Sounds like you're having fun spending the "moolah" Dave. I'm envious. We
have kicked the idea around here a bit. It would add security and safety to
our camp (some 1800 acres).
We have been working from the Amateur Radio end, in trying to saturate our
council with a linked VHF-UHF system. We have more than enough stuff ready
to place a couple a more sites online, but are having to play the "game"
with building owners etc.
Keep us posted on how the new series of radios works for you, as well as the
new antenna/heliax combo. I'm sure at that elevation, it's going to smoke!
73, Jon Pearl W4ABC
West Central Florida ScoutRadio Network
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Colter" <dbcolter@...>
To: "scoutradio" <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2000 7:37 PM
Subject: [scoutradio] Scout Camp repeater system
> Hello all,
> Here's another aspect of "Scout radio" for everyone's amusement. I'm in
> the middle of updating our large two-camp Scout reservation's commercial
> UHF repeater system. It had been on a GMRS frequency before the rules
> changed a few years ago, but someone let the license lapse for a few
> months, (so much for our grandfather status!), so now we're re-licensing
> on a business frequency pair. PCIA gave us three possible freqs to try
> (which I did) and we chose one. The new coordination should be in our
> hands in a week, and I'll be ordering crystals for the repeater asap!
> Crystals for some of the other older radios will wait for the final FCC
> license, since there is still a fairly remote chance that the FCC could
> disagree with the coordination. Current rules allow you to go on the
> air ten days after receiving the coordination papers using a temporary
> call sign issued by the coordinator (PCIA).
> The repeater sits on a 3000+' remote mountaintop out in the
> reservation's back-country. The reservation is >5 square miles of
> mountainous terrain with five lakes and ponds, and it is a winding,
> almost five mile drive from the ranger's HQ to the summit. The repeater
> (GE Mastr II) was powered by a windmill and a homebrew gasoline driven
> 12v generator that charged a bunch of really old used 200 amp bus
> batteries. Someone had to hike up (no Gator then!) every few days to
> run the generator for a few hours, since the wind wasn't reliable
> enough, and winter ice and winds tore the blades off the windmill. That
> wore pretty thin after one season, and they pulled the system off the
> hill and put it at the ranger's HQ on a 80' tower - the lowest point in
> camp, and at the southern-most tip of the reservation. Coverage was
> pretty poor from there, especially out in the northern back-country.
> Last summer we began planning a return to the mountain, this time with
> solar power. On Sunday, after a winter of planning and preparation, I
> took the reservation's new John Deere Gator up the mountain (a 45 minute
> bone-jouncing ride from HQ) and installed two new Siemens 100 watt
> panels on the side of the old windmill tower. Next trip we will string
> a new support cable and some #8UF cable to the fiberglass equipment
> shelter which will house the MII repeater, solar charger/controller and
> new deep cycle "bus" batteries. By design, the solar system should
> provide enough power for a 50% transmit duty cycle for two days without
> sunlight. The cost of the solar system (plus cables and misc. parts)
> was about $2300 from Tessco.
> The antenna tower is a very old TV antenna tower (pre-Rohn) in fair
> condition, and it had a Stationmaster fed with rather old 7/8" Heliax.
> Measured from the bottom last fall, the SWR was poor, and the antenna
> barely worked. No one had bothered to attach the cable to the legs of
> the tower, and it banged around the inside in the wind until it was good
> and dented. They guy wires had slackened over the years, so I snugged
> them up just enough to stabilize the tower for climbing and headed up
> for an inspection. Lightning must have struck at some time, because
> where the original installer had left a sharp bend in the short jumper
> from the hardline to the antenna, it was pretty well gone. In addition,
> the center pin in both connectors at the antenna end were gone and
> blackened. Since there is little soil on top of this rocky summit, they
> never attempted a ground. We will be doing whatever we can to provide a
> better ground, including running some long heavy gauge wire over the end
> of the hill in several directions in search of real dirt.
> The tower itself is in fair condition, except for the top section, which
> is in poor condition. We've put $2000 in next year's budget to replace
> that, too. I ordered a new DB404 antenna and 150' of 1/2" Heliax. (It
> arrived today.) I chose the 404 over the Stationmaster due to its lower
> gain and fatter lobes, which should offer better penetration in the
> nearby valleys where we need it most. Since the mountain is about two
> thirds of the way up the reservation, which is longer north/south than
> it is wide, I'm setting it up for an elliptical pattern to maximixe the
> signal in the reservation's most heavily used areas. However, it should
> still provide decent coverage to about 30 miles out based on our tests.
> For radios, I've sold the council ten new rather rugged TEKK NT40 ten
> channel 2w synthesized portables at cost, complete with leather cases,
> drop in rapid chargers and spare batteries. At dealer cost, these
> packages run about $230. We will be retuning about a half dozen of the
> older radios, including several Motorola and Icom portables, and two
> Maxar mobiles. Ritron just came out with some affordable 2w 2channel
> mini-base stations for a dealer cost of just over $200, so I've ordered
> four of those, one for each of the two camps offices, and ranger's
> stations. These little beauties are really a portable re-packaged as a
> utility base station/mobile. It runs on 12v from either a vehicle cable
> or wall wart power supply, has a built in mic and PTT button, and has
> external mic and speaker jacks. It comes with a BNC antenna connector
> and 1/4 wave rubber duck antenna. Among the options are a mic, vehicle
> power cable, and mounting bracket. They are available in either high
> band or UHF versions, are factory programmed for a number of GMRS or
> business "dot" channels which can be set with internal dip switches.
> You can also, (if you're a Ritron dealer), get a $95 software/cable
> package to program them on other frequencies.
> If all goes well, we will have the new system up and running by the
> second week of Scout camp - coincidently, the week I"ll be there with my
> troop! Wonder what I'll be doing while my Scouts swim and play?
> Dave Colter WA1ZCN
> Scoutmaster, Troop 71 New London, NH
> Camp Committee Member, Hidden Valley Scout Reservation
> Daniel Webster Council, BSA
> SCOUTING and AMATEUR RADIO - FUN FOR ALL AGES