SRG News-History

S.R.G. News & History

Winter of 2016
The Colville 45 repeater (output) was getting into the Bonner's Ferry, Idaho area for the which owner of his 45 repeater was upset. As a curtesy, SRG turned down the (ERP) RF power 6 db so he did not have to listen to SRG traffic. The frequency coordinator for this area was involved as well. The Colville 45 antenna is directional to the West to serve SR-20 west of Colville.

Summer of 2015

The Tri-Cities 45 repeater is down for a few weeks for maintenance and system enhancement.

Spring of 2015

After careful considerations it was decided to change the 32 repeater to a new frequency of 145.45. This includes Kennewick, Colville and other future locations in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. Main reason for this was compatibility of the present system (need the separation). As before, the search continues for a site around the SR-97 corridor as a solution to the overlap issue there.

2014

After several years of planning a new repeater (pair) of 147.32 was added in the winter of 2013-14. It's located in

Kennewick
, therefore, should give "local" coverage. Before, the Wenatchee 20 did the job, however was weak in many places in the Tri-Cities. The search continues for a site around the SR-97 corridor as a solution to the overlap issue there.

2008
Pete, K7PP has experience little support and interest with his 20 repeater on the west side. As of 2009, he's "retired" from the repeater. The new owner is Pete Krummel, N7KFJ. It's unknown at this time if Pete's interested in the same type of operation as the original Pete was. Karl plans to acquire a site and repeater on the west side to get coverage back on that side of the mountains. This depends on support and resources, of course.

2004
The Yakima expansion is a reality. This should nearly complete the East side coverage of the state of Washington.

November 2003
After Yakima support, planning and construction of the extension local coverage in that area should be a reality as of printing of this entry.

7-6-02

Pete and Chris made a trip to install the last part of the Seattle link today. There is still some fine tuning to make with the control prompts however the system is working properly and is available now to all current supporters. It's been about a year without, so this is a welcome return.

Around spring

After extensive research Karl found it to be 1 of 4 simulcast transmitters of Westlink paging had a spur zipping through the amateur band, including the 80 input. Karl and the company's technician worked together to correct the problem.

12/01

We have been getting paging type of interference. I started noticing it around the first week of December, 2001. After snooping around the VHF Hi Band I found about four paging or RCC channels, that might be related. They are:

  • 152.840 (Westlink paging)
  • 152.540 (RCC?)
  • 152.480 (paging?)
  • 152.240 (P5 paging; Courtesy?)

    So far Jim, Doug and myself have not had enough data to find the source. I did email Dan with 2-way to see if he knows anything. I think Jim's been doing some research on the web about the frequencies. Guess the next thing to do is locate the sites where these transmitter area and check them for spurious signals. This interference is affect at least one other repeater (145.43) according to Jim. There is a possibly it's affecting the commercial band, as I've had a report from work on our frequencies, including 159.075. More on this later

    8/01

    Mike's router blew up, so he closed up the domain connection and passed it on to me. After spending some time with my current provider (CET) we have the domain operating properly.

    3/01

    Due to numerous problems with the dialup circuit to my ISP that holds the "mirror" site, I plan to discontinue it this summer. Therefore, the Dalek domain will be the only site planned for the SRG home page. Mike has been very helpful and I find him one of the most competent system/domain administrators I have even known.

    In other news, because of the lack of support from the general Amateur community the Seattle link is still on hold for restoring it. It will take a little less than $1,000 to complete the circuit.

    12/00

    Even dinosaurs, like myself, do change, occasionally. For this change is my email. For several years I have been using "juno" which has worked very well. Over the years it has little "nags" and other things to make me 'upgrade' to a later version. The main reason for resisting is the larger 'upgrade' programs generally are bigger, slow one's PC down and create more learning about the usual new features and commands. By staying with the same old program over the years, I was able to concentrate on the things more important to me, such as "upgrading" my repeater system.

