Cary UHF Repeater History
Back in 1993 I was interested in placing an Amateur Radio repeater at a site that the Town of Cary had recently vacated on UHF from the migration of 800 Mhz in 1990. The UHF systems had to be terminated due to FCC restrictions when going to 800 Mhz trunking.
The Cary Fire Dept. has a VHF repeater system at the site that is still active. The Cary Police Dept. had two UHF antenna systems that were available on the water tank at 601 Kildaire Farm Road at the intersection of Pleasants Avenue. The tank and communications building sits on ridge at 508 ft. above sea level which is the second highest elevation area in Wake County. 400 ft. down the street it is 528 ft. ASL.
I am the Fire Department Communications Project Manager and asked the Telecommunications Manager for the Town, Russ Eaker about the possibility of doing this and he said that they were no plans to use the site for UHF. I then got in touch with Danny Musten (KD4RAA) and we discussed it and he drafted a letter to Russ Eaker in order to secure the site.
We had checked the antenna out with our equipment and found it to be usable for 442.675 with about 92 % efficiency (1:7 VSWR) due to the antenna being cut for 460 mhz. Russ took the letter to the Town Council and it got approved. Due to the public service that it will provide, there would be no charge for the use of the system.
I was designated on having the authority to enter the gate and building since I was a Town employee and the Fire Department Communications Project Manager.
Danny and I placed a 19 in. rack cabinet with a GE Mastr II mobile converted into a repeater using a Micro Computer Concepts, RC-100 controller. The Duplexers were a set of Decibel DB-4070, BP/BR cavities and we have the same one today on the repeater. It was Crystalled up for 442.675+ 100 PL. with Dannys call sign, KD4RAA. Sponsored by the "KD4RAA Repeater Group" It was running about 28 Watts out the duplexer.
We coordinated the frequency with SERA as all repeaters should. Eventually in June 1995 we obtained a GE Mastr II repeater from Bob Lukaszewski, K4HA. (formerly KB9MS) He and Chuck Nichols, KE4CDI obtained it. It needed quite a bit of work but we had GE parts in order to get it running. Ironically it was used in previous service as the Cary Police Dept. Backup repeater on 460.025+. I was familiar with the repeater and knew its history of lightning strikes. So, we fixed it up with a RC-100 Controller, Icom remote base, Astron PS and placed it back at its home.
In August 1995 we interfaced a 220 Mhz remote base with the repeater. We could link up with surrounding repeaters and as far as Trenton, NC and Stuart, VA.. After using this for a while in the fall of 1997 we placed the KD4RAA, 444.875+ 100 PL repeater from the Fairgrounds site as a temporary test to see how the higher frequency performed with the antenna system. We then decided to give up the GE Mastr II to the STARS Club repeater on the NCSU Library.
The 444.775+ was getting interference from the radio station. We installed it and got the W4ATC repeater on 444.775+ it was a Uniden 15 watt desk top repeater with a basic controller with a voice ID. So we tuned up the old duplexers for the new frequency and it worked very well. We used the W4ATC callsign for about a year before we recoordinated the frequencies by swapping locations and using K4JDR as its final call sign.
We lost the 220 Mhz antenna system and the use of a remote base because of a 900 Mhz spread spectrum monitoring system for the water tank that needed the antenna system. We also did not have a controller to support a remote base or link at the time, but I was intending on replacing the repeater with a brand new system in the future. In the summer of 1999 the repeater site was struck by lightning causing damage to the feedline jumpers at the bulkhead arrestor. I was in the process of purchasing a new repeater from Sammy Simmons, KD4MJO my friend from South Hill, VA. In September 1999 I replaced it with the Vertex VX5000 Repeater system using a Pacific Research RI-310 controller version 1.10.
The repeater and controller are new, I have worked with developing all of its new functions with Pacific Research. It presently runs version 2.11, Further details about the repeater are listed on the www.caryncrepeater.com web site.
I have the Uniden desk top repeater crystalled for 444.150+ and have place it at a site in Clayton to cover Johnston County. many more repeaters and repeater sites are in the making.
Our Linking began to expand and Danny and I moved forward with many projects to occupy our time in the hobby.
Click Here for more KD4RAA-K4JDR Repeater Group History.
Ronnie J. Casey, rev 25 June 2003
© 2001/2002/2003/2004 K4JDR Repeater & Link System, all
Ronnie J. Casey; K4JDR@arrl.net • NAV-COM Communications • 84 Angie Road Raleigh, N.C. 27603-7336