By: Ryan Gardner K0CTR
It has been a most productive spring, summer, and fall for the Colorado Connection. I have outlined some of the changes and work that has taken place since April down below.
We now have 3 repeaters on the system that now require an 88.5hz tone instead of the 123hz tone. This has been done to help elminiate some interference that we feel was getting into the system with a 123 hz tone. Eventually all the western/mountain top repeaters will be changed from 123hz to 88.5 hz so stay tuned to this site as well as the Thursday night Colorado Connection net at 8:00PM for updates. If you have not yet subscribed to the Colorado Connection E-Mail list, please consider doing so as it will also keep you up to date on system updates and changes.
Breckenridge 147.390(+) now uses an 88.5 hz tone.
Leadville 145.445(-) now uses an 88.5 hz tone.
Vail 147.375(-) now uses an 88.5 hz tone.
Grand Junction 145.355 Repeater:
Fall of 2013- The Old GE Master II repeater at the Grand Junction Site was replaced with a new Kenwood TKR-780 Repeater and also employs a new Kenwood UHF linking radio and power supply. The performance and coverage from the Grand Junction site has improved. We plan on some antenna work and replacement sometime during the summer of 2015. We also anticipate changing the tone from 123hz to 88.5hz at that time as well.
Breckenridge 147.390 Repeater
2012/2013- The Breckenridge machine now uses a Midland brand repeater. Due to the unreliability of the commercial power at this site, Dave and John and a few others have installed several solar panels and batteries and have converted the primary power sorce over to solar and battery power, with commercial power as a back-up. We also have done some controller work at this site (S-COM) and everything is working quite well at this time. Special thanks to Dave Andrews KA0YDW and John W0IG for the counteless hours of work and traveling they have done to get this site to where it is at now. Also special thanks to the many volunteers who have helped out with this site over the years as well. Breckenridge now requires an 88.5hz tone.
Vail 147.375 Repeater
October 2014- This year saw the replacement of the original GE Master II Repeater and GE MVP UHF Linked Radio. We suspect that the interference issue that has occured in the evening hours may have been a result of failing equipment at this site. We now have a newer Kenwood TKR-780 Repeater along with a Kenwood UHF Radio for linking purposes. Vail now employs an 88.5hz Tone. Thanks to John and Dave.
August 2014- The Eagle Hub which helps to link in the Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Vail, Leadville, and Steamboat Springs repeaters into the system was replaced this year. We would like to thank Dave Andrews KA0YDW for donating the money to purchace the new equipment. It was quite an expensive ordeal, but it needed to be done to help ensure system stability between the front range and out west.
Leadville 145.445 Repeater
July/August 2014- During our annual site visit to Leadville this year, we found that the antenna had taken a lightning strike or two. It really did a number on it and the antenna had to be replaced. This was a $1000+ antenna replacement and we were able to do it thanks to all of you who have made donations to the system. At 13,700ft Leadville is one of the highest VHF repeaters in North America. it is completely powered by solar panels and batteries and it does take quite a pounding from mother nature, yet the coverage it offers is quite amazing. Leadville now requires an 88.5hz tone to access the repeater.
Colorado Springs & Salida
September 2014- The Rocky Mountain Ham Radio and Colorado Repeater Association clubs in conjunction with the Colorado Connection have coverted Colorado Springs and Salida over to GE Master III repeaters which allow for microwave linking technology to be used. We can now hear and talk to Colorado Springs and Salida as if they were standing next door to us and this has made a tremendus improvement over the audio quality we experienced when the repeaters were linked in via UHF. We hope to employ this technology on additional repeater sites in the upcomming years to better the connection aduio quality, and to make it easier to diagnose and repair repeaters in the future. Doug Sharp K2AD and his team of very talented radio pros have done a fine job with employing this new means of linking on the Colorado Connection.
We have not given up hope yet with regards to the Durango machine. While it is currently off the air, rumor has it we may be able to get it up and running again in the not too distant future, as soon as some logistical issues are taken care of. I've heard from several of you expressing strong interest in this site being operational again so please continue to be patient with us.
Our friends from the Rocky Mountain Ham Radio Club continue to update and upgrade the 145.310 Mt. Thorodin repeater and working in conjunction with the Colorado Repeater Association (CRA) have succssfully deployed a new method of linking Mt. Thorodin to Colorado Springs, as well as Salida via microwave. The audio quality to and from these repeaters is flat out awesome and we are finally able to communicate with these locations in crystal clear audio. We are anticipating linking additional repeaters in via this method in the future, so stay tuned for further updates on this. To Doug Sharp K2AD and the rest of the team involved with this project, we express our sincere grattitude.
AKRON REPEATER SITE- We will be unable to renew our lease this year for the Akron repeater site, due to the landlord needing to use the space the Connection occupies in the shack, as well as the antenna location on the tower for other commercial/municipal useage. As a result, we are looking for a new location to host our Akron repeater, that will offer coverage to the northeastern and eastern central part of the state. If you know of any sites/locations that might make a good home for the Akron repeater, please E-Mail John (W0IG) or give him a call over at the Denver HRO store. We greatly appreciate any and all help with this matter!! When we take the Akron repeater off the air, it will leave a void in an area of the state that we need to keep coverage in.
New Frequencies for Breckenridge and Steamboat
* Breckenridge is now on 147.390 (+) and you will need an 88.5hz tone to access the machine. This differs from the rest of the system which uses a 123hz tone. Please note that we are aware of ongoing issues with audio quality from this repeater. We will once again attempt to tackle the "Ghosts" up on Mt. Baldy this summer, when access permits, which is usually late June/early July .
* Steamboat Springs now resides on the frequency of 147.165 (+) with a 123hz tone.