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 a/o June, 2019.

 

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

 

·         VHF: 146.64(-)  pl tone of 88.5.  DR-2 fusion machine located at around 1970 feet above mean sea level (MSL) on at Tower Road.

·         VHF: 145.19(-)  pl tone of 88.5.  Converted to DR-2 fusion machine, located at a temporary location and height in Fair Oaks Ranch.

u        UHF:  444.9 (+) pl tone of 88.5.  DR-2 fusion machine using the top UHF antenna at Tower Road.

 

 

     Background:  The County told us some time ago they wished to consolidate communications at the EMS site on Jennifer Road.  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 the .64 machine is now located in its new permanent home on Tower Road.  The picture below shows what we have to work with.

 

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 Jennifer Road 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-2X 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 two 2-meter FM repeaters with wide area coverage "head and shoulders" above existing machines in the area.

  • Establish an UHF machine 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 KB5TX the premier repeater system 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.

 

 

Current Status

 

  1. Our APRS machine is on the air at Tower Road.  Additional enhancements (win-link etc.) are planned. Greg -AB5I provided the TT4  and we are using an IC-2100 radio mated to this. The coverage is quite good as we have seen packets from mobiles in Austin.
  2. Internet- The internet connection was recently installed at the tower road site thanks to Mark -N5YZV and Bee Creek Communications.  This will provide the wires-X connection as part of priority #1 with anticipated Wires-X operation in 1Qtr 2019. Mark was able to get a “free” connection with the caveat of placing the provider name on our web page.
  3. You may have noticed a change in the coverage at 146.64 Mhz.  We have been experimenting with the VHF antennas on the tower, with our signal coverage on 146.64 Mhz varying as we tried one and another.  We are back to the antenna at 110 feet up the tower and at around 1970 feet above mean sea level (MSL).
  4. The club now has 3 DR-2X fusion machines – one operating on 444.9, another at 146.64 both located at Tower Road and the third on 145.19 for test at low power from a temporary location and height at Fair Oaks Ranch. 

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."

Home