W8ECG Repeater in Fostoria. MI   443.450

What's been happening by date: 2001 entries

12-26-2001 - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all, I received the remote base and radio back from service, thanks to Wayne(KG9QI) for spending the day with me via radio yesterday, we have the link initiated from the Fostoria side now and Goodells can use their link for the Port Huron 440 repeater, Fostoria, Warren and Goodells were all active last night and working good, Bad Axe will be back in the link soon.

12-17-2001 - I (KG8ID) spent most of the day last Saturday trying to figure out why the audio is chopping on the remote base link system when we are linked to Goodells, I have come to the conclusion that it is either our secondary controller that controls the link or the link radio itself, both will go in for a check up today, we will probably not see them again until after Christmas or even the new year. Life Goes On...

12-11-2001 - We will attempt to raise our VHF Yagi to 130 feet in order to link from our end to Goodells, this will free up the Goodells remote base link to link back to a 440 repeater in Port Huron extending the link even further. This will make a semi-permanent link on our repeater and while linked to Goodells we will not have the capability to link elsewhere like we have before. The real benefit is link control on our end and more control over audio levels and other adjustments.

12-03-2001 - I spent the day in Goodells changing some things on WB8MCS's Vertex repeater and remote base, Todd decided we should just link from Goodells to the W8ECG in Fostoria, so that is what we are doing, Todd has the ability to link the Warren to Goodells also but has chosen not to for some reason, I believe that he feels the signal from my repeater to Goodells is not 100 percent, I think it sounds acceptable. We are still collecting towards having a phone line installed at the new location for 911 access, I realize it is Christmas and moneys are promised other places but please keep in mind that this is a necessary project to make the system more prepared for emergencies. click here to contribute.

11-28-2001 - I contacted a friend (Dr. Tom WB8MCS) and he said Todd and I could link through his 2-meter repeater in Goodells on 147.32, we will test this starting today and see what happens.

11-19-2001 - We have a plan to use our remote base as a permanent link to Warren and the 443.550 repeater, we are attempting to get the antenna's high enough and perfectly aliened with each other. After we get the Warren link up and working properly we will re-link with Bad Axe.

11-07-2001 - KG8ID would like to have the phone line installed at the repeater site for 911 access and phone use for paying customers, KG8ID pays the electricity and the insurance and would like the users to cover the costs of the phone line, the line will run $28.00 dollars per month, if we had 12 users pay $28.00 per year we could go ahead with this. This would allow direct access to 911 and users would have personal phone numbers they could call from their radios. If you have any suggestions on this issue talk to me.

10-26-2001 - The battery backup system worked great last night, the wind damaged the commercial power system in the area of the repeater at 7:15PM and it lasted almost 4 hours, we kept the repeater busy and it worked perfectly. Thanks to KC8CEF for loaning us his larger battery from his camper.

10-23-2001 - I have sent a sample jacket to be embroidered and should have it by mid-week, most have ordered their jackets, the Internet 25 percent off ends tomorrow, the flyer 25 percent ended last Saturday. The finals were replace last Friday, the output is back to 25 watts on high power and 12 watts on low power, I programmed a new macro that gives repeaters location, try it (*86). The power amp we had repaired and cost 300.00 to have repaired will not work on the repeater, the amp requires 5 - 6 watts input and the repeaters output cannot go below 10 watts, so we are thinking about ordering a Mirage D-3010-N to increase our output to between 80 and 100 watts. We are writing the power amp story off as a learning experience. Remember knowledge is sometimes expensive.....

10-10-2001 - Pre-amp is in line and functioning, smart squelch is off - normal squelch is on like any other repeater, the power amp is completed, the PC board had to be replaced and most of the components are replaced, I will put the amp in line this weekend. I feel the pre-amp is working great, I have observed places were I was S-4 now reporting S-9, also the installation of the output amp at 90 watts will increase our foot print equal to the receive. The SET in NB was very interesting, they simulated a bomb blast in the South East corner of the building with 15 people injured, after emergency personnel were on scene the bomb squad discovered another device in the North West corner of the building, at this point the entire school was evacuated and the bomb squad went to work removing and detonating the second device, there was no interruption to the Public Service Communications so we only communicated to EOC the progress of the SET. We also sent live pictures of the scene to EOC via a Kenwood VC-H1 visual Communicator SSTV unit. We worked well with our friends and neighbors the Lapeer County Amateur Radio Club, Thanks guys.

10-05-2001 - It seems like our noise is a Friday thing, the nasty interference that invades the repeater has no known source at this time, I am just glad its a one day a week thing, I have ordered a Pre-Amp to help the receive and I hope we don't end up with more interference... I spoke with Todd yesterday and I told him the parts to fix the amp had not arrived yet and Bill the fix it guy said it would probably not be fixed by Monday the SET day. Please be by the radio Monday to at least listen to the traffic produced by the Simulated Emergency Test.

