The KB0P-L linking station is located at my house, which is 5 miles southwest of
Ishpeming, Michigan. The 443.500 MHz repeater (KB0P/R) is located in the penthouse
of the "C" Shaft building of the Cliff Shaft Mine. The Cliff Shaft Mine was an underground iron
ore mine located in downtown Ishpeming and it operated from 1867 to 1967. Today, the stone and
concrete buildings remain standing and they are prominent historical landmarks in the middle
of town. The "C" Shaft was the newest built structure, which was constructed in the 1950's. This
building towers over the town at 175 feet and our Echolink Repeater is located at the very top.
**Click on the photo to learn more about the Cliff Shaft Mine.**
This is an old photo of the KB0P-L linking station (2006). The radio in this photo is a Yaesu FT-8500. Since this photo was taken I changed out the computer to a mini-ITX (with Linux) and the radio to a Motorola Maxtrac. The interface in this photo is a home-brew unit, built around a 16F84 PIC controller and a DTMF decoder chip, which was built into the box of an old Kenwood phone patch. One unique feature of this particular controller was my design for a local microphone-- I had a local microphone on the controller so that I could "jump" into the conversation on the repeater, both being heard by the repeater users and the Echolink users, simultaneously.
The computer in this photo is nothing special, and was a 700 MHz unit that I had laying around. The whole setup just sat in the corner of my shop and minded its own business. The dedicated radio operated at 5 Watts and was connected to a small UHF beam which is fixed to one leg of my tower and is pointed northeast toward the 444.200 MHz repeater. The linking system operates at half-duplex. Today, we are on the 443.500 MHz repeater and running IRLP. I have since (Spring 2010) upgraded to IRLP and I now use a Mini-ITX computer (photo coming soon!).
On Sunday, April 8, 2007, the Wetmore, Michigan repeater was activated on Echolink (listed as W8RDR-R
or node# 275200).
Wetmore is located 4 miles east of Munising, Michigan, which in turn is located about 50 miles
east of Marquette. With the help of Mark KD8FPK (a newly licensed ham from Marquette) and Raoul
W8RDR (president of the AARC and control operator of the Wetmore repeater), Paul (Willy) KB0P
made several trips to the Munising area-- which is about a 160 mile round trip from Ishpeming-- and
successfully connected the 145.410 MHz repeater (Wetmore, MI) and the 147.195 MHz repeater
(Grand Marais, MI) to Echolink. Pictured here is Raoul W8RDR in the foreground and Paul (Willy) KB0P
in the background (with the red jacket).
Placing a repeater on Echolink is not as easy as it looks, especially if it is to be done
correctly. This is a photo of Paul (Willy) KB0P installing a Communication Specialist
SS-64 Encoder board on the 145.410 MHz repeater. You can see my IFR-1000S Service Monitor
sitting on the table next to me.
“Hey, if this is a repeater, then where is the repeater ID? I don’t hear it coming through
on my end.” I often get this comment from stations logging into the KB0P-L. That is the result
of installing a SS-64 Encoder board on the repeater. The reason you do not hear the local
repeater ID is because it is not being broadcast through Echolink.
The repeater is equipped with a CTCSS (or PL) tone encoder and it operates as PL on COS.
The linking radio is programmed for CTCSS decoded squelch. The only time that audio passes
into Echolink is when a PL is present. And, the only time that a PL is present is only when
the squelch is open on the repeater. The squelch is not open when the repeater ID’s, and that is
why you do not hear the local ID's when monitoring the Echolink repeaters set up by KB0P.
This makes for a quiet and clean Echolink system.
PLEASE, MUTE your Echolink Repeater!**coming soon**
This is a photo of the fire tower located on HWY 13 in Wetmore, Michigan. The
145.410 MHz repeater (W8RDR-R) is located at this site and the antenna in
up on the top of the fire tower. This site does very well and can be heard as far west as
Ishpeming (Ishpeming is about 70 miles west of Munising/ Wetmore). The 145.410 MHz repeater (Wetmore) and the 147.195 MHz repeater (Grand Marais) is
owned and operated by the AARC (Alger Amateur Radio Club). The Echolink station for this repeater
is located 5 miles south of the repeater at the home of Raoul, W8RDR.
**Click on the photo to learn more about the AARC**