History of the KB5UJM Repeater

San Antonio TX

In January 2011 I was speaking with my longtime friend and fellow Ham Wes Bunch (KB5OZC) about our dreams to one day have a repeater of our own and an idea was born.

Wes and I became hams around the same time, the early 90s, and met over two meters specifically the old 146.840 WA5VAF repeater in Universal City, TX. We spent long hours trying to communicate as I lived in Universal City and could reach the repeater on my handheld Radio Shack HTX 202, while he lived in Alamo Hights and couldn’t always.

In those days you couldn’t turn on a police scanner that was programmed with the “Ham” frequencies without listening to someone having a conversation. All hours and it seemed all frequencies were bursting with people enjoying this wonderful hobbie. There were nets which is a group of Hams that meet on a frequency for a reason. One such net was the “Central Texas Traffic Net”, or the Ham Radio Swop Net Sunday nights from the Austin 146.94 repeater. There were phone patchs “Autopatches” which was, and still is, a way to make free phone calls using Ham Radio. There were the funny voice messages the repeater control operators would program into the repeaters just to keep things a little more interesting. One such message was “turn the lights out.” Or “You and I are up for all hours.”

Sadly often when you tune around the bands now there is little activity as cellphones and wireless internet have replaced the need in many people’s minds for Ham Radio. To combat against this lack of use, I have put up this repeater and run it the same way of the repeaters those many years ago. I swore to myself that I would have a repeater some day, and the following story galvanized this dream.

When I was a first year law student at the St. Mary’s University School of Law, I was leaving the school late after a long day of studying. It was late, the school was being locked up, it was dark, cold, and raining. Wouldn’t you know it, my cellphone battery was very much dead. I came up on other repeaters in the San Antonio area but the autopatchs were disabled or no longer programmed because “Who would use a phone patch?”

Now, after all this on April 3, 2011 I turned on the power of the KB5UJM repeater and we have been on the air ever since.

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