09-27-2001 - I called to the repair center to check the status of the amp, they are waiting on parts, the repair person Bill/N8LFR said the amp had been repaired before and put back together incorrectly. It came from blank the ediot (inside joke). We are planning to install the amp to boost our signal to Warren, then we will decide if they have enough signal to us, if not will look into a 220 link.

09-24-2001 - It's me KG8ID - when you read this please let me know by saying the secret word to me when you talk to me the very next time, (Newtronics) ok now that's out of the way, the sidearm is on the tower and the SWR is low, we can now link like the old days, please use your ham radio common sense while using it.

09-19-2001 - We were back at it trying to figure out where this high SWR was coming from, we removed both connectors on the 7/8 hard-line inspected the center and seat and then tested again, this time we observed a 1.1 SWR, we received an email from a tech at Andrew and he stated that there would be a curtain amount of SWR measured in the hard-line, I have ordered a Hustler G6-270R antenna for the sidearm. We should have the remote base operational by the weekend. Thanks to Joe (KC8CEF) for climbing... The man pays his dues.

09-17-2001 - Joe(KC8CEF) and I (KG8ID) tried to install the side arm and antenna for the remote base, but when we got done and checked the SWR it was a 3, we then checked the hard-line by itself and it checked 1.5, the antenna by itself checked 1.5, we are in the process of finding the problem. If you have any thoughts we'd like to hear them.

08-28-2001 - Antenna was installed last Friday the 24th and the repeater was moved Saturday the 25th, we have been testing the coverage and finding it to be adequate for the area we wish to cover and then some, we have also been talking with the Brown City area users and the fact that they can no longer get in via Ht's, the actual distance the system was moved from Deanville is 10 miles West and 3 miles North. We still have to install the side arm for the local remote base link, we are also in the process of installing an amp due to our lower elevation now we are noisy into the Warren system, the Bad Axe link is up and functioning great. 

08-20-2001 - Tower is complete and is at 160 Foot, hard-line is in place, it was too windy to install the antenna so we have that left to do and then the repeater can be moved to the new site. Todd said maybe this week sometime he can pass through while working and put the antenna up there. Thank-You Todd for all your work and support.

08-15-2001 - We need to do the dance of joy - The FCC has just granted the NBARC club the call sign W8ECG, is that cool or what, now all I have to do is re-program all the id's. Myself and Paul (KC8PNN) left our nice air conditioned desk jobs on a hot Thursday (8-9-2001) and ran power up to the repeater shack, thank you Paul, I thank you and Mother thanks you (inside joke).

08-03-2001 - Detroit Edison wants 7000 dollars to run power to the new repeater site, yes you read that correctly 7 big ones, 7 G's, mucho denaro's, to that I say yeah right, sure, put me down for two... I called a local electrical contractor and he gave me a quote to go from the the site to the house for 2500 dollars, must be using the gold plated wire - so I did some calculating on voltage drop and determined the wire size for the amps we need and I called a business owner friend and got the use of a trencher and off we go for 530 dollars, keep in mind folks this venture as far as a full blown repeater site is not for the faint of heart nor for the poor in wallet. I really need a fund raiser and or contributions. I would also like to send a special thanks to Paul, Scott, Kevin, and Dave for help in moving the building out to the site, it was not as easy as I had anticipated. Also the application for the club call W8ECG is now showing up on the FCC web site - won't be long now...

07-17-2001 - Hey Gordon I changed the 146.66 to 146.82, we are waiting until we move the repeater to resume the net linking to the Lapeer and or Caro repeaters, as for now we will only hold our Sunday night net at 8:30pm.

07-09-2001 - It is official, we will move the repeater to the new site (my property). The 160 foot of Rohn 45G has arrived and the base and guy anchors are poured and cement is curing as you read this. The Hustler 9dbd repeater antenna is here and will be feed by 1-5/8 Andrew hard-line. No more begging for a site or explaining what we do over and over again to people that really don't give a care anyway. I (KG8ID) would like to thank all of you who have been there through it all and have put forth time and effort.

06-19-2001 - I am in the process of pricing towers and am entertaining the ideal of putting up a 150ft Rohn 45G on my property near Fostoria, I am tired of being the unwelcome guest because the non-ham population does not understand what we do and does not wish to take the time to do so, I guess I crossed the point of no return as far as the repeater system is concerned. Also note the Bad Axe link is up and running and because of the links and wanting to keep them active the tower height and placement is more critical to maintain these links.

05-14-2001 - We have decided to keep the NBARC net on Sunday Night at 8:30PM and instead of changing our net night we we participate in the 146.82(Caro) net at 7:30PM on Monday and the 146.62(Lapeer) net at 9:00PM on Monday.

