IRG system upgrades and changes coming

Submitted by admin on Thu, 2023/07/27 - 18:00

Note to users:  IRG is phasing in CTCSS ("PL tones") on repeaters. 
Click here for an updated listing while modifications are underway. 


The IRG repeater system will undergo hardware and programming upgrades in 2023-2024.  The following is a summary only — elements affecting users (i.e. implementation of CTCSS tones, new zones, etc) will be sent out as the changes go along.


The existing hardware and programming makes it difficult to accommodate recent and future expansion plans.  Equipment has been acquired to replace some of our older repeater controllers which will accomodate expansion, simplify programming and maintenance and improve reliability.  

The frequency spectrum has become increasingly crowded — annoying interference from new electronic  equipment and other sources is triggering IRG repeaters with more regularity, particularly during tropospheric ducting  and severe weather.  Due to the intermittent nature,  the source of the interference is nearly impossible to track down on a system of 27 repeaters, including the malicious and inadvertent interference.

For this reason, CTCSS tones (Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System, or “PL tones”) will be implemented, phased in on all sites as part of the upgrade.  In addtion to some zone changes, this will be the most significant change for users;  they will need to program their radios to include a CTCSS tone on TX and optionally on RX.  The IRG will help provide guidance to users in this change.

Planned upgrades and changes

 The elements of the upgrades are as follows:

  • Replace the existing zone RLC repeater controllers with seven (7)  Omnitronics audio bridges
  • Reprogram one RLC-3 to act as Master Controller
    • All DTMF linking codes will be revised to accommodate  the new controllers
    • System macros will be simplified to improve linking reliability
    • New linking codes will allow separate zone link on and link off codes
    • Features will be added to thwart malicious DTMF operations
    • Time-out timers will be standardized for all zones
  • Move existing non-linked repeaters or  small zones into existing zones:
    • Mount Carleton to be added to North West Zone
    • Grove Hill to be added to South West Zone
    • Stanley and Grand Lake will be added to Central Zone
    • A new small sub-zone of UHF repeaters to support the EMO Zone
  • All zones will then have two (2) to four (4) ports available for future repeater expansion
  • All audio levels will be adjusted and matched for improved audio
  • Repeater ID’s will be changed to be much less intrusive than present
  • CTCSS tones (“PL tones”) will be phased in on all repeaters
    • With the  increase in electronic and competing frequency interference, the time has come to implement CTCSS tones
    • CTCSS tones will eliminate most present interference issues
    • Many users have abandoned regular monitoring due to interference and ID issues
    • The proposed TX and RX subaudible tone is  151.4 Hz for VHF, and 141.3 for UHF repeaters
    • As this will have the most impact on users, an educational phase will start prior to the implementation and continue throughout.
  • Timing and scheduling
    • Preparation of testing of new master and zone controllers will be done before switch-over
    • Switch-over will be planned on one day to minimize disruption
    • No changes will be done prior to or during the spring freshet
    • CTCSS tones will be implemented on a site-by-site basis before and after the hardware switch-over
    • Users will be given advance notice and reminders of changes via e-mails and on scheduled IRG nets

Further information available:

The future is sub-audible tones - why we are adding CTCSS (PL Tones) to IRG repeaters.

Details of work completed to date:

  • April 2023:
    • Three additional UHF stand-alone repeaters activated:
      • 442.025 (+) CTCSS= 141.3 on RX and TX - Fredericton VE1BM site
      • 443.400 (+) CTCSS = 141.3 on RX and TX - Pleasant Ridge VE1BI site
      • 442.500 (+) CTCSS = 141.3 on RX and TX - Saint John VE9STJ site
  • April 2023:
    • Automatic repeater ID  - disabled on April 27, 2023.
    • Clock time adjusted.
  • June 2023:
    • As of June 26, all repeaters are now transmitting CTCSS (PL tones);
      • 151.4 on VHF sites
      • 141.3 on UHF sites
    • VE9GMI reactivated on Campobello Island on 146.955 (-)  with CTCSS 151.4 Hz enabled on both RX and TX.
    • VE9MBY repaired at Maces Bay 444.874 (+) with CTCSS 141.3 Hz enabled on both RX and TX.
    • Audio drop-outs repaired on Stanley Zone (VE9NRV and VE9GLA)
  • July 2023:
    • VE9ELM Elmtree - CTCSS 151.4 Hz enabled (both RX and TX)
    • VE1BRD Allardville - CTCSS 151.4 Hz enabled (both RX and TX)
    • VE1BM Fredericton - CTCSS 151.4 Hz enabled (both RX and TX)
    • Hardware replaced at VE9NRV Stanley following lightning strike
  • August 2023
    • VE9SID St-Isidore - CTCSS 151.4 Hx enabled (both RX and TX)
  • September 2023
    • North-West Zone CTCSS enabled Sept 26 to Sept 27
    • West Zone completed September 27
  • October 2023
    • Stanley VE9NRV repeater CTCSS enabled October 11 (both RX and TX)
  • November 2023
    • Grand Lake repeater fully tone enabled November 15
    • Mount Carleton repeater fully tone enabled November 24
    • Campobello Island repeater linked to SW Zone November 28
  • December 2023
    • East Zone (Moncton, Acadieville, Sackville) fully tone enabled December 04.
    • Mt. Carleton linked to NE Zone (audio still not final)
    • Master controller failure - temporary work-around in place.
  • January 2024
    • East and North-East linking issue resolved
    • VE1BI, VE9STG, VE9STJ, and VE9SMT tone-enabled January 10
    • Miramichi VE9MIT tone-enabled January 30