    To move ahead, I have been working with Windows 95 for several months at home. Even though I have used that o/s at work for longer, it's not the same when one can "tinker" with it after hours, and weekends. Also I had a backup PC in case 95 did something ugly, which it has, mainly, from fault of mine. One can't just delete any file or mess with the ini or reg files without possibly taking a "hit". It' kinda like a automatic transmission in a vehicle; let it do the work for you. (I still prefer manual, but this is an example of my thinking). I kid around on the air about the 'borg' has taken me, since "resistance is futile". (it's a Star Trek thing, in case you aren't into that).

    Thanks to a very generous PC donation this last summer, I'm moving ahead with newer PC methods, such as this one I am on, which is a Pentium-3/500 MHz, etc. and a 32 bit HTML program to write this very document. I'm slightly down sizing to one or two PCs for most of my work. I still continue to use and have a few older PC's, for stuff like packet/DOS (dumb terminal) and other experimentation work, like Linux in the future. I continue to give my older stuff to younger hams that are into that kinda stuff.

    Please continue to use plain text, since I will be doing a lot of forwarding over the next few months and prefer that format; thanks in advance. Also, I will keep both the older juno and older yahoo address for a few weeks, for the folks that didn't read this announcement, otherwise they will be gone. One other thought, to keep up on the latest always go to the web site, since that is the "base" for my operations. (www.dalek.org/srg)

    Thanks to all who have encouraged, nagged, or whatever, over the years, so I can attempt to keep up with the changes in our world, like it or not, we are in it.


    10-00

    Support has dropped off, so the Seattle link slowed down as well. Next year we will evaluate support for this nice feature.

    8-00

    Karl was able to replace the Omak receiver antenna. Omak area Users can now get into the system much better. There is still one minor problem from desense from another station at the site. Fortunately it is only keyed up 5-10 seconds a few times during the day and night.

    11-4-99

    Karl was able to repair the Omak receiver. Upper central Washington coverage is now possible.

    10/99

    Karl signed up for ExpressWay as the ISP for working on the pages. Also this month on the 9th Karl was able to install the Omak 20 transmitter and 80 receiver. However the 80 receiver failed, so another trip in November is planned to repair the receiver. Our Canadians have been able to hear 20 now.

    7/99

    Due to lack of dialup line support Mike needed to discontinue them. Karl is looking into another ISP in town for internet access. The domain and page should stay the same for quite some time. Even if there was a change the general plan is for 1 year advance notice of any address/site change for S.R.G.

    6/99

    Pete has put out the announcement about single membership of $50. If the following hyperlink is not active, go over to K7PP.COM and read the newsletter; otherwise, just click here for the full story. S.R.G. is planing the same format. One is either going to support or not. Supporters are entitled all system features.

    5/99

    Pete and Karl are considering one Group 3, either "member" or not. This would take place on member's anniversary date. Only in the thought stages. Comments are welcome under the "Suggestion Box" button.

    Note: You can go directly to the sites, in highlight; remember you will using a smaller frame; you might, instead bookmark them with a new, full size browser instead, after reading the news.

    3/99

    Mike got Karl set up to do changes on this HomePage so updates can be made from time to time.

    8/98

    In the last year or so Mike McCarrey built up a prototype SRG home page, for the Internet. In the Summer of '98 Karl and Mike got together to work over details on the page. This will greatly improve the information distribution for folks out there needing it. Estimating about half of the Amateurs out there have access to the web in some fashion or other this will let Karl work on other parts of the system, to fill in low or non-coverage areas for 147.20.


    Some History on the System

    In 1974 Karl Shoemaker built his first repeater as an experiment on 146.16/76. Soon after he coordinated 147.81/21 pair for WR7AJA. He and Bernie Treat, WA7AAX used a Motorola "G" strip transmitter and a Sensicon receiver for a split site, linked on UHF, for operation in Spokane. It had no timers or controls, therefore, he monitored it all the time.

    A few months later Karl ran the tube repeater at Bob Berg, WA7ZRX's apartment on the South hill on the West side, with a simple auto-patch. One of the regulars, Duff Johnson WA7BFN, came up with the name (Greater) Spokane Repeater Group. A few months later Karl built up a solid state repeater using a Icom IC-20, in separate boxes on a panel, with ID'er, tail, time out and an auto-patch. It ran at Karl's house on the South hill on the East side, with separate antennas, with lots of desense and some intermod. A few months later a Varden duplexer was purchased to eliminate all the desense. This greatly improved the coverage in town.

