Northeast Wisconsin UHF Linked Repeater System
444.425 repeater (Wausau) PL 114.8 (2A)
443.525 repeater (Wausau/Mosinee Hill) PL 114.8 (2A)
444.900 repeater (Waupaca) PL 114.8 (2A)
442.050 repeater (Stevens Point) PL 114.8 (2A)
442.775 repeater (Irma) PL 114.8 (2A)
The purpose for the 444.425 repeater is to provide a hub for other UHF repeaters to link in to, to get better coverage for more wide spread events. This system will also have an EchoLink and IRLP interface. We currently have many clubs interested in linking their current UHF repeater with this system. This repeater, like all the other club repeaters, will only transmit PL while there is an active receive signal. This is to allow for better linking to the outlaying repeaters. Currently clubs from Stevens Point, Tomahawk, and Shawano are interested in linking to this repeater. The Shawano club already has a UHF repeater for this linking project, but they just have to find a tower to put it on.
If you would like more information on VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems, check out the ARRL book on the subject. This is a guide to the four primary VoIP systems used by hams: EchoLink, IRLP, eQSO and WIRES-II. The book is designed for beginners who need information on how to set up and use these systems, but it also provides plenty of technical “meat” for those who want to dig deeper and explore how the systems actually work. Check out this QST article on VoIP stuff.
Wausau – The Wausau repeater is a Motorola MSF5000 digital repeater donated to the club by Mark Rasmussen N9MEA. This repeater runs with split antennas. The receive of the repeater (449.425) is multiplexed on the output of the 449.100 Wacom duplexer. That antenna is located at 785ft on the FOX55 tower in the town of Hewitt, northeast of Wausau. The transmit (75 watts) is hooked to the UHF port on a PCTEL/Maxrad VHF/UHF diplexer which is on the Diamond X500HNA antenna on a Pyrod 6ft side arm bracket at 375ft. This repeater also has battery back up and will run at 1/2 power when on batteries.
Waupaca – The Waupaca repeater is a Vertex VXR-5000 25 watt UHF repeater with a TX/RX 4 cavity pass/reject duplexer. The 7/8″ hardline runs from the duplexer up the tower to the Diamond X700HNA antenna located at 140ft. The link radio is a commercial Kenwood TK260 4channel mobile radio connected to an 8 element home brew yagi at 50ft and pointed toward the Wausau repeater. The link radio can be set to 5 or 25 watts. Both the repeater and link radio are on battery backup. This repeater is owned by Glenn N5IIA in Iola.
Stevens Point – The Stevens Point repeater is a Motorola MSF5000 analog repeater donated to the club by Mark Rasmussen N9MEA. The repeater is currently running at a test location in Wausau. We are currently working with Portage County ARES to wade through the red tape to get the approval for the 180ft tower up on the north side of Stevens Point. The repeater is interfaced to a UHF Motorola Radius M100 to link into the 444.425 repeater at the Wausau (FOX55 tower) site.
This repeater link system currently has a net on it on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month starting at 8pm. This net is for the Northeast ARES District and is crossband linked to the 145.470 repeater at Suring. The net is currently on hold due to some technical issues with the crossband linking process.
Technical Information Log
8/5/07 – Started install of the 444.425 repeater. Got back-up batteries installed and wired up to the repeater. Need to finish the install of the second AC circuit before we can plug the repeater in. Also don’t have the antennas hooked up yet. The receive is ready to hook up but we are still waiting for the go ahead to install a UHF corner reflector for the UHF link to Mosinee Hill to free up the UHF antenna at 375 ft for the transmit of this repeater.
9/2/07 – Finished install of the second AC power circuit. Found that the charging circuit in the repeater power supply is bad. It puts out 15.8 volts and can’t adjust it. I will have to fix this before it gets hooked up to the batteries.
10/7/07 – Found out that the Marshfield club has decided to drop out of this system. The search has started for a replacement in Wood County.
10/15/07 – Removed the power supply on the 444.425 repeater for repair. The battery charge voltage adjust isn’t working and is running wide open at 15.8 volts. Also hooked up the transmit and receive antennas for this repeater. Once the power supply is fixed, this repeater will be on the air.
11/19/07 – Got the power supply repaired and hope to get it back to the site in the next couple of days.
11/20/07 – The repeater is on the air! The repeater goes to 1/2 power (about 37 watts) when it is on battery back up.
12/7/07 – Have been hearing kerchunking in the morning on the repeater since it has been on the air. The problem has been very intermittent. It acted up today while I was at the site and it is definitely another signal on the frequency. It sounds as if it is someone linking into another repeater on the same frequency. When I got back home and did some checking, there is another system in the Minneapolis area on the same frequency.
12/10/07 – Contacted W.A.R. about the on channel signal coming in on the repeater. Dave Karr, the W.A.R. coordinator will check with Minnesota to see if there is some sort of link being used into the 444.425 repeater in the Minneapolis area.
12/13/07 – Heard back from the W.A.R. coordinator today. According to the people running the 444.425 in the Minneapolis area, they do not have anything linked into their system. Interesting that I haven’t heard the signal since the 11th?
12/19/07 – Have heard the other signal yesterday and today.
1/15/08 – After weeks of listening to the interference, we now know for sure that it is coming from the N9QIP system at the 107.9 tower. Now we have to see where exactly it is coming from and see if we can get it fixed.
2/9/08 – We have gotten information from N9QIP on how his system works and the frequencies it uses. None of the frequencies are close to our input. We will be working with Len to see if we can get the problem rectified over the next month or two as our schedules permit.
