February 25, 2007
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.
January 13, 2007
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
October 5, 2007
Elk Mountain and the summer of 2007
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
I’m also including pictures of the site.
If you have any questions about the site please
feel free to contact me at:
See you on the next repeater along the way!
photos of the new
Rowe Mesa repeater by Alan Hill
Photos of Elk Mountain by Jimm