W8ECG Repeater in Fostoria. MI   443.450

What's been happening by date: 2002 entries

12-10-2002 - www.eham.net is a great source of information - see the answers to the duplexer question I presented. Thanks guys for the great information and thanks to eham.net.

12-09-2002 - Receive is down on cold nights - I believe this is due to duplexer being tuned in a controlled environment and the expansion and contraction due to temperature variations. More when I find out more... The link radio is now linking correctly, it seems the radio defaults to a 5Mhz split even though it's a 2-meter radio.

12-06-2002 - Working to complete the linking to the 147.10 in Flint, tomorrow is Skywarn recognition day. I had the nicest chat with Gregg at Pacific Research I have ever had, I learned a lot and from this knowledge will accomplish a lot...

12-05-2002 - Pre-amp is back in line.

12-02-2002 - Advanced Receiver Research contacted me last Wednesday, the GaAsFET or the main transistor in the pre-amp was bad and has been replaced, the pre-amp is on it's way back to me, I have also been contacted by Mr. Val E. Rose, N8EXV, District Emergency Coordinator - Michigan Third District, welcoming us to MICON for coverage in our area. I will be testing the link to the 147.100 tonight. Congratulations to Kerry Penland in passing the Technician.

11-27-2002 - I spoke with Todd/KA8WYN AKA KWYN, about the Bad Axe 443.550 linking to the W8ECG 443.450 for coverage in Huron county for MICON, Todd was in favor of this.

11-26-2002 - I was contacted by Clayton/KF8UI, they are looking for a repeater in the thumb to link to MICON for weather reporting from this area, the link will only be used when the NWS requests the Northern Link System which is any county North of I-69, I am currently working on the programming where the repeater will automatically link to 147.100 in Flint when an alert is received from our weather radio for Lapeer or Tuscola counties, this can also be brought up manually if necessary.

11-20-2002 - I did some testing to see why the receive on the W8ECG is down, I found that taking the pre-amp out of line brought the receive up, I will test and or have the pre-amp serviced, thanks to N8YJN and N8HPE for help in the testing process.

11-19-2002 - Receive seems to be down for some reason, I will be looking into it. We have 3 new people that will be testing at the next test session.

11-14-2002 - New Edison transformer is in place, voltage is much higher and more stable, it appears the the link to Goodles can not be used with our current equipment, as I mentioned in an earlier entry Greg at PRS suggested the I have the remote base radio converted so it did not need a controller, this I did and now he says that this is an encode only setup, we need decode to stop from interfering with the other 147.32 to the North of us, foiled again. If your interested here's the email from Greg at PRS.

11-04-2002 - I had a visit from a Field Technician (Todd DesMarais) from our neighbor tower (Verizon) on Saturday, it seems the interference or noise we are experiencing is also causing problems to their cell phone system. He had a Tektronics Y350C in the back of his truck so he brought it out and we checked to see if our transmitter was causing any interference to their system - we determined that our transmitter was clean and not causing any problems. What a great piece of test gear (the kind I can only dream about). I gave Todd the name and number of the Edison power quality person for our area and he will pursue this as a power line problem.

10-24-2002 - I am still looking into the noise problem, I have a good idea where it is coming from, I am waiting for Detroit Edison to install the new transformer first before I pursue the noise problem.

10-04-2002 - I have contacted Greg at Pacific Research a few times and he has not responded, we have a defective port on the PE-3 and an occasional noise on the Kenwood repeater receiver - no problems were found at the antenna or duplexer). He has also not finished the scaling on the S-Meter so it is still inaccurate. I am also currently working on putting the deer camera picture here on the web page, all I need is time.

