

vagrant

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Wait a minute, how did you get that repeater for $600, plus a spare receiver and shipped? Did they spell Quantar or Motorola wrong or something? Otherwise, it must have been a buy it now and you were the first person to see it. If I drop a needle into a haystack I'm calling you.

I've only had luck like that once when a guy spelled Coleman wrong and I picked up a new dual fuel two burner stove for $25 shipped. Let me know if you want to trade.
 

prcguy

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I did a search on Quantar several times a day and it popped up with a buy it now for $600 including shipping. The same seller had some spare modules and I sent him a note asking if he would toss in a receiver module to push me over the edge to buy it. He did so I did. Stroke of luck and good timing I guess. This happens to me all the time but I probably spend way more time searching stuff on Ebay that a sane person should.

A week before that I wanted to get a spare power supply for the high power UHF or VHF Quantar and they are expensive. So I searched with "Onan power supply" and what do you know, several new Quantar high power supplies with battery charging for $42 including shipping so I nabbed them. The seller had no clue what they went to since there is no Motorola stickers on them. I also got the guy down to $30 on a lower power version around 625w but its rated for the high power Quantars.

About two months ago an associate in an unmentioned volunteer group I belong to mentioned he received a few Quantar repeaters that were just decommissioned from the Govt agency we volunteer with and our group uses VHF Quantars. One was a UHF decommissioned from another organization not associated with our group so it was an orphan. It was offered to me for free so I got it and a nice late model Motorola T1500 series duplexer. I took it to a friend who swapped out all the range 1 modules for range 2 and upgraded it to P25 really cheap. That one is running beautifully now dual mode in the amateur band. And with a new Northcomm Technologies controller I might add.

Wait a minute, how did you get that repeater for $600, plus a spare receiver and shipped? Did they spell Quantar or Motorola wrong or something? Otherwise, it must have been a buy it now and you were the first person to see it. If I drop a needle into a haystack I'm calling you.

I've only had luck like that once when a guy spelled Coleman wrong and I picked up a new dual fuel two burner stove for $25 shipped. Let me know if you want to trade.
 
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vagrant

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No need for stories. We all know you have a magic lamp. Put me down for a VHF and UHF Quantar on your next go-round. I'll buy that controller directly.
 

prcguy

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I now have three Northcomm controllers up and running. I also made another discovery, with the posted setup instructions a signal with no PL or the wrong PL will cause the controller to key up the repeater and send a courtesy beep on loss of that signal. I contacted the factory and they recommended changing the receiver qualification to require both COR and PL. Or modify the wildcard for COR to include RX1 active and PL detect.

I tried both and they work fine and elected to program the repeater in the Channel Information tab to "C=PL/DPL" for Analog Rx Activation, Analog Rptr Hold-In and Analog Rptr Access. Its the Analog Rx Activation that fixes the problem but my Quantar guy recommended using that for all fields. BTW, the analog only R2 Quantar I got off Ebay cheap last week has already been upgraded to P25 digital and will be going to a 5,000ft site soon after burning in at my hose.

Just picked up the controller, waiting for it to come in.
 

APX8000

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That company also makes one the the best plug in Quantar cable set ups if you use a SCOM controller.
 

prcguy

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Update on the $600 Quantar and controller....
After programming and burning in the repeater for a couple of weeks, today I donated and installed the Quantar and an Angle Linear high level PHEMT preamp to a friends system replacing his old decrepit repeater on a 5,000ft hilltop above Pasadena, CA. I recently learned the foundation of the system, the antennas and master receive preselector were top notch units with the master receive antenna being a Telewave 406-512Mhz 4-bay dipole (about 8.5dBd gain in modified cardioid pattern) with appropriate downtilt and the transmit antenna was an amateur band specific 6dB gain DB Products omni dipole array, also with appropriate downtilt and a custom huge receive preselector from DCI.

The $600 Quantar is playing beautifully with amazing range to hand helds from 5,000ft up and the Northcomm Technologies controller is just perfect allowing us to select custom channel setups or to disable the repeater if needed without disturbing the original and really nice internal repeat audio path. What a great performing system it turned out to be and much better than what it replaced.

Here is a view looking south from the repeater site and you can see the cluster of hi-rise buildings that make up downtown Los Angeles and Palos Verdes hill on the coast in the background sticking out of the fog today.

hilltop.JPG

I did a search on Quantar several times a day and it popped up with a buy it now for $600 including shipping. The same seller had some spare modules and I sent him a note asking if he would toss in a receiver module to push me over the edge to buy it. He did so I did. Stroke of luck and good timing I guess. This happens to me all the time but I probably spend way more time searching stuff on Ebay that a sane person should.

A week before that I wanted to get a spare power supply for the high power UHF or VHF Quantar and they are expensive. So I searched with "Onan power supply" and what do you know, several new Quantar high power supplies with battery charging for $42 including shipping so I nabbed them. The seller had no clue what they went to since there is no Motorola stickers on them. I also got the guy down to $30 on a lower power version around 625w but its rated for the high power Quantars.

About two months ago an associate in an unmentioned volunteer group I belong to mentioned he received a few Quantar repeaters that were just decommissioned from the Govt agency we volunteer with and our group uses VHF Quantars. One was a UHF decommissioned from another organization not associated with our group so it was an orphan. It was offered to me for free so I got it and a nice late model Motorola T1500 series duplexer. I took it to a friend who swapped out all the range 1 modules for range 2 and upgraded it to P25 really cheap. That one is running beautifully now dual mode in the amateur band. And with a new Northcomm Technologies controller I might add.
 
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vagrant

ker-muhj-uhn
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Nicely done. It appears to be Mt. Lukens from the view. You know, I think I could just get in from Wilshire & San Vicente from the north side of the building and a floor or two up. Otherwise, I'm in Burbank and probably shadowed from the terrain. Still, waiting for "things" to get back to normal before I head down there.

I do have a question. Does it get more analog or P25 use, or was the last repeater even P25 capable?
 
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