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

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BeachNet Maintenance Log

I was asked, in 2004, when our repeater count stood at 7 (all in Pacific County), how much maintenance a repeater system like ours takes, and I didn't have a good answer. So, I decided to compile a running record. This is not complete. It only attempts to track actual "hill time" spent visiting the various sites. It doesn't include all the long hours spent puttering at home in the shop, fixing broken components and preparing new ones. Nor does it include the hours spent engineering the system or pondering problems in, or enhancements to, the network. It doesn't include the miles and hours picking up "free stuff" or "great deals" that, after many hours of modifying, testing and fixing up might (or might not) be useful. It also doesn't include the time spent updating this blog, or the web site. Significantly, there are no dollar figures for all this equipment, test instrumentation, supplies, clamps, brackets, antennas, cable, hardline or connectors. The amount of gasoline alone to cover all those miles adds up to quite a bit. I've always said, if you think $100 is a lot of money, you shouldn't play with repeaters. Even so, this will give some idea of the kind of time it takes...

BeachNet began building "officialy" in 2000. I didn't start this compilation until July, 2004. Times include driving round-trip to the hill and back. Miles are what I put on my venerable 1996 Subaru (replaced in October of 2015, at 275k miles, with a new 2016-model Subaru Outback). If someone else drives, I do not usually record their mileage. Although not generally noted, each site visit includes a fairly complete visual inspection of antennas, feedlines, and equipment. If time permits, a quick check of output and reflected power, and receiver sensitivity may be performed as well. It may seem like a lot of repair time, but repeater sites are subject to high winds, heavy rain, snow, ice, and lightning. The power supply to the mountain tops may fluctuate quite a bit. And remember too, most of this gear is over 20-years old when we get it. It will run for a long time if treated well, but nothing lasts forever.      -- de NM7R

08/14/20    Capitol Peak (Olympia repeater) to investigate link radio reported inoperative .

Doyle received a report of the link radio (transmitter) being inoperative during the Sunday Night D3 Net. He made the drive to the station and checked the link system with a wattmeter and a Mark-One-Eyeball. Between troubleshooting the equipment and making contacts using a hand-held to get into the repeater he satisfied himself that the repeater and link system are all working fine.

11/27/19    136 miles, 4 hours; Holy Cross (South Bend repeaters) to investigate inoperative packet station, W7HCA, NM7R.

Howard wanted to take one more peek at the station before winter snowed the site in, and I had a day off, so was up for the trip. Between us we hauled tools, test gear and a couple of spare radios and TNCs. After fiddling with a number of possible places where the gremlins might be hiding, we finally settled on the cable and connectors that connect the TNC to the radio, this being the one piece we hadn't replaced at some time during our previous investigations. That seemed to do the trick. With luck this will get us through the winter.

11/24/19    136 miles, 4 hours; Holy Cross (South Bend repeaters) to investigate inoperative packet station, W7HCA, NM7R.

There are three packet radio stations at this site, on frequencies 145.010, 145.630, and a UHF station intended as a relay for the 9600-baud circuit between the two EOCs. This was a third trip to attempt to unravel a problem with one of the circuits. Some progress was made, although later testing from Howard's house showed some issues yet to be dealt with.

10/30/19    136 miles, 5 hours; Holy Cross (South Bend repeaters) to investigate inoperative packet stations, N7XRD, N7CVW, NM7R.

There are three packet radio stations at this site, on frequencies 145.010, 145.630, and a UHF station intended as a relay for the 9600-baud circuit between the two EOCs. This was a second trip to attempt to unravel the problems with the three different circuits. Some progress was made, although later testing from the South Bend EOC showed some issues yet to be dealt with.

09/29/19    136 miles, 5 hours; Holy Cross (South Bend repeaters) to investigate inoperative packet stations, N7CVW, NM7R.

There are three packet radio stations at this site, on frequencies 145.010, 145.630, and a UHF station intended as a relay for the 9600-baud circuit between the two EOCs. These were all off-air for various reasons. One radio was tuned to the wrong frequency, one had a missing power cord for the TNC, and one apparently just needed the TNC to be reset. While Bob, N7CVW, worked on the packet situation, I assisted, and did some initial recon for a future upgrade and possible new equipment installation.

08/23-24/19    0 miles, 1 hour; Reconfigured system to support Hood-To-Coast Relay, NM7R.

As we have done since 2006 (13 years!), repeaters within our system have been reconfigured to support the Hood-To-Coast Relay. In the early years we used the remote base at Naselle to connect our 147.180 repeater to the 146.88 Portland repeater. Once IRLP capability was added to our system, this changed for the last several years to a lash-up connecting the 147.180 and 444.925 Megler repeaters together and using the IRLP Internet-based linking capability to connect to a Portland area IRLP Node for the heavy lifting. Once again, the system served a vital need in the public interest.

08/16/19    136 miles, 6 hours; Holy Cross (South Bend repeaters) to investigate a soft failure on the link radio, NM7R.

The two repeaters (147.340 and 442.675) have been experiencing "choppy" audio, particularly on conversations originating at other stations. This seemed to be a problem associated with the link radio, since a conversation on one of these two locally linked repeaters was fine on the other one, while a conversation originating on one of the other system repeaters was affected. Thus, assuming the problem was with the link radio itself, I did a complete tune-up of the vintage Mastr-II mobile that is used for the link radio at this site. That seemed to chase the gremlins away, at least for now. Since this is one of our earliest network repeaters, dating back to 2002/3 and all the equipment used in this project was at least 25-years old when we got it, a few occasional inconveniences must be expected. There has been a plan in the works to construct an upgraded station to replace these two repeaters at some time in the future. Let's hope it's the not-too-distant future.

Note: this was my first trip to the Holy Cross radio site using the new road. The old road had been falling off the hillside for some time, and had reached the point of being both dangerous and too expensive to permanently fix. This new road comes in on the west side, while the old one came in from the east. This road is in much better shape, but it is also in active use by the several logging operations working in this area. One must take the good with the bad. It is a few miles farther to drive, but not significantly longer in terms of time.

06/07/19    60 miles, 2 hours; Megler to investigate very weak transmitter output from the 444.925 IRLP station, KD7UCH, NM7R.

Assuming the power amplifier had failed, we hauled a new amp and appropriate tools to the site. The trip up was complicated by logging operations on the (only) road to the site. Upon arrival, checked power output at the amplifier output port and discovered 60-watts (tunable to over 100-watts with the normal adjustment) measured between the amplifier output and duplexer input. However, when checking at the output port of the duplexer, the power was much less than one watt. Apparently the duplexer has failed. Left station as it was and returned home to tune up another duplexer for future replacement. This is the first time I have seen a duplexer fail in service.

After arriving home and unloading the car, stacking all the tools, parts and "stuff" in the Radio Room, I tuned up the radio over the work bench and gave the repeater a "kerchunk". Of course, the repeater came back full-scale. I hate it when something fixes itself. The IRLP feature initialized normally and worked as it should, with a loud-clear signal. I'm left assuming that our fiddling with the duplexer cabling must have addressed a loose connection, or re-seated a connector. In any case, the system is working as it should, and all we can do is wait until the next time it fails.

05/19/19    318 miles, 11 hours; Neilton Repeater to investigate no transmit signal and Minot Repeater, to investigate low power output. N7UJK, NM7R.

Neilton transmitter has been completely off-air, except that Doyle was able to hear the exciter in the building. Replacing the power amplifier assembly cured the problem.
Minot has been operating but had noticeably low transmit power. Checking the amplifier showed a maximum of 40-watts out. Inspection showed one pair of output transistors had failed, but the other pair had continued to operate, with two of the three balancing resistors completely destroyed on the amplifier board. Again, replacing the Power Amplifier Assembly restored full operation.

02/13/19    Nicolai Repeater, to investigate catastrophic problem with rapidly discharging batteries and very low voltage on the system. This began abruptly 2 days ago and even with the generator running, the voltage continued to drop, until finally we couldn't even crank the generator. WB7DOB, K7SH, WA6TTR.

This emergency required a Bat-Phone Call to Bruce, the guy with a snow-cat. The snow was several feet deep from near the bottom, all the way to the top of Nicolai Mtn, rendering the normally only narrow, rough, and dangerous logging road to the top completely impassable. Bruce and his Sno-Cat made the trip fairly easy. There is nothing like having the right tool for the job. Many Thanks to Bruce! After a lengthy inspection and troubleshooting episode, Gordon found the problem to be the stand-by generator continually trying to start, placing a huge load on the battery bank. This was traced to a failed cable-tie, which allowed the stand-by generator fuel piping to rest against the stand-by generator start button, continually trying to start the stand-by generator. Of course, the fuel solenoid was not energized, so the generator could not actually start. Time will tell if the batteries will recover from their hard discharge. Gordon measured them at about 2-volts when he got there. They were under continuous charge for several hours after, reaching more than 13-volts within a few hours.

Follow-up detail - It is now August and the batteries appear to have bounced back and are behaving normally, taking a full charge in a normal time period and providing the required power to run the station. Although pulling them so far down is never a recommended way to treat them, I credit the fact that we were able to stop the discharge and begin the full recharge so soon after the failure occurred with the apparent full recovery. Thanks again, Bruce. (08/21/19) NM7R

11/20/18    Capitol Peak Repeater to reinstall the 145.630 Packet station. N7UJK.

After reworking the Packet radio set, handed it off to Doyle who reinstalled it and pronounced it working once again. N7UJK.

11/17/18    260 miles, 9 hours; Capitol Peak Repeater to reinstall the 145.630 Packet station. N7UJK, NM7R.

Attempted to reinstall the primary Packet radio station, but there were problems with the station wiring that could not be resolved. Decided to take it back to the shop for further modification, Tuned up the repeater receiver as well.

09/30/18    0 miles, 30 hours; Spent many hours over several days reviewing/analyzing/correcting the Macro Function numbers of the Command Macros in the RC-210 Repeater Controller, which operates the Nicolai Repeater, to correct several anomolous problems pertaining to the operation and control of the generators at the repeater site. WA6TTR, NM7R.

Gordon reported anomalous behavior of the radio-remote generator controls at the Nicolai site, with problems that seemed to be related to recent station upgrades accomplished over the last several months. It is possible to download the contents of a Command Macro (essentially a line of controller code) over the air, using DTMF commands, with the controller unlocked. While this is convenient in not having to make the long drive to the hill and back, it is tedious, requiring sending several DTMF digits to request each transmission, and having to hurriedly write down the macro digits as they are quickly read off by the mechanical voice. These digits are then manually decoded to verify their meaning. Changing a command is also possible, requiring sending fairly long sequences of DTMF digits to the controller over the radio path, and then listening as they are repeated back to be sure they were received correctly. While time-consuming, this does allow checking/correcting commands from home where notebooks and instruction manuals can be spread out, and one is not watching the clock to leave before darkness falls. Several critical mistakes were discovered that should have been updated when certain hardware changes were made. The station has grown in complexity over the years, and is far more sophisticated now than before. More attention should have been paid to the impact on the controlling software, and this will be more closely watched in the future. After several days of work, and several trips to the site for Gordon, the bugs appear to have been vanquished.

09/08/18    20 miles, 2 hours; Replaced failed power amplifier at the Long Beach repeater, NM7R.

I received a report (from N7XAC) that the Long Beach 444.800 repeater was transmitting a weak signal. It was audible on Hwy101 around the Bay with difficulty, in an area where it was normally fairly strong. After the usual monthly (Second Saturday) Pacific County Amateur Radio Club meeting at Hunters Inn, in Naselle in the morning, I stopped by the Long Beach site around noon and investigated the situation. Power output was less than 20-Watts from the nominal 100-Watt amplifier. Inspection revealed that one pair of output transistors had failed, and the balancing network (the four, 2-watt 100-Ohm carbon comp resistors in the divider) had failed due to overheating. Replacing the Power Amplifier with a spare unit restored normal operation, and power output was set at 60-Watts. The Z-Match was set for a DC return of less than 0.2 Volts DC. The station appears to be operating in normal condition. Antenna and feed lines appear normal.

08/24-25/18    0 miles, 2 hours; Reconfigured system to support Hood-To-Coast Relay, NM7R.

As we have done since 2006 (12 years!), repeaters within our system have been reconfigured to support the Hood-To-Coast Relay. In the early years we used the remote base at Naselle to connect our 147.180 repeater to the 146.88 Portland repeater. Once IRLP capability was added to our system, this changed for the last several years to a lash-up connecting the 147.180 and 444.925 Megler repeaters together and using the IRLP Internet-based linking capability to connect to a Portland area IRLP Node for the heavy lifting. Once again, the system served a vital need in the public interest.

07/08/18    260 miles, 9 hours; Capitol Peak Repeater, to service repeater. N7UJK, NM7R.

Another beautiful day. Mission was to install and commission new packet radio. This included programming of the main repeater controller (accomplished), installing some wiring (accomplished) and possibly replacing the dual-TNC with two separate TNCs. Ran into problems with the volume/squelch wiring harness and the built-in control panel. Then ran into problems with the squelch circuit on the old packet radio. Finally decided to pull the packet radios to take home for a hard look, and tuned up the repeater receiver, which was off-frequency and not well peaked. Not sure if the off-frequency issue was caused by earlier work in the cabinet, or some sort of drift. In any case, present performance is an improvement.

06/30/18    0 miles, 2 hours; Replaced the power supply in the IRLP computer. NM7R.

Replaced power supply in the IRLP Station computer to fix an AC-hum that had been getting slowly worse over the last couple of months. The first computer in this IRLP station lasted 6-years, and the second has lasted 7.5 years, so far. These operate continuously on unfiltered residential power. Not bad for used, consumer-grade equipment. Also nice to be able to repair a complex station without leaving home and my shop.

05/28/18    260 miles, 8 hours; Capitol Peak Repeater, to service repeater. N7UJK, NM7R.

A beautiful Memorial Day. Went to look at lack-luster repeater performance and non-operation of the packet station. Found repeater squelch open, which explains inability to send programming and interrogation commands from home. Adjusted squelch and tuned up receiver, finding it a little off-frequency and the tuning not as sharp as it should be. Packet problem appears to be related to squelch wiring on new radio. Pulled radio to take home for analysis. Discussed several options for Packet station improvement.

03/16/18    260 miles, 9 hours; Capitol Peak Repeater, to re-install repeater. N7UJK, NM7R.

A beautiful day. Only traces of snow and almost none on the road going up Capitol Peak. Only place where we were actually driving on snow was beyond the gate near the top and that was only inches thick and spotty. Did have to dodge a logging operation near the top, but no problems. Installed the refurbished repeater back into the cabinet. Installed the new packet radio made from a GE Rangr so as to be frequency agile. The two packet stations are putting about out 25 watts each after the isolators and the new Arcom RC-210 controller works very well. Much disassembly/reassembly and some fabrication to get the whole station back together.

02/25/18    132 miles, 3.5 hours; Nicolai Repeater, to service the generator. NM7R.

After errands and lunch, ran up to Nicolai to check the generator oil level. Road conditions weren't bad until just below the 5-mile post, where the snow had accumulated to 4-6 inches. By the 6-mile post the snow was up to the bottom of the car and new snow was falling. Found a place to turn around and was working at it when the car got stuck. Took some time to get it un-stuck with the help of a passing truck. Headed down hill without checking the generator. Will wait for snow to thin out a bit.

01/28/18    132 miles, 3.5 hours; Nicolai Repeater, to service the generator. KA7SGB, NM7R.

After errands and lunch, ran up to Nicolai to check the generator oil level. I ran into Mike on the radio and picked him up on the way to have a safety man along. Generator oil was down 1/3 on the stick after 12 hours of operation. After returning home, I ran the generator for an hour. Also noted that the battery voltage reported by the controller is within 0.1-volt of that measured with my Fluke meter. Generator was as I had left it following the last repairs, and the solar panels were bare and charging (at 12.6 volts) under overcast skies.

01/26/18    260 miles, 6.5 hours; Capitol Peak Repeater, to re-install repeater. N7UJK, NM7R.

The temperature was in the low 40s with showers turning to rain in the forecast as Doyle and I headed up Capitol Peak to reinstall the now-repaired repeater. About 500-feet elevation, the showers turned to snow showers. By the time we reached the gate near the top, the snow was deep enough the Subaru was flattening off the area between the tire tracks, and we had already moved one tree off the road. After several attempts to get up the hill beyond the gate, and ending up spinning our wheels each time, we decided to give it a try another day, turned around and headed home. Live to fight another day.

01/19/18    132 miles, 5 hours; Nicolai Repeater, to investigate why batteries had failed to charge several nights previously. NM7R.

Had expected to find batteries in need of watering, but they were all fine in the fluid department. Next, started the generator and turned on the battery charger. Noted on the Ammeter almost no charging current. Was expecting 80-Amps but saw nearly zero. Checking AC voltage, expecting something close to 125VAC, saw 47VAC. Checked AC at the generator and found 136VAC. Shut down the generator and inspected wiring. Found a burned connection that was probably causing an imbalance in the system. Fortunately, years of working on electrical systems on ships helped me figure this out, and I soon had the "wild leg" under control and 136VAC (no-load) going to the charger. Plugging in the battery charger indicated 80-Amps charging on the meter. I left the generator running, closed up the building and headed for home, in 6-inches of snow with more coming down. I shut the generator off from home 2 hours later.