09-17-2002 - It appears from last nights captured packet that the space station has in fact been in range and is being digi'ed off from and connect to - take a look at the stations in the text file link above. There are quite a few stations trying and making contact with the space station from all over the U.S. If you are interested here is a link to a real time space station tracking web page - ISSTRACK

09-16-2002 - The remote base is fully functioning and we have been monitoring the space shuttle downlink frequency (145.80), many have noted that there is packet activity on 145.80 through the night, I have set up a packet station to monitor this and find out who it is. It is my understanding that if a licensed amateur radio operator wanted to contact the shuttle they would check the NASA web page to find out if the shuttle is passing over and available for a contact, another way would be to load a satellite tracking program and track it's path that way, I will try and find out what the packet station we hear at night is trying to accomplish.

09-12-2002 - Note to self: I took a lot of time to switch the remote base from the working port 3 to port 1, there is definitely a problem with port 1, now I must get Greg from Pacific Research to understand this and replace it.

09-09-2002 - After all the time spent working on the remote base and all the calls to Pacific Research solutions support asking for help because of all the time spent and no change in the problem, I happened upon a jumper that was set incorrectly in the remote base radio - gee I wonder if the radio was tested when the upgrade was done...? After being belittled by Greg and then finding this, I do not know what to think. Let me make this statement one more time, if you do not have a great deal of knowledge and equipment for trouble shooting controller/repeater problems think carefully about your vendor choice.

09-05-2002 - I have been working on the remote base which is a link to other 2-meter repeaters, it originally worked fine with a second controller, Greg at PRS suggested that I have the radio modified by them to not need a controller, I agreed and have not been successful at getting it to work, I have been in contact with Greg and talking to this guy is no easy task in itself, In my opinion I have said before this guy has little people skills and is way over my head. In less you are very educated in repeaters and the like I would not recommend a Pacific Research controller - support for the first timer is lacking.

08-26-2002 - Thanks to all that donated things to sell and those who helped W8ECG at the swap, we sold 200.00 dollars worth of stuff, it will help financially to support the repeater.

08-20-2002 - It has been quiet for a while and I like that a lot but yesterday and today we had a strange noise on the receiver, I was going to the site to track it down but it stopped before I got there.   If the noise starts up again and you don't hear me try and contact me (KG8ID) so I can see where it's coming from.

07-29-2002 - I disconnected some suspect controller connections from the weather radio to see if this was causing it to announce an alert and then immediately cancel the alert, we received an alert for Lapeer county yesterday and it worked perfectly.

07-22-2002 - It seems the weather radio is still not functioning correctly, it comes on and announces an alert and then says the alert is canceled, I called Ron at CAT and he tells me that a updated EPROM or chip has been out for some time, I asked that he get one to me as soon as possible. Please attend and help the W8ECG Group at the Lapeer Swap, we will have a chance to make some money for the club.

Date: Sunday, August 25, 2002
Time: 8:00 AM
Held At:

Lapeer County Center Building

425 County Center Drive

Lapeer, Michigan 48446


07-10-2002 - I moved the DVR from the Vertex to the Kenwood repeater and tested it.

07-08-2002 - We completed the assignment working with the North Branch Police at North Branch Days, thank you to all the W8ECG group for your participation, it was a great time and all the NB law enforcement staff are excellent people to work with, we are already looking forward to next year. Mud bog - Picture added...

05-30-2002 - The weather radio received an alert for Tuscola county yesterday and it worked great, the weather radio announces the nature of the alert, a tone is sounded to get your attention, the NWS feed turns on and describes the alert and area affected. If you know anyone with a police scanner they can tune to our frequency (443.450) to monitor for bad weather.

05-24-2002 - After spending another 6 hours on the weather radio last night I believe I have it working. Is that cool or what, I used a logic probe to detect the status of the outputs and it helped a great deal, I do not believe the weather radio was ever defective, what was going on was a device designed for a specific controller and being interfaced to something different, Thanks to Ron at CAT for his patients and help. Thinking about a CAT controller these guys will work with you...

