Kendall Amateur Radio Society

KB5TX


Repeaters

KARS is a diverse club and we like to think of ourselves as a club with a repeater; not a "repeater" club.  Nevertheless we have completed this system with the goal to make KB5TX the premier repeater system in the Hill Country.  The Tower Road site provides coverage as far north as Fredericksburg, West to Kerrville and South to Leon Springs.  The Fair Oaks Ranch site provides coverage into San Antonio.  We support Yaesu AMS, which supports both "pure" FM and emerging digital standards like C4FM and Wires-X.  We have APRS capability and a mesh network at 2.4 or 5.8 GHz to a remote site with an internet connection. We have the ability to "call in" via the internet, courtesy of Bee Creek Communications, Inc., to participate in NETs from a remote location.  Ours is possibly the most capable repeater system in the Texas Hill Country north of San Antonio.

 

VHF: 146.64(-)  pl tone of 88.5.  DR-2 repeater located at around 1970 feet above mean sea level (MSL) at Tower Road, ten miles north of Boerne and two miles east of I-10.

 

VHF: 145.19(-)  pl tone of 88.5.  DR-2 repeater located at 35  feet, in Fair Oaks Ranch.

 

UHF:  444.9 (+) pl tone of 88.5.  DR-2 repeater using the top UHF antenna at Tower Road.  This machine supports Wires-X.

 

We developed a road map four years ago and then followed it to get to this point.

 

Tower Road Site

 

 

Current Status

 

We developed a repeater road map four years ago (4/2018) and followed it to get to this point.

  1. Upgraded the 146.64 DR-2X with an internet option.

  2. Implemented a APRS digi-repeater.

  3. Implemented an internet connection for Wires-X.

  4. Connected to other clubs in the area via Wires-X.

  5. Installed at 440 repeater at Tower Road with internet.

  6. Installed the 145.19 DR-2X at Fairoaks Ranch for improved coverage into San Antonio.

While working the above, Marsh Pronneke with help from Steve, Mark, Ben, Ken and Don, rebuilt the repeater building to make it water tight.  Then the team rebuilt and rewired the interior so could easily add additional capabilities, trouble shoot, and simply document what we have. They added a demarc board where devices could be mounted and signal/power lines easily traced.  This is hinged so that power can be run behind the board, yet the board can be opened up if access is needed to the wall behind it.  The Power Distribution Unit (PDU) is mounted to the bottom of the board, which allows the board to be opened without disturbing the wiring.  And now the interior of the building and the system arrangement looks like this.  See the presentations folder and then Repeater Report 2021 for all the details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Lazar has the KB5TX APRS Digipeater on the air from the tower road site since 21 May 2020. Currently we are running an ICOM IC-2100 with an output power of 25 watts to a Ringo Ranger antenna at 30 feet up the tower using a  TinyTrak 4.  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.

 

 

What Next?

  1. At our general meeting in May 2021, we will ask the Membership to establish a Repeater Committee to develop a roadmap for the next four to five years.  They will be asked to keep in mind, we are a Ham Radio Club who operates a repeater system.

  2. Develop a plan to implement Winlink.

  3. Investigate using a third tower further north to improve our coverage to the northeast and north west.

  4. Determine the status of the backup generator we inherited at the site and cost to return to service.  Or should we rely on our current backup capability of the UPS and 72 hour battery capability?

Now, how do we use all this neat capability.  Many KARS members are using Yeasu mobile rigs and a power supply as a base station for FM.  Ben, K5AYR uses a Yeasu FTM-100.  Don, KI5AIU uses a FTM-300.  Mark, N5YZB uses an FTM-400. Meanwhile Al, K5NOF uses a FT2DR handheld at 5W from home with a dual band base station antenna with 6/9 db gain.

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