01/15/18    260 miles, 8 hours; Capitol Peak Repeater, to investigate in operative receiver. N7UJK, NM7R.

Repeater receiver was either not operating or very insensitive. I suspected a "tin whisker", problem that some Mastr-IIs are prone to, but the usual cure didn't seem to work. Replaced the receiver front-end block with a spare and reassembled the receiver. The sensitively was better, but when I went outside to test with the hand-held, the receiver didn't respond. It was getting dark by then and we decided to pull the receiver drawer and take it home. On the bench the receiver tuned up fine, in fact it wasn't far off. Looking for other things that could mimic a dead receiver, the CTCSS decoder seemed a possibility. Fortunately, I have a spare which will accompany the receiver to the hilltop.

01/13/18    132 miles, 3 hours; Nicolai Repeater, to investigate why generator had failed to start two nights previously. KA7SGB, NM7R.

On arrival, the generator cranked, but did not start. Discovered the wires to the gas solenoid and the spark plug coil had become disconnected. Traced the damage to a failed support that had allowed the solenoid and coil to fall away from the generator itself, cutting off both the spark and gas supply. Repairs took only minutes, followed by full inspection. Generator now runs normally. Oil was at the full-mark (after 11-hours of operation since the last maintenance). Propane tank gauge reads 70%. Lowest battery voltage recorded during failure was 11.8-volts.

12/30/17    132 miles, 3 hours; Nicolai Repeater, to top up the oil in the generator. NM7R

The generator had been run for between 6 and 7 total hours since the last trip to top-up the oil. Partly because it was a nice warm sunny, snow-free day, and those might be a bit scarce for the next couple of months, and partly to check the consumption rate, I took the afternoon to drive to Nicolai to do engine maintenance. The oil on the dip stick was at the half-way mark, meaning running the gen-set for up to 12 to 14 hours between maintenance visits should be permissible. I also noticed one of the clamps securing the solar panel on the tower had come apart, so I secured the panel with a piece of rope.

12/03/17    132 miles, 3 hours; Nicolai Repeater, to top up the oil in the generator. NM7R

On the last trip to the hill, had not thought to top up the generator engine oil, due to focus on getting the repeater back on the air. The weather has been sunny these last few days so thoughts of using the generator have been pushed to the back of my mind. Today was a nice warm Sunday, so I figured if I didn't make the trip, that would serve to ensure that the generator would have to be run. The Spirits are always watching and they have a wicked sense of humor. The nice sunny day ended at 500-feet from the top with heavy snow flurries, a 38-degree temperature and 2 to 3 inches of slushy snow on the road. Managed to check the oil (bottom mark on stick) and top it up. It must have run something over 12 hours the night that the repeater supply failed, so in future, I'll make sure to check it whenever the generator has run over 8 total hours.

11/25/17    132 miles, 3 hours; Nicolai Repeater, to investigate repeater failure (off-air). N7ONG, NM7R

Found station off the air and generator running. Main power supply wire from battery bank to the repeater cabinet was disconnected at the low-voltage disconnect switch. The #10 wire from the disconnect had failed where it joined the #6 wire to the cabinet. Repaired the connection and station went back on the air. The fact that the generator started all by itself when the power was lost to the repeater controller is troublesome. Will have to redesign so this doesn't happen in the future.

10/26/17    152 miles; 3 hours; Cosmopolis Repeater, to hook up the Transmitter PL Encode function. N7UJK, NM7R

Apparently, when relocating the repeater from the old building to the new one, the wire that carries the Tx PL tone to the exciter was not hooked up. this feature was not used at the time, so was overlooked. It took a few minutes to fabricate and install the shielded jumper needed. Now, this repeater can transmit tone and users can enable PL decode on their receiver to ignore the co-channel repeater in the Puget Sound area.

10/13/17    Olympia (Capitol Peak) Repeater, Doyle, made two trips to the hill to investigate a dead receiver. N7UJK

The symptoms sounded like a "tin whisker" problem. He tried swapping out the receiver tray for a working spare, but for some reason that did not work. Replacing the original tray brought the receiver performance back. this seems to strengthen the "tin whisker" theory. For the moment the station is working fine. A further work party is planned to repair this problem.

08/18/17    Grays River 147.020 repeater on KM Mountain to install de-emphasis jumper on controller. WA6TTR

The de-emphasis jumper for the link radio (Port 2) had not been installed on the Arcom-210 controller when the repeater was replaced (06/04/17). The link audio was "tinny", as one would expect, and this was immediately apparent. Thanks to Gordon for taking the time to run up to the hill and fix this problem.

08/17/17    Nicolai 444.500 repeater on Nicolai Mountain to move the propane tank. WA6TTR

Previously (06/18/17) the trench had been dug for the new gas line, and the site prepared to move the propane tank. This involved digging a trench for the new gas line through the almost solid rock of the mountain top location. This trip was to help the propane vendor to move the nearly-full tank to the far side of the building. The tank is now in its new approved location and functioning as it should.

07/30/17    0 miles, 3 hours Ocean Park site to replace the 145.17 repeater. I had noticed the UHF link radio was not functioning, and rather than spend the time to look at fixing just that, I elected to upgrade the entire station. NM7R

The original Link RLC1 controller was replaced with the latest version Arcom RC-210 controller. The old controller was very laborious to program, had only limited control capacity, limited in capabilities, and only responded in CW. Fine for me, but not for most of the potential users. The new one has plenty of room for expansion and now has a 16-channel remote base for linking, full control capability and voice response.

06/28/17    Received reports of a Malware warning on the BeachNet website (this website) calling the site an "Attack Site", and warning users to stay away.

I contacted the Webmaster for the domain with the following:
Scott, KA9FOX
I received a message that my website ( has been declared an "attack site", and taken over as a Malware site. I assume there has been an attack on the servers. What can/should I do about this, if anything? Will I have to reload the website at some point after the system has recovered? Thanks for any info, and for all you do for the Ham radio community.
Frank, NM7R

Scott replied:
We have 30,000 websites. A few of them have bad stuff on them, unfortunately (they let their sites be hacked), but today Google decided to say that the entire domain is an 'attack site' which is false. We've submitted a request to remove it, and they say it will take up to 72 hours.
- Scott
The problem should be resolved in a few days (I hope). [note: was resolved 07/01/17 and all back to normal operations] de NM7R

06/18/17    Nicolai 444.500 repeater, to prepare site to have propane tank moved. WA6TTR

The Oregon Department of Forestry, which owns the site, is requiring that the propane tank be moved. It is presently next to the base of the tower, and needs to be moved some tens of feet to the north, to put the building between the tank and the tower. Gordon recruited a press gang to help him to dig the ditch, taking more than a day of work. This is memorialized in 7 photos on the Pictures web page: (Use your "Back" button or arrow to return after each photo): Dig1, Dig2, Dig3, Dig4, Dig5, Dig6, Dig7, (Note: the date on the photos is inaccurate) Most of the work appears to have been done with picks more than shovels. Yes, that is a jack-hammer being used to crack some of the larger rocks. Not what one usually thinks of as part of a Ham radio hobby outing.

A big thank you to all those who helped out. Propane to run the generator is what keeps the station on the air all winter. The solar panels can pretty much do the job on sunny summer days, but the dead of winter is another story. A wind powered generator may be joining the site decorations in the not-too-distant future.

06/16/17    Nicolai 444.500 repeater, to investigate repeater off-air. WA6TTR

The Nicolai repeater did not respond, and appeared completely dead. Upon arriving at the site (complicated by on-going logging operations that blocked the usual route) found power to the controller and receiver, but not to the transmitter. This was traced to an automotive slip-on power connector on the main power supply cable to the power amplifier that was intermittent and at the moment, open. Connector refurbished, the power was restored and all operates normally again. Thanks to Gordon for time spent.

06/15/17    270 miles, 8 hours; Minot 444.050 and Ocean Shores 444.200 repeaters, for general maintenance. N7UJK, NM7R

The Minot repeater had suffered an isolator failure. When installing the new unit some anomalous behavior was noticed. It appeared that during the failure the capacitor fins on the Z-matcher may have arced. It was not possible to tune to normal output power. After working the variable capacitors the tuning became more normal. The new isolator was installed without further problem, and normal operation was restored. Then on to the Ocean Shores (Saddle Hill) site to install a new isolator in the hope that might clean up some apparent mixing products that were spoiling the transmit audio under a particular configuration. The isolator was installed with some minor improvement (but not a complete cure) to the mixing problem.

06/04/17    100 miles, 4 hours; KM Hill (Grays River) 147.020 repeater to replace the repeater unit. WA6TTR, NM7R

The KM Hill repeater link radio had lost its receiver, and rather than just replacing the link radio, a complete station upgrade was manufactured and installed. The link radio was upgraded from a (failed) 2-channel "Phoenix" radio to a 16-channel "Rangr" model. Although both are GE products, the Rangr is far better suited to our needs. The controller was upgraded from a CAT-200B to an Arcom RC-210, with more capability. The last time this site was visited was 04/23/10, with the original repeater system installed 07/08/08, showing the reliability of the original equipment.

05/26/17    130 miles, 7 hours; Holy Cross (South Bend) 147.340 repeater to investigate low sensitivity on VHF receiver. Suspected front-end "tin-whiskers" from symptoms. Replaced front-end casting. NM7R

The sensitivity was markedly poor, requiring higher power over even line-of-sight paths. Having noticed symptoms of "Tin-Whiskers" in the past (rapping on the front end casting abruptly causes a marked increase in sensitivity of the receiver) I brought a replacement front-end casting that dramatically improved receiver performance. While at the site, also checked receiver performance of UHF and 220-MHz repeaters. All receivers are performing at or better than specification.

03/31/17    5 hours; Nicolai 444.500 repeater to investigate non-functional generator. Suspected fuel tank might be empty. Intended as a diagnostic visit to figure out why generator was not starting. WA6TTR, NU7D

The generator was investigated and found to have a broken camshaft. This will take a major repair to restore. Meanwhile, Gordon plans to set-up a spare generator at a later time when access is easier to tide us over until the Briggs can be refurbished. It has been months since the snow closed the road to the top. On several previous trips Gordon was turned back by deep snow well before reaching striking distance from the top. This day, he found conditions seductively better than previous, but even with chains on the truck, managed to get stuck well below the top. Calling Randy for back-up and a tug out of the snow, he managed to reach the top only to find the generator disabled and the fuel tank at 60% full. At least we know, if the generator will run, the fuel in the tank, plus the assist of the solar panels, will get us through the winter.

03/31/17    60 miles, 2 hours; Megler to investigate 444.925 IRLP Repeater off-air, NM7R, N7ONG

Frank and Kathleen loaded up the Subaru for the drive to Megler. Due to including a chainsaw in the tool compliment, there were no road blockages. Repeater was completely dead, although the power supply was working fine. Discovered a 30-amp fuse in line to the power section of the repeater had over-heated and opened. Replacing that brought the repeater back to life. Tweaked the receiver tuning just a bit, and checked the transmitter power. All parameters nominal.

02/11-12/17    New 444.300 Cathlamet repeater delivered and temporarily installed. WA6TTR, NM7R

Frank constructed and delivered the new, 20-Watt UHF GE Mastr-II repeater to Gordon at the February Second Saturday PCARC Breakfast Meeting in Naselle. Gordon transported the equipment to Cathlamet and set it up. Early reports are that the coverage is as good as expected. Final installation details remain to be finished, including a tower. After installation and testing are completed this repeater will be added to the BeachNet roster.

02/12-13/17    Neilton and Minot repeaters station troubleshoot and repair. N7UJK

The Neilton repeater had gone off the air, along with the co-located packet station. The County reported snow (melting slowly) on the roads. Doyle made an exploratory trip to the hill, and managed to get to the building. He found the circuit breaker feeding the repeater and packet station had tripped. He reset the breaker and everything passed muster. On 02/13/17 Doyle made a run to Minot to check reported low-power. Found nothing out of order.

01/20/17    0 miles, 3 hours; IRLP (Megler UHF) station troubleshoot and repair. NM7R

The IRLP function of the Megler site had failed a few days ago. My initial cursory investigation pointed to an uplink failure. I ordered a replacement 220-MHz Yagi in case the wind storms we had been experiencing had blown the antenna off the tower at the repeater site. If I was going to make the drive (an hour in each direction), I wanted a spare, just in case. A few days later, I finally found time to look at it. My initial troubleshooting indicated a failure of the uplink (220-MHz link from the computer at my house to the mountain-top repeater site). Using a low-powered hand-held radio on the uplink frequency, I was easily able to bring up the link receiver on the mountain (17-miles away). Checking the uplink transmitter showed that was the problem. I replaced the transmitter and service was restored. This IRLP station will have been in operation for 12-years next month (02/09/05 to 02/09/17).

11/28/16    Minot site to investigate station off-air. N7UJK

Doyle traveled to the site to investigate unresponsive repeater. The repeater wasn't transmitting (main or link) and the packet station was off, as well. Suspected and found tripped breaker. Transmitter power was set very high (over 100-watts) so Doyle reduced this to 60-watts. All else appeared normal.

11/18-19/16    Nicolai site to replace main station batteries. WA6TTR

With winter coming and our present battery bank barely making it though a day and not taking much of a charge, Gordon took the bull by the horns and made the Costco run for a new set. Over the weekend he took the new ones to the site, and hauled the old ones back for the core refund. The operation has improved with the new set taking and holding a charge much better. The original set had been allowed to discharge completely at least twice, and had not recovered to the point of being dependable. The new bank is a great improvement to the operation.

11/08/16    Won re-election to a second 4-year term as Pacific County Commissioner. NM7R

The last four years as a County Commissioner, while personally rewarding and (I feel) good for Pacific County, has drastically cut into the time I've had available to work on my hobbies, including BeachNet. While the bad news here is that some projects have been put on hold for too long already, and some maintenance has been neglected, the good news is it has dragged in a few more folks to help.

Gordon, WA6TTR, has donated many hours of technical expertise as well as just plain grunt work to the maintenance of the repeaters covering his county.

When Doyle, N7UJK and I first started working on repeater coverage for Grays Harbor County (2004) he said he wanted to learn more about the hardware side of things and how to fix equipment. He has indeed learned a lot over the years and has now done a number of repairs on his own.

Others have also increased their confidence level with equipment maintenance and repair. So, at one level, holding office has been good for Ham radio here at the coast in a number of ways.

10/30/16    132 miles, 3 hours; Nicolai site to inspect station before winter with particular emphasis on the solar panels. KJ6RGX & NM7R

With the storm of last weekend and the weather turning rainy, winter is on its way, and I wanted to check the condition of the station, and particularly the solar panel mounts. As it turns out, the station is in good shape and the solar panels appear to be solid and more or less as they were the day we installed them, a bit over a year ago. Noticed light marks where the panels had flexed enough to touch the edges of the mounting brackets. Installed small foam plastic cushions as a precaution.

10/23/16    130 miles, 3 hours; Holy Cross (South Bend) to repair VHF repeater receiver and remove UHF packet station for service. W7HGA & NM7R

The Club wanted the UHF 9600-baud packet station brought off the hill for maintenance, and I wanted to improve the performance of the 147.340 repeater receiver, which appeared to be 'soft'. The receiver checked out at worse than 20V/12dB SINAD on arrival. A couple of the tuning screws on the helical resonator front end were 'touchy'. After removing the bottom cover, carefully cleaning (alcohol) and seating the tuning screws, restored performance to better than 0.35V/12db SINAD (the GE spec.).

10/06/16    Doyle Wenzel and George Stone made a trip to the Neilton site to replace the main repeater/packet antenna. AC7AI, N7UJK

After collecting signal reports from the Neilton station operating for a week on the new higher gain antenna, Doyle decided they had lost too much area to the higher gain, concentrating the signal too much at the horizon, and skipping over some stations. He and George made the trip to the hill to swap out antennas again. Time will tell if this improves the coverage in this remote area.

09/29/16    262 miles, 9 hours; Neilton and Ocean Shores. Doyle and I visited the Neilton repeater to replace the antenna. Then on to the Ocean Shores repeater to check power levels. N7UJK & NM7R.

The antenna replacement at Neilton went very well. No injuries, or blood, except for a ginormous spider that was 'removed' from the work area. The original antenna was replaced with a longer, higher-gain model (Comet x510), sheathed in a Stationmaster shell to provide protection from the weather. Hopefully this will direct more energy into the desired coverage area. Then on to the Ocean Shores (Saddle Hill) site to investigate low power (30-watts) from the 110-watt power amp. Turns out the amp had been modified to bypass the final board, and only the driver was in use. This is what GE did on some models for lower power. While looking it over, I remembered having set it up this way, since this repeater was intended to cover a fairly small area, with a lot of hand-held users. With the power set at 28-watts out, and the Z-match circuit tuned, we called it good.

