Older News

(2013) D-STAR Portable Gateway: The VE5DRR portable DV gateway is finally complete.  Click here for the details!

(2013) IRLP Update:  The UHF link radios between VE5CC and the IRLP node have been changed.  Performance is much better.  Please ensure you wait for the courtesy tone before you transmit otherwise audio may be lost on the transmission. 

(2013) IRLP Troubles: The COS on the link radio at the VE5CC IRLP node is on the fritz... please refrain from connecting to any reflectors until we have a chance to get it fixed. 

(2012) ARISS Contact:  MARS has applied to participate in an ARISS contact with an area elementary school.  If approved, more details will be released on the project.  Please check back here for the status of the application!

    Current Status: APPROVED!  We are scheduled for a contact beteween March 11 and 17th, 2013. 

    We have compiled some ARISS Resources.  Please check out our ARISS Resource page here.

(2012) North Battleford FREE STAR DV*: The Battlefords and area is now served by the VE5RAD FREE STAR* DV repeater on 147.120 (+600).  The system went operational on December 28, 2012. 

(2012) New iOS App: Thanks to Derek for discovering this gem.  There is a new app written by Tycho Schenkeveld called "ircDDB Viewer" that runs on your Apple iPad, iPhone or iPod.  It is basically a "last heard" type of application that displays the stations last heard on ircDDB enabled gateways.  This includes all gateways in the FREE STAR* network and a good chunk of the Icom G2 systems.

You can read more about the app and download it from the Apple App store at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ircddb-viewer/id558089840?mt=8 

D-STAR Class Video: Dayton Hamvention has come and gone and with that, many side activities such as the D-STAR training class have taken place. Fortunately, services like Amateur Radio Video News are there to capture activities that not everyone can attend. They have posted a three video training program on the website, http://hamradionow.tv

The videos are an excellent basic training for those that are interested in D-STAR or have just recently received a D-STAR radio. The only thing that does not apply for us locally is the piece on registration to the gateway. This is not required for FREE STAR*. Also, there is no information on call sign routing. You can view a comprehensive document at:


FREE STAR* Gateway Offline: With regret, the VE5KEV gateway has been decomissioned for the foreseeable future. Hopefully we can replace this with another system to augment the coverage.

NEW FREE STAR* Gateways: In February 2012, two new gateways were built and are now running in test mode. The first is in North Battleford, VE5RAD (Module C for now), and the second at Turtle Lake, VE5TLK. The RF equipment will be installed as soon as possible. It will be announced when they are operational. Check the repeater page for further details.

DPRS - APRS Gating: DPRS is now working on the Saskatoon area repeaters. When you send a DPRS string through the gateway, your call will now be gated to RF on 144.390, APRS. Thanks to Bruce, VE5BNC! Click here to view a demo video.

IRLP Node 1350/VE5SKN: On November 10, 2011, the IRLP node on VE5SKN was re-connected via UHF to the repeater and is now active. The repeater is on 146.940 (-600) and a 100.0Hz tone on the input is required. (**Note, a filter needs to be put on this repeater so please don't "park" it on any reflectors unless you are engaged in a QSO)

Field Day 2011: Field Day 2011 was a resounding success! We had seven participants and it really was a true Field Day! We operated off a hill at the home of Dan VE5CDO and were 100% emergency power for the 24 hour period. Check out the photo album on Flikr!!

Our final score ended up being 1278 in the 2A category and we were second place, behind Regina ARA. The following table is from the ARRL contest page:

D-STAR Repeater: On April 1, 2011, MARS officially commissioned the first D-STAR compatible digital voice (DV) repeater in Saskatchewan. The repeater had been on test for approximately two months prior to this but is now in a prominent location providing coverage to Saskatoon, Warman and Martensville.

MARS is proud to be the first to bring this technology to Saskatchewan. In 1999, MARS was responsible for the first IRLP node in the province as well.

Naturally, this repeater is open to all amateurs with D-STAR radios. Please join in the fun!

We are also interested in signal reports. If you don't have a D-STAR radio, just listen on FM and let us know where you are and what your s-meter reading is. Please email ve5dwr at accesscomm dot ca.