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The KC 6 Meter Update June 2015
The project is still alive.. and the 6 meter repeater is still cranking like clock work..
although it is somewhat a weak signal generator only putting out 100 watts using a antenna of about 3db gain or less and only 35 feet off the ground.
That being said, We have had little difficulty in the reliability department. Some of the audio problems of the repeater have been discovered and corrected.
The announcement machine and echo station controller has been working great!
The ARRL news line reports are playing at 7:10AM and every 5 hours there after every day.
Other reports are posted when available.
The 100 watt out put from Olathe can be heard faintly in the Independence, MO area and a ways north of North land.
I have been able to work the machine with my Yaesu 857D mobile (80 watts) from the corporate woods area, North land, and generally this side of the MOKAN border.
Going South it fades quick past Spring Hill unless you are on a hilltop.
Promise of new opportunities may be in the making.. and realized in the coming months, to improve the whole 6 meter repeater performance.
But to make sure the next step is better we want to up the 6 meter power out.. by quite a bit.
If there is someone out there that is willing to help us with the donation of an old HF linear amplifier that is set up to operate on 6 meters / 10 meters
(preferably 300 watts and up to 1 kw... working or not... tube or solid state... CB or Amateur Band) It will get us closer to our goal..
If you know of one.. but it does not do 6 meters.. That is OK as we can with a little effort / modification.. make it work on 6 meters!
If you know of someone that has any of this kind of old equipment (faulty or not) stored and not in use.. broken or other wise...
Please know that we can probably repair or modify it and put it into good civic service.
Many old 200 + watt outlaw CB amplifiers for 27 mghz can be converted to 50 mghz with out to much effort..
There were a lot of these old units made.. but I don't know where they have gone.
Tube units work great.. they just consume more energy..
There is a old tube style 300 watt 6 meter repeater up in Michigan ( I think) on E-Bay that has been for sale for a long time.. .
but the folks want $900 and will not take less.. with no guarantee that it is well. The freight would eat us up and we might end up with a boat anchor..
The same money would buy a new solid state unit. We are trying to keep cash out of this equation if possible..
Our talents and efforts to repair / modify and deploy is the best answer..
It would be better to invest our monies / time to repair.. into something we can acquire within the MO-Kan or other region
and fix. Knowing the stuff may not work correctly to start with...
We have some very talented engineers, technicians and great Amateur Radio advocates ready to help in the repair,
upgrade or conversion of any HF / CB/ PA that might show up..
The ideal situation would be to come across something that would generate 500 to 1 KW. But even 300 watts would be great!
I did see a unit like this over at Dave Chase 's garage (Lake of the Ozarks) earlier this year.. It had no power supply.
Now I am thinking maybe we can piece this with a power supply that someone else might have.. Who knows?
Maybe there are many units like this sitting there collecting dust. Lets put them to work!
I have been trying several experiments with the old Maratrac mobile units in an effort to increase the power out of the 6 meter repeater..
Not succeeding well in that arena..
I believe finding an old commercial, Heath KIT or home brew 10 or 6 meter power amp, will in the long run, be a better option.
Remember, we have some great opportunities for positioning the 6 meter receiver links around the KC area..
Trouble is.. we need much more than 100 watts power out to make those areas functional.______________________________________________________________________________
KC 6 Meter repeater Update.. Ready for the 442.625 Cross band? April 13, 2015
The KC 6 Meter Repeater is still operating very well.. and has been revamped to include Motorola GM300 s for link receivers..Audio has improved much.
We are currently using the link receiver in Shawnee, Ks. We have other link receivers / antennas built and ready to install. Since no local volunteers
in the (Olathe / Spring Hill / Gardner/ Belton direction) area have stepped up to house a local link receiver / x miter in the Southern half of
Johnson county, We are going to try to find or manufacture a duplexer for the 6 meter receive / transmit function. Yes I know.. it will be a challenge.
but have found many designs already detailed and proven.. If someone out there has access to short pieces (4 foot or more) of the larger
Heliax I have a good use for them. Will be modeling after the KF6YB six meter Heliax Duplexer project. OR W5FN design. Google these for more info.
Any help or guidance would be appreciated!
Very soon now the KC 6 Meter Repeater and a 70 cm pair (based in Olathe, Ks) will be cross banded with the new N0CRD repeater..
( 442.625/ 447.625 Machine is now being assembled) allowing one to talk on two bands at one time. Which means (for the new and old hams)
two important notes when the 70 cm machine becomes available....
1. If you access the new 442.625 machine (with an input frequency of 447.625) with your hand held or whatever, you will also be
talking on the 52.97 machine. and visa verse. Remember, if you want to work the 6 meter machine.. it has an odd input of 51.27. Both will have a PL of 91.5.
2. For several weeks now we have been almost flawlessly transmitting the ARRL weekly Audio newscast on the 52.97 repeater. If you want to tune in and listen, it starts its day at 7:10 AM and repeats every 5 hours up until 10:30 PM. 7:10AM, 12:10 PM, 5:10PM and 10:10PM.. Every Day.Updated sometime during each weekend except on Holidays weekends.