09/21/16    Doyle Wenzel monitoring the move of the Ocean Shores 444.200 Repeater. The station was moved to new location at same site. Coverage shifted slightly to the north due to antenna placement on tower. N7UJK

Grays Harbor county moved their 911-Dispatch/Emergency radio equipment to a new building and tower at the same site. The county technicians moved all our equipment and antennas, mounted feedlines, and used 100-feet of 7/8-inch hardline that we supplied (with connectors and hangers) for the main repeater antenna, and half-inch for the link antenna, which they aimed perfectly. Main antenna is a 4-bay double folded dipole array at 85-feet. Link is 6-element yagi at 45-feet.

09/13/16    180 miles, 4 hours; North Cove to repair 145.31 repeater failure. Replaced dead power supply. NM7R

After work, again left South Bend for North Cove, taking the back road up the hill, but leaving by the front road. I replaced the power supply with another from my stock of spare components. The repeater fired right up. I checked power and did some audio checks with the KO Peak DVR. During the outage I had switched the VHF repeater off and shifted the link on the UHF repeater to BeachNet. All has been realigned in normal configuration. Looking up the tower, the antenna appears to be caught behind one of the tower steps. It has a considerable bend in it. It will be interesting to see if the wind unhooks it this winter.

09/12/16    180 miles, 4 hours; North Cove to investigate 145.31 repeater failure. Found dead power supply. NM7R

After work, left South Bend for North Cove, taking the back road up the hill. I had diagnosed a possible power supply failure and assumed a blown fuse. Found all fuses intact, but no voltage on output terminals. Opened the supply cabinet and found charred wiring between the transformer and rectifiers. I tried a field repair but was unable to revive the beast. Will bring a replacement supply on a future visit, possibly tomorrow.

08/11/16    60 miles, 2 hours; Megler to investigate IRLP repeater failure. Replaced Power Amplifier. NM7R

The IRLP repeater (444.925) went dead just 10-days after the last visit. Replaced failed power amplifier with one previously repaired.

08/02/16    60 miles, 2 hours; Megler to investigate IRLP repeater failure. Replaced Power Amplifier. N7ONG & NM7R

The IRLP repeater (444.925) went dead almost a month after the last visit. Replaced failed power amplifier with one previously repaired, set power and tuned Z-match. Kathleen walked down the road looking the plants over as a professional botanist enjoys doing. After picking her up on the way down the hill, a bit further on, an adolescent bear charged across the road and into the brush just in front of the car. Hmm.

07/03/16    60 miles, 2 hours; Megler to investigate IRLP repeater failure. Found/replaced blown fuse on power supply. AA7US & NM7R

The IRLP repeater (444.925) went dead shortly after the newly upgraded equipment was installed. Completely unresponsive, the assumption was that the Power Amplifier had died. Sending commands to the receiver was inconclusive. Arriving at the site, discovered no power coming from the power supply. Checked fuses and found one open (and corroded). New fuse fixed the whole problem. Also checked and adjusted power out and Z-matcher tuning.

06/21/16    220 miles, 8 hours; Minot to instal and commission the entire station. N7UJK & NM7R

Doyle and I installed the RF cabling first then the DC wiring. As with Neilton, the county graciously provided a drop from their DC system. The installation went well, other than the discomfort of working in a confined space behind a fixed rack. The various components were rearranged from their layout in the previous space so several new jumpers had to be fitted. The station came back up once energized.

06/19/16    220 miles, 14 hours; Minot to move the entire station. N7UJK & NM7R

Doyle and I moved the station from the PUD's building to the County 911 shack across the road. Removed all the antennas, cables and brackets from the old tower and installed new ones on the County tower. Left hook-up and commissioning for another day, leaving the site after 6PM.

06/03/16    130 miles, 3 hours; Holy Cross (South Bend) to look at the packet station. W7HGA, W7KBA & NM7R

Howard wanted to work on the UHF packet station, so he and Katie got a lift with me up the hill. I wanted to check the 220 repeater performance (it was fine with minor tuning) and the 2-meter receiver (which also was improved with a bit of attention).

04/30/16    60 miles, 2 hours; Megler to repair 444.925 IRLP repeater. Replaced the UHF power amplifier. Also restored the channel disable circuit for the VHF Megler repeater voter. N7ONG & NM7R

Had a half-a-Saturday available after yard work, so Kathleen and I made a run up the hill. Spotted a Bobcat crossing the road just ahead of us. It looked healthy. The power amp failed a couple of weeks ago, and this was my first opportunity to replace it. These repeaters are getting rather long in the tooth, most over 30-years old. Nothing lasts forever, and these parts have been soldiering along well beyond the design life.

02/06/16    Gordon took advantage of the ferry being put back into service, to run up Nicolai for routine checks. WA6TTR

After having to make the run via Longview for the last few months, and with deep snow and ice on the mountain road, this was like having an old shortcut back again. The road was clear of snow, he made it with no trouble. Everything was in good order. He added a half-quart of oil to the generator crankcase, and checked the battery water, which was fine. Even with clouds sitting on the mountain, the station was receiving a 3-Amp charge from the sun. Thanks, Gordon.

01/19/16    130 miles, 3 hours; Holy Cross 147.340 repeater to investigate insensitive receiver. Tuned and checked receiver. NM7R

The VHF Holy Cross (South Bend) 147.340 repeater had become hard of hearing of late. The Station Monitor noted about a 200-microvolt sensitivity. On carefully retuning the receiver Local Oscillator chain, the first helical resonator was very touchy. Careful adjustment brought the sensitivity to 20 V. Working my way up the front end helical resonators, the second one from the input was also very sensitive. Barely touching it brought the sensitivity to better than 0.35 V, which is the GE specification. The repeater seems to work fine now. Conclusion: there are probably tin whiskers growing inside the helical resonators. This problem is a repeat from 4 months ago. A replacement front end will have to wait for less inclement weather.

01/18/16    5 hours; Nicolai 444.500 repeater to investigate non-functional battery chargers. Found and repaired faulty DC cable connection. WA6TTR, NU7D

The generator was starting as usual, but the chargers were not increasing the battery voltage as they should. Gordon and Randy headed up the hill again in Randy's Jeep, and were able to get to the site with only moderate difficulty. Gordon found one of the high-current connections was loose and discolored from having been hot. He tightened the faulty bolt and checked all the connections. The chargers once again work as they should.

The solar panels are surviving the harsh conditions well. When the clouds settle around the top of the hill, their output drops to very little, but on most days we are enjoying at least a few AmpHours of gain.

01/15/16    5 hours; Nicolai 444.500 repeater to investigate generator failure. Found and repaired loose wire that was shorting out the ignition system. WA6TTR, NU7D

The generator was not starting. When commanded to start, the 15-second cranking interval expired, even when tried several times. Each time, the battery voltage dropped appropriately. This seemed to confirm the starter was working. Every time the start process failed. Something was keeping the generator from firing. Gordon caught a ride with Randy in Randy's Jeep, and they were able to get to the site in spite of packed snow and ice on the roads above 2000-feet. Gordon found a wire that had fallen against the ignition system, shorting it out. The fix took only moments.

Gordon also reports the solar panels are like-new, the supports straight, tight, and as we left them, after being tested by several strong winter storms, perhaps a foot of snow, and substantial icing at the site.

12/18/15    220 miles, 8 hours; Minot to investigate an audio problem with the link radio. It was transmitting but not receiving. N7UJK, NM7R

Met Doyle in Montesano for the trip up to Minot. After tracing wires, found the connection that had gone wrong. The rat who had made a home in the warm cozy repeater had done a lot of work on the wires. Doyle had done a great job of repairing most of the damage, but one last hard-to-find connection in the receive audio path needed to be spliced back together.

12/14/15    60 miles, 3 hours; Megler to install replacement IRLP repeater, NM7R

James Clancy and I visited the Megler site to install the newly refurbished 444.925 IRLP repeater. The install went fairly quickly and without incident. All aspects of the IRLP operation seemed to work as they should, with smooth switching of the link.

11/28/15    60 miles, 3 hours; Megler to install replacement antenna, K6BSR, NM7R

Branden and I visited the Megler site to install the new dual-band antenna on the building roof. The install went fairly quickly and without incident. When checking the antenna with the Bird directional wattmeter, the reflected power was less than 10% on both bands, very satisfactory. Unfortunately, I discovered the UHF IRLP repeater was operating intermittently. After trying to troubleshoot, I finally decided to pull the repeater and haul it home for a better look. This was the first hill trip for the new (2016 Outback model) Subaru.

11/20-21/15    0 miles, 2 hours; Soft failure of the KO Peak 441.675 repeater's ACC RC-850 Controller, NM7R

At 2:00 AM on Friday, November 20, 2015, I received a phone call from a local Ham to inform me that the repeater network was going crazy. I got up to investigate. In the (unheated) shack, it was quickly apparent that the KO Peak repeater controller was cycling, trying to reset itself. It played, "-RC 850 repeater controller, Vee 3.8, N7XAC-" over and over, stuck in a a loop where it played the sign-on message, but before it could finish the start-up routine, it reset itself again. I tried sending commands to kill the transmitter, and the reset command, both through the input and control receiver channels without any luck. I tried the completely separate receiver that remotely closes the reset button on the front of the controller. Still no luck. So I moved the links from each repeater to bypass KO Peak, reestablishing the network and quieting all the repeaters, except KO, which continued to cycle. At 8:00 the next morning, KO was still cycling. At noon, when I was returning from a meeting, KO-Peak had magically fixed itself. I spent a half-hour putting all the links back to normal. I hate it when things fix themselves. We'll just have to wait for the next time.

10/24/15    60 miles, 2 hours; Megler to to install new antenna and re-route cabling, NM7R

On the site building roof, dismounted the Hustler G6-144B 2-meter antenna from the mounting post. I installed first of two large clamps to hold the new 21-foot dual-band Stationmaster antenna. Unfortunately, while these clamps are large enough to take the antenna base or the mounting mast, they are just a bit too small to accept both at once. I'll obtain longer threaded rods to increase the clamp capacity. Reinstalled the Hustler antenna. One step forward, one step back.

Then, in the building, added a new pair of duplexer jumpers and T-fitting, rerouting the cabling to allow the 2-meter transmitter and receiver to share the one antenna, reactivating the local repeater receiver as part of the voting network. This receiver had originally been attached to the Hustler antenna, with the transmitter sharing the tower-top dual-band antenna with the UHF-IRLP repeater. With the failure of that antenna, the receiver was shut off and disconnected, and the 2-meter transmitter connected to the Hustler so the VHF repeater could be brought back on the air, using the other four of the five voting receivers.

Once the new permanent dual-band antenna is in place, there will be one more cable change to allow both transmitters and receivers, of both the 2-meter and UHF repeaters to all share the new Stationmaster through a CF-416 VHF/UHF diplexer. That will allow the UHF-IRLP repeater to go back on the air. It is presently shut down due to lack of an antenna.

10/12/15    Minot to investigate repeater off-air. Successful repair by Doyle. N7UJK.

The Minot repeater went off the air and Doyle investigated, finding a rat had made a cozy home in the repeater, and chewed some of the wiring. After the drudgery of evicting the tenant and cleaning up after, he spliced several wires back together to get the repeater back on the air. Repeater work is not always as glamorous as it sounds.

10/04/15    60 miles, 2 hours; Megler to replace broken antenna. N7ONG, NM7R

Got done with house chores a little before 3PM, so decided to replace antenna at the Megler site. Kathleen volunteered as safety person. Loaded the car and headed up to the site. Staged everything for the climb and headed up the tower. The plan was to loosen the U-bolts holding the vertical pipe on which the antenna is mounted, to slide the antenna down into reach. When the nuts refused to budge, the operation was canceled. This was a safety call. Will come up with a 'Plan B'. Meantime, the UHF repeater remains off the air, and the VHF is operational.

10/02/15    132 miles, 8 hours; Nicolai to repair and improve the solar panel mount. WA6TTR, NM7R

Today marks 5 weeks and one day that the solar panels have been operating flawlessly and the generator hasn't been used. We did have a wind storm that bent the mounting frame. This trip was to replace the original thin-wall steel tubes with thick-wall aluminum ones and add bracing struts to reinforce the mount. Time will tell if this additional support gets us through the winter weather.

09/05/15    60 miles, 4 hours; Megler to investigate weak transmit on 147.180, KG7VPC, NM7R

The 147.18 repeater transmit signal was reported as weak, and upon investigation, this was confirmed. Hauled a spare Power Amplifier, Exciter, tools and documentation to check the situation out. Checked power and SWR at the bottom of the hardline, and saw no reflected power for the UHF repeater, but near-complete reflection on VHF. Inspection of the antenna from the ground revealed most of the antenna had broken off at the base, probably in last weekend's wind storm. With the remaining stub apparently resonant on UHF, the IRLP repeater was left hooked to what remained of the antenna. The VHF transmitter was hooked to the separate antenna, normally used for VHF receive. The local receiver was disabled at the voter, with the remaining four receivers left to feed the repeater. A replacement antenna has been ordered. That antenna went up in 2001, so it has survived 14 years in a coastal environment, with salt air and winter storms, including the major storms of 2007.

08/27/15    132 miles, 8 hours; Nicolai to install two solar PV panels and remove damaged antenna, KG7VPC, WA6TTR, NM7R

The plan has always been to install solar panels at the Nicolai site, with a propane-fired generator as back-up to keep the station on the air during periods when that was was necessary. At first it was unclear if the utility power would return, so a generator was installed as the first step. But as time passes, the prospect for utility power fades. It is now obvious that we are on our own for power. With the summer construction season waning for this year, the time was ripe to add a pair of PV panels. The only practicable mounting location is the antenna tower attached to our building. Using a home-designed and constructed mount, the two 285W single-crystal panels went up fairly easily and without incident. The MorningStar charge controller mounted to the back wall inside the concrete hut and once wired into the batteries, began charging at the expected rate. Based on the performance of this installation, there is already discussion on a second pair next year. The antenna atop the tower was not working and a replacement was previously installed on the big ODF tower adjacent to the building. After the primary mission for today was accomplished, the old antenna was taken down. In the process, a damaged feedline connection was discovered. The antenna will be taken home and tested. It may, in fact, be serviceable, or repairable.

08/09/15    180 miles, 4 hours; North Cove to install replacement UHF repeater, KG7VPC, NM7R

The 444.400 North Cove repeater was one of the earliest in the network, and the last mobile-conversion left. Replacing it with a station model, with a more capable controller and versatile link radio has been on the to-do list for some time. Performance of the replacement unit is far superior to that of the old one.

07/21/15    180 miles, 3 hours; North Cove to finish antenna replacement and test repeaters, NM7R

The antenna and hardline were previously installed and lead into the building. I completed grounding the hardline to the tower and building entrance ground plates. Then cut a jumper to connect the diplexer with the hardline. Next came commissioning tests of the two repeaters and tuning checks on the VHF station transmitter and receiver. Then there was some clean-up work outside, removing a previously installed temporary antenna and mast. Finally, replaced the entrance boot cushion. Tests on the way home all proved satisfactory.

07/18/15    180 miles, 10 hours; North Cove to replace repeater antenna. K7WAT, KE7JMC (and guest), NM7R

The repeater antenna has not been operational for some time. A temporary antenna was erected on the ice bridge, but that has not proven satisfactory. A new Comet X510, housed in a Stationmaster shell has been ready for over a year, waiting for a time when the climbing crew could get together. As it turned out, this was the hottest day of the year, and the crew was a bit short, but nonetheless, the new antenna and the new hardline have been mounted. The feedline has been led into the building, and the exterior buttoned up. The old antenna and mounting brackets have been removed. Testing and hooking up the new antenna will have to wait for another day, but progress has definitely been made toward returning the station to full operation.

07/03/15    132 miles, 10 hours; Nicolai Mtn. to look over the situation, get Gordon oriented, and plan work for this summer and into the future. K7GA, K7YFP, WA6TTR, KC7MFN, NM7R

The generator has been off the air, allowing the batteries to go flat. The generator was inspected and determined operable. UHF repeater and VHF packet stations moved to more advantageous antennas, feedline cables were rerouted, 6-meter repeater was removed, and the 6-meter antenna taken down off the tower. Gordon, WA6TTR has taken the station caretaker position, and lists of needed parts were made. Plans include installing the low-voltage disconnect switch, evaluating the battery performance and installing a new exhaust system for the generator.

04/16/15    180 miles, 5 hours; KO Peak to replace the repeater power amplifier. NM7R

The KO Peak repeater went off the air unexpectedly. The transmitter was off the air, but the remote base came up on 2-meter simplex when commanded over the repeater receiver. That meant the power supply, controller, remote base radios, and repeater receiver were all fine. Once on site, the transmitter was audible on an HT in the building, indicating the exciter was good as well. Changed out the PA with a working spare.

03/09/15    130 miles, 3 hours; Holy Cross 147.340 repeater to investigate insensitive receiver. Tuned and checked receiver. NM7R

The VHF Holy Cross 147.340 repeater had become hard of hearing of late. I plugged the Station Monitor and GE-meter into the receiver and noted about a 20-microvolt sensitivity. On retuning the receiver Local Oscillator chain, I discovered the first helical resonator adjustment was very touchy. Careful adjustment brought the sensitivity to better than 0.35 V, which is the GE specification. The repeater seems to work fine now.

