** SHARC-1 Antenna Project ** 12/15/05 We are waiting for better weather conditions to install the new antenna on the tower for the repeater. The original antenna installed in 1986 has developed problems. In the interim, we are running the repeater on a ground level antenna and at a lower power to minimize RF densense back into the repeater's receiver. As a result of this temporary set-up, the repeater's transmitter & receiver coverage will be reduced.|
** New Duplexer purchased for SHARC-2 Repeater ** 6/22/05 Jim, KA3EBX, purchased a new UHF duplexer for the SHARC-2, 440 Repeater (442.500 MHz). The duplexer is manufactured by Sinclair Technologies and is a model Q3330 Res-Lok. The new duplexer will be installed soon.
** New SHARC-3 Repeater Receives GaAsFET Pre-amp ** 5/23/05 Mark, N8UVQ, purchased a GaAsFET pre-amp for the SHARC-3, 6 meter Repeater (51.940 MHz). On Sunday, May 22nd, Mark and Jim met at the repeater site at noon and installed an Advanced Receiver Research, Model P50-VDG pre-amp. The pre-amp has +24 dB Gain. A 10 dB attenuator was added between the pre-amp and repeater receiver to prevent receiver front end overload.
** New SHARC-1 Repeater on the Air! ** 5/23/05 The new SHARC-1 Repeater is on the air at KA3EBX's residence. Some additional wiring and tests need to be performed before the repeater is moved back to the repeater site. On Sunday, May 22nd, Mark, N8UVQ and Jim, KA3EBX assembled the repeater's new Hustler G7-144 collinear antenna and mounted it on a 10' mast stuck in the ground in Jim's back yard. Andrews superflex cables were connected between the repeater and duplexer. The repeater will be on and off as work is being completed on the repeater. The best time to try the repeater will be in the evenings. Stay tuned for more information!
** New SHARC-1 Repeater on Order ** 3/9/05 We have ordered a new repeater to replace the club's existing 2-meter repeater. The original repeater will be kept as a back-up.
The new repeater will be a GE Master Executive II, identical to the SHARC-3, 6-Meter Repeater. Click HERE to see pictures of the new repeater. Stay tuned for more information!
** SHARC-1 Controller Temporarily Off-Air ** 9/1/04 We believe there was a indirect lightning strike
at the repeater strike. Damage to the repeater so far includes in the transmitter; (2) diodes, (2) transistors in the x4 multiplier board, and (1) transistor in the tone encoder board of the exciter/receiver. All have been repaired. We are going over everything on the bench before putting the repeater back in service.
We also checked the gain between our current 70's pre-amp and the new GaAsFET pre-amp. Our original pre-amp had 6 dB of gain. The new pre-amp has 25 dB of gain. We'll be installing the new pre-amp soon.
** SHARC-1 Controller Repaired ** 8/22/04 The Commodore 64 controller locked up. It was discovered an that an intermittant solder joint on a RAM chip was the cause.
** SHARC-1 Update ** 8/21/04 There was a power failure up at the repeater site causing the repeater to be offline. Ken - WB3JOB restored power to the building.
** SHARC-1 Upgrade ** 8/21/04 The SHARC-1 auto-patch is currently offline. We are upgrading the auto-patch circuitry and expanding the phone service to unlimited local & long distance. Please note that it is recommended to use a cell phone or regular phone service when available. The repeater auto-patch should only be used in an emergency.
** SHARC-1 Upgrade ** 8/11/04 An Advanced Receiver Research, Model P144VDG GaAs FET Pre-amp has been purchased for the repeater. We expect to install the pre-amp the week of 8/16/04. Please check back for further information. Update: We received the pre-amp on 8/16/04.
** SHARC-1 Maintenance ** 8/6/04 The repeater is back on the air. Both RF cables from the duplexer to the receiver and transmitter were changed with shorter & lower loss cables. Several RF adapters in the line were removed. The transmitter output was adjusted and matched to the duplexer. Using a Bird Model 43 wattmeter, the forward power measured at the output of the duplexer was 58 watts. The reflected power was 0.2 watts. This correlates to a VSWR of 1.125 to 1. The repeater receiver is currently "OFF" of PL (131.8 Hz) and does not require PL for use. The repeater transmitter however transmits PL (131.8 Hz) at all times. We will only use PL on the repeater receiver during instances of interference.