Also You may be interested in the audio version of the Amateur Radio world news (An independent source of Amateur Radio news), updated weekly..It is transmitted at 7:10 PM daily. (About 30 minutes long.)Because of ARRL and Federal regulations you will hear and experience timely repeater interrupts (time outs and Station IDs to keep all very legal).
All computer controlled using the Echo Station Software. Works great! Overall you will find the audio to be pleasant and flowing nicely.
Here is some news I think you might be interested in.. While building the 6 meter repeater.. the one thing that would have been very handy.. is a 6 meter handy talky! For several years I had owned a Yaesu VX7. It had the 6 meter band along with 144 and 430 mghz..
But then I sold it.. long before the 6 meter repeater project ever started.
Then, last week I caught a glimpse of a VX6E being advertised with 4 each bands! Yes you heard right! 6meters, two meters, 220 band and 440 band!
It is the European version. Even better, these units were "New Old stock! Never used! I took a chance and it arrived yesterday! Just as advertised
and a whole bunch more of Pre programmed European features I did not expect but seem to work here in the USA too! Works as advertised...
It was the last one they had in stock. Wow!
July 20, 2014 update
The KC 92.7 / 91.27 (91.5 pl) 6 meter transmitter / repeater system seems to work well. It is an OPEN repeater for anyone to use!
Announcements every 15 minutes for your identifying pleasure..
The repeater is in full operation at this time. Voting system seems to function correctly and waiting on more remote nodes to be installed.
We need information from the Amateur radio community once again to measure the effectiveness of the KC 6 meter repeater. If the Amateur radio community who have the ability to transmit to the 6 meter FM repeater, could take a moment, and try to communicate or bring up the machine and share your results. it would be most helpful.
If you bring it up, it will give you a courtesy beep and cw id.
The questions about your experience with the 52.97 repeater we are wanting answered are as follows:
Your call sign....................
Your transmit power?...............
Your antenna (mobile, base, vertical horizontal or other)........................
Our 52.97 signal report? ..................
We have had some trials at this end: Bad coax being replaced
and now we are finding out the true colors of our 30 year old radios.
Decided to test all links and found the Maxtrac (link 4 radio) receive was deaf. Replacing it.
The node 3 pair wasn't even programmed for the link #3 and apparently couldn't be, (working on that).
1. The Node 1 central receive - Tested, installed and up. Remote receive installed at Shawnee.
2. The Node 2 central receive tested, working and waiting on remote node install
3. The Node 3 central receive - Waiting for a new or repaired pair of radios. (Old Motorola sm50s not programmed correctly)
4. The Node 4 central receive - Deaf Motorola uhf maxtrac needs replaced, waiting on remote node install.
5. The Node 5 central receive tested, Up and waiting for remote node install.
The Shawnee location was equipped with remote node 1 equipment.
The node remote is tested, installed and working well.
If you have the ability to transmit and receive on 6 meters FM (repeater input. 51.27 with 91.5 pl and receive on 52.97 FM You probably could / would bring up the Shawnee machine.
The Shawnee remote should have an effective receive radius of about 25 to 30 miles depending on your elevation and power. I bring it up with 30 watts or less with my mobile rig.
The 52.97 transmitter (70 watts) in Olathe should also be good for about 25 to 30 miles or more, and you should have no trouble if you have a well matched vertical receive antenna like a j-pole or vertical dipole.
Of course if you are further away.. and have a horizontal 6 meter beam.. go for it!
In the beginning when promised a central site in down town KC.. The design was to surround the central location..
However, that site was withdrawn at Christmas.. 2013. So a new direction was elected..
Simply install as many remote nodes as possible.. starting with the closest remote node location...
Slowly add more remote receive nodes...
Then increase the transmit power to +/- 300 watts.
300 watts transmit from Olathe should give good coverage to a 50- 75 mile transmit radius
The remote receive nodes in concert with the voting technology we have should work great!
The Shawnee site sits at 16.2 miles from central receive. and works well from my mobile (using only 30 watts and less).
Of course the closer in to Shawnee you are.. the less power it will take to bring the repeater up..
In a 20 to 30 mile radius of Shawnee (maybe more??) I would think 30 watts would work. It does for me.
The proposed Independence, MO site is 47.2 miles from Olathe. When in the beginning it would have been only 15 to 20 miles..
It was going to be the first remote node. but now we will need to have more power (70 cm / 100 watts?) on our link system
or a change in link method. (ie via internet?).
The Raytown site is again about 25 miles from Olathe.. Still can work waiting on a tower to be completed.
The Osawatomie site is about 30.3 miles. Still can work. Needs more testing on link receive, etc. Maybe next?
Lees Summit is about 29 miles. Still can work. Waiting on a location.
A remote site in Lawrence, Ks would be viable. Need location for the remote node.
To date, if we were to purchase all the equipment (in a used state) currently ready for use and charge for the amount of hours all have volunteered, I have estimated the project would have already expended well over $7500 to 10,000.
Yet, we are on the verge of having a metro wide system capable of cross banding and being positioned to offer multiple Amateur radio services to the community for very little dollars (compared to real cost) but a lot of volunteered equipment / man hours.