01/11/15    217 miles, 6 hours; Ocean Shores 444.200 repeater to investigate insensitive receiver. Tuned and checked receiver. N7UJK, NM7R

The Ocean Shores repeater seemed to have lost sensitivity over the last few weeks. While weather could be a factor, there seemed to be more to it than that. Investigation ruled out Tin Whiskers, or antenna issues as the problem. The receiver sensitivity was measured at a bit over 1 V for 12dB SINAD. Tuning all stages improved this modestly, however the receiver crystal was found to be off frequency by several kiloHertz. Netting the crystal brought the sensitivity to better than 0.5 V at the input to the receiver. Tests from several locations on the way back home verified anecdotally that this was a pronounced improvement. The crystal tuning hadn't been touched since new, about two years ago, so it is expected that no further crystal drift will be seen from this point.

11/24/14    Cosi to investigate repeater off-air following a thunderstorm passage. N7UJK

After a very malevolent thunderstorm passed through the area, the 145.39 Cosi repeater was off-air. Doyle investigated and discovered (and replaced) a blown power supply fuse, returning the station to full operation.

09/13/14    70 miles, 3 hours; Naselle to fix the main repeater antenna. Kathleen was Safety Person on the ground, while I climbed the tower to install a clamp device to hold the antenna inside the radome shell. N7ONG & NM7R.

The receiver was noisy. Upon investigation, when viewed through binoculars, it was apparent that the x510 antenna had slipped partially out of the Stationmaster radome shell, and was hanging by the coax cable two feet below. Using the similar antenna assembly at home, intended for the North Cove antenna replacement (yet to come), I built up a clamp-wedge assembly out of aluminum angle and strap that would slide up into the bottom of the radome and hold the internal antenna in the intended position. The three screws that had originally held the antenna in place had corroded to dust.

08/28/14    60 miles, 4 hours; Megler to install new controller on 147.18, set levels, and check repeater. NM7R.

The intermittent problem with the 147.18 repeater dropping off the air during a conversation, with the transmitter and link radio locked out, has become progressively worse. It seems to take several minutes of conversation, on this repeater, to manifest itself, then the drop-outs occur repeatedly. The problem seems to require activity on the local receivers, since this repeater has 4 remote receivers in addition to the repeater receiver itself. Looking over the schematics for the controller, there are several places this could conceivably be, so I elected to swap out the entire controller for a new one. This particular CAT-200B has been around for a long time, at least 2001 or so.

08/09/14    Neilton to install new crystal, and check repeater. N7UJK.

Doyle ordered and installed crystal into ICOM (holder), traveled to the Neilton site to install it into the repeater, checked for on-frequency operation, power out and filter loss. All parameters acceptable. Since Doyle diagnosed this problem (no exciter drive), ordered and installed all necessary parts, and performed the repair and test measurements, this entire repair goes to his credit. Repeater sounds great from Nahcotta!

07/24/14    255 miles, 8 hours; Neilton to investigate lost transmitter in UHF repeater. Determined the problem was a non-functional crystal. No spare on hand, will have to order new crystal. Lead time is 4 to 5 weeks. N7UJK & NM7R.

Doyle had checked the site out a day or two before and determined the problem was in the exciter. On swapping in a new, known working exciter, still no transmit. I had a crystal (in a GE ICOM) for a slightly different frequency, plugged it into the exciter, and it worked fine. We then swapped the crystals between the two ICOMs, and still the 444.700 crystal didn't work. All other components, including the ICOMs, had been swapped, and the original crystal would not work, while in all cases, my spare worked fine. Conclusion: the crystal itself had failed. Neither of us had ever seen this before. A new crystal will be ordered (4-week lead time).

07/17/14    4 miles, 16 hours; Ocean Park to pick up the 145.17 repeater and move it to "Rental Ridge". Prospects for reinstalling it at the Fire Hall were not looking very good. Rental Ridge looked like a better location. The site plot looks a bit more promising for coverage, with little lost. NM7R.

Moved the repeater (70 pounds), power supply (60 pounds), duplexer (not heavy but bulky and awkward), antenna (10-feet long with 19-inch radials), and mast (20-feet long with 40-feet of hardline attached) from Fire Hall attic, over HVAC unit, down hallway used for storage, down a five-foot drop without stairs, down a 20-foot staircase, across a large meeting room and into the Subaru (alone). After the workout, unloaded same at Rental Ridge garage. Removed existing 2-meter antenna on 10-foot 1-1/2-inch mast from side of Rohn-25 30-foot tower, and replaced it with the Hustler dual-band antenna on the 20-foot 2-1/2-inch mast. Hardline made it just to the cable entrance, so spliced on 20-feet additional half-inch hardline, snaked it in through the entrance conduit and installed connectors. Once reassembled, the machine lit off like new. The idea of reinstalling the repeater at the Fire Hall, now that the south wall has been restored and with no convenient passage to the roof for the antenna cable, didn't look likely any time soon.

07/01/14    20 miles, 2 hours; Long Beach to investigate report of repeater 'acting wonky since yesterday'. NM7R.

As I drove south toward Long Beach, I tuned to 444.800 and noticed the repeater was continuously keyed, with apparently no audio. Remotely commanding the controller to 'Macro One' reset the controller to normal operation. I continued to the site and checked the receiver, finding normal sensitivity and all adjustments optimally tuned. The transmitter was likewise in perfect shape, running 75-watts out, to the duplexer, and about 60-watts 'up the stack'. The Z-match voltage is just over a very acceptable 0.4 volts. No unusual 'wonkyness' was noted.

07/01/14    130 miles, 6 hours; Holy Cross to investigate suspected antenna problem, with plan, parts and equipment to replace antenna. Ed did the climbing. K7WAT & NM7R.

The 224.820 repeater, and the HOLYX Packet Node (145.630 MHz) were off the air, as well as the UHF link for the repeater. These all use the 3-band antenna on the south tower leg at the 50-foot level. Ed climbed the tower to investigate and found the antenna cable had become disconnected. Substituting a dummy load showed the cable was fine. Reconnecting the cable to the antenna restored service. This antenna went up 4/18/11 to replace a 2-meter mono-band vertical. Reduced packet performance was noted in March and April. The cable connector had backed out of the antenna connector and was no longer attached. Reconnecting the cable to the antenna restored service.

06/17/14    220 miles, 5 hours; Minot to investigate lack of receiver sensitivity and odd noise. Checked tuning on receiver, fining it adequate. Checked crystal trim for on-frequency and found it very close. The noise appears to be desense. Will need a replacement PA for next attempt. N7UJK & NM7R.

Desense whenever the transmitter is operating. The Power Amp was recently replaced, pointing to that as the probable issue. Will have to contact Ed and dig through the spares inventory to find a likely replacement.

06/11/14    70 miles, 3 hours; Naselle to investigate lack of receiver sensitivity. Checked tuning on receiver, fining it adequate. Checked crystal trim for on-frequency and found it several kHz off. Once back on frequency, sensitivity was better than GE spec. NA7Q & NM7R.

My original suspicion, based on symptoms (noise and lack of sensitivity), was possible tin whisker problem However, rapping on the helical resonator block made no difference. In checking the tuning, found the receiver crystal considerably off frequency.

05/06/14    152 miles, 5 hours; Cosi to troubleshoot new repeater. Removed the plug harnesses and used point-to-point wiring to connect repeater to controller. Replaced power amplifer (with 40-watt unit) and set levels. Repeater sounding very good. Doyle stayed to dress wires and wrap up installation. N7UJK & NM7R.

Doyle had done an excellent job of installing the repeater, duplexer, link radio and controller. The 'plug-n-play' plan to wire a mate for the existing plug-in connection from the previous mobile chassis (something I did successfully with the Long Beach repeater when that one was changed from a mobile to a station) did not work as I had hoped, so abandoned that concept in favor of point-to-point wiring. There are fewer than a dozen connections to be made and this worked well in the confined space available. During this activity, I discovered the CAS signal and 13VDC power were not carried through the plug system correctly. Pretty sure I would not have found these without actually trying it.

05/04/14    152 miles, 4 hours; Cosi to troubleshoot new repeater. The receiver was working fine, and didn't even need the tune-up I gave it. The transmitter exciter worked, but we had problems with the power amp. I started troubleshooting the wiring, but didn't have the reference material I needed to be effective. Decided to quit and try again later. N7UJK & NM7R.

The repeater chassis was responding well. the receiver worked as did the transmitter when keyed manually, but the controller appeared dead. I was frustrated to find I had pulled the wrong controller manual by accident, bringing a model CAT-300 book instead of one for the CAT-200B. Rather than poke around blind, decided to try again later.

03/24/14 & 04/20/14 & 04/25/14    Holy Cross Mtn., Made several trips to work on the packet system. Pulled the original station off the hill, returned later with the new system. It didn't work right and troubleshooting was frustrated by lack of instruments. Returned with instruments and determined the antenna was at fault. Ordered a new antenna. Will need an antenna party soon. NM7R.

Couldn't get the new packet station (VHF, VHF, UHF) to work, so took it back to the shop and repackaged it. Returned with test gear and determined the three-band antenna that supports the original packet signal, along with the 220-repeater and its UHF link, was in poor shape. Will add this to the (at least two) other antenna projects on the list.

02/21/14    70 miles, 2 hours; Naselle to investigate repeater-off-air. Everything working except the controller, which had no power. Pulled power plug from back of controller and reinserted it. Problem solved. NM7R.

I pulled the coaxial power plug for the controller and stroked it in and out a few times to clean any corrosion. The controller came right up. No other problems noted. This same thing happened in June of 2010, and December 14, 2013. No other problems with the stack. Next time this happens, if it happens again, I'll make up a new power plug assembly or remove the socket assembly and install an external plug set on soldered wires.

01/30/14    60 miles, 6 hours; Megler to investigate why the IRLP repeater went off the air. Found the 10-Amp slow-blow fuse on the front of the power supply had blown. Quick fix. While there, decided to swap out the PA on the VHF repeater, which has damage and was only running about 5-watts output. NM7R.

Hauled tools, service monitor, spare Power Amps (two VHF and one UHF), GE manuals, project binders, and two spare mobiles (one each VHF and UHF) for parts. The UHF repeater ran fine once the fuse was replaced. The power amp is partly failed on the UHF machine, although it is putting out 40-watts as is. I decided to leave it for now. The VHF repeater has a DCI filter and Rangr link radio hung off the power amp behind the repeater to save rack space. I spent almost an hour disconnecting (and labeling) cables and pieces of equipment in order to get to the power amp. After replacing the amp, I tested it, and got no output. It lit off with 500 mW drive, but not with the 200 mW the exciter was supplying. Replaced it with the second PA and it worked fine.

12/22/13    170 miles, 7 hours; KO Peak to investigate why repeater is off the air. Found no smoking gun. Everything checked out just fine. N7ONG & NM7R.

Hauled tools, service monitor, spare repeater, spare controller, GE manuals, project binders, two spare power amps and two spare exciters. Although the repeater was off-air when I arrived, with the exciter audible from inside the building, opening the receiver/exciter drawer for service brought the power amplifier to life. I looked for any loose or shorting wiring, found none. The RCA plug from the exciter was a little loose, so I tightened it up a bit making for a snug connection. Checked power out while moving all cabling, no problems. transmitter back to life. I hate it when things fix themselves.

12/14/13    70 miles, 2 hours; Naselle to investigate repeater-off-air. Everything working except the controller, which had no power. Pulled power plug from back of controller and reinserted it. Problem solved. Paul W, NM7R.

I pulled the power plug for the controller to check for presence of voltage. There was normal voltage present. Reinserted the plug and the controller came up. No other problems noted. This same thing happened in June of 2010. I suspect corrosion on the power plug or socket. Checked Receiver, Exciter and Power Amplifier, all working normally.

10/31/13    170 miles, 6 hours; KO Peak to investigate station off air. Replaced Power Amplifier which was not functioning. N7ONG, NM7R.

PA was dead, so pulled and replaced with spare off the replacement station. Upon inspection, found the positive power supply lead had come loose. Once on the bench, found the wire lead on the feed-through cap had fractured flush on the outside. Replaced Feed-through and re-soldered power cable. PA now works normally. Replaced on spare station for next time.

10/25/13    170 miles, 6 hours; KO Peak to investigate buzz. Paul W., NM7R.

Attempting to find the buzz that has materialized on the KO station's signal. Swapped power supply previously, but buzz still there, indicating it's probably not a power supply issue. Tried keying transmitter directly and watching signal on station monitor. Buzz still there, indicating it's not a controller issue. Buzz appears to be 60/120 Hz based as compared to the 118.8 Hz PL tone. Buzz is a very fast, hard 'tick' waveform, not unlike fluorescent lights, but not changed by turning lights on or off. Still looking for a cause.

10/13/13    180 miles, 6 hours; North Cove site to look at putting up a temporary antenna. W7HGA, NM7R.

With the weather beginning to fade for the year, and it looking less and less likely that the climbing team will be available before winter hits, I decided to try a temporary antenna rigged on the ice bridge. The install went fine, but the antenna is too close to the building and desense is a problem. Hopefully a spell of good weather will come along and I can get the permanent antenna up.

09/11/13    60 miles, 1 hour; Megler site to return three wires to their original locations on the back of the voter. NM7R.

In troubleshooting the audio drop-out problem earlier, I had moved the three wires for the Cape-D channel to an unused channel on the receiver voter. Now that the problem is (hopefully) resolved, I wanted to move the wires back to their original slots. During the original set-up process, the levels for both a full-quieting and full-noise signal were set up in the voter for the five slots I intended to use. Note to self: in future, set up all available slots. It's worth the extra bench time.

08/04/13    170 miles, 6 hours; KO Peak to replace power supply. Picked up Ed in South Bend on the way. Replacement went very well, but didn't fix the problem. K7WAT, NM7R.

The KO repeater has picked up a hum on the audio. It is on the signal even when the audio is muted, meaning it must involve the transmitter or power supply. Replacing the power supply was quick and easy, and seemed to work (in the very noisy environment of the building), but once away down the hill, the hum is still there, although somewhat different in character.

06/07/13    60 miles, 4 hours; Megler to work on the receiver voting system for the VHF repeater. Moved the three leads for Voting Channel 3 to the empty Voting Channel 6. Rerouted the RF cables for the transmitter and filters, checked power output finding it low. Will need to replace power amp. NM7R.

Channel 3, Cape D receiver, has a problem where the audio blanks, but the COR signal is still present. This keys the link with no audio, which is always selected due to being the quietest channel, but supplies no audio to the repeater. This could be a problem with the remote receiver package, or the link receiver, or the voter. This was an experiment to confirm/deny that the voter itself was the problem. Time will tell. The RF cabling was changed to run the transmit signal from the circulator to the pass cavity first, before the duplexer cans, to remove harmonics earlier in the chain. The power amplifier has a burned equalizer resistor, indicating a blown transistor. It is putting out 20-watts and will have to be replaced. No spares available this trip.

06/04/13    Capitol Peak to repair the damaged coaxial jumper on the main antenna. Ed climbed to the 100-foot level on the tower, inspected, replaced/repaired the jumper cable, and waterproofed the connections. Damage appeared to be consistent with falling ice chunks. K7WAT and N7UJK.

The antenna circuit had failed during the winter, and a temporary antenna had been rigged. This repair should restore original range. Also, Doyle reinstalled the 145.01 channel elements in the second packet station.

04/28/13    180 miles, 6 hours; KO Peak, drove up with little trouble. One small patch of snow on the last pitch, with one downed tree. Chainsawed the tree to clear the road (mostly). Replaced power amp. Touched up receiver. N7ONG & NM7R

The first PA replacement was the spare I built up for this job. It would not go over 20-25 watts output. Pulled the amp off the working repeater (KO Replacement) and installed that. It worked as intended, and was set to 75-watts.

03/03/13    180 miles, 5 hours; KO Peak, drove up to see the road condition. As suspected, there is snow blocking the road about 1.5 miles from the top, 24-inches or greater in depth. Last time this condition happened, it took a month for the snow to melt. N7ONG & NM7R

Was able to hear a very weak return signal from the repeater, indicating the likelihood of a transmitter power amplifier failure as the cause of the outage.

02/23/13    8 miles, 0.5 hour; North Cove site to investigate weak signal. found what appears to be coax cable pulled out of antenna.

I was in Tokeland to teach a Technician license class for the Shoalwaters, and having arrived a little early, took a short side trip. What appears to be a coax cable, not entirely sure if it is ours, is hanging loose on the tower. Both repeaters (which share the antenna) are operating but with large return losses (reflected power).

01/12/13    Geoff, K7GA, announced at the Pacific County ARC meeting that he was handing ownership and control of the Nicolai repeater over to Doug, KC7MFN.

Doug has been doing a lot of the work, and lives at the foot of the mountain, making it a lot easier for him to get up there when needed. Geoff lives across the Columbia River from the mountain, which required catching a ferry ride each way (hourly schedule), not to mention a lot more mileage. He and his wife are also planning to move, which will take him well out of the area.

