449.450 Has a New Trustee

Our 449.450 repeater has a new trustee.  Richard, WB5YOE, has been the trustee of this repeater for many years.  He is leaving the area to pursue employment opportunities elsewhere.  Dunnigan, K1DUN, has agreed to assume the trusteeship.

We’re very sorry to see Richard go.  He is a long-time RMRL member and has always been available to assist the club with whatever needs doing.  In addition to his trusteeship, he has served on the technical committee, organized club picnics, assisted with hamfests, climbed towers, and many other things too numerous to list.  Thanks Richard for all your help over the years – we wish you the best in your new endeavors!

WB5YOE cooks at a 1991 picnic
Richard, WB5YOE, cooks at a 1991 RMRL picnic.

Dunnigan, thank you for stepping up and supporting the club in yet another way!

Devil’s Head Repeater (449.125 MHz) Removed from Service

On June 11, 2016 a group of RMRL volunteers removed our 449.125 MHz repeater from its location at the Devil’s Head fire lookout in Douglas County. It was a coda to the 16-year operation of the “site west of Sedalia” for the RMRL club.

The Devil's Head repeater installation team - 2000.

The installation team at the bottom of the steps up to the tower.

Former RMRL member Warren, N0FVG approached the Forest Service in 1999 with a proposal to place a club repeater at Devils Head. Warren and Joe, WT0C worked with Forest Service personnel and secured a permit in August 2000. A team of RMRL volunteers installed the repeater in September 2000. The equipment was carried 1.4 miles up the trail and the last 143 steps to the tower on a gurney. Ed, KA0ZAS was in charge of the repeater installation.

The devil is in the details: 143 steep stairs tops the easy hike up the mountain.
The devil is in the details: 143 steep stairs tops the easy hike up the mountain. Total round-trip is 2.8 miles; bottom to top is a 940 ft. rise in elevation.

In its early years, the 449.125 MHz repeater was used by the Front Range Electronic Direction Finders (FREDF) group for training and coordinating aircraft ELT signal searches. Perhaps the repeater’s finest hours came in 2002 when it was utilized extensively for health and welfare traffic during the Hayman forest fire. The repeater’s excellent coverage of the fire area to the west and the populated Front Range to the east made it ideal for this purpose. More recently the repeater has supported general club communications.

Amazing view from the top of Devil's Head.
The view from the top of Devil’s Head is stunning. A view of the tower from the north after the repeater was installed. The repeater’s antenna is at the far right. Devil’s Head Lookout is the last of the seven original Front Range Lookout towers still in continuous use.

On June 11, 2016 the repeater was removed. This was done because the U. S. Forest Service declined to renew the club’s permit. Brian Banks, District Ranger of the South Platte Ranger District, indicated amateur radio is not consistent with the fire lookout’s use and detracts from the public’s enjoyment. He also expressed concern about interference. Mr. Banks denied our permit renewal application despite the fact there have been no aesthetic or interference complaints involving our repeater in the almost 16 years it was at Devils Head.

The removal team from left to right: Graham (K1DUN’s son); Dunnigan, K1DUN; Ed, N0MHU and daughter Beth; Glenn, WN0EHE; Skyler, KD0WHB; Anna, W0ANT; Joe, WT0C; Mike, KI0GO. Not pictured: Mimi, N0KRB who took the photo.

As of this writing, the RMRL is looking for a new home for the 449.125 repeater site. If you know of a location that may be suitable, please inform any of the officers.

Many thanks to the volunteers who disassembled the repeater and antenna and transported them down. A shout-out also to the Columbine LDS church youth group who gave us much-needed assistance in carrying out that heavy cabinet!

Squaw Mountain repair 2016-June

Last week (first week of June, 2016), the Squaw Mountain site was left without power following a lightning storm. This took both RMRL repeaters (146.940 and 449.450) off the air, including for the June 6th weekly net. The backup generator failed to start automatically. When commercial power returned two days later, the replacement power company transformer put out 160 VAC instead of the normal 120 VAC and damaged several pieces of equipment at the site. Fortunately, RMRL’s well-designed system prevented the increase in power from taking out any critical or expensive components.

Glenn (WN0EHE) and Dunnigan (K1DUN) made a trip to the site on Sunday, June 12th. It was discovered that a single MOV in the power line filter had blown, thereby interrupting the AC current overload and protecting the rest of the system. We replaced some transient protectors and were back on the air. The 146.940 and 449.450 machines are, once again, fully operational.

Squaw Mountain repeater hit by lightning June 2016
Glenn (WNØEHE) troubleshooting the system on June 12th (2016)
Squaw Mountain lightening strike - replacing a filter
This little AC power line filter had to be replaced.

IRLP Node 335(0) temporarily moved to the 145.430 – Updated: moved back!

4/22/2016: IRLP Node 335(0) has been moved back to the 145.34.  (Thanks to Mike, KI0GO, and his snowmobiles.) All is back to normal in RMRL world.

4/12/2016: Due to a technical problem, the IRLP Node 335(0) has been temporarily moved over to the 145.430 repeater.  The road to the 145.34 repeater is impassable until further snow melt, so no firm date can be set at this time as to when it will be moved back to the 145.34.

Operationally everything is the same, it is just a different frequency.