    In 1976 Jim Colville, WB7AVD (now W7RY) and Karl moved the repeater to a higher site on 5 mile. Later it was moved to Sunset hill. This was a busy repeater in those days, since an open auto patch was a rare feature in the Spokane area. Karl monitored the system almost 24 hours a day. Being single, this was possible!

    In 1978 the repeater was moved to back to the South hill, higher up about 3000 feet. This gave the repeater some real coverage for the County. The auto-patch was dropped, due to abuses, and lack of monitor stations. Karl was involved with another repeater (club) in town which had auto-patch and more resources.

    About 1980 the repeater was moved to higher to about 5200 feet. (Mica Peak) Karl built up the first cross state link from Spokane to Portland, with financial help from (past) partner, Fred Allman, WA7HSJ. Repeaters 147.39 Othello, 147.30 Yakima and 147.10 Hood River were linkable. They called the system NWRA.

    WWARA (coordinator) was promoting 2 meter band plan change to even, 20 KHz spacing. This was better than the poor choice of 15 KHz spacing, like California did. Karl re-coordinated down 10 KHz to the present frequency of 147.80/20 around 1981, using existing repeater crystals were able to net down that far. Users also could net there 81/21 crystal down that far. In 1982 Karl ordered all new crystals for the repeater on 80/20. Most users followed that practice, or upgraded to synthesized radios.

    Due to various reasons the eventual break up of NWRA repeaters left 80/20 Spokane as stand alone. In 1987 Karl heard about another linking system growing and promoting repeater groups to get involved with a system know as the Evergreen Inter-Tie. Karl met with Russ Kroker, N7HGE and linked with the EIT in the fall of 1987. This included 147.20 Spokane, 147.26 Wenatchee, 145.33 Seattle, and group of some 20 repeaters linkable in the Northwest. The system had a lot of traffic. There were many nets for all kinds of groups. Site rental increases made it necessary to ask for financial support from the users. Some 50 users supported 20 at $15 each help out well. However, the type and amount of traffic got away from the mission of providing a semi-quite system, for nice monitoring. Some of the operations got out of hand, somewhat due to lack of control operator management.

    Around 1990 Karl decided to de-link from the Inter-tie, but did not wish to leave the current users without access to the EIT, therefore, helped Art Gemmrig, WB7AUK start up a replacement repeater on 147.38. KBARA was the sponsor for Art's repeater.

    Soon afterwards Karl and Pete Policani, K7PP met for the first time. They had known about each other over the years and saw that their past developments had taken parallel paths. They saw their interests and ideas were much closer than previous encounters, and decided to work on a project to link the two 20 repeaters. A lot of work needed to be done. Karl upgraded the transmitter to a 100 watts Motorola Micor (ERP) and Motorola Motrac receivers for the four satellite receivers. He built a simple voter for the system, with sub-audible (PL) tone decoders for most of the receivers for interference protection. That year Pete and Karl installed the HUB link equipment at 6700' near Wenatchee and performed several tests and repairs for the next 3 years. Pete donated several pieces of equipment to make this possible, since at the time Pete was working full time and had lots of resources.

    In 1993 Karl added the fifth receiver to the system, serving local coverage. He had some plans for building a controller for future linking.

    In the summer of 1994 Karl upgraded the Wesklink at Spokane with UHF Motorola Mitrek, made into a 2 channel scanning repeater for bidirectional link traffic. He used the homebrew duplexer he made some years before, for a previous link. It was time to extend the 20 coverage to the West. Randy, N7VUY found a local site for Wenatchee at the 4000 foot level. In November of 1994. Karl coordinated and installed a 80/20 package at the site. It was linked up to the HUB with link equipment donated by Jim Colville. The HUB took the signal back to Spokane. This gave good coverage in the Wenatchee area and the basin, but not Ellensburg area.

