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Kurri Kurri,

New South Wales


email - vk2yld at dodo.com.au

REAL radios glow without smoke.

Screen after editing /etc/issue

LEDs mount in spare floppy bay

LEDs connected to board

New GM-300 (don't forget fan!)

Setup in the garage

Complete node with UPS

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 is a standard mini-tower AMD now, as the heat in the 'Territory quietly fried the original machine, and everything in it.  The only survivors were the power supply and the IRLP board.  Everything else was trashed..  An old mother board from a previous upgrade with a 1200Mhz AMD Athlon, 512Mb RAM and a cheap AGP video card filled the vacant holes, complete with an 80Gb HDD, 500Gb HDD and a DVD Writer.  I fitted the IRLP board into a D25 slot on the back, and stuck the D9 connector through a similar type hole, hooked up the power and used a short ribbon to the parallel port... neat...  Lastly an SB Live thrown in as the on-board sound didn't work with ALSA and the audio was all chopped up incomming ONLY!, sent audio was ok....


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 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..

  Click the pics at left for a closer look..

This process has been made easier as my node runs the 'backup for reinstall' script weekly.  (Don't ask why!!)

  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!.. 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... 




  I also strongly recommend running a program like 'Mondo Rescue' to help out if your hardware takes a one-way trip to the silicon tip! Mondo makes a bootable ISO that you burn to a DVD, you then boot from the DVD and restore the system.  The bit I like about it is that it will backup a live system, so you don't have to shut down for the backup.  If you have a burner in your node, Mondo can use that directly.  Just remember to set boot priority in BIOS to HDD not CD/DVD as your node will try to restore itself if it reboots.


Some little 'nicities' I have done to my node....


  -  Goto /etc/boot/grub, find menu.lst, find the default menu choice and add 'vga=791' to the end of the 'kernel' line (this is a long line, don't break it!)

        (reboot is required to load the adjusted kernel)

  -  Alter the port for SSH access to system... (22 is too easy to crack) edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config & /etc/ssh/ssh_config, then 'service ssh restart'

  -  Bend the file /etc/issue to alter the login screen text.



  My node also runs this website, so Apache is loaded.  It handles the mail with sendmail and mutt and I have samba loaded as well, configured as a NAS for my local network, this uses an extra 500Gb drive alone mounted on /home/samba/hdd2.  The machine runs all this stuff and still has 95% idle CPU from the 'top' display, dropping to 58% when serving video with samba to the home entertainment PC (XBMCbuntu).

  The old FM-900 didn't survive the trip really 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 junkpile was a Motorola M120, basically a 2 channel 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 and the radio is ready to rip.

  All pieced back together, the PC has a 700w power supply and so it can run everything including itself.  I made up a power tail with a molex plug and three anderson power-poles that picks up the 12v rail in the PC to supply the radio and the controller eliminating the need for another external supply.




  The PC is now a 2nd hand maxi-tower, boasting a reserected 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 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 network NAS, I have added some storage...  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 and shows orange for the motherboard and blue for the SAS controller.

  The radio is the same as before, albeit with a new final transistor and some other minor stuff..

  As before, click the pics for a closer look..

Hardware.. Revisited...

The 'backup for reinstall' script came in handy again...  The original 80Gb HDD was not readable after the explosion, so the backup came in VERY handy...  But, (There's always a 'but'!!) the old CentOS-4, apart from being way-old doesn't support the SAS (SATA) ports on the motherboard let alone the 8-port SAS controller.  This had to be updated so, being as I look after multiple CentOS servers, I decided to stick with CentOS, so a CentOS-5 load does the trick.  I don't use 'dmesg' so not really worried that it's flooded.

  The OS loaded, and a software RAID-5 array built and mounted to '/home', 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 windows 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 monthly.

More Software....

Building IRLP Node 6732
Then, along came a storm...