BeachNet Repeater System

BeachNet Repeater System

Pacific, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Thurston & Wahkiakum Counties, Washington

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Nicolai Mountain

Clatsop County, OR
46.08625, -123.45217
3007 Feet
Call: K7GA

444.500  +5MHz  118.8Hz


Nicolai UHF Repeater



Nicolai Packet Station




Site runs on alternative
power, at times causing
the link to be down or
the repeater to be un-
available to conserve
power. Our options are
limited with regard to
addressing this.
Please bear with us.



Location: The Nicolai Mountain radio site is about ten miles of rough logging roads south of Bradley Summit (Bradley Overlook State Park wayside) on Oregon Highway 30, a few miles west of Westport, Oregon. The ridge rises to the south with the radio site itself, at 3000-feet elevation, perched on the sheer southern face of the mountain, overlooking Jewell, Mist, Vernonia, and the Nehalem River Valley. The vantage into Longview/Kelso is good, as well as into some parts of the Portland Metro area. The land is part of the Clatsop State Forest, under the supervision of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).

Coverage: Nicolai anchors the southeast corner of our service area, including the Longview-Kelso area, north along Interstate 5, well into the overlap with the Olympia repeater coverage, and south to Woodland. The Nicolai repeater is usable along WA Hwy 4, from Longview, to Cathlamet and westward, where it overlaps the coverage with other
BeachNet repeaters. The Nicolai repeater is usable on Oregon Highway 53 in the Nehalem River Valley, into Nehalem, Wheeler and Manzanita. Parts of Oregon Highways 26 and 30 are covered, and it can be used in the Portland/Vancouver area, as well as east up the Columbia Gorge, if you pick your spot carefully.

Affiliated with the
BeachNet system, ownership of the Nicolai repeater is shared by K7GA, NM7R and WA6TTR. It is primarily intended to provide emergency communications in Wahkiakum County and the rest of ARES/RACES District Four (Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark and Skamania Counties). During emergency situations, the Nicolai repeater may be taken off the network for use by District Four.

Originally, there was a wooden forestry lookout tower on the site. In the mid 1980's, this structure (encrusted in antennas and feedlines) had fallen into disrepair, and was rickety enough to be condemned. All the users were given one year to remove their antennas. The State Forestry Department erected a steel tower, and rented space on it. Several tenants provided their own poles to avoid paying for tower space. The old lookout tower is now long gone now, replaced by a new steel tower.

Hardware: The repeater consists of a GE Mastr-II 110-watt continuous duty base station (running 40-watts), with an Arcom RC-210 controller in a 44-inch GE cabinet. The duplexer is a Decibel Products 4-cavity bandpass-notch type feeding a 9 dBd omni vertical antenna through 50 feet of half-inch hardline. The repeater antenna was originally mounted atop the 30-foot Rohn-25 tower, but was moved to the larger state tower when Amateurs were relieved from having to pay a fee to do so. There is a UHF GE Rangr mobile incorporated as a link transceiver, with a 6-element Yagi antenna mounted on the short tower. Also tucked into the cabinet is a packet station using a 2-meter Kenwood radio, with a VHF bandpass cavity, feeding a 3dBi vertical on a pole next to the building. There are plans to move the antenna to the large tower.

Station Power: The never-very-reliable commercial power line to the site failed for the last time in 2010, with Oregon Department of Forestry unable to replace the failed buried cable. Clatsop County picked up the slack with their diesel generator until December, 2011, when they shut off the juice, removed their generator along with their radio gear, and abandoned their building. Our landlords (fortunately) wanted to stay. We came up with a plan to provide power to their (our) site. We already used a battery bank to run the station. To this we added a 5-kW propane-fired generator in the building. We modified it to include a home-brew control system to allow us to operate the generator remotely, using the UHF repeater. This charges the 1700-AmpHour battery bank through two 80-Amp chargers. Our original plan included solar panels, but a generator would still be needed for days when the solar input was inadequate. The generator came first. In August of 2015 we finally installed a pair of solar panels on the small Rohn tower to provide a base charge, and capitalize on the open southern exposure, taking some of the strain off the generator. On full-sun days the panels are enough to operate the station and keep the batteries charged. The load consists of our UHF repeater, VHF packet station and our landlords' commercial low-band-VHF repeater, which seasonally supports logging operations in the verdant timberlands surrounding the site. We babysit the power system to keep the station on the air, in exchange for rent-free use of their building for our own gear. They pay for propane and the site fees. The UHF repeater controller incorporates a complete set of remote controls, with voice feedback, to operate the generator, and telemetry to report critical voltages and temperatures that allow confident remote operation.

Packet Radio: The "NICOLI" packet radio node is located on this site. This is part of the 145.630 MHz 1200-Baud Washington Coastal EOC Packet Network. This node is primarily intended to extend the range of the W7CWY-10 Winlink2000 RMS station in Cathlamet. It is able to connect with most of the Western Washington high-level nodes, including "3SIS", which overlooks Puget Sound in Pierce County. The packet station also has a Telemetry beacon (every half-hour when activated) that reports the battery voltage from the site.



 

 

 

 




 

145.170 |  145.310 |  145.390 |  147.020 |  147.180 |  147.340 |  224.040 |  224.820 |  440.675 |  441.675 |  442.675 |  444.050 |  444.200 |  444.400 |  444.500 |  444.700 |  444.800 |  444.925 |  444.950
 

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This Page Last Updated: 01/15/16.