** SHARC-1 Maintenance ** 8/4/04 The repeater is temporarily off the air while we bench test the performance of the duplexer and calibrate the transmitter & receiver frequency. We also expect to change out the receiver preamp made in the 70's with a GaAsFET preamp.
** SHARC-1 Maintenance ** 7/16/04 The repeater is currently back on the air at full power.
** SHARC-1 Maintenance ** 7/14/04 The repeater is currently back on low power (exciter only) while we perform maintenance on the transmitter's final output stage. It will be back on the air at full power, shortly. Modifications made: Added finger-stock and grounding stand-offs to the IPA stage to improve grounding. Replaced RG-174 exciter cable with double-shielded RG-188 cable. Moved over-temp sensor so that the RF shields could be re-installed on the front & back of the transmitter. Retuned x4 Multiplier stage, IPA stage and PA stage. Replaced burned out transmit bulb with a white LED. Added quick-disconnect connector to over-temp sensor leads. Currently making new PA fan bracket.
** SHARC-1 Maintenance ** 11/05/03 The repeater is currently back on low power while we perform preventative maintenance on the transmitter's final output stage. It will be back on the air at full power, shortly.
** SHARC-1 Annual Maintenance ** 5/6/03 The repeater is currently on low power during annual maintenance.
** Power Supply Purchased for 6-Meter Repeater ** 3/6/00 Jim - KA3EBX has just recently purchased a GE Master-II, 35 Amp Continuous, rack-mounted power supply from a former repeater owner in New York. The supply will be used to power "S.H.A.R.C. -3", the club's new 6-meter repeater.
** 6-Meter Repeater Ordered ** 2/27/00 Ron - N3WX has just recently purchased a 100W GE Master-II transceiver from an equipment supplier in Florida. The unit will be arriving already pre-configured for repeater operation with CTCSS (131.8 Hz) and tuned with crystals on the frequency of 51.940 MHz. In addition to the RF gear, the repeater will include a RC-1000V controller manufactured by Micro Computer Concepts (MCC). If you would like to participate or make a donation to our 6-meter project, please contact Ron - N3WX at (412) 922-1257 or via e-mail at: N3WX@aol.com. All contributors will receive special recognition in the club's newsletter and on the club's web site. Your help and support would be greatly appreciated!
** South Hills ARC Purchases Studio Audio Equipment ** 9/21/99 South Hills ARC has just recently purchased broadcast quality audio equipment manufactured by Otari, that will be used on all of the club's repeaters. We purchased the used equipment from Harpo Studios in Chicago. For those of you who are not familiar with Harpo Studios, it is the studio production company owned by Oprah Winfrey. We hope to begin experimenting with the equipment over the next few months.
** Stephanie Makes her Debut! ** 9/1/99 South Hills ARC has set another Pittsburgh first! We've added a new voice synthesizer to the SHARC-1 Repeater. The new synthesizer, nicknamed "Stephanie", uttered her first phrase over the air, Friday evening around 5PM. There will be several implementation phases for Stephanie. Phase I was implemented today. Stephanie will now provide over 30 ID's for the repeater. Phase II will involve replacing the current synthesizer (Cylon) that we use. Phase II involves an extensive software revision to the repeater controller code and therefore will take time to implement. Please join us in welcoming Stephanie to the club !
** Courtesy Tone Change ** 8/10/99 We have changed the courtesy tone on the SHARC-2 Repeater (442.500) to a single tone to be consistent with the SHARC-1 Repeater.
** Computer & Power Supply Repaired ** 6/17/99
The electrolytics dried up in the power supply that powers the Commodore 64. The Commodore 64 controls autopatch, remote control functions, and the speech synthesizer. The electrolytics were replaced and the supply was repaired. However when the supply failed, the AC ripple blew out (4) 1bit x 64K rams in the C64. The rams were replaced and the computer was reinstalled on 6/17/99. Autopatch was down only two days.
