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 San Antonio Hams » Blog Archive » HAMster Repeater News Update

HAMster Repeater News Update

For everyone that I have not had a chance to talk to this year so far, I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a very safe and happy New Year and that the new year brings good things for everyone.

Four Years Ago…

WeakSignal_Hamsters_GroupThe Unclub put up our first repeater January 2012 at the San Antonio American Red Cross on 443.025 with a PL tone of 82.5, taking the knowledge we had gained over the years developing premier VHF/UHF Simplex stations to operate DX and applying it to our repeater, we developed a repeater that had impressive range on 70cm opening a communication link covering most of Bexar County and fantastic coverage East well past Seguin out IH 10 and strong coverage on 37 heading towards Corpus Christi.

We were selected to be part of the Yaesu Fusion Beta Team and helped develop and debug this new Digital Format, enjoying over a year advance experience with Fusion Radio’s and Repeaters before it was released to the general public.

Less Than Two Years Ago…

November of 2014 the plan was formed to built a Regional Fusion Repeater Network supporting Analog and Digital Communications covering Austin, Texas Hill Country {Wimberly, Marble Falls, Boerne, Kerrville, Pipe Creek, Bandera, Tarply, Hondo, Dilley, Pleasanton, Floresville, Seguin, New Braunfels} allowing you to travel through out the region and carry on a continuous conversation.

One Year Ago…

2015-08-14_ARRL_Affiliation_LetterIn January 2015, I gained approval and a 50 year Lease at $1 per month} for a commercial communication site that provided us with a fantastic location and in March of 2015 the 147.120 Repeater came on the air, providing fantastic coverage through out Bexar County, up to Pipe Creek/Lake View, out to New Braunfels and well south of Bexar County and out towards Hondo.

In August 2015, The Hamster Weak Signal Group became an official affiliated club with the ARRL, despite being an “Unclub”. This helped us obtain more affordable liability insurance that was required  by some commercial tower sites.

Fast Forward To January 2016…

I am happy to announce that our plans for the repeater linking Bandera, Tarpley, Medina, Kerrville, etc., is now moving forward at a fast pace……We are just days away from working out the agreement on the locations and hope to have all of those detailed finalized by the end of this week or first part of next week.

If we are successful in securing this desire site in Pipe Creek, I am very pleased to say that this repeater could very well become the premier Repeater for Central Texas, providing coverage not experienced since the days of the original 147.140 Repeater in Sattler Texas.

We are working with a fantastic and eager group of HAMs up in the Pipe Creek/Bandera area on this project and the enthusiasm and energy up there is as high as ours to get this project completed and on the air.

I have the Repeater, Duplexers, and feed line as well as the Antenna and we are ready to begin putting up the repeater once we have locked in the agreement on the new site.

It is my hope that DEPENDING UPON Weather, we are able to be online by the end of January or the first part of February so within weeks we hope to be fully operational. Then we will begin working to finalize our final Repeater for the Alice Texas Area which will provide the final link for us in that region.

Info Regarding Noise Levels On The Current 147.20 Repeater

As many of you are aware, at the commercial site for the 147.120 Repeater we have been experiencing a constant S4 to S5 noise level from other communication gear on the site.  We have made multiple attempts to filter out the interference to no avail, so this repeater is forced to operate with the squelch set very high limiting the repeaters ability to hear in the fringe areas. We have continued to work with not only the engineers on site to resolve this, but with our own experiments, and test as well.

We have noticed that the interfering harmonics drop by 2dB on the lower portion of the 2 meter band and with some new Duplexers that have demonstrated 18dB greater rejection over the existing set.  We are going to perform some test later this week, in an attempt to see if by swapping out the sharper duplexers ,and dropping the frequency down to our assigned pair for Pipe Creek, if we can not solve the input problem once and for all.

So we are asking everyone please program in to your radio’s ASAP the following frequency:  145.350 Negative Off Set with a PL tone of 82.5.

If changing our repeater pair from 147.120 moves us out of the interference we are absorbing now, then the repeater in North West Bexar County will change from 147.120 to 145.350. Retain the 147.120 Repeater pair in your radio, as this will then be the pair that gets installed at the new Pipe Creek repeater location.

I will keep you informed of the final pair locations. But if the 147.120 Repeater stops responding Thursday afternoon or Friday, then please switch over to the 145.350 pair as the repeater site will then be functional on that pair.

Greg N5XO

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2 Responses

  1. Greg Lewis Says:

    Our 4th Fusion Repeater project is coming along just great. Yesterday we poured the foundation for the outdoor weatherproof repeater cabinet, and secured power to the site. Next Saturday we plan on installing our antenna at the 140ft level and if all goes well, the following saturday we will install the repeater and we hope to go active. This new Repeater will be opening up a huge area for the Texas Hill Country. We are very excited to be close to completion for our 4th repeater.

  2. Greg Lewis Says:

    HAMster News Update: 4th N5XO Fusion Repeater soon to go active.

    We are very happy to announce that we are very close to activating our 4th Fusion Repeater and one more step closer to bringing on line our linked Fusion Network providing continuous repeater coverage of Central Texas. Our latest Fusion Repeater has been in the planning for over 18 months and as of this past December started working with some fantastic guys in the Bandera/Pipe Creek area and we were able to finally secure a site that meet the requirements we laid out. We were able to secure an agreement for the site a few weeks ago and have begun working to prepare the site to meet our needs. Ed and Craig of Lake Hills both jumped into action and pour a new concert Pad this weekend to mount the Weather Proof Repeater cabinet on next to the tower, and Ed, Craig, and Greg all met yesterday and brought power to the new Pad in preparation.

    We have run 3D mapping of this site and the expected coverage is absolutely fantastic, and will provide solid coverage through out the entire Hill Country Region up allowing solid communications through out Bandera/Medina and portions of kerr County as well as reaching through out most of Bexar County and Guadalupe County. We ran some initial communication test and were able with only 5 watts and a mobil antenna to communicate with Steve in Floresville, Jerry in Shcertz, Curtis in Castroville {on an HT with a rubber duck} and several stations around San Antonio. So we were very pleased.

    Here is the good news, our targeted date was to activate the repeater by no later than Saturday February 6th 2016. However things are falling into place, it looks like this weekends weather will be cooperating with us and there is a strong potential for us to be 100% complete with the Repeater by no later than this weekend, bringing the latest in Fusion Technology to the Texas Hill Country and Cowboy Capital of the World.

    As with all of our other repeaters, you will be able to not only use the new repeaters on Fusion Digital taking advantage of all Fusion has to offer from texting, GPS tracking, Notification when a station is on the air and sharing of photographs…..But is 100% compatible with all ANALOG Radio’s as well.

    PROGRAM IN OUR LATEST REPEATER PAIR.

    BANDERA/PIPE CREEK
    N5XO-4
    145.350 PL 82.5

    Look forward to having you join us on the latest project.

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