01/04/13    200 miles, 7 hours; Ocean Shores (new site) to install the new 444.200 repeater. Typical BeachNet GE Mastr-II repeater with GE Rangr for the link radio, CAT-200B controller, and Sinclair BpBr duplexer. N7UJK, K7WAT, NM7R

Doyle was contacted by the county and offered a berth in the 911 shed on Saddle Hill, just north and east of Ocean Shores. This site promised to provide some fill-in coverage up and down the ocean beach area, and hand held coverage in Ocean Shores. The repeater was assembled in the three weeks it took for the crystals to be made, and a few days after they arrived, it was installed and operational. The link needs some work, and we are watching carefully for any problems. The repeater itself works just fine, covering the beach as it was hoped.

12/09/12    120 miles, 6 hours; Nicolai to check on an unresponsive generator. Of course, once we were there and wiggled a few connectors, it ran flawlessly. K7WAT, NM7R.

I hate it when things fix themselves...

12/02/12    180 miles, 6 hours; KO Peak to fix a low-audio problem in the repeater receiver. Replaced the receiver drawer using a working spare. N7UJK, NM7R.

The audio level on all the links abruptly dropped to a point of near-inaudibility. I finally found a free day to run up the hill to look at it, and found the problem was on the IF/AF board in the receiver. Tapping or flexing the board brought the audio back to normal, but it wouldn't stay. I suspect a faulty solder joint somewhere on the module. May attempt repair at a later time.

Summer/Fall 2012    Many trips to Nicolai. During the "repair season" of 2012, Geoff, K7GA and Doug, KC7MFN, occasionally aided by others, including Jerry, the CEO of WCLA, the Landlord (who hauled batteries in and out of the shack when Geoff was just out of arm/shoulder surgery) spent countless hours solving several problems as they arose. The generator was maintained, repaired, hauled off the hill and replaced with a new one; a load of 18 "used but good" batteries was hauled to the site, later to be swapped for a second set of "used but good" ones, and finally a brand new set of golf-cart batteries. Changes were made to the wiring, and controller programming. The charging system evolved dramatically. This was much more than Geoff had signed up for, but he stuck with it, and by the time the rain started again, the system seems to be running will. With luck it will make it through the winter. K7GA, KC7MFN and others...

The generator is remotely operated, to keep an 1800 AH battery bank charged. Voltages and temperatures can be remotely read and the generator system can be completely controlled using the UHF repeater. One of us (there are now 4 control operators) takes the "duty", manually operating the generator remotely to provide about six hours of charging per day. This is enough to keep the battery at a voltage high enough for all the radios to operate. There are two 100-watt low-band and one medium power UHF commercial repeaters in addition to our 6-meter and UHF machines. The landlord pays for the propane.

05/08/12    190 miles, 11 hours; Neilton to change out the original 2-channel Phoenix link transceiver for a 4-channel Rangr. Required rewiring the link connections to the controller, adding one new channel-change wire and rewiring the plug to match the Rangr, which had the new standard wiring. K7WAT, N7UJK, NM7R.

The replacement of the link radio facilitates EmComm linking. Previously, the only two link options were KO-Peak (normal) or South Bend (in case KO goes down). With the new scheme, these two choices are supplemented with links to Minot and Capitol Peak, allowing Doyle to link the Grays Harbor machines together without 'borrowing' the South Bend repeater as a hub.

04/07/12    Naselle to fix the link antenna. The single bolt holding the link antenna in its mounting tube had come out and the wind had blown the antenna over against the tower leg. Ed wanted to take advantage of a break in the weather to fix it. Lashed the antenna back into its mounting, and assessed the damage to the mount. K7WAT, KE7LTH

Ed had responded to my request to make a run up the hill to see if something was amiss with the link antenna. Poor performance had made me suspect there might be a problem. He had snapped a couple of pictures that showed the antenna leaning over against the tower, out of its mount. Ed volunteered to fix it temporarily, at least until the summer weather makes permanent repairs more comfortable. Noted missing quarter-inch nuts on the mounting bracket.

04/01/12    Nicolai to pull generator and refuel the Clatsop diesel generator to keep the site alive. Jim VanTrojen's snow cat was perfect for the job. K7GA, WA7DOB, Jim VanTrojen

Geoff liked the snow cat much better than the snowmobile, not to mention the practicality. Snow still feet-deep, and in fact falling while they were on the hill. Hauled 70 gallons of fuel for the generator (3 weeks) and pulled our generator to take home for inspection/repair.

03/26/12    Nicolai to investigate possibilities. K7GA, Brad and Mike of Complete Wireless.

Geoff hated the snowmobile ride. Hauled new batteries up to power our station, loosing a pair to a snowmobile accident (no one hurt). New batteries are in much better shape than old one. Could not get generator to start, although it turns over. Started Clatsop generator, but it is low on fuel and will probably last only a few days.

01/03/12    125 miles, 7 hours; Nicolai to finish working on setting the generator up. Removed the DB-9 connector pair that brought the control wiring into the generator control box, and connected the wires directly. Replaced duplexer, removed diplexer, calibrated temperature and voltage sensors. Discovered the 12-volt sense circuit that told the automation that the generator was running was inoperative. The 12-volt DC relay that buffered the controls had an open coil. Repurposed the line-voltage (Mains AC status sensor) and remapped the associated macros. Charged Main Battery for 4 hours at 35-40 Amps. K7GA, NM7R

Noted on last visit excessive loss in repeater antenna filtering. Brought a replacement duplexer along, but once installed noticed the loss was still unacceptable. Traced it to the diplexer used to combine the repeater and packet station. Shut down the packet station and removed diplexer. Geoff will install a separate 2-meter antenna temporarily for the packet station. Eventually we will move both antennas to the ODF tower. Removed the DB-9 connector set in the control wiring thinking that a bad connection was causing our loss of generator running/failed status information. The circuit that senses the generator running is critical to the automation, and senses the generator producing 12-VDC with a relay. After discovering that the 12-volt regulator had failed on the generator, with a 27-volt DC source causing the loss of the coil in our sense relay, decided to repurpose the 120-VAC coil relay that was included to sense presence/absence of Mains line voltage. It is now excited by the production of AC by the generator. Reprogrammed the appropriate macros to use this alternate source of information, and the generator operates as intended. I am still not able to work the Nicolai repeater from home, but can satisfactorily control the generator through the link system.

12/30/11    125 miles, 5 hours; Nicolai to find cause of unresponsive repeater. Found a damaged RF connector in antenna circuit, and replaced. K7WAT, NM7R

Checked all controls at site and everything working as it should. Wind, rain and snow on hill. Temperature and voltage sensors require better calibration.

12/29/11    250 miles, 12 hours; Nicolai to diagnose extreme desense. Found failed transistor in power amplifier. Replaced PA. K7GA, NM7R

The LP Gas tank arrived today and was permanently installed. Although the PA was toast (burned balancing resistors, at least one dead final) and the new PA solved that problem, the repeater had another problem that turned out to be a loose control cable connector. Finally got it working perfectly, operating the generator as it is supposed to. Once away from the site, however, the repeater would not respond. It was late, and the weather was terrible, so we continued on home. Plan to return tomorrow.

12/24/11    260 miles, 8 hours; Capitol Peak to look at audio drop-out problem. Traced it (I think) to the controller, but it was hard-wired into the repeater. Decided to build a complete replacement machine and swap out to minimize hill time. It's just too hard to work at these sites. N7UJK, NM7R

12/23/11    160 miles, 9 hours; Nicolai to replace repeater controller, and install generator, which the new controller will allow us to operate remotely. K7GA, K7YFP, NM7R

08/26/11    Capitol Peak to replace exciter. N7UJK

An intermittent audio problem showed up almost as soon as we changed the power amplifier. This should fix the audio, unless the problem exists in the controller or wiring.

08/23/11    60 miles, 3 hours; Megler to adjust the outgoing link audio level. N7ONG, NM7R

With the Hood-To-Coast Relay coming up this weekend, I wanted to bring the audio level up to where it should be. I also mailed a replacement exciter off to Doyle for the Olympia repeater.

07/22/11    260 miles, 8 hours; Capitol Peak to replace the power amplifier on the UHF repeater. N7UJK, NM7R

As is all too typical it seems, almost as soon as we returned from installing the 6-meter antenna at the same site, the UHF repeater started to act up, with the transmit signal going intermittent. Finally, it died altogether and I met Doyle in Montesano to go take a look. Upon arrival, it was apparent that the transmit signal was audible within a half-mile of the building, indicating a PA failure but the exciter was working fine. Measured the output from the transmitter at "a meter needle wiggle".

06/24/11    Ocean Park repeater off air due to dead power supply. Ed replaced fuses, and finally replaced the entire power supply to get the station back on the air. K7WAT

06/12/11    260 miles, 8 hours; Capitol Peak to install a single-bay folded-dipole 6-meter antenna for the W7SIX 53.570 repeater. K7WAT, K7KID, NM7R

This is not a BeachNet repeater, however, it is one of the 6-meter repeaters used by Camp Murray for Emergency Communications, specifically for District Three, the same area covered by our system, and one of the intended "targets" of the recently established 6-meter remote base at the 224.820 South Bend repeater. Helping to get this repeater on the air furthers the Emergency Communications mission of our system, and therefore is closely related. The day was perfect with sun and little breeze. The rain even held off until we were half way down the hill.

05/23/11    130 miles, 5 hours; Holy Cross Mtn., the South Bend site, to reinstall the receiver drawer into the 224.820 repeater. Added a 222-225 MHz DCI Filter in the antenna line to make sure spurious emissions are under control. W7TAI, NM7R.

I had found a charred resistor on the Oscillator/Multiplier board, and the associated transistor (Q2) was also dead. No evidence of other problem or a reason for the failure. This is the final LO amplifier and is one of the two transistors recommended to be replaced as part of the 220-conversion. After replacing the two parts, the receiver is as sensitive as it was previously (0.15 V/12 dB SINAD at the receiver). In testing, I noticed some interference between the repeater and 440 radio, so added a 222-225 MHz DCI Filter in the repeater antenna line to ensure spurious suppression. I'm a little suspicious of the single-stage harmonic filter recommended by the conversion notes.

05/20/11    130 miles, 6 hours; Holy Cross Mtn., the South Bend site, to investigate the apparent loss of sensitivity of the new 224.820 repeater. Discovered that the receiver took 20 V for 12 dB SINAD, instead of the 0.15 V previously seen. Unable to find or fix a problem, I pulled the receiver drawer and took it home. Also cemented the foot of the ice bridge leg that supports the 6-meter antenna, using a tube of 3M 5200 marine adhesive. NM7R.

05/13/11    130 miles, 8 hours; Holy Cross Mtn., the South Bend site, to install the new 224.820 repeater, and the 6-meter antenna. The check-out was made somewhat more difficult by not having a working 220-MHz radio with us, but the installation went well. W7TAI, NM7R, K7WAT.

This repeater has been in the planning stages for well over a year. It should provide a reliable link between our two County EOCs, and the 6-meter remote base should provide a path into the emergency nets on that band.

05/10/11    120 miles, 8 hours; Seaside, Oregon, to install the fourth (and final) remote receiver supporting the Megler 147.180 repeater. Ed did the extensive tower work required to install the antennas, and the remote receiver package worked perfectly once installed. The VHF receiver uses a Hustler G6-144B 6-dBd vertical, and the UHF link a Diamond A430S10 430-440 MHz 10 element, 13-dBi Yagi. The antennas are mounted on a heavy steel tower side-arm and fed with two runs of LMR-400 coax about 40 feet long. The receiver and transmitter are GE Rangr commercial radios. NM7R, K7WAT.

Most of the remote receivers, part of the voting system for the Megler repeater, have been operating since 2008. With the installation of this last receiver, the system is complete. The hunt for a good location has been underway since the system was first envisioned. The present site was identified and permission secured a few months ago. The wait has primarily been for weather.

04/18/11    130 miles, 4 hours; South Bend (Holy Cross Mtn.) to install the antenna for the soon-to-be-installed 224.82 repeater. Ed did the climbing and the new antenna went in fairly easily. NM7R, K7WAT.

The original antenna was a Hustler G6-144 2-meter vertical used by the HOLYX packet station. This was replaced with a CX-333 three-band, 2-meter, 220 and 440 antenna. The 2-meter portion will continue to be used by the packet station. The 220-MHz part will support the 224.82 repeater and the UHF link radio will use the remaining band.

02/11/11    60 miles, 4 hours; Megler to replace the Phoenix link radio with a Rangr. This required fabrication of metal support pieces and rewiring the controller connections. The new radio has 8-channels (upgraded from the 2 offered by the old radio). This lends flexibility we didn't have before, including being able to link to the IRLP repeater for the upcoming Hood-To-Coast relay.

01/26/11 Nicolai, Geoff and Ron visited the Clatsop County site to investigate the failed link. Replacing the Rangr radio did the trick. On his previous trip, he found deep snow and a frozen lock, but this time the conditions were more pleasant, and so was the outcome. K7GA & AK9E

01/26/11    130 miles, 4 hours; South Bend, to troubleshoot the link antenna system. Replaced the coax which turned out to be the source of the high SWR. The antenna checked perfectly good on the new cable. Also waterproofed the feed point gamma match on the antenna to avoid future water intrusion. NM7R

01/23/11    Cosmopolis Hill; Doyle drove up to the site to reset the link audio level that had dropped off over the past weeks. It is now back to a normal level, although the pot is at the stop. N7UJK

01/20/11    180 miles, 5 hours; North Cove to install a new receive crystal, this one cut for high-side injection. Retuning spruced up the receiver noticeably. Taileen serendipitously arrived at Highway 105 turnoff from the north at the same time I arrived from the south, so she went along to help. W7TAI, NM7R

12/18/10    0 miles, 2 hours; For once I didn't have to go anywhere; the IRLP computer in the Ham shack refused to "relight" after the power outage last night. I suspect the power supply, and have ordered a replacement. NM7R

We had a particularly strong wind storm last night, from the southeast and east, an unusual direction and one we are wide open to. No significant damage. The lights went out around 10:15 PM, and were out until 3:30 AM. In the morning, I tried to re-link the IRLP repeater to the WIN System, and it refused to accept commands. Investigation showed the computer was not restarting. I ordered a power supply in the hopes that would cure the problem. Unfortunately, the power supply was not the problem. Dan, N7DRD, provided a new HP computer, into which I swapped the old hard drive. As of 01/07/11, the station was back on the air and working normally.

12/03/10    180 miles, 8 hours; North Cove to replace the 2-meter station. The receiver had gone deaf, and I wanted to upgrade the link capability, so a whole new replacement station was the way to go. On the way home, stopped at the Holy Cross (South Bend) site to investigate a noisy 2-meter receiver. NM7R

The last trip to North Cove was in 2007, and only for an inspection. The last real work visit was in February 2004 to repair the transmitter. Both the North Cove and South Bend receivers appeared to have the same "tin-whisker" problem. The receiver sensitivity abruptly becomes very poor, and a sharp rap on the Helical Resonator casting with a screwdriver handle instantly brings the sensitivity back. Here is a picture of what I found on opening the receiver. I will have to start carrying a can of clear Krylon spray to doctor the receivers as they fail. They must all be reaching a point in their lives where this becomes a problem. The North Cove repeater actually pre-dates BeachNet. It went in as a stand-alone repeater in the late 1990s. In early 2000, we constructed the KO Peak site, and linked North Cove to it, as the beginning of BeachNet.

11/27/10    130 miles, 4 hours; Holy Cross (South Bend) to replace the link receiver which had failed. The replacement receiver helical resonator compartment was cleaned and protected with a layer of clear Krylon spray paint. It will be interesting to see how well this one lasts. NM7R, W7TAI

11/16/10    Changed scheduler setpoints to have the AB7F nightly link come up from 9:30-10:30 PM instead of 8:15-10:00 at John's request. His solar-powered sites become a bit power-critical during the winter.