    In the late summer 1995 Karl and Pete decided the move the Wenatchee 80/20 package to the HUB site. Karl re-coordinated for 6700' (Ridge) and telephone conferenced any affected parties about the changes. It was agreed to have the antenna directional to the North. Extensive testing and operation proved good coverage along the I-90 corridor, fair coverage in the Tri-Cities and Walla-Walla areas and some base station only (with a beam) coverage in Yakima. The only dead area was South of Yakima down to the river.

    The system is not tied up with many nets. A weekly information net (about this System) was being considered. Perhaps combined with a tech net. Perhaps linking both system together for this. (East and West 147.20)

    Later, the Wenatchee 20 antenna developed some static problems, which would mess with weak signals. This was due partly of the Phelph's Dodge design of dissimilar metals used in the matching section. Karl raised enough money during the Wednesday 8PM nets to buy a Sinclair SRL-229 antenna almost the same gain as the Phelph's Dodge, but without the static problem. Karl and Marv Moye, N6MXR, on the tower with Pete and others on the ground, installed the new antenna in the late summer of 1997 with the same directivity to the North.

    Future plans

    Upper Okanogan County does not have good coverage. A site is ready in '98. Due to little resources, the equipment for that area will wait until the summer of '99. There is a volunteer for helping out with the project. That should fill in most of the gaps, up to Canada.

    Coverage to the Southwest would be nice. Negotiations have been going since 1997 with other parties, but to date has not be worked out. Relevant updates can be seen on the WWARA page, under "News".


    Other tid-bits, thoughts and some "soap boxing" :
    by Karl Shoemaker


    Pete's system, K7PP on the West side covers the I-5 corridor from the BC border to Portland and East to Snoqualmie Pass. It uses 3 or 4 receivers and 3 transmitters for this coverage. If you noticed the audio sounds "conventional" it's because doesn't have flat audio throughout the system. He has requirements to keep it rolled off the low end for Simulcast purposes. His system has much better frequency netting for real simulcasting 147.20, though, which proves to be a great asset in the Peugeot Sound area. If you have difficultly copying the sound of the system please try to understand this. He has worked hard to provide the great coverage about 10 years longer than Karl has, so he deserves "well done" once and a while, too !

    The West side 20 has a info net every Wednesday night at 7p. (now 8p.) George Miller, WB7VLV has been doing the nets for 10 to 20 years in Seattle. He also maintains the K7PP home page. Even though I don't agree with every method he might do, I owe him a lot for putting together the nets. Without him we wouldn't have raised the money to buy the new antenna. He has some strict but very sensible management practices, which will benefit all in the long run, so please try to cut him some slack if the going gets hectic in a very large metropolitan area such as Seattle. He has the uncanny ability to put up with the most craziest situations found in the big city life. I feel one way of showing my appreciation is stating in this file you are reading, that he has always promoted Amateur Radio ahead of his personal considerations. One example is monitoring half though the night to make sure things go ok on the West side.

    You wouldn't believe some of the "night owls" that come out! Actually, 95 % of the West side users are very understanding and supportive to our systems. Just let the other 5 % slide, since there's always someone in the crowd to be toot'n their horn. Among that 5% a jammer or two comes along, then goes away. One guy was on a few years ago (no license) with profanity, threats and you name it. He made his rounds not just on 20 but 145.33 (EIT) and others. The FCC and other Fed's seem to "can't" do anything about "getting" this guy. Oh yes, they have his name and address, etc! Last word he was trying to jamb the Coast guard frequencies !

    Hopefully, with the users help to not discuss sub-audible or DTMF codes over the air, the systems can be controlled. This is Karl's direction on the Eastside 20 System-it's NOT closed - just controlled - for quality. Folks sometime misunderstand the difference between open or closed, a club or private owned system and whether it's on carrier squelch or PL. (PL does NOT mean please leave) We have it very lucky over here in the East side, so count your blessings.

    East side 20 has joined in with the info net for a few years, now. Recently, there was little participation on the East, which is ok. That indicates that folks have had enough info or net as such. If anyone would like it to start up again just get on and past your thoughts on to any of the control operators. Karl can be contacted anytime by going to the "contact page" on this site.

    There are technical write-ups and schematics Karl has made for this system and others, over the years. Anyone interested in that kind of information or has any input is welcome to submit your request below.


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