The Phil-Mont Repeaters

June 1969: Our first repeater was a 10-meter AM repeater on 29,493.2 out and 29,626.0 in. The transmitter was located under the tower at WFLN, and linked with a receiver at Ridge Pike and Manor Road (the home of Ray Green, owner, at that time, of WFLN). The link was a leased telephone line (1.1 air miles for $7.80 a month). No repeater license or regulations were required at that time. The FCC didn't even recognize a repeater as such in the amateur service.

February 1973: We finally recognized the fact that AM was on its way out, and ordered a $640 Standard "SC-ARPT-1" 2-meter FM repeater from Paul Ives, W3SMA, then the Standard dealer in this area. It was installed on the pole under the WFLN tower. Sometime later, we moved into the heater room of the newly constructed radio station building, and put up a vertical antenna on the 70' pole which was left-over from WFLN broadcast antenna work (our present pole). We used the Standard plus an assortment of power amplifiers which could not stand the requirements of repeater service. A real headache all the way around.

April 1973: A repeater license was issued to WR3ADS, Elwood (Woodie) Haldeman, W3PST, trustee.

August 1973: We bought and installed a Phelps Dodge Station Master 5.6 db gain antenna for $120. It took us three years to find out that constant flexing of the antenna caused an open in some of the elements that produced a problem only when the antenna was used for simultaneous transmitting and receiving. Phelps Dodge never did admit to the problem.

March 1974: We purchased for $690 a set of Wacom cavities to replace the Phelps Dodge 6-section cavities we had been using. We were never able to make the PD cavities work properly because of the 600 kHz separation. They had been designed to a minimum separation of 3 MHz.

July 1976: We purchased the new Spectrum Communications repeater (SCR 1000) which was wired by hand by Joe Fell, WA3GMS. There were a series of problems including receiver sensitivity (later replaced by Spectrum free of charge), power supply burnouts (just couldn't stand continuous operation), final failure (30 watts out was more than the design could stand heatwise).

August 1979: The repeater call changed to W3QV, and Jim Spencer, W3BBB, trustee.

March 1989: We purchased an RC-85 board-only controller from Advanced Computer Controls for $950. W3BBB built the accessory boards, and added this to an RCA TAC-200 VHF transceiver to complete the present main-site VHF system.

In the early 90s the club began adding off-site receivers at various locations around the Philadelphia area. Currently there are four in operation, Southampton, Bucks County, PA, Center city Philadelphia, Lansdale, PA, and Broomall, Delaware County, PA.

In 1996, we purchased an 8-channel voter designed by W8LDG. All off-site receivers and the main site receiver in Roxboro are voted based on best S/N ratio. We added a UHF transmitter and receiver at this same time. The two systems are normally connected together for a common input and output. This patch is removable on a timed basis. The UHF system requires an input P/L tone of 186.2 and has an output of 186.2 on the transmitter.

  In 1998, we found ourselves without a repeater site. WFLN had been sold and we were forced to move to a nearby tower. This allowed an increase in antenna height to about 550 ft above MSL. An anonymous donor furnished money for a new rptr building and we moved in.  Our present location has electric heat and air conditioning including an 8 KW propane fueled back up generator. We squared all these changes away with the TPARC, the local frequency coordinating committee. 

 May 2000: Because of the increased receiving capabilities at the new location, and increased net operation both North and South of us on 147.03, we reluctantly imposed a requirement of 91.5 P/L on all VHF inputs. The only time P/L is not required is during net operations (Macro 3) UHF requires a P/L of 186.2 at all times because of a reverse split repeater in the New York city area.  

June 2001: We were fortunate to find a pair of slightly used Motorola Micor VHF repeaters at a price we could afford. One final is in use with the remaining elements available as plug-and-play spares. We also purchased a Link RLC2-A controller board which allows us much more flexibility with the two repeaters, another channel for a spare, and phone patch and control reciever. The ACC RC-85 controller board was  repackaged and is available as another plug-and-play spare. 

 December 2001: finds us with two working repeaters, one on 147.03 and the other on 444.8.  Although tied together normally, they can easily be separated for individual QSOs Both run about 30 watts to the antenna. Remember to use the proper P/L tone.  Come join us on either frequency for a fun repeater  !!!!  


Historical data supplied by Jim Spencer, W3BBB (SK), RepeaterMeister.

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September 13, 1996
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