11/08/10    130 miles, 5 hours; Holy Cross (South Bend site) to rejuvenate a dead link receiver. Banging on the front end helical resonator block brought the receiver back. This strongly indicates "tin-whiskers" are again a problem. The building is heated, but well ventilated, so moisture is a factor. As the receiver front end was replaced on the last visit, we will watch the present "repaired" receiver to see how it fares. NM7R

10/22/10    180 miles, 11 hours; KO Peak to change the battery charger arrangement. Tapping off the power supply had the small (12AH) back-up battery for the controller floating at 14.7 volts, way too high for long life. Replaced the simple circuit with a commercial "Battery Minder". Also did a small favor for the County Telecommunications Department while there. Always nice to help the landlord. NM7R, KF7APN

10/07/10    230 miles, 10 hours; KO Peak to reinstall the repeater, controller, digital voice recorder and FC-900 remote base interface. The control receiver required rewiring to match the new wiring harness. The rebuilt station is working better than ever. Accompanied by Casey and Josh of Total Electric, going to the site to meet Randy of OPB to bid on a generator for the TV building. NM7R

The audio through the receiver input of the RC-850 controller always had an underlying hum and buzz. The buzz was from the digital circuit switching noise coupling into the audio. The controller has separate grounds for the digital and analog circuits, carried all the way back to the power supply to minimize coupling. I spent a day in the shop looking for any place the two grounds were connected, and found one on the computer interface board. The mounting screws connect to the case, which is at analog ground, and mount to isolated pads on the PC board. Isolated that is, except one of them has a trace to the digital ground on the board. Opening that one trace cured the digital buzz problem. The hum, almost a growl, was in the audio delay board. It had been a problem from the start, but seemed to have gotten worse after last year's lightning strike. I tried changing out the caps and fiddling with the board, but nothing got rid of the hum, so I replaced the board. ACC has been out of business for quite a while, but an Arcom RAD board was easy to wire into place where the ACC board had been. The shop visit also let me clean up the layers of wiring, added piecemeal as changes and additions occurred over the years, building a new wiring harness with real connectors and labels. Neatness always counts. The RC-850 is now operating "good as new", sounding great. The FC-900 Remote Base interface does not strip off the PL tone from the audio passed through to the repeater. An incoming PL shows up on the signal transmitted by the repeater, and since we transmit a PL tone, the two beat together. This causes problems because neither PL tone is reliable. I installed a Communications Specialists TS-64 Encode/Decode board in place of the stock PL encoder chip. The TS-64 strips the PL from the incoming signal, and functions identically as an encoder. In addition, this arrangement will decode tone, at least on "Link Channel One" of the FC-900. I used one of the recovered User Function Switches, available inside the FC-900, to remotely enable this capability when desired. Also added a temperature sensor for the 220 repeater heatsink, and a voltage sensor line for the newly-installed back-up battery for the controller. Call it a once-per-decade tune-up.

09/23/10    Ocean Park repeater back on the air. K7KID, K7WAT

09/21/10    170 miles, 8 hours; KO Peak to pull the repeater, controller, DVR and FC-900. Taking these home to do a complete tune up. Installed spare repeater, RC-96 controller and FC-900. N7UJK, K7MHC, NM7R

Trying to troubleshoot several long-standing problems, not to mention redoing the rat's nest of wiring, one site visit at a time had proven too frustrating. I decided the only way to get the station working to my satisfaction was to take it home for a couple of weeks where I had light, space, parts, instruments and documentation beyond what could be dragged along in the car. The work needed was well beyond the nominal two-hour window available on site.

09/18/10    Ocean Park to investigate an intermittent link problem. Several things were looked at and finally the unit was pulled and transported to "the shop". K7KID, K7WAT

09/14/10    220 miles, 8 hours; Minot Peak to install 7/8-inch hardline, replacing the LMR-400 coax originally used. The new cable was installed using mounting cushions, and grounded top and bottom to the tower, and led to a poly-phaser arrester at the common ground inside the building. A noticeable improvement in station performance was noted. N7UJK, K7KID, K7WAT, NM7R

07/19/10    170 miles, 6 hours; KO Peak to again look at the intermittent loss of transmitter. Replaced the Power Amplifier. Chances are either the PA or the exciter is responsible, and this will either fix the problem, or eliminate the PA as the problem. Also fixed the OPB TV translator receive antenna. K7WAT, NM7R

07/14/10    170 miles, 6 hours; KO Peak to fix intermittent loss of transmitter and receiver. Pulled the Molex plugs from the backplane and cleaned, burnished and reformed (bent tighter) each pin to ensure a good solid connection. Time will tell if this fixed it for good. W7COP, NM7HK, NM7R

06/29/10    Olympia repeater (Capitol Peak) to reinstall the packet dual-TNC. N7UJK

06/29/10    170 miles, 5 hours; KO Peak to investigate dead transmitter and receiver. Found a loose Molex multi-plug on the rear of the Mastr-II chassis, one wire being the Regulated 10-volt supply to the exciter and receiver. Kevin found the bad connection while wiggling the wires while I watched the meter. K7KID & NM7R

06/24/10    Olympia repeater (Capitol Peak) to attempt to connect laptop to dual-TNC for reprogramming. Unable to do so, and brought TNC home. N7UJK

06/22/10    260 miles, 10 hours; Olympia to find audio problem in repeater transmitter. Replaced controller to eliminate its audio circuits as the culprit. Later replaced power amplifier when a burned trace/jumper found, and exciter when low output could not be corrected. Basically, the entire transmitter was replaced piece by piece. N7UJK & NM7R

06/20/10    70 miles, 2 hours; Naselle to investigate repeater-off-air. Everything working except the controller, which had no power. Jiggled the power connector and it lit off. Pulled and inspected the controller for good measure, finding nothing further. Must have been a spot of corrosion on the power connector. W7TAI, K7WAT & NM7R

06/11/10    South Bend for RACES Volunteer Appreciation and Award Presentation. Received a Certificate of Appreciation for Amateur Radio efforts related to Emergency Management, including the repeater system maintenance. Lunch was provided, along with a nice presentation by our Sheriff.

06/10/10    Capitol Peak to replace exciter and look at apparent reduced output power. N7UJK

06/09/10    170 miles, 5 hours; Cosmopolis to troubleshoot power supply. Replaced defective unit. N7UJK & NM7R

06/07/10    130 miles, 4 hours; Holy Cross (South Bend) to fix link receiver. Banging on front end block brought it back, so suspect "tin-whiskers". Replaced front end. Also handed off a UHF exciter to pass to Doyle for Capitol Peak. W7TAI & NM7R

06/07/10    Cosmopolis to replace a failed power supply. Found more problems that will require an additional visit. N7UJK

06/06/10    170 miles, 8 hours; KO Peak to replace Power Amplifier. I heard it blink off the air, and N7ONG and I headed up the mountain. Later found and fixed a bad solder connection on the old Amplifier. N7ONG & NM7R

05/24/10    250 miles, 12 hours; Olympia Station to replace link antenna. Found same high reflected power as last visit. Attached dummy load in place of antenna and reflected dropped to near nothing. Replaced antenna along with a new coax jumper and SWR is nearly perfect, and performance is very good. Ed did the climbing. N7UJK, K7WAT & NM7R

05/20/10    320 miles, 12 hours; Capitol Peak (the Olympia Station) to troubleshoot an intermittent link. Found a bad 90-degree elbow fitting in the isolator cabling. Also noted very high reflected power. Will return to replace present damaged link antenna and check hardline. Also made a stop at the Minot site on the way home to adjust audio levels. While there, surveyed and measured for planned feedline upgrade. The repeater antenna is presently fed with half-inch LMR-400 coax and the plan is to replace it with LDF5-50 7/8-inch Heliax. N7UJK & NM7R

05/16/10    10 hours; KO Peak to replace the 220-MHz repeater antenna. Also found a bad connector on the duplexer harness. N7XAC, W7TAI, K7WAT & KB7APU

05/05/10    250 miles, 12 hours; Capitol Peak (the Olympia Station) to replace the UHF Link Transceiver and re-crystal one of the packet radios to 145.05 (from 145.01). We found the UHF link radio had been switched off at the control panel, by person or persons unknown. It is troubling that anyone would shift a switch on the face of a piece of equipment at a busy commercial site. This is definitely "Not Done" in the industry. We had intended to replace the link antenna, but there was ice falling from the tower, so that will have to wait. On the way home we stopped by Doyle's home station to help get the new IRLP base station fully operational. NM7R, N7UJK, K7WAT

04/23/10    A trip to KM Hill site in Wahkiakum County to look over the recent security improvements and pick up a new set of keys. The site is now surrounded by a fence with locked gate and barbed wire. The building sports a heavy duty security door. There are preparations in place for a generator. Day Wireless installed a grounding system which looks very well done. The trees have been cleared back from the tower. NM7R, K7GA, AK9E

04/01/10    A quick trip to Megler after a report that the 444.925 IRLP repeater was not as sensitive as normal. Actually found the receiver was not too bad at a bit over a microvolt, but a little tuning brought it down to under half a microvolt. I then checked the VHF repeater receiver and it was fine. Then a quick power check showed low output on the UHF transmitter, but a quick adjustment put that right. Then a check of the VHF transmitter and it was down to 5-watts output. Hmm. The adjustment worked to bring it down, but not up. Of course, I had brought spare parts for the UHF repeater (the reason to come), but nothing for the other one. I see another trip to the hill in my future... NM7R

01/24/10    The Ocean Park 145.170 repeater was once again off the air, so Kevin and Ed looked at it and found the same 10-Amp power supply fuse blown that had failed before. This seems to be related to storm-caused power line fluctuations. Station back on the air. K7KID & K7WAT

01/22/10    160 miles, 7 hours; Nicolai to do some work for the landlord and also look at the 444.500 ham repeater. Found the UHF machine putting out nearly zero power and traced it to a bad 90-degree coaxial elbow fitting in the antenna lead. This was affecting both transmit and receive with an intermittent open circuit. Removed the offending fitting and normal operation was restored. W7TAI & NM7R

01/21/10    160 miles, 7 hours; KO Peak to investigate why repeater abruptly went silent the day before. Ed found the +10-volt power supply wire to the exciter was loose. Also installed an audio card, re-routing the repeater receive audio path, and replaced some capacitors in the controller. K7WAT & NM7R

We arrived at the site and it was immediately apparent from the indicator lights the power supply was healthy. That was possibility #1 checked off the list. Next it was time to determine if the exciter or PA had failed. If the power amplifier fails, then the exciter can still be heard locally, but if the exciter fails there will be no signal at all. I keyed my HT and there was no signal coming back, pointing to the exciter. So I opened the door on the front of the repeater and suddenly heard... the repeater finish its ID. I hate it when a problem "fixes itself". I had a couple of other things to do, so asked Ed to look over the wiring harness on the door for any skinned insulation, pinched wires or kinks. He found the +10-volt supply wire to the exciter unsoldered. The wire was stripped, twisted and bent over the eyelet where it attaches to the feed-through plug at the side of the exciter enclosure, but had never been soldered. This must go back to the early 1980's at the factory. The technician missed soldering the connection, the inspector didn't catch it, and the wire has been loose ever since. This unit was in service with the County for 20 years before being passed on to us, and we have been running it for nearly ten years. That's a long time for the main supply line powering the exciter to be just bent over the lug.

01/20/10    180 miles, 6 hours; Nicolai to straighten the UHF repeater antenna and work on landlord's repeater. Heard the KO Peak repeater drop off the air while on the way up to Nicolai, but can't do anything about that now. K7WAT & NM7R

01/18/10    175 miles, 6 hours; Cosi first, to install a DCI bandpass filter and replace the exciter. Then on to Holy Cross (South Bend) to change the PL tone from 118.8 to 82.5 Hz to suppress the kerchunking caused by cable TV interference. KF7APN, W7TAI, N7UJK & NM7R

01/15/10    130 miles, 6 hours; Holy Cross (South Bend) chasing the intermittent key-up problem. Added a bandpass cavity and tightened the squelch. While listening on local speaker heard an interfering signal that replicated the key-up problem. K7WAT & NM7R

01/14/10    180 miles, 6 hours; Nicolai site to look at the landlord's low band Micor. AK9E & NM7R

01/06/10    60 miles, 4 hours; Megler site to install a replacement 220-link receiver for the IRLP station. Originally set up with a transceiver, in case a two-way link proved desirable, the transceiver has only ever been used as a receiver. I converted a Mastr-II Auxiliary receiver from High Band to 220, and installed that. Removed the transceiver. Also balanced the audio levels on the VHF repeater. KF7APN & NM7R

12/31/09    Doyle made a quick run back up to Cosi to throw a DIP-switch on the controller. I had neglected to turn the little switch "off" when replacing the link radio, and with it in the "on" position the link CTCSS was disabled. Thanks to Doyle's help, the new link works as planned. N7UJK

12/30/09    190 miles, 11 hours; Cosi and Neilton. The Cosmopolis station got a new front-end helical resonator "block" with the later-model flat finish to eliminate the "tin whisker" problem. Sensitivity improved almost 3dB in the bargain. Also replaced the Phoenix link radio with a Rangr for improved shielding from the co-located FM broadcast station. Then on to Neilton in Doyle's Jeep to give the station a once-over. The last time we were there was July of 2006. And a minor tweak to the audio levels was all we really we needed to do. Receiver and transmitter were both well-tuned and on frequency. Antennas, feedlines, equipment all in good order. One good check out every three and a half years is not asking too much. N7UJK & NM7R

12/17/09    150 miles, 7 hours; Nicolai to troubleshoot link and set packet TNC telemetry up to report supply voltage. Found two wiring errors with link, one was a selection line being inadvertently grounded instead of open, and the other was the omission of a wire to bring the "valid PL" signal to the controller. The latter was not discovered until a couple of miles down the road leaving. Added a voltage divider inside the TNC to scale the supply to the 0-5 volts allowed by the A-to-D converter. Noticed the antenna is leaning due to a slipped clamp but no climbing gear so that will have to wait. W7TAI, K7GA, K7YFP & NM7R

12/16/09    60 miles, 6 hours; Megler to replace failed power amp on UHF IRLP repeater, with a spare I brought. Replacement went in and fired up, but as I was lacing the wiring, I smelled a whiff of something hot. Looked inside just in time to see some smoke getting loose. Shut down the repeater and replaced that amp with a second spare I had brought. This one required some moving of parts to make it work. Finally had it back together and working once more. NM7R

12/15/09    195 miles, 8 hours; Cosi to look at low receiver sensitivity, and the link dropping to one-way occasionally. The Grays Harbor PUD and County radio techs were busy working at the site. "Plan A", to replace the receiver and link radio did not look like the tactful thing to do with limited room in the building. We reverted to "Plan B", and found a "tin whisker" in a receiver LO chain helical resonator, and a loose plug in the link radio control cable. This, and a quick tune up of the audio levels, brought the station back to normal in about a half-hour, and we beat a hasty retreat. On the way home, I dropped a couple of donated power supplies at the "Warrenton Storage Facility" and made a quick trip up to Megler to see why the IRLP repeater is off the air. N7UJK, W7TAI (ex KF7CWO), & NM7R

12/10/09    160 miles, 9 hours; Nicolai to install the link radio, check the controller wiring and look at the packet station. At the last logging road branch an ODF crew was installing a large heavy duty permanent gate. We drove back down the hill to have lunch and give them two hours to finish what they were doing. Returning at 2:00 we got through and up the hill. The TNC was changed out in the packet station that had been unresponsive, the Rangr radio was installed for the link and seemed to work fine. Later we figured out that the controller was not able to switch link channels properly. Replaced the link antenna. K7GA, KF7APN & NM7R

12/04/09    125 miles, 3 hours; Nicolai to install the link radio and check the controller wiring. At the last logging road branch the ODF had just recently installed a new cable across the road with a new lock. Of course, we were told nothing of this ahead of time, nor provided with a key. Will investigate on Monday. I turned around and came home, accomplishing nothing. NM7R

12/02/09    160 miles, 10 hours; KO Peak to address the antenna situation. First order of business was to disconnect the antenna and hook a dummy load to the hardline and coax jumper. The SWR was nearly flat with a bit more than 50 watts forward power and less than 2 watts reflected. Hooking the present antenna back up gave a reflected reading that was higher. Significantly, the reading was fluctuating with the wind gusts. So the next step was to change out the antenna for a different replacement. This yielded an SWR comparable to the dummy load and it didn't shift with the antenna movement. Hopefully, this antenna will last for a long time. K7WAT, K7KID & NM7R

11/29/09    160 miles, 8 hours; KO Peak to replace the isolator with a single-section circulator (all I had on hand at the time). Although the station would operate without one, I feel it necessary as part of being a "good neighbor". I spent some time checking every component of the station, looking for the apparent loss of power out and receiver sensitivity. Everything is in apparent good order, leaving either the hardline or the antenna as the problem. We came and went by the Grays River route. Although 20 miles shorter over all, the off-pavement portion is 16 miles compared to 12 miles for the northern route, making this route at least as long in terms of time. N7ONG & NM7R

11/27/09    170 miles, 8 hours; KO Peak to investigate loss of power out of the repeater. Discovered the isolator had died, probably saving the rest of the station from the lightning strike. Removed the defective isolator until I can obtain a replacement. The station is now working fine. While on the site I took a few minutes to re-orient the KGW TV receive antenna that feeds the translator in the other building. The wind had turned it about 120-degrees around the tower leg. We took the "back way" home down the road that comes out the Grays River drainage. Turns out to be a good 20-miles shorter than the regular way. N7ONG & NM7R

11/25/09    185 miles, 8 hours; KO Peak to install antenna. Tower work went well with Ed and Kevin doing the honors. Station was working perfectly when we left, but within an hour the Power Amp seemed to have failed. A return trip will be necessary. KF7APN, K7WAT, K7KID, KE7JMC & NM7R

11/24/09    150 miles, 8 hours; Nicolai Ridge to extend tower. Added one section of Rohn-25 tower. Moved antenna to top of the section. Checked link radio and found problems with the wiring in the repeater, which will require an additional visit. K7GA, K7YFP, AK9E, K7WAT & NM7R

11/21/09    185 miles, 8 hours; KO Peak to replace main antenna, and inspect, repair, or replace the station electronics as necessary. Three inches or more of snow from a mile below the gate. Due to rain, the snow was slushy and we made it to the last switchback. Weather not safe for tower work, windy and raining with ice sluffing off tower. Stashed antenna inside building. Replaced power supply and inspected each component of the station. The repeater receiver preamp needed replacement but surprisingly, no other deficiencies were found. Will need a day with acceptable weather to replace antenna. KF7CWO, N7KUH, K7WAT, KE7DOV & NM7R

11/19/09    Noticed the Ocean Park repeater was off the air. Kevin and Ed checked the machine out and found a blown line fuse. Apparently when the power went out the night before, and the emergency generator came on line, it popped the fuse. The repeater seems good as new. K7KID & K7WAT

11/13/09    180 miles, 7 hours; KO Peak to inspect and investigate the damage caused by a lightning strike the previous week. The repeater, remote base, and links have all been off the air since the event. Found the main antenna had disappeared above the mounting base, and coaxial cable jumper appeared severed. Power supply also dead which precluded any further testing. Plan to return with work party when weather permits. Three inches of snow on the ground from well below the gate. KF7APN & NM7R

I had been talking on the network on the afternoon of 11/07/09, when the KO Peak station abruptly went off the air, during a particularly malevolent thunderstorm passing over the area. The KO Peak tower had taken a direct lightning strike a couple of years previously, with no damage to our equipment, however the county's closed circuit TV cameras had not fared well. I continued home hoping at first that the emergency generator was going to kick in at any moment, and then that it was a fuse blown when the emergency generator came on. Later that evening, I received a phone call, "This is the US Celular tech up at the KO site, restarting our gear. There's smoke coming out of your repeater. Do you want me to turn it off?" He also indicated that the PUD pad power transformer had exploded. Of course, I was heading out of town for a week the next day, so we were not able to visit the site until I returned. Our repeater antenna had taken a direct hit, vaporizing the antenna itself. We also lost the receiver pre-amp, power supply and transmitter isolator. All-in-all we got off very lucky. It took six trips over the next couple of weeks to find and repair all the damage. The repeater, duplexer, remote base, controller, digital voice recorder and control receiver all came through more or less undamaged, along with the hardline and connectors. The entire 224.040 repeater in the rack next over, and with an antenna only a few feet away from this one was unscathed by the incident.