05-23-2002 - Here is the continuing story on the weather radio if anyone's interested, the weather radio I returned to Dayton showed the symptom one time and has not done it again so it cannot be trouble shooted, Ron at CAT decided they will run this presumed defective weather radio over the weekend and if no problems are found by Monday they will send me a new weather radio and I will connect only the power and test it myself here, if the new unit shows no problems with only the power connected I will then connect it to the controller and see if the controller or wiring is the problem. I choose to pursue this because I am into it now, they stated that at any time they will refund the money for the weather radio if we return it.

05-20-2002 - Hamvention is really something to see, it is very very large, I exchanged the CAT WX-1000 weather radio only to return home and find it has the same problem. Here is a picture of the rack and the new Kenwood repeater (picture1, picture2).

05-15-2002 - It appears the the weather radio is not functioning properly so Ron at CAT Auto suggested that I exchange it, two choices - 1. Wait a week until he gets back from Dayton Hamvention , 2. Go to Dayton Hamvention and exchange it with him there... I guess I have to go to Dayton >>>>>>>>>>>>>> I should be back late Friday night, I will continue interfacing the new weather radio Saturday and possibly have the new repeater on the hill sometime Saturday.

05-10-2002 - I received the CAT WX-1000 weather radio back from California today, lots of stuff to do, cables to make, programs to program, things to do to get it to work. I thought my buddy Greg would make the cable, I'm wondering now why I sent it to him in the first place...

05-03-2002 - I just opened the box containing the new TKR-850 Kenwood repeater, here are my first thoughts, it is built much more sturdy, already rack mountable, inputs for battery backup, 40 watts output (drops back to 25 automatically in high heat conditions), Internal fan on heat sink. More thoughts to come... I am busy with my higher priority tonight (Church youth group) but I will try and install it tomorrow. Remember this is repeater belongs to the W8ECG Group. Please contribute.

04-29-2002 - Vertex repeater was back on the air Friday 4/26/02, power out is very low, PA and REG unit were replaced and TX unit still has problems, the new Kenwood repeater should be here this week, please remember to pay your dues for this year. With this situation we could get behind on other repeater bills.

04-24-2002 - If you can contribute anything financially I could really use it. I am attempting to repair the Vertex repeater myself and am awaiting parts I also have a Kenwood repeater ordered to arrive next week, we will operate on the Kenwood with the Vertex being the backup so this should not happen again. I am not positive the parts will fix the Vertex but once the Kenwood arrives and is installed we will have time to pursue the repair on the Vertex or send it in. Also note we have operated 4 years without a lengthy disruption to service which is a pretty good record, God is Good...

04-22-2002, 1:33PM - Yeasu has discontinued the Vertex VXR-5000 repeater like we use, they still are being made but only built as orders are received (3 Months Wait), repair for the repeater is probably about the same amount of time, the Kenwood TKR-850 is now being made to use the Pacific Research Solutions controller like we currently have, these repeaters are currently out 2 weeks. Time to hurry up and wait. I will get something done as soon as I can to get the repeater back on the air.

04-22-2002, 8:00AM  - I will send the repeater to Yaesu/Vertex repair today and I will also order a new repeater today, I will not allow the frequency to be vacated any longer then this week, we all know what can happen. At this time I will no longer continue the auto patch project and instead any moneys will go towards this situation. Please be courteous and support this effort.

04-19-2002 - The repeater is down, I believe we were struck by lightning one or more times last night, from what a monitor told me the repeater keyed up during a few lightning flashes. I have a part ordered for Saturday delivery but am not completely sure about the problem.

04-16-2002 - The tower addition is complete, xxtowers spent the day at the W8ECG site and the tower height is now 180', pictures here.

04-15-2002 - I have an ideal to generate some money towards the phone line on the repeater, with the swaps coming up soon I would ask that if you have any items that we can sell as a group you could donate them to a table that I will have there. I realize the some have just got into ham radio and may not have things like this but keep in mind that more then ham radio equipment is sold at these swaps, some examples are computer items, telephones, anything electronic. If you think you might have an item or items that we can sell to generate money towards this project please contact me. By doing this we will still have a jump on this years electric and next years insurance left in the account. The swaps I would like to participate in are Port Huron in June and Lapeer in August.

