|Charles T Ester|
|8218 Dundalk Ave|
|Dundalk, MD 21222|
NOTES FROM A SHACK IN PROGRESS
UNDER CONSTRUCTION Updated 1/3/2016
TO INVENT ALL YOU NEED IS INSPIRATION AND A PILE OF JUNK, Thomas Edison
This New Years Weekend we installed the crystals that ICM shipped us last week! We are on our coordinated frequency!
Output 448.675 Input 443.675 PL 91.5
We worked Saturday and Sunday installing the new crystals in the channel modules. Then testing and adjusting the channel modules, PA Amplifier, receiver frequency and then finally the Duplexer.
Kelly went out driving around in the car to help test our receive sensitivity. Every thing was working well until we lost all out put power on Sunday afternoon. At this point we decided to stop to fix dinner. After eating and a hot tub dip we came up stairs to start trouble shoot the issue.
We swapped the PA Amplifier deck, Still no out put. We Swapped the exciter board, no output. Installed yet another exciter and Eureka! So we started over all over again aligning and tuning the Exciter (transmitter) board and then amplifier. After all that Kelly even programed a Baofeng manually from the keypad!
How It All Started!!!
This repeater is being assembled by a wife and husband who enjoy spending time together more than anything else. They found a hobby where each ones strengths would complement the others weaknesses. Through that hobby they found ways to give back to the community that welcomed them.
The repeater adventure began with a discussion about how useful a portable repeater might be for public service. We listened with awe and curiosity to discussion between those gods among us who volunteer there time to building and maintaining club repeaters. We hardly understood any of it, so we chipped away at our ignorance. With our curiosity about the technology barely sated and the possibilities steadily growing we would continue our discussion on and off from the time we were licensed till Yaesu brought out the DR-1X. At this point our discussions became more serious.
Kelly carefully reviewed the requirements for the Yaesu promotional offer. Called Charles at work and shared her discovery, the paper work did not require an applicant be a Club. Yaesu only required a coordinated pair or a letter of construction. This was exciting news.
Late Summer 2015, we tailgated together for the first time. We were at the “St. Mary’s County Amateur Radio Club 3rd Annual Tailgate Fest”. A gentleman there was selling off old club equipment including three GE Master II base repeaters and a 70cm duplexer. Planning to use it with a DR-1X, Charles bought the duplexer from him early in the day. Later after talking with a retired GE tech that stopped at our table. We learning that the GE master II were stable, durable and widely used as amateur repeaters. We approached the other tailgater, told him about our plans to explore repeater building. The end result was that he had less to unload that evening, while we had almost everything necessary to start our project.
Arriving home we started researching and testing the equipment. We carefully tested the radios, receivers and amplifiers separately at first, then in different combinations. After some elbow grease and head scratching we had assembled a repeater. After a few more false starts we had the first proof of concept. A repeater that ID'ed some one else call sign, responded to it's input frequency and transmitted at 250mw on a 1/4 wave mag mount.
Kelly took on the job of learning hexadecimal to program the controller. Charles continued testing hardware. We carried the whole contraption to an AERO club meeting to get advice and share with the members. We answered questions and gave some members their first chance to see a repeater / duplexer and amp. We even powered the thing up and let people "see" it operate.
We worked together to fill out the TMARC application. Charles supplied the specs for the equipment, Kelly ran the numbers on the FCC web site. It took a little time, phone conversations over lunch. Discussions other repeater owners and users alike to finish the paper work. On November 6th we sent our request for a coordinated pair to TMARC. On November 22nd we received our Letter of construction with our frequency pair: output 448.675 and 443.675 output.
Current Repeater Equipment: Task essential to going on air: 3 months Future Plans: 6 months to 1 year
GE MASTR II 70 cm Base Radio Recrystal ICOM'S Add SAME alerts
GE MASTER II 70 cm Amp Align transmitter Add link radio
NHRC-4 Controller Tune Duplexer Upgrade to DR-X1
Motorola 1500 Duplexer Test coverage and Saturation Upgrade to RC210 controller
Workman Dual Band 100 inch Antenna Switch to Yaesu DR-X1
ARR PreAmp P432VDG 16 db. gain
Kelly and Charles Ester
KC3APF & KC3ANJ