10/29/09    250 miles, 10 hours; Olympia site to replace failed Power Amplifier on repeater. Also found a bare wire end in PTT circuit and taped it up. Antenna looks great and everything else normal. Met a DNR employee who let us peek in the downstairs room in the building. N7UJK & NM7R

10/08/09    377 miles, 12 hours; Drive to a meeting at the Oregon Dept. of Forestry in Salem. Meeting concerned the power situation at the Nicolai site. K7GA & NM7R.

10/01/09    120 miles, 4 hours; KM Hill repeater to check out deaf receiver. Found the receiver banspass/notch cavity 5-turns out of tune(?). Not sure how that could have happened on its own... Retuned for best sensitivity (from 200 micro-volts to 0.17 micro-volts for 12 dB SINAD and no detectable desense. NM7R.

09/21/09    250 miles, 9 hours; Capitol Peak to add a support strut for the top of the antenna. Kevin and Ed did the tower work, with Frank and Doyle as ground pounders. Found the antenna slightly off vertical with a clamp turned and set it back straight. Then into the building for a pre-winter check, and found the power amplifier putting out 3-watts. It would go to 60-watts maximum. Found a burned resistor, indicating a blown power transistor. Swapped out the entire amplifier assembly for a spare, and set power out at 90-watts, at the PA, 40-watts after the dual-isolator, bandpass cavity, low-pass filter, duplexer and diplexer. Judging from the results, the amp must have died in December, along with the old antenna and was not noticed until now. N7UJK, K7KID, K7WAT, NM7R.

07/16/09    120 miles, 4 hours; KM Hill to install door switch and reprogram alert messages to switch on transmit PL. NM7R.

07/07/09    80 miles, 5 hours; Touched up the tuning at Long Beach to bring receiver back up almost 10 dB. It seemed to be in the LO first multiplier tuning. Checked everything while I was there since it has been a while. Then on to Discovery Heights to look at the battery (fine) and check the receiver. Then on to Megler to set the audio levels so the repeater receiver is the same as the remotes, and bring the receiver master level up a bit. NM7R.

06/30/09    150 miles, 9 hours; Nicolai Mtn in Clatsop County (Oregon) to work on the 444.500 Nicolai repeater. Replaced main power breaker at entrance panel (AC Mains were once again down), rearranged DC supply wiring from battery. Finished up a number of anti-rodent measures to seal the building, started by Geoff and Ron during a visit last week, including Ron's new carpentry around the door and a cable entrance boot. K7GA, AK9E, NM7R.

06/12/09    130 miles, 6 hours; Nicolai Mtn in Clatsop County (Oregon) to help install new 444.500 repeater. K7GA, K7YFP, W7CAT, KD7RYY, NM7R.

06/08/09    150 miles, 3 hours; KM Hill, Grays River repeater to adjust power level, check battery voltage and orientation for Geoff. K7GA, KE7DOV, KE7WFO, NM7R.

05/28/09    Cosi, Minot; Doyle (N7UJK) made 2 trips to Cosi. A new alarm has been installed, so he had to abandon the first attempt, go into town and pick up a card key (which didn't work) and return to set the audio levels. Cosi has been too low on the audio for a while. Now audio is as it should be. Also installed a low-pass filter at Minot. N7UJK

05/12/09    Doyle (N7UJK) attended the DNR inspection of the Minot site. Once again, our station passed quickly and with only positive comments. Low pass filters were discussed, and are likely to be required within a year or two. N7UJK

05/09/09    Ken (NM7HK) and Jody (K7IEU) investigated an outage at the Holy Cross station. The UHF repeater was off the air, while the VHF station was working normally. They found and replaced a blown fuse in the power circuit to the UHF repeater. NM7HK, K7IEU

05/05/09    Doyle attended the DNR inspection of the Capitol Peak station. As previously the inspectors approved our installation. N7UJK

04/24/09    Doyle visited the Minot site to install a dual-section isolator and a DCI filter on the UHF link transceiver, and add a second single section circulator to the VHF packet transceiver in anticipation of the upcoming DNR inspection. These required isolation devices had all been promised by the Grays Harbor DEM, but when funding issues all but closed that department we started looking on our own for suitable units. N7UJK

04/22/09    60 miles, 3 hours; Megler site to look over one of the repeaters and orient Sam to the site. NM7R & KC7BFU

04/20/09 Received the Governor's 2009 Volunteer Service Award for designing, building and maintaining the BeachNet repeater network, maintaining this associated informational website, and other Amateur Radio related activities including emergency communications support and training. The award was presented at the Governor's Mansion on the State Capitol grounds in Olympia. I handed off a VHF circulator to Doyle on the way home for Minot.

04/19/09    60 miles, 3 hours; Megler site to change PL on IRLP 220 up-link, set levels on VHF repeater and waterproof 220 up-link antenna connections. NM7R, K7WAT & WA7PIX

04/14/09    100 miles, 4 hours; KM site to install high/low output power mod on PA, and set up repeater to drop to low output when on battery back-up. tried duplexer and found it unsatisfactory compared to present two-antenna system. NM7R

04/09/09 Attended the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency Council Meeting, and was presented with the Sheriff's Department Outstanding Service Award. My name also appeared in the Sheriff's weekly column in the local newspaper, the Chinook Observer, under the heading, "Caught doing Something Good".

03/27/09    60 miles, 4 hours; Megler site to balance the audio levels on the IRLP machine. Also helped with OPB channel 23 TV translator. NM7R

03/17/09    60 miles, 4 hours; Megler site to replace the 220-link antenna for the IRLP UHF Repeater. NM7R

03/01/09    6 miles, 2 hours; Ocean Park to install the repeater itself. Mounted and cut hardline, installed connector, installed power supply in cabinet and hooked everything up. NM7R, K7KID, K7WAT

02/28/09    20 miles, 5 hours; Kevin, K7KID, Ed, K7WAT, and Sam, KC7BFU, erected the mast & antenna and ran the hardline for the new 145.170 repeater at the Ocean Park Fire Hall. K7KID, K7WAT, KC7BFU

01/22/09    250 miles, 9 hours; KO Peak to untangle and straighten the 220 repeater antenna and help OPB crew with preparing the TV translator for the digital cut-through. On the way home we stopped by Naselle to straighten the repeater antenna and repair one of the link yagis (smashed by falling ice) there. That should complete the winter damage repairs up to date. NM7R, K7WAT

01/20/09    180 miles, 10 hours; Capitol Peak with Doyle to remove the stub of the snapped-off antenna and install new antenna. NM7R, N7UJK

01/14/09    60 miles, 3 hours; Recon flight to check for damage at the KO Peak, Holy Cross, Megler, Naselle, and North Cove sites. Assessed snow on KO, and antenna damage at all sites for planning future repair work. NM7R

01/13/09    Doyle was able to bum a ride up Capitol Peak and was greeted by a mostly missing antenna. He shut off the station, and we are now working on a more rubust replacement. N7UJK

11/26/08    250 miles, 6 hours; Minot to fix link transceiver. Replaced IF board in the Mastr-II. NM7R, N7UJK

11/24/08    140 miles, 5 hours; Holy Cross to fix transmit PL on UHF repeater. This is necessary for some alternate links. Picked up nail in tire.

11/22/08    170 miles, 5 hours; KO Peak, to move power supply plug from control receiver as the socket I had moved it to during the 220 repeater install was dead (tripped breaker). Made sure it worked before leaving this time. NM7R, N7ONG

11/20/08    190 miles, 10 hours; KO Peak, to install the new 220 MHz Repeater. Got most of the way up F-line when we came on dozens of trees across road. Doubled back down and took A-line to the top. Repeater went in well and early reports are promising. NM7R, KB7APU

11/17/08    290 miles, 12 hours; Capitol Peak to repair packet transceiver. Found receiver sensitivity way down but as soon as I tweaked one helical resonator it came back. Suspect a "whisker". Installed new radio and left old one with Doyle as a spare. On to Minot to install replacement link radio (Mastr-II mobile) in place of Phoenix. New radio is modified to accept Isolator. NM7R, N7UJK

11/12/08    120 miles, 3 hours; KM Hill and Discovery Heights to check batteries.

10/30/08    150 miles, 10 hours; Installed the new repeaters at South Bend. New machines are in individual 30-inch cabinets. Station now comprises base station chassis for both VHF and UHF repeaters and a Mastr-II Mobile for the link radio. The contoller is now a three-port one to allow the repeaters to be split apart when desired. There is also a control receiver.

10/15/08    130 miles, 6 hours; Installed the Warrenton Remote Receiver to complete the original plan for voting system. Unit located in back room of Warrenton Police Department, courtesy of W7LEO. Has stand-by power, antenna on roof. Also went by Grays River site to check batteries on the way home.

10/14/08    100 miles, 3 hours; Grays River (KM Hill) site to install battery back-up. Two 90 AH batteries from W7TOM, charger from W7FBM. Wired into repeater power supply through blocking diode. Repeater speaks 'Emergency Power' locally when battery powering station.

10/10/08    150 miles, 9 hours; Naselle (2 trips) to install voting receiver, change frequency of old remote receiver to work with North Cove repeater, move control receiver antenna & hardline, install Megler link antenna & coax, and re-route remote base hardline away from County microwave waveguide. KE7SEV, NM7HK, NM7R.

10/08/08    150 miles, 6 hours; Holy Cross to analyze the audio distortion on the South Bend repeaters.

10/02/08    60 miles, 4 hours; Megler to install a DTMF decoder to control the channel disable function on the voter panel. Mostly for testing, this will allow remotely shutting off any/all receiver channels at the voter.

09/24/08    80 miles, 6 hours; Ilwaco, (two trips) to install the Cape Disappointment remote receiver package (Mark-Two) to go with the Voting system. A Mastr-II base station power supply was installed, since this station will now be working full time. A 90 AH battery (from W7TOM) installed as back-up power. Will try to fit a second battery into cabinet at a later time. Original charger used and old battery removed. I was able to get in full-quieting, from the campground at Cape D, low power on an HT inside the car. One voting remote receiver done, two more to go.

09/23/08    80 miles, 3 hours; Naselle to repair hardline and mountings. This is the last of the damage from last winter. K7KID, K7WAT and NM7R.

09/18/08    60 miles, 2 hours; Megler to change the repeater receiver 'COS' signal from PL-decode only to an AND product of CAS and PL to remove the obnoxious squelch crash from PL-only switching. You'd think I would learn...

09/17/08    60 miles, 4 hours; Megler, to install rack shelf with four UHF receivers and LDG voter panel. Wired in repeater receiver as fifth receiver. For the moment, it is the only receiver with an active COR, so it is the only one that will be voted. As the satellite receivers are converted from the old (PL switching) system to the new (Signal-to-Noise voting) system, the Megler end should be ready to receive and incorporate the new signals.

This was the first step in installing a true, automatic voting system to manage the remote receivers associated with the Megler VHF repeater. The previous system had used remote receivers, each with a unique PL tone. Selection was done manually by changing the PL tone transmitted by your radio. This new system will make manual intervention unnecessary. The voting unit will constantly evaluate the signal-to-noise ratio of the incoming audio streams from the various receivers, and use the best quality one for retransmission. This had been a "blue-sky" idea until two fortuitous events. First, I received from Pacific County several GE Rangr transceivers, suitable to be used as remote VHF receivers, UHF link transmitters and link receivers. Second, I received from Grays Harbor County, an LDG voter unit. Putting these together made a reality of the plan. This also proved to be the ultimate answer to the TV intermod at the Megler site. By using three alternate receivers, each in a relatively quiet location, two with high-gain pre-amps and all with overlapping coverage, the repeater site receiver is only used when it has the quietest signal and the other receivers provide great quality audio the rest of the time. Of course, like all Amateur projects, this became a "work-in-progress".

09/10/08    180 miles, 10 hours; KO Peak, install 220 MHz antenna, hardline, and check APRS station. NM7R, K7KID, WA7RW, KB7APU and K7WAT.

08/07/08    259 miles, 10 hours; Capitol Peak to tune and check; Minot to rehab link receiver N7UJK, NM7R.

07/10/08    248 miles, 9 hours; Capitol Peak to replace Power Amp, tune and check, N7UJK, NM7R.

07/08/08    120 miles, 8 hours; KM Hill, Install 'Grays River' antennas, hardline runs and set up new 147.020 repeater. K7KID, KE7SEV, W7FBM, KD7UEB, N7YBZ, NM7R.

07/07/08    120 miles, 4 hours; KM Hill, Haul equipment and take measurements for Grays River repeater install.

06/20/08    167 miles, 8 hours; KO Peak for tower work. Straightened main antenna, checked all connectors and dressed mountings. Removed old remote base antenna collection and rusting mount. Installed new side arm and tri-band antenna for remote base. Installed tri-plexer at radio station for 140/220/440 modules. K7KID, KE7JMC, KE7SEV and NM7R.

06/13/08    75 miles, 6 hours; Long Beach to remove temporary repeater and reinstall original unit with remote base, and Megler to install filter on DC line to Exciter/Receiver.

06/09/08    75 miles, 4 hours; Naselle repeater, reinstalled remote base after modifying it to have receive PL decode in FC-900 remote base controller. The squelch has been occasionally opening with DX repeater signals. It's the start of summer ducting season, and this will allow us to silence the noise without losing the linking capability with KO Peak. It works perfectly. Decode function is remotely controllable.

05/31/08    25 miles, 1 hour; Long Beach to replace link transceiver in temporary repeater.

05/30/08    75 miles, 6 hours; Naselle and Long Beach.

05/29/08    140 miles, 6 hours; KO for antenna work. Kevin, Thatcher, Ed and Jody along. Stopped by snow a bit over a mile from the top. Kevin and I stopped at Long Beach on the way back to fix cable mounting.

05/15/08    75 miles, 6 hours; Naselle & Long Beach repeaters, took remote base package from Long Beach machine to Naselle site and swapped out with the remote base package there. Brought the Naselle package home to diagnose the problem with the link receiver 'blowing squelch'.

03/26/08    25 miles, 4 hours; Long Beach repeater, pulled entire station and installed temporary replacement.

02/26/08    75 miles, 5 hours; Naselle antenna work (with Kevin), replaced remote base antenna and replaced crushed remote base antenna coax with LDF4-50 1/2-inch hardline.

02/25/08    75 miles, 7 hours; Naselle antenna work (with Kevin), straightened main antenna. Weather closed in.

02/18/08    200 miles, 12 hours; Capitol Peak (with Doyle) in Bruce's SnoCat to replace antenna.

02/15/08    150 miles, 8 hours; Holy Cross (with Kevin) to replace broken antenna.

02/14/08    80 miles, 6 hours; Took up the airplane on the first good-weather day after the Big December Storm (with Doyle). Surveyed all the BeachNet sites and were able to see all of them. Most accessible, except KO Peak and Capitol Peak still had lots of snow. Discovered missing antenna at South Bend.