3/3/08 – After some testing with the 442.000 N9QIP repeater, we found that both the main repeater transmitter and the link transmitter to Coloma need to be active to cause the interference to our repeater. Len is running the frequencies through an intermod program to see if there is a frequency close to our input. Also, here is an update on the repeaters that are being linked into this repeater.
IOLA – The parts have been gathered for the link and for the Echolink base for Iola and the parts have been sent to Glenn N5IIA.
WOOD COUNTY – The repeater has been acquired for the Wood county site and we are working with the Emergency Management Director to try to get on one of the county owned sites.
STEVENS POINT – The repeater has been acquired for the Stevens Point site and a site has been chosen. The WVRA has been given a 150′ tower that we are in turn giving to Portage County ARES. They will in turn put up the tower and put the UHF repeater and link on that tower.
3/17/08 – After running all the frequencies used in the area of the 442.000 and 444.425 repeaters through the intermod program, there is some mixing going on that gets into the receiver of the 444.425 repeater. Len N9QIP hopes to get a different frequency for his link and then get his equipment reprogrammed. Not sure when this will happen, but at least there is light at the end of the tunnel.
4/16/08 – Just an update on the Stevens Point repeater, the WVRA has received a 150ft Rohn 45 tower as a donation. The club is in turn donating this tower to the Portage County ARES group with the understanding that the UHF repeater will be located on the top of the tower. The ARES group is also going to receive a couple of extra tower sections from Len N9QIP to increase the height of the tower to approximately 180ft. There will also be a spare APRS antenna installed at the top of the tower and also another 2M antenna at approximately 150ft to be used in the future for a Winlink 2000 Telpac Node. The tower will be located on the north side of Stevens Point north of the intersection of Hwy 66 and I39.
Also, Len N9QIP hopes to make it to the Wausau area this week and will change out his link equipment. That will hopefully clear up the interference problem on the input to the 444.425 repeater.
4/18/08 – Today, Len N9QIP replaced a link radio on his system. That should cure our interference problem on the 444.425 repeater.
4/19/08 – During Len’s testing on Friday, we found the this repeater was off the air. Went and looked at it today and found that the AC fuse was blown. I replaced the fuse and checked it over, everything checked alright.
4/26/06 – Installed some AC power protection on the repeater just in case a surge or spike caused the fuse to blow on 4/19/08.
5/20/08 – Took down the tower in Plover, it was really a 140′ tower, and gave it to the Portage County ARES group. We found out the selected location for the new tower is too close to the Stevens Point airport property, so we have sent in paper work to the FAA to try to get an OK for a 180′ tower. At the selected location, the maximum height can only be 140′ to the top of the antenna.
6/30/08 – Got the programmed chip today for the Stevens Point repeater. I hope to start working on it soon.
7/30/08 – Found out from Wood County today that our chances are very poor that we will be able to go on their tower. I will begin looking for a different tower just in case the Wood County tower falls through.
8/2/08 – Have not heard any more interference from Len’s repeater or link since he changed out the link radio in April. Also started working on getting the Stevens Point repeater tuned up. The frequency for this repeater will be 442.050 with a PL (CTCSS) of 114.8. We haven’t heard anything back from the FAA yet about the tower for Stevens Point. Last I saw, our proposal was number 103 of about 200 in Wisconsin.
8/29/08 – Glenn N5IIA got his repeater in Ogdensburg (just north of Waupaca) linked into the 444.425 repeater today. The frequency of Glenn’s repeater is 444.900 with a PL of 114.8. Thanks to Glenn for linking in his repeater and to Mark N9MEA for donated the needed parts to Glenn that were needed for the link. Currently the Echolink on Glenn’s repeater is down.
10/8/08 – We found out 2 weeks ago that the FAA OK’d the tower for Stevens Point for a height of 180ft. The next step is to get this cleared through the Stevens Point Airport and also the Stevens Point City Council. However, the Stevens Point Department of Public Works Director is recommending that this tower not be allowed to exceed the height of 140ft which is allowed by the City of Stevens Point ordinance. Portage County ARES has asked the Portage County Emergency Management Director to step in and try to help ARES get the approval for the 180ft tower from the airport and city.
11/5/08 – Today we got the 442.050 Stevens Point repeater on the air at a test location in Wausau. Please use it and give it a good work out during the testing phase. We are still working with Portage County ARES to get the approval for the 180ft tower on the north side of Stevens Point.
8/12/09 – Was at the Hewitt site (FOX55) to do some other work so I ran the 444.425 repeater on the battery back up. Everything worked fine and the batteries seem good.
8/13/09 – Noticed a problem with the audio on the link from the Waupaca 444.900 repeater. I will have to look into this and see where the problem is.
8/19/09 – Heard from Matt N9NMH that the problem is still there.
8/20/09 – Ran some tests with Glenn N5IIA and the problem is on the Waupaca end. He had a chance to go to the site after work and found that the problem is with the link radio. He will send it to me to get it worked on.
9/23/09 – Finally got the link radio for Waupaca going today. It had lots of problems, some of which couldn’t be fixed, but everything that needs to work, does. Sent radio back to Glenn to have him install it.
9/29/09 – Glenn got to the site to install the link radio, but it had some additional problems with it and couldn’t get the link working.
9/30/09 – Glenn took a different radio (Yaesu FTL 7011) up to the site to replace the Kenwood link radio. The link is now back up and running.
10/3/09 – Glenn started working on getting Echolink working from his home in Iola.
10/13/09 – Heard from Glenn that Echolink is up and running.
Pictures of the 444.425 Wausau Repeater
Pictures of the 444.900 Waupaca Repeater
Pictures of the 442.050 Stevens Point Repeater