N3CRK Repeaters

I am now coordinated for 224.5 / 222.9

As of 29 September 2017, The Bridgecom BC-220 repeater is now in service
and I have an application in for a 440 repeater to tie into the 220.


The radios I set up my first 220 repeater with were "System M-230" available on eBay. They are Chinese made radios. I can't really recommend them. They aren't that great.
There is only one seller. Out of four radios I bought, one was bad. To give him credit, he offered to replace it but it would have cost me $67 to ship it back.
It wasn't worth it! They are rated at 5/10/50 Watts. I measured two radios, they were 10/30/37 watts. There is one knob for a multitude of functions.
the radio is neither intuitive nor user friendly. I had to make up a cheat-sheet just for basic funcions...like volume, squelch and output power.


The new Bridgecom BCR-220 repeater

I bought the duplexer and programming kit with the repeater.
The duplexer is sitting on top of the repeater.
They set me back a bundle but have been reliable so far.
I hope to get a backup battery on it someday. It is running a full 30 watts. Calculations show my ERP should be 50 watts.

I started having antenna problems in November 2017.

It would not work on the Tram antenna nor on my 220 beam. It would lock up and squeal.
I brought it up an a 6 foor high discone a few days ago and had it running.
I raised the discone to 12 feet.

27 April 2018 - The discone is now at about 47 feet on my second tower.
I mounted my old Hy-Gain V-4S at about 35 feet. Both repeaters are now running on those temporary antennas.
N3DWT and I lowered the 50 foot tower so I can work on the Tram 1494 antenna problem.
More information on the problem.

Summer 2018

I now have a spectrum analyzer with tracking generator. It is an eye opener.
The Tram 1494 antenna absolutely will not tune properly! That caused the repeater problems.
The coax connector on the beam was corroded after 20 years on the tower. It is on the ground now waiting repair.
I bought a 220 MHz Ringo Ranger II antenna which tuned in easily. It has made a big improvement in the 224.5 repeater.

Now I am fighting with 224.5, during its hang time, creating a loud squelch tail on the 448.675 receiver.


The duplexer connected to the 1/2 inch heliax

The 60 foot heliax now starts just inside the wall and runs 57 feet up the tower.
A 10 foot LMR400 jumper connects the duplexer to the heliax.
At the top, a 2 foot RG8 jumper connects the heliax to the Ringo antenna.

I have a Bird duplexer for the 224.5 repeater. The tuning procedure is critical and tedious. When I get it tuned I will make the swap.


The 1/2 inch heliax starting up the tower

I had to drill a new hole large enough to pass the female N-connector.
The tilt-over hinge is visible under the tower. I now have an electric winch but it is still a big job to lower and raise it.


As of 12 April 2018 the 443.675/448.675 repeater is on the air
and linked to 224.5 repeater.


The 440 repeater is in the rack below the 220 repeater.

Above is a brand new Bird 28-66-02A duplexer for the 440 ham band.

The Icom F221S, 443.675 transmitter is mounted in the Astron 15 Amp power supply on the left.
Channel 1 is low power, channel 2 is medium and channel 3 is high power.
It is now running a a full 45 Watts. There is an outboard fan behind the transmitter.
I am consideing a Henry amplifier which is rated for continuous duty so I can run the radio at a much safer low power.

On the right and sharing the same power supply is the Icom F221S, 448.675 receiver.
The electrical box on top of the receiver contains the interface to the Ham Gadgets ID-O-Matic IV repeater controller.

This spring (2018) lightning took out the transmitters in both Icoms. I put in a spare transmitter.
My ground is too rocky to sink ground rods.
I since have buried four 50 foot ground radials for the 50 foot tower, and three for the 40 foot tower.
I plan to bury more after the weather cools off.

I have installed a Tram 1450 antenna at about 45 feet and fed with LMR400. (See antenna photo below.)


The Repeater Antennas

At the very top, the new 220 MHz Ringo Ranger II antenna is almost 60 feet off the ground (220 feet above average terrain.)

Below that, at about 45 feet, and on the south side of the tower is the Tram 1450 for the 440 MHz repeater.
It is fed all the way with LMR400. The SWR is better than my dummy load.
I can just hear a Pittsburgh repeater on it. That's not bad for over 80 miles on an omni-directional antenna that favors West Virginia.

Just below the Ringo is a security camera.


My New Antenna Test Stand

The old one was too close to the radio building. This one is about 28 feet away.
I have since put a permanent 2-inch pipe in the ground with concrete.
I have also added an AC outlet for my spectrum analyzer.
The photo on the left shows my old Hy-Gain V-4S, 440 MHz antenna ready for tuning.
It has been broken and repaired and has about a 2:1 SWR at best.

The photo on the right is the new 4-Bay antenna for the 443.675 repeater under test. It has a decent SWR.
On the tower I will be facing all 4 bays northeast for better coverage into Fayette County.

The hill visible in the background is across the Mon River in Greene County.