12/29/07    75 miles, 4 hours; Megler with Bob Frost and his Spectrum Analyzer.

12/18/07    75 miles, 6 hours; Megler intermod chase.

12/16/07    75 miles, 5 hours; Megler with Bob Frost.

12/15/07    75 miles, 6 hours; Megler intermod chase

12/01/07    A major winter storm event struck the region. It began with cold temperatures and snow, followed abruptly by hurricane-force winds, warmer temperatures and heavy rain. At the coast, this meant trees down blocking all roads, power out and telephone and Internet service out for days. Inland, the snow, followed by warm rain, meant serious flooding. The BeachNet repeater system was heavily used, in spite of heavy wind damage, both during the storm and the recovery phases. It would be months before most of the damage to the repeaters could be attended to.

11/21/07    75 miles, 6 hours; Megler antenna adjustments.

11/19/07    75 miles, 10 hours; Megler IRLP receiver replacement to improve sensitivity. Curious that the five 1 KW TV translators are all UHF, and yet they bother the VHF repeater and not the UHF one. Or, could it be leakage from the Chinook cable TV system?

11/18/07    75 miles, 8 hours; Megler VHF circulator install.

11/17/07    75 miles, 8 hours; Megler antenna completion, mounting and dressing hardline.

11/16/07    75 miles, 10 hours; Megler antenna relocation of dual-band Hystler from building roof to top of tower. This will be VHF receive and UHF Tx & Rx antenna. G6-140 2-meter antenna installed on the building roof is now the VHF transmit antenna.

10/06/07    KO; 170 miles, 8 hours; install & activate control receiver.

09/25/07    KO; 170 miles, 8 hours; replace receiver.

09/24/07    Megler; 60 miles, 4 hours; change PL tone to stop repeater keying itself up. Installed a line to a controller remote switch that changes the PL remotely from 118.8 to 82.5 Hz. I later decided that continually changing the tone to avoid the TV buzz was more confusing than just changing it permanently. So, unless some magic bullet comes along to fix the buzz, the Megler tone is now 82.5 Hz.

09/24/07    KO; 170 miles, 12 hours; troubleshoot receiver failure. Replaced receiver.

09/20/07    Megler; 60 miles, 6 hours; Duplexer touch up and site maintenance. Jay, W7FBM, also along. Still trying to get the TV retrace buzz out of the repeater. Tried pass cavity on transmitter, no difference. Moved it to receiver, still no difference.

08/??/07    Hood-To-Coast again accommodated with the 147.18 Megler and 440.675 Naselle repeaters tied together and then linked to a Columbia County 146.88 repeater to provide Medical and Administrative circuit for race committee.

08/??/07    170 miles, 12 hours; Cosmopolis repeater site to change antenna and hardline (replaced half-inch hardline with 7/8-inch).

08/??/07    160 miles, 5 hours; North Cove to inspect duplexer move from floor under repeater to ceiling. John & Joe did a nice job!

07/??/07    825 miles, 36 hours; Three (3) round trips to Capitol Peak to work on the packet gateway station. Finally figured out the four transmitters keyed together pulled the power supply down and reset the packet TNC.

05/22/07    130 miles, 4 hours; South Bend equipment retrieval.

05/12/07    250 miles, 10 hours; Capitol Peak, general minor gremlin removal...

04/29/07    250 miles, 16 hours; Capitol Peak install; antennas, hardline, cabinet.

04/23/07    80 miles, 3 hours; Naselle, change out power supply.

04/07/07    220 miles, 10 hours; Minot; Frequency change to 444.050. This is to free up the 444.950 frequency for Capitol Peak. WWARA has agreed to the plan. Capitol Peak will be a high site with long range coverage. Finding a suitable pair would be difficult if not impossible. Our existing 444.950 pair is not used anywhere else in Western Washington, so moving it to CP makes sense. The 444.050 pair will probably work fine on Minot, because it is blocked to the north, shielded from Puget Sound.

03/30/07    120 miles, 8 hours; KO Peak, 10m antenna install. Antenna is a vertical dipole suspended off side of tower.

03/10/07    260 miles, 12 hours; Capitol Peak, Site Survey. Doyle wants to sponsor a station with packet gateway and UHF repeater. My first close up look at the site. Nice new building and tower.

01/24/07    170 miles, 12 hours; KO Peak, replace PA. This one has a Z-match.

12/27/06    140 miles, 6 hours; Holy Cross Packet transceiver replacement.

12/22/06    140 miles, 6 hours; Holy Cross Packet failure diagnosis.

12/05/06    140 miles, 5 hours; Holy Cross audio repair and balance. Audio was overdriving on VHF side. Rechecked all combinations with each of the three receivers and three transmitters so a 1 kHz tone at 3 kHz deviation going in any port comes out all ports unchanged.

12/04/06    140 miles, 6 hours; Holy Cross Audio repair and balance. VHF and UHF receivers not the same level. New scheme has them mixed on a modified audio card.

09/29/06    330 miles, 12 hours; Weatherwax repeater replacement with very-low-current-draw unit and Minot packet node repair.

08/27/06    190 miles, 8 hours; Minot for link repairs and replacement of the packet station.

08/25-26/06    24 hours; Hood-to-Coast relay public service support; Megler 147.18 repeater was tied to Naselle 440.675 repeater. These were disconnected from BeachNet for the two-day event, and the Naselle remote base connected to the 146.76 Nicolai repeater, allowing the Race Committee in St. Helens to communicate effectively with the last few stages and the finish. The circuit created was used for medical and emergency traffic, while the Astoria linked system was used for Operational matters.

08/24/06    28 miles, 8 hours; Discovery Heights & Ilwaco FM station, move batteries and 146.86 PCARC repeater from DH to the FM tower, and install my Cape D remote receiver (Mark-One) at DH.

08/22/06    190 miles, 8 hours; KO Peak, finish up remote base antennas. Cut 20-feet off the main hardline and moved connector. Fitted remnant of LMR-600 cable from hardline to repeater. The book says the difference between 100 feet of LMR-600 and LDF5-50 should be about 1 dB, but the change has made a far bigger difference anecdotally.

08/14/06    180 miles, 12 hours; KO Peak, Straightened antenna and replaced original LMR-600 coax with 100-feet of LDF5-50 7/8-inch hardline in mounting cushions. Hardline was 120-feet long, so we ended up with 20-feet wrapped around the inside of the building on the cable tray when it came time to leave.

08/11/06    75 miles, 3 hours; Megler, UHF link retune. Locks are back in proper order with new hasp.

08/08/06    52 miles, 2 hours; Megler, IRLP PL change to 82.5. Lock hasp had been cut by County Telecom Manager. Timber company lock not in chain now.

08/07/06    44 miles, 1.5 hours; Megler, Gate locked (skunked again).

08/06/06    44 miles, 1.5 hours; Megler, Gate locked (Locks rearranged but ours still not in chain). Again advised County Manager.

08/05/06    44 miles, 1.5 hours; Megler, Gate locked (our lock not in chain). Called Timber Co. They said they would fix right away. Called to advise County Telecom Manager.

07/17/06    270 miles, 8 hours; Neilton install. Problem turned out to be a single broken finger in the center conductor of an N-Female connector on the duplexer. It took hauling it home and going over the entire machine with a flashlight and a fine tooth comb to find it. The other three fingers had overheated and lost their temper, causing an intermittent connection on the transmit side of the duplexer.

07/10/06    75 miles, 2 hours; Megler change PL to 82.5. This cured the problem of the spontaneous key-ups, but the buzz is still there on weak signals just above the squelch threshold.

07/06/06    75 miles, 4 hours; Megler troubleshoot of intermod. Bonded and grounded everything I could.

07/05/06    75 miles, 4 hours; Megler to diagnose intermod problem. TV retrace buzz is bad enough to false trigger the PL decoder on 118.8 causing repeater to key up spontaneously with loud buzzing noise.

06/18/06    270 miles, 8 hours; Neilton to repair repeater. After several hours not able to pin-point problem, pulled entire repeater to take home.

06/13/06    313 miles, 13 hours; Weatherwax install and Neilton PA replacement. Neilton had been intermittent for some time, going from full power to barely readable or off-air, and then back. New PA seemed to cure the problem, but a few hours later the problem returned.

05/28/06    75 miles, 8 hours; Megler several little upgrades.

05/27/06    225 miles, 12 hours; Minot link antenna upgrade to dual phased yagis. Link path is directly through the phone company tower and horns across the road. This antenna design 'burned through' and gives good performance.

04/28/06    225 miles, 11 hours; Minot antennas, repeater antenna moved to tower and link antenna moved to mast on building.

04/21/06    185 miles, 10 hours; KO finish up. Brought new exciter cable and secured in place. Dressed cabling on repeater that had been cut loose and disturbed previously. Tested and checked everything. No discrepancies noted.

04/20/06    75 miles, 4 hours; Replace Megler Repeater with upgraded version. It is far more efficient to build and test a complete new replacement station at home, and then change it out on the hill, rather than do extensive work on site. This is my normal policy with extensive work. Whenever possible, minimize time on the hill. It is always easier to do the work at home and it turns out looking and working better.

04/14/06    184 miles, 11 hours; KO for transmitter troubleshooting and repair. Found bad cable from exciter to PA. Jerry rigged a temporary repair.

04/13/06    181 miles, 8 hours; PCEMA Meeting in SB, Trip to Shoalwater Reservation, North Cove, and Holy Cross for inspection and minor maintenance. This side trip lead to a successful Technician class and a dozen new hams in North County.

03/31/06    65 miles, 4 hours; Megler, local link antenna replacement after falling ice had destroyed the old one.

03/30/06    175 miles, 6 hours; replace VHF receiver Holy Cross.

03/27/06    230 miles, 8 hours; abortive trip to KO, and Holy Cross troubleshooting stop.

03/24/06    175 miles, 6 hours; install wx station on Holy Cross.

10/29/05    175 miles, 12 hours; Visited Neilton to reprogram and modify Phoenix link transceiver for link Rx PL and 2-channel link.

I added CTCSS decode on the link receivers to suppress out-of-area signals on 441.675, especially during the summer ducting season. The links were originally carrier squelch to make the switching times as fast as possible. The GE Phoenix radios I used for linking require reprogramming the X2212 EEPROM and a minor hardware mod.

10/25/05    125 miles, 6 hours; Modify link transceivers at Megler and Holy Cross for link Rx PL and 2-channel link.

10/24/05    10 miles, 3 hours; ARES Meeting at Bob Cline's house re: BeachNet.

10/22/05    187 miles, 14 hours; Visited Minot, Neilton and Cosi sites. Replaced Power Supply and reprogrammed and modified Phoenix link radio at Minot for link Rx PL, reprogrammed and modified Phoenix link radio at Cosi. Locked out of building at Neilton.

10/21/05    193 miles, 8 hours; Visited KO Peak, Holy Cross and Naselle sites. Hooked up transmit PL on KO repeater as first step in implementing PL on the links, reprogrammed Phoenix link radio at Holy Cross for PL on KO Frequency, and replaced (upgraded) Power Amplifier at Naselle. This one has Z-match.

10/18/05    120 miles, 4 hours; Visited Holy Cross to get repeater back on air.

07/31/05    140 miles, 6 hours; Holy Cross Repeater Site; Repair 147.940 receiver and add PAR filter to notch out paging intermod.

07/29/05    75 miles, 9 hours; Naselle Repeater Site; Finish cable mounting install on tower.

07/28/05    75 miles, 2 hours; Naselle Repeater Site; K7KID along, Weather not cooperative so no tower work. Finished repeater install inside the building.

It is probably appropriate to point out here that this completed the construction of a new UHF repeater, with 3-band remote base, on a 2000-foot mountain that had not seen an Amateur repeater for almost 20 years. Rents on the site were prohibitive. A comment by an acquaintance led me to believe a rent-free billet might be possible. This required soliciting permission from the site owner, obtaining the cooperation of Pacific County Emergency Management Agency and it's oversight Council. It meant assembling, fabricating and testing the station components in my shop, followed by installing the equipment at the site. On the paperwork front, there was finding a likely frequency pair, ordering crystals, negotiating with the co-channel neighbors by email for letters giving conditional permission to share their pair for testing, and filing with WWARA toward repeater coordination and a permit to build and test. All this was accomplished (from twinkle-in-the-eye to finished working repeater) within three weeks. The station includes a 110-watt continuous-duty GE Mastr-II base station with ACC RC-96 controller, FC-900 remote base on 140/220/440 MHz bands, Sinclair duplexer, Sinclair dual section isolator, DCI 440-450 pass filter, 100-feet of LDF5-50 7/8-inch hardline, mounted in cushions, and two GE Mastr-II auxiliary receivers, one associated with the Megler repeater and the other a dedicated control receiver. The Power Supply is a GE. The antenna is a Comet X510 dual-band (UHF for the repeater and VHF for a remote receiver augmenting the Megler repeater coverage) mounted inside a Stationmaster radome shell, at the top of the tower. This repeater fills the last remaining "hole" in the Pacific County coverage. On the air 28 July 2005.

07/27/05    75 miles, 6 hours; Naselle Repeater Site; Finish dressing cable in building.

07/26/05    75 miles, 9 hours; Naselle Repeater Site; also Kevin (K7KID) and Shane (N7XAC), Antenna and 7/8-inch hardline install.

07/22/05    140 miles, 4 hours; South Bend to swap keys and Naselle for recon, planning and measurements.

07/21/05    120 miles, 2.5 hours; South Bend to pick up key for Naselle. Turned out it was the wrong key...

07/19/05    25 miles, 1.5 hours; PUD Commissioners Meeting; Seeking permission for new (Naselle) repeater installation.

07/14/05    30 miles, 1.5 hours; PCEMA Council Meeting; Seeking permission for new (Naselle) repeater installation.

07/14/05    Received Certificate of Appreciation for BeachNet activities from Pacific County Emergency Management Council in recognition of contribution to Public Service and Disaster Preparedness. It's always easier to ask permission for something after they have handed you an award.

07/12/05    52 miles, 3 hours; Megler adjust PL and install Tx PL on 147.180.

07/11/05    52 miles, 4 hours; Megler install COS/PL logic board in IRLP repeater.

07/08/05    175 miles, 7 hours; Cosi replace receiver.

02/14/05    150 miles, 10 hours; Trip to relocate Raymond site equipment to Holy Cross. The VHF station was originally located at the hospital in South Bend. A UHF repeater on Holy Cross Mountain was necessary to make the system link to KO Peak operable. To improve coverage, the VHF receiver was moved to the Holy Cross site, leaving the transmitter at its coordinated location. Eventually, it became desirable and practicable to move (and re-coordinate) the transmitter, co-locating the VHF repeater transmitter at the Holy Cross site.

02/09/05    160 miles, 8 hours; Two (2) Trips to install IRLP repeater at Megler.

This new UHF repeater will function as an open IRLP node. It uses a 220-MHz uplink to bring the audio from my home station to the repeater site. The home station has a receiver listening to the repeater output, and I am gating a PL tone on the repeater output to provide CAS signal to the computer at the home station. This arrangement allows the IRLP Node to share the DSL line at home, and have a full-duplex control channel.

02/04/05    165 miles, 6 hours; Trip to North Cove to repair transmitter.

02/03/05    80 miles, 6 hours; Trip to Megler to consolidate equipment to make room in the rack for the 444.925 (IRLP) repeater.

10/??/04    175 miles, 7 hours; Cosi change frequency to 145.39; swap out crystals and retune duplexer. This was to solve the co-channel problem on 145.170.

08/13/04    160 miles, 6-1/2 hours; Install the 145.170 repeater at Cosmopolis Hill.

08/07/04    200 miles, 14 hours; Swap frequencies; 444.700 to Neilton and 444.950 to Minot. Picked up duplexer and crystals from Minot, took to Neilton and swapped with the ones there, returned to Minot and installed duplexer and crystals from Neilton. Also relocate link antenna at Minot. We had a co-channel issue with the 444.700 frequency in Puget Sound area, and the 444.950 frequency is not in use there. Swapping the two pairs between the sites solved the problem.

08/04/04    160 miles, 5 hours; Repair controller problem at North Cove.

07/31/04    240 miles, 12 hours; Install 444.700 Minot Peak repeater (Elma).

07/25/04    120 miles, 11 hours; Tech class and VE exam South Bend.

07/24/04    200 miles, 13 hours; Technician class South Bend and Cosmopolis repeater site visit.

07/18/04    168 miles, 8 hours; KO Peak; Install 220 remote base antenna and mount repeater coax, upgrade power supply and retune repeater.

07/17/04    120 miles, 7 hours; Technician Class in South Bend

07/10/04    168 miles, 7 hours; KO Peak; power amp noise problem.

07/09/04    168 miles, 8 hours; KO Peak; duplexer replacement (Motorola 4-can-pass went to Long Beach/Phelps-Dodge 6-can pass-notch installed) and station tune-up. The Phelps is certainly a superior filter. Installed 2 temperature sensors, heatsink and outdoors.

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 |  444.300 |  444.400 |  444.500 |  444.700 |  444.800 |  444.925 |  444.950

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