04-12-2002 - XXTOWERS has completed the bases for both of the company towers, they will return on Monday to start erecting these 2 free standing 96 foot Trylon Titan towers, they will take the best day next week as far as temperature and winds and work at W8ECG. Rob/KC8JEV spoke to me about doing something with the net, he some ideas and mentioned starting something new and or different.

04-01-2002 - The net is dead, long live ham radio. We will not concentrate so much on the nets due to lack of interest in net control. Thank you to those of you that were faithful in checking into the nets.

Red Dates Signifies the repeater was down.

03-25-2002 - The official dates that xxtower will be here is the week of the 15th of April. I will post the exact day or days in that week that they will be at the W8ECG tower. They are in Michigan to do more then one tower job.

03-21-2002 - Thanks to all who participated in the SkyWarn Training, it is official this morning Nathanael/KC8SUA is now N8WXF. I have a hat coming with the sample logo, these hats will be available for purchasing through Monograms & More.

03-18-2002  - We had the simplex net after the regular net last night and it went great, we discussed having the simplex net once every quarter to keep in practice. Rob/KC8JEV and Perry/KG8ID picked up the new hard line for the repeater tower addition so everything is here and waiting on the tower crew. Looks like the date may be in April.

03-05-2002 - We will be adding 2 more sections to the W8ECG tower to a total height of 180' of tower and 195' to the top of the antenna, the tower and other parts to complete the job have been ordered and this work will be completed by a professional tower crew from XXTOWERS INC., we are going to try to separate receive and transmit, the receive will be the top antenna at 180' and the transmit will be a side arm at 150', this will eliminate the duplexer and greatly enhance the receive. Lawn chairs and cold drinks (non alcoholic only) will be required for the viewing of this project. The exact date will be announced...

02-25-2002 - I have been contacted by Roger/WB8WJV who is EC for Tuscola County about the W8ECG Group helping them with communications during severe weather, I feel this is a great opportunity for community service and I would like our group to participate.

02-18-2002 - W8ECG is looking for people to take net control for Sunday night nets, we have 3 people now, Perry/KG8ID, Rob/KC8JEV and Jenienne/KC8RVK. We would like at least 2 more if possible to take net control one time per each month.

02-08-2002 - I changed the weather messages to be more informative about the weather conditions they describe, I added a blowing snow message. The new program was uploaded last night.

02-04-2002 - Last night's net was the first one missed in 4 years, I guess it falls on my shoulders because it's my system, if that is true remember that when I shut the system down due to lack of real interest or lack of funds.

01-30-2002 - A TPL amplifier has been purchased and installed, this amp is a continuous duty type amp, it is set currently for 75 watts output.

01-18-2002 - I spoke with Todd/KA8WYN 443.550 trustee and he is still waiting on the back ordered chip for the Bad Axe repeater, I would like to say a special W8ECG welcome to Mark/WA8VNZ and Mike/AC8X.

01-14-2002 - Thanks to Pastor Dale/KC8RVO for taking net control last night.

01-07-2002 - We have been experiencing  our noise/interference problem again, we had this same problem in the summer and it went away for a while, we be turning on the 100Hz PL when this happens to see if this helps, we also have a Band Reject filter to try but do not want lose any more by adding another filter unless absolutely necessary. If the repeater does not key up you may need to turn on your 100 Hz PL encode.

01-02-2002 - Links and more links, ID's and more ID's, the system is working well and many have commented about the ID's and also the courtesy beeps and or tones, each courtesy is the responsibility of that repeaters trustee as is the ID's that are present on each frequency, this is definitely in it's infancy so my advice is please be patient.


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