05-05-2001 - Installed latest firmware update, we called support on getting the internal temp probe to work and Pacific Research Solutions would not support us on the older version of the software we were using, the update was completed with no problems and the updates added lots of new programming features. We are still working out some bugs on the controller speaking internal temp and speaking remote base frequency. We would also like to link to Lapeer(W8LAP) on our net night and again on their net night, this will test our link on a weekly basis.

05-03-2001 - Another Village Council meeting, our proposal to put our repeater and antenna on the North Branch water tower was received with a little more enthusiasm, the council voted to contact their lawyer to see if there would be a problem because the tower was erected from monies from a government grant. To quote a great teacher that I had in school that also sits on the council "Do I have any friends" " I need a friend".

05-02-2001 - We installed a second 8 foot ground rod and 2 Alpha Delta lightning protection devices at the site, we are also working on an internal temperature probe so we can monitor the temp in the enclosure. I contacted Jim(KD8YX) via email and asked if we could link the 443.45(KG8ID) and 146.62(W8LAP) during each repeaters net for link testing in preparation for the up coming SET, he said GREAT, no problem.

04-28-2001 - Kc8jev and myself made a trip to the repeater site and checked the SWR on both antenna's, both checked excellent, we hooked up the remote base and tested it, the remote base has been off line due to problems where we had to send it back under warranty for repair. Rob (Kc8jev took some pictures with the digital camera), a self portrait of Rob, inside the cabinet with all the stuff in there, me shielding the sun from my computer screen, the mysterious witness post and "the miners are coming!".

04-27-2001 - Received a letter from Charter Communications stating they do not want us on the tower located on Old State Road, no reason was given for not wanting our Skywarn system at their facility... We apologize for bringing anyone's hopes up due to the fact that this issue started out very positive from the original conversations with Rick Tuttle.

04-12-2001 - I received a call from Rick Tuttle at Charter Communication concerning the Old State Road tower, he needed detailed information to give to his manager for our request of locating our repeater at that site, we mailed a packet of information to him today and will post the response as soon as we hear something.

04-11-2001 - The dilemma in erecting a tower here at our company location is held up due to the fact we will eventually move this plant to the industrial park in the town of North Branch. The company has plans to develop this property and the placement of a tower and a very large chuck of cement may hamper these plans.

04-09-2001 - We met with more obstacles then we anticipated with the village council, the issue was brought up about getting power to our repeater separate from their system and possibly the issue of not being able to install the antenna ourselves, so we have proposed a venture with MKC to allow us to erect a 100' tower on company property and have the repeater located here, the ground elevation here is 850' and with a 100' foot tower our HAAT would be 118', this would eliminate the access problems we would have with the water tower and the coverage would be comparable. We are waiting on a response... We will pursue the water tower but it will be at the council's leisure.

04-03-2001 - This Thursday evening Joe(KC8CEF) and myself will be attending the North Branch village council meeting to present our proposal about locating our repeater and antenna on the North Branch water tower, please understand this site will in no way compare to "Deanville Mountain" as we call it. The Deanville site ground elevation is 1050 feet as compared to 830 feet at the water tower, we are hearing rumors that we will be asked to leave Deanville and are attempting to secure a new site, if we receive the OK Thursday night we will immediately start the process of testing at the new site within the following week, this will be an interesting project and we have lots of documentation pertaining to the elevations of both sites if anyone is interested.

03-30-2001 - We have calculated the HAAT on the proposed Nextel site and find it to be inadequate for our situation, also Nextel would not allow us access to our equipment or antenna on a need to basis, we have also contacted Rick Tuttle form Charter Communications and asked about possibly locating our repeater on the Old State Road tower, Rick said he will contact us after contacting the proper people to inquire about this, we have also contacted Jerry Chambers and Sharon Chase about locating our repeater on the North Branch water tower and will send a written request and attend a meeting Thursday to give a verbal statement concerning this request.

03-18-2001 - An interesting proposition has came my way, it seems Nextel has it's eye on some property that the company I work for (M. K. Chambers Company) owns, I was l involved in the negotiations because of the experience I have had with this type of situation. Our base location is M. K. Chambers Company plant 2, this plant has a generator that powers the whole plant in the event power is lost, I explained to the president what we are involved with as far as Skywarn, RACES and ARES and he gave us permission to use our IT office at plant 2 for our operations. I asked to have our antenna on the Nextel tower and Chambers said I could work this out with Nextel. We are in the process (KC8CEF and myself) of doing the calculations on the site to determine if it would be as good as where the repeater is now. One fact is the Deanville site will not last forever, they will eventually want to excavate the land right under the repeater and that's means we are gone, the Deanville site will be gone forever if that happens but the Nextel would be permanent as long as Chambers holds the lease. The next fact will be funds, if Nextel requires me to purchase a commercial antenna and hard line for the tower I will ask the users to donate towards these items, I have quite a lot of money tied up in the equipment itself and would like some user involvement on the antenna and hard line. Please let me know if you have any thought or comments on this.


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