A Repeater Story
- A Repeater Story
Many of you know that the Muskegon Area Amateur Radio Council has a
two-meter repeater. The machine is on a tower near Giles and Russell
Roads in what I would characterize as east North Muskegon. Comcast
owns the tower and they have let us put our antenna at about 350 feet.
We have been experiencing problems with the repeater. Right now the
repeater is running at reduced power because of issues we suspect are
related to the antenna. Both antenna and feed line were installed new
in 1978. It is not a real surprise that the repeater is not
performing as well as it had in the recent past. This machine is
easily reached by an HT from anywhere in Muskegon County and even from
many points in adjoining counties. Well, easily reached when it is
humming along at full power.
Comcast has an agreement with FedEx to host their 800 mHz antenna on
the top of the Comcast tower. FedEx is retiring their service. FedEx
needs to remove their antenna and feedline. There is another outfit
that services Comcast towers. These other folks will climb the tower
and they asked us if we needed anything while they are up at the top
of the tower, some 400 feet. Well, you can imagine we jumped at the
The subcontractors for Comcast I'll call Radio Towers, Inc. RT swept
the FedEx hardline and antenna. They suspect that the problem they
saw on the sweep is a direct result of the FedEx antenna's flopping in
the breeze. They asked the MAARC if the club would like to put the 1
1/4" hard line to the FedEx antenna on the MAARC's antenna.
This opportunity got us thinking a little. Before RT offered we were
trying hard to scrounge about $5000 for feedline, climb, antenna, and
general grief. You can imagine that we jumped at the chance to save
about $1500 in feedline cost with the RT/FedEx offer.
So, in the next few weeks or month the nice folks from RT will climb
the tower. They will remove and lower the FedEx antenna. They will
put a dummy load on the FedEx feedline. When they find the feedline
in good shape they will put another connector on the feedline. Then
they haul up a brand new commercial two-meter antenna and standoff.
The new antenna will be a few feet higher than the old antenna and
will be very near the top of the tower. Then they run the FedEx
feedline into the MAARC antenna and we are in really great shape.
Also RT will remove the old MAARC antenna and aluminum feedline.
We're anxious to see just what a thirty-year-old antenna looks like.
Now why would I share the above with you?
The cost of all this work is close to $2000. For example, the antenna
and standoff set us back close to $600. In anyone's book that is a
lot of money.
We are soliciting donations from the ham population to help the MAARC
cover the expense of getting our two-meter repeater back on the air
and running smoothly again.
You can see that if a couple of hundred hams donated just $10 we can
cover this expense. Ten bucks is not a lot and many hands make short
work of the task. Let's all dig in and see if we can find a way to
help this machine. You will enjoy the results of the effort. Can you
imagine that we will be set for the next score and ten years?
Please consider a donation in any denomination to the W8ZHO repeater
fund. Dig out that envelope, put in the check, and mail them to:
MUSKEGON AREA AMATEUR RADIO COUNCIL
PO BOX 691
MUSKEGON MI 49443
Donations are gratefully accepted. When this thing goes over Big we
will put the additional money raised into the repeater fund. We would
like to purchase a Digital Voice Recorder for announcements. Imagine,
our '94 repeater can be back and running smoothly.
Thanks to all for considering this situation. We enjoy working with
our ham community on these opportunities. We thank our repeater
trustee, Al, KV8X and our repeater's chief troubleshooter, Jim, K8COP.
They worked hard to put together this opportunity.