We have gone too far to stop now!
July 12, 2014 Update!______________________________________
For the past few weeks the 6 Meter repeater has actually been on the air... off and on.
Receive Node Number 1 has been established in the Shawnee Kansas area.
52.97 out with 51.27 input PL 91.5... announcements every 15 minutes.
Still getting the wrinkles out!
From this day forward we will leave the machine on full time (with exception of mods and repairs
and a possible move to a new central location)..
Please note the 6 meter system is a vertical polarized antenna transmission. 70 watts at 40 ft.
So a vertical J-Pole will do great for your local KC (Shawnee node 1 area) 6 meter contacts.
We are still dealing with radio receive sensitivity issues, However, the system is working as advertised!
The voting unit is appearing to be working correctly.
Because of the success we have with the Shawnee location..
Our plans are to set two more Receive nodes around the KC Metro in the very near future.
85 % of All the KC 6 Meter project equipment we have..
has been donated / modified and most is over 20 years old.
That being said .. please understand we are still gleaning equipment,
solving operation problems and planning for success.
All this balanced with work and home life. Family always comes first!
We are not complaining..
We are rejoicing for those who have shared used radios, power supplies, coax and antenna, poles and all.
Not to mention those who have shared their time, skills and willing to donate home space.
I tell you this type of friendship and sharing holds up and waves the true flag and spirit of Ham Radio.
While it has taken a lot of patience, testing and modification.. (months of it)
We and the 6 meter repeater project participants are on the final stretch.
What we are doing is merely demonstrating to all..
If you have the will to learn, put your hands to use.. and execute on your idea..
you can make something out of most anything.. sometimes out of almost nothing!:-))
In our case the transceivers are old and generally discarded 400 and 50 MHz equipment.
Old Coax and Hard Line coupled with handmade clamps, supports and
antennas. Some of which you don't know it is faulty till you put it in service!
Because of a shortage of old commercial antennas for our project..
We decided to try to build Good effective Antennas.. to fill the void.
And according to many ARRL handbooks You can do just that. So we did just that..
We have yagi beams antennas demonstrating 15 db gain..
manufactured out of #9 clothes line wire, 3/4 " wood and #12 copper house wire ( Our 400 MHz Qagi beams.)
Our 6 meter (3db gain) J-Poles out of your kids old Swing set legs..
and cheap conduit / chain link top rails from Home Depot!
We are going to try to build some co-linear antennas that demonstrate 9 to 15 db
out of RG8 (not foam fill but hard fill coax) per ARRL handbook instructions.
This KC 6 meter project process has not come without multiple challenges.
Kinda like life.
It is how you meet those challenges... is what separates success from failure.
Having the patience to examine, determine the best course of action and then execute.
Not to get in a hurry or rush. and to expect more challenges.
For me.. It is truly a fun project that has created new friendships, acquaintances and increased my knowledge! _______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jan 28, 2014.. What brought about this big project??
What was absent and needed in the KC area was for a public service, area wide Kansas City 6 meter public safety communication system... for the Amateur Radio Community. To be used as back up or primary use. This project is not just another simple radio repeater system, But one in which there will be a RF 50 MGHz receiver in every major surrounding communities (up to 10 each nodes planned at this time) surrounding KC, MO.
What this project amounts to is finding volunteers, locations and operators needed for establishing 10 each geographic node locations. The general idea of the system was to have one central voting / transmit site, with ten each remote site receivers.
Needed to even start and complete this project was to have donated or built...30 each transceivers with all the parts (cabinets, screws / hardware), electrical), 21 lengths of coax with connectors, 20 each UHF antennas, 11 each VHF 6 meter "J-Beam" antennas, 11 each "586" computers complete with control software installed and programmed for Node control / station ID on each node, 1 each central computer control, Internet interface for all locations, 2 each (5 station) voter machines and 11 each low ripple (professional) power supplies.
And of course finding the expert volunteer labor to program and electronically interface all the radios, install and operate all the antennas and tower necessities. Not to leave out finding the volunteer hours to monitor and administrate each node. I have in a very big way, also donating hours to build, wire and fine tune each node, set up / program each 586 computer along with interfacing the central control and voting system site.
The idea is each Node receiver will then relay back from low powered 6 meter transceivers(via linking 70 centimeter radios) to a central Transmitter site . Each of the incoming node signals will then be processed by commercial built voting machines. With the strongest / signal to noise ratio winning the vote. Then that audio being re-transmitted to all the area... via a 100 watt or higher power, using the transmitter frequency of 52.97 MGHZ .
The project after 7 months is now 75 % complete! Come Spring and warm weather.. the first 5 each nodes will be installed and brought into service!
The idea is to allow very low to medium powered 6 meter (50 mghz) Amateur Radios to access the area wide (5000 member strong) Amateur radio community. Hopefully to use for public service and every day communication. A challenge that has actually introduced me to newer technologies, created new friendships and kept me very active and alert.
Life is still interesting and fun!
More info on the project and monthly updates will be available …