Kendall Amateur Radio Society

KB5TX


Repeaters

As a result of months of effort by Ken Nichols and Rodney Vorndam, the use of Kendall County towers by KARS repeaters is now formally approved by the County Commissioners Court and the County Judge.  Here is our current status.

 

KARS provides and maintains the following repeaters using the Club call KB5TX:

·         VHF: 146.64(-)  pl tone of 88.5 presently located on the EMS tower at Jennifer Road.

·         VHF: 145.19(-)  pl tone of 88.5 presently located adjacent to the Kendall Co. Sheriff's Department.

 

Doug Becker, W5VEO, also maintains two UHF repeaters for our use:

·         UHF: 444.900(+) pl tone of 123.  Temporarily off the air.

·         UHF: 444.750(+) pl tone of 162.2 presently located on the EMS tower at Jennifer Road.

 

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    The County wishes to consolidate communications at the EMS site on Jennifer Road. This means that KARS will need to move off the EMS tower.  So, in exchange, the County offered the old Kendall County Sheriff Office (KCSO) site on Tower Road to KARS to use, backup generator, tower and all.  We surveyed the building and, with the Board approving cost, Marsh Pronneke accomplished extensive repairs amounting to almost a complete rebuild, mainly to remove dry-rot, insulate, and water proof the building.

 

 

Repairs are complete, and we are ready to move the .64 machine from the EMS site on Jennifer Road to Tower Road sometime during the next few weeks.  This should be an easy move as we will use the cans, coax and antennas still in place at Tower Road.  The picture below shows what we will have to work with both now and in the future.

 

Tower Road Site

 

We have two working 2-meter antennas and a possible 150 MHz antenna system.  Our plan is to take our 2-meter antenna and coax off the EMS tower and reinstall this at Tower Road.  Then we will have three workable 2-meter antennas at varying heights.  Functionality of the 450 MHZ antennas needs to be confirmed.  Primary power will be from the AC Mains with battery backup.  We inherited the backup generator on site and will refurbish this later on.  The DR-1X fusion repeater (.64) will be the primary repeater on this tower.  So, what is the overall plan?  Here is the Road Map the Membership has approved.

 

Road Map

  • Establish a 2-meter FM repeater with wide area coverage "head and shoulders" above existing machines in the area.

  • Support both "pure" FM and emerging digital standards.

  • APRS capability.

  • Build a microwave link to provide a internet connection at the repeater.

  • Provide ability to "call in" via internet to participate in NETS from a remote location.

  • Provide emergency communications capability.

  • Link (if desired) with other repeaters to expand range.

Our goal is to make this the premier repeater in the Hill Country.  We will support both "pure" FM and emerging digital standards.  We plan to provide APRS capability and a mesh network at 2.4 or 5.8 GHz to a remote site with an internet connection.  With this we will have the ability to "call in" via the internet to participate in NETS from a remote location.

 

Microwave Link- we have ordered the 5.8 GHz links and will be testing sites during July -August prior to selecting a semi- permanent location to tie into the internet.  A final step will be to link with other repeaters in the area to expand our range.

 

Steve Lazar has the KB5TX APRS Digipeater on the air from the tower road site effective 21 May. Currently we are running an ICOM IC-2100 with an output power of 25 watts and the TinyTrak 4. Our antenna is about halfway up the tower for an estimated height slightly over 1700 feet using the lower of the two existing 2-meter antennas.  Look at www.aprs.fi and search for KB5TX.  Here it is.

 

 

 

The various station locations which were heard directly on the KB5TX Digipeater are shown below on a screen shot from www.aprs.fi.  Over time this will allow us to estimate what our system coverage.  But from what is shown below, one would have to agree that it is pretty good.

 

 

We upgraded the DR1 machine which was on 146.64 to a DR2 Fusion machine Thus both our frequencies are fully operational with DR2 repeaters running a full 50 watts output in both analog and digital mode .  On a temporary basis we have the .64 machine at the original Jennifer site. The .19 machine is on the Tower road site feeding the 6 dB antenna about half way up the tower.  Present coverage is as good if not a bit better than from the Jennifer Road site, particularly to the east to the Hwy 281 area.

The next step is to move the .64 machine from Jennifer to Tower Road.  We will also move the UHF repeater currently located in the KARS facility from Jennifer Road to the Tower Road facility. During this movement the 145.19 machine will be returned to the KARS site located next to the Kendall County Sheriff’s facility in downtown Boerne.  With this, KARS will have completely vacated the EMS site on Jennifer Road.  Then, we will bring the KB5TX practice net back into existence using the relocated .64 machine.  We will announce the day and time when we are ready to go.  Make no mistake.  The goal of the practice net is to advertise our existing and coming capabilities and encourage all to use them.  Your Club hopes all members will get their handhelds out, turn them on, and announce their presence.

The CW ID on our repeaters is set to 20 WPM- which is the maximum speed allowed under FCC rules. This is mentioned as we  have been asked if we can increase the speed beyond what it is currently at.  The answer is "No."

Please -- let no one underestimate the amount of concentrated effort Marsh Pronneke has expended to practically rebuild the Tower Road building.  The result is a new water tight home for the .64 and other machines.  The pictures below show conditions we are moving out of at the EMS site on Jennifer Road and what we are now moving into.  Your webmaster plans to leave the old pictures up for a while longer simply to remind all the scope of work accomplished for the Club to arrive at this point.

 

This picture shows Ken opening the shed door to the building presently housing the .64 machine.  The next picture shows the rack and equipment.  At far right, here is the building at the Sheriff's site on Tower Road as of the end of March.  Marsh's renovation is almost complete.  The racks and feed-throughs are next.

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