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Update for SFARC repeaters
Article and photos by Alan Hill, N5BGC

W5SF Amateur Radio

Update for SFARC repeaters
Article and photos by Jimm White, K5RWS

 

February 25, 2007
Photos

We have been receiving reports that the new 146.84 repeater on Rowe Mesa has not been working as well as expected.  When we put it in, we knew that it would take some tender loving care to get it to perform as good as the other ones that have been in service for several years.
  
On Saturday February 24 John, KB5ZQE, took a trip to Rowe Mesa to have a look.  He had to put chains on his four wheel drive pickup to get through the snow drifts to get to the site.  When he got there, he did a simple reprogram on the controller and it came to life.  Its problem was low audio out of the 146.84 transmitter. 
  
If you are in the area, give it a try.  And report any problems to the repeater committee.
  
Thanks,

Alan N5BGC
John KB5ZQE
Jimm K5RWS

January 13, 2007

Sometimes ham radio projects take longer than having baby elephants. The Rowe Mesa repeater just seemed like that.

On Saturday November 25, 2006 John, KB5ZQE, and I finally took the repeater we built up to Rowe Mesa and installed it. We have had several roadblocks that had to be overcome before we got to that point.

The first one seemed simple – ask the person responsible for the building if it would be all right. We knew that Neel at A1 Communications has equipment in the building. We approached him and he directed us to the Pecos school. John talked to them and they said that, although they had a repeater in the building, they were not responsible for it. They directed us to the town of Pecos. They said we could be in there but they did not have a key.

Everyone we talked to said that the door just had a rock holding it closed. Of course, when we got there the door was locked tight. We had a few weeks of trying to find someone with the key. So when we got there Saturday, we just removed the door. The hinges were on the outside so they came right off.

The antennas went up without a problem. The VHF antenna is a directional array with 6 dB gain. It is oriented to favor the Pecos canyon. The UHF is a small dipole to link the equipment to the hub on Tesuque Peak.

In the enclosed pictures, our equipment is the rack on the right. The duplexer is mounted on the top of the cabinet.

There is still some tuning to be done for optimum performance. We should be able to get to the site in most weather.

The repeater is on 146.840 MHz with a tone of 162.2 Hz. When it is accessed, the repeater will be linked to the other three in the Santa Fe area. The repeater was designed to cover the Pecos canyon during searches in the area. There are some places in the canyon that are not covered well by either the 146.82 or the 147.30 repeaters. We hope that this new machine covers those areas. Time will tell.

Alan N5BGC
John KB5ZQE

W5SF Amateur Radio

October 5, 2007

Elk Mountain and the summer of 2007
Photos

I realize I haven’t written anything about the repeater at Elk Mountain in some time so let me bring you all up to snuff.

For those of you who don’t know, two summers ago Paul Choc, WA5IHL, (Mega Link), and several of us, (your entire technical committee included),  went to Elk to make some upgrades and add some new equipment.

We completely changed the power system.  Long story short, when we finished that summer the site had 6 1350 amp hour 2 volt batteries at about 250 lbs each, a new charge controller, 9 solar panels and one wind generator on a new tower.  All this made it thru the first winter just fine and the site never failed for lack of power.  We also installed a new Mega Link repeater at the site and so we had the Mega Link repeater and link radio, the Santa Fe Amateur Radio club repeater and link radio and the APRS digipeater all working on the new power source.  Later in the summer we were contacted by the US Forest service who asked if they could run their new radio at that site from our power source.  Of course we said yes.  And the next summer the county of San Miguel also added a fire repeater to that site, also on our power.

Everything worked just fine until close to the end of this past winter.  For no apparent reason the Mega Link repeater at Elk failed.  It was some time before I could get to the site but what I found was that ice from antenna structures above the solar panels had fallen and completely destroyed 5 of the 9 panels.  We later found that the wind generator shaft bearings had also failed.

Well, when we go to fix something overkill is not one of the things we concern ourselves with too much.  Our next trip up was made by Paul - WA5IHL, John – KB5ZQE, Alan – N5BGC and I.  We took 5 new panels that the Forest Service had provided and got to work fixing the site.  Seems the batteries had been down for some time and were having a hard time getting back up to full charge.  On that trip, however, we only replaced the damaged panels and moved some other good panels to other locations and moved the link antenna for SFARC to the new tower.

Next trip Paul, Mike, (a friend of Paul’s from PNM), and I replaced the damaged wind generator and added more solar panels, where ever we could find space!  We also charged the battery bank from my truck.

When we left that day the site had 13 solar panels, a new wind generator, and a new 50 amp charge controller.   Needless to say the site is working just fine now!

I should note that most all of the materials that went to Elk this summer were provided by Paul, so remember to say thanks the next time you see him!

Just for reference:

Mega Link         147.260+           67hz
Santa Fe           147.300+    162.2hz
APRS               144.390 simplex

I’m also including pictures of the site.

If you have any questions about the site please feel free to contact me at:
blairw@cdinm.net

See you on the next repeater along the way!

73 de
Jimm  K5RWS

W5SF Amateur Radio

Some photos of the new Rowe Mesa repeater by Alan Hill

Amateur Radio New Mexico

 

Amateur Radio New Mexico

Amateur Radio New Mexico

A few other repeater photos

Amateur Radio New Mexico

Amateur Radio New Mexico

 

Amateur Radio New Mexico

Amateur Radio New Mexico

 

Photos of Elk Mountain by Jimm White

Amateur Radio New Mexico

Amateur Radio New Mexico

 

Amateur Radio New Mexico

 

 

Amateur Radio New Mexico

Amateur Radio New Mexico


 

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