|ISP Tower Sellersburg
|Yaesu Digital Fusion
67 hz tone on output
|Fusion in Auto mode
|Near Elizabeth, IN
|Jefferson County, KY
|Near Elizabeth, IN
History of the 146.850 “2-meter”repeater.
I remember back in 1981, when we came back here to live, that the 146.850 MHz repeater was owned and operated by Bob Miller (N9RM), now a silent key. It is co-located on the Indiana State Police tower on the Knobs. And to this day it continues to stay located there.
The ISP radio tech “Gomer” Pyle helped Bob to obtain the site location and also assisted in keeping the repeater on the air. I do not recall how or when Bob and Gomer got connected with the project. Bob was an instructor at Jefferson Community College in Louisville and I think this might have been the start. But I do not know when it happened.
Throughout my various careers and educational upgrades I would try and help Bob out with the repeater equipment.
Jumping to 1997 I was working for Sprint Telecommunications Ventures (now Sprint PCS). One of the issues with turning up a new Digital Cell Phone network was the re-farming of frequencies. And the Indiana State Police was one in this area that needed to move off of 2GHz and move up to 6 GHZ. This included all new microwave radio equipment and antennas. Plus the existing tower had to be increased 60 feet. Also the whole guy wire arrangement had to be completely replaced.
Bob and I saw an opportunity to upgrade the repeater system. Bob bought a new Vertex 5000 repeater and Hustler antenna. I provided the new ½ inch hardline (250 Feet) and connectors. Plus I would coordinate the installation.
Then in 2007 Indiana State Police replaced all of their old repeater huts. We were allowed to keep our place on the tower and in the new hut. But during the build out we had to temporary relocate our repeater.
We tried several locations in town, not on the hill. But the repeater receiver was plagued by interference. By 2009 all the equipment was moved back into the new ISP hut and we were back on the air again.
In 2012 the new State police radios needed expansion so we had to relocate our repeater to a new lineup in the hut. This only took a day and the repeater was off the air for 4 hours.
A few months later we discovered the repeater down. It turned out to be a shorted bridge rectifier inside the external Astron power supply. The power supply was changed out and the duplexers were checked with new test equipment. To date this has been the only true “failure” of the equipment.
History of the 146.745 MHZ repeater. Call sign WD9HMH
The year is 1988 and Cellular phone systems are only three years old.
John Austin, WD9HMH, was working for GTE cellular phone systems.
He was living in New Albany, IN. and as a cellular site technician. He had the responsibility of starting up and maintaining cellular radio base stations. As a Ham he had the opportunity to locate a GTE owned radio tower and asked permission to put up an amateur radio repeater. GTE agreed to let him have a spot on the tower and room in the transmitter building at the Doug Knob Hill site. If you go down county road 111 towards Borden, right at the four way in front of the Chicken House you can look to your left and see the tower on top of the hill.
So John put together a two meter repeater made from two Motorola Mocom 70s mobile radios. He obtained a 4 cavity Duplexer. Feed to 1 5/8 inch hardline going up the tower 100 feet. Which fed a four bay array of ½ wavelength dipoles spaced off the tower leg 6 inches. With just 20 watts of output power the machine would work mobiles in Lexington KY. Back in those days Cell companies worked well with the amateur radio groups. And the old analog cellular towers were high and mighty. Today’s digital cell sites are engineered for less coverage. No “boomer sites” wanted.
Fast forward to now a days. Cell companies have been selling off certain towers to tower management companies. GTE was bought out by Verizon. But when Verizon sold the Doug Knob tower to a management company things changed. The new management companies wanted paying customers only. No rent no spot. So our antenna and coax was cut off the tower. And we were not notified. Reports of poor coverage came in. That’s right the repeater was feeding a cut coax line right at the hut entrance. I cannot remember the date but I think it was around 2006.
John Austin had moved to TN and I (N7BBW) took over maintaining the repeater. I was able to get the equipment out of the hut. We moved it around trying many different locations but they were not very high.
This is where John Austin came to the rescue again. His new job in TN is with T-Mobile. He was able to work out a deal on a new tower build at the Clark County REMC in Sellersburg. So we moved the equipment in there. Again the radio feeds 1 5/8 inch hardline to the top of the 190 foot monopole. The antenna is on the very top making it truly omni-directional.
Over the years radios were changed out. The Mocoms gave way to a used Vertex VXR5000 commercial repeater. Also running 20 watts.
Later Lou Hinkle, N9GTO, bought a Vertex VXR7000 which gave us 50 watts output power. This is in current use today. The old VXR5000 is on site as a standby repeater.
On July 28,2012 the new 147.090 repeater was launched. For months the temporary repeater was tested at it’s new location off of Hwy 11 in Floyd county.
The new repeater is a commercially built Vertex 7000 rated for 50 watts 100 percent duty cycle. And it feeds a new Hustler GP-7 base station antenna via 100 feet of LMR-400 coax up to 90 feet above ground level. The field elevation of this site is approx. 950 feet AMSL (above mean sea level).
The CW Id for this repeater is the Floyd County Key and Mic Club call sign, W9ELJ. Currently Dick Boyer, W9TDI, is the license custodian.
The repeater is located on property owned by Lou Hinkel, N9GTO at 4772 Hwy 11, Lanesville, IN.
Back in the 80’s the original 147.090 repeater was built and operated by Bob Miller, N9RM. He called it the sister site to his 146.850 repeater which was on an Indiana State Police tower on the Knobs.
Over the years the 147.090 had taken on many shapes and sizes and located in many places. Until there was no home. The new millenium spawned new changes. Many of our amateur repeaters that were co-located on Cellular towers were being forced off the air. The cell companies had sold their towers to Tower Management companies. And anything on the tower has to produce income. As amateur operators we can not afford the ”rent”.
So this year I proposed to the Clark County Amateur Radio Club that we start some projects in an effort to get new/young “blood” moving. After hearing about the demise of yet another repeater, Lou Hinkle approach me about a proposal he had in mind.
The proposal was the availability of farm property on the Knobs. He said he had a 75 tower and internet capabilities on site. Not to mention a barn to house a repeater. So I jumped at the offer. I rebuilt the “poor mans” 147.090 repeater and Lou ordered the new antenna. With everything in place we fired it up. Immediately we started getting excellent reports. The new location was the best the 147.090 ever seen.
In the summer of 2006, a new antenna for the six meter machine at Cardinal Hill, Ky. was put into operation. The repeater had been working on a Diamond DPGH62 antenna mounted on the North facing leg. This antenna would hold water which affected performance. Also due to it’s design as a base station antenna and not for a repeater, the take off angle was too high. So the antenna was replaced with a Ringo Ranger that I had on hand. Also I rebuilt the repeater.
The new repeater is made up of two Motorola Mitrex 6 meter mobiles coupled together via a CAT-200 controller. This made big improvements to the overall operation and control of the repeater. Power output was increased to 50 watts.
I have been happy with the “sound” of the repeater but the range has not been what I had hoped for. To improve the range we will need to find a better antenna.
The site has a height above mean sea level (HAMSL) of 649 feet. And the antenna is 200 feet up the tower. Given the local terrain, antenna height above average terrain (HAAT) = 322 feet.
Location is: 38:08:46.00 degrees Latitude and 85:48:29.73 degrees Longitude, which is on the Louisville water company grounds by St. Andrews Church Road and Dixie Highway, nearby DOSS High School, in Louisville, Ky.
Estimated range for mobile (25 watts @ 0db gain) = 20 miles.
Estimated range for base (35 watts @ 0 db gain) = 30 miles.