Wonderous Wireless Widgets

Once upon a time, in the 1960's, I had a Technician license and worshipped at the alter of Heathkit and Hallicrafters - tubes, crystals and Morse Code. Now I am back, like Rip Van Winkle, waking up in a new world of wonderous wireless widgets. This blog is about that adventure and the folks at Alameda's ARCA club who are helping me along the way.

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ROMEO 3 - ARCA's New Portable Repeater

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The K6QLF repeater is Alameda's "goto" rendezvous for on-the-air volunteers in an emergency. But how do we keep service alive after the Big One, when power fails and battery backup is exhausted?

The problem is that K6QLF is six stories up on an old hospital wing where there is no emergency power. The building predates recent earthquake codes, and access could become problematic after a quake. So one solution is to to have a portable repeater in reserve, which can be brought to safe sites with a generator and an antenna. Portability would insure flexibility in keeping K6QLF on the air.

With this in mind ARCA has acquired a Motorola GR1225 which provides the needed flexibility. It is a rugged commercial grade repeater which packages the transceiver, power supply, controller and duplexer in a single durable unit. I have cleaned it up, tested its performance and enabled it to run on batteries as well as AC. In its current configuration, it can deliver 17W continuously on either of two channels - one for the K6QLF frequencies and an alternate one for testing, training and  events.

GR1225 Rear Chassis ViewVolunteers need do nothing special to access the new repeater should K6QLF fail. However, the alternate channel may be used as an adjunct tactical repeater, if needed. To prepare for this eventuality, program your radio to add a channel with the tactical call sign, "ROMEO3":

Frequency: 441.8750 MHz
Duplex: +
Tone Type: Tone
PL: 88.5 Hz

For more information about the ROMEO 3 repeater see the slides from this month's ARCA meeting (here).

On-line open source community manager, embedded Java aficionado, amateur machinist, robotics geek, ham

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