** New Voice Synthesizer ** 6/14/99
We will be implementing a new and more modern voice synthesizer soon. Unlike most repeater controllers that exhibit a "male" voice, the new synthesizer will be noticeably "female". Like our existing synthesizer, a product of early 80's technology, the new synthesizer will be able to reproduce any English word with extreme clarity. The first phase of the project will be to have the new synthesizer generate random ID's for the repeater. The second phase will be replacing the existing synthesizer that is used in conjunction with all repeater control commands. New driver software will need to be written to accomplish this task. The first phase is expected to take place in early June. We’ll keep you posted on the progress.
** Courtesy Tone Change ** 5/11/99 We have changed the courtesy tone on the SHARC-1 Repeater (145.130) to a single tone. This was done to make the tone less noticeable than the earlier 3-tone courtesy tone. We expect to make a similar change to the courtesy tone on the SHARC-2 repeater. We just wanted to let our members know about the change, and that it wasn't a result of a failure. We are
making these changes to make both repeaters consistant, with our long term goal of eventually linking both machines together. These changes were also implemented as a result of requests by our members. We appreciate those requests, and we hope our members will continue to provide us with feedback, so we can continue to provide a valuable service to the Amateur Radio community.
** SHARC-1 Repeater Modification ** 3/31/99 The SHARC-1 Repeater was temporarily off the air while for 6 hours (3/31/99) as a result of a modification to the controller and controller software. The repeater call sign has been changed from KA3EBX to KS3R. Additional modifications are scheduled to occur.
** SHARC-2 Repeater Modification ** 3/18/99 The SHARC-2 Repeater was temporarily off the air while for 24 hours (3/17/99 - 3/18/99) as a result of a modification to the controller. The repeater call sign has been changed from KA3EBX to KS3R. Additional modifications are scheduled to occur.
** Callsign Change on Club Packet PBBS ** 3/11/99 The club's packet PBBS callsign has now been changed to KS3R-1. If you have difficulty getting into it, you might try connecting to it via the Greater Pittsburgh VHF Society's PBBS node (W3PGH-7), which is also on 144.910 MHz.
** SHARC-1 Repeater Online Again ** 2/6/99 The SHARC-1 Repeater is back on the air again. Fingerstock was added to the muliplier board to improve grounding between the board and the chassis casting. Additional maintenance is scheduled to occur soon. We'll keep you posted.
** SHARC-1 Repeater Maintenance ** 2/4/99 The SHARC-1 Repeater is temporarily off the air while general maintenance is being performed. We expect to have the repeater back up and running next week. SHARC-2 is unaffected and is fully operational.
** Callsign Change on Club Packet PBBS ** 1/8/99 The club's packet PBBS callsign has now been changed to KB3CHF-1. If you have difficulty getting into it, you might try connecting to it via the Greater Pittsburgh VHF Society's PBBS node (W3PGH-7), which is also on 144.910 MHz.
** Application for 6 Meter Repeater Frequency Filed with WPRC ** 9/3/98 Ron - N3WX has submitted an application to the Western Pennsylvania Repeater Council (WPRC) for coodination of a 6 Meter repeater frequency. We have already obtained a Commercial grade 6 Meter transmitter, receiver, and rack. We have also appropriated a new site as well. We'll keep you posted as progress develops.
** Packet BBS/Digipeater is Operational ** 5/12/98 Our packet BBS/Digipeater is now operational and is currently operating on the frequency of 144.910 MHz simplex, under the call of KA3EBX-1. The packet BBS consists of a Kantronics TNC and an Alinco DR-599 45W transceiver. There may be plans to move the system to the 442-100 MHz repeater site to inprove coverage. We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, feel free to experiment with it. If you have difficulty getting into it, you might try connecting to it via the Greater Pittsburgh VHF Society's PBBS node (W3PGH-7), also on 144.910 MHz.
** New Beta Version of Auto-patch Software Installed ** 4/30/98 Starting Wednesday afternoon (4/29/98), the basic auto-patch code will be changed. Notices have been sent out to all of our auto-patch members. In addition, a new "beta" version of the auto-patch software will be operational as well, which will make the auto-patch system 412/724 area code compliant. In an effort to minimize the number of digits a user must enter, you will only have to dial (1) additional digit which will precede the number you wish to dial. For example: If you wish to dial (724) xxx-xxxx, instead of dialing 1-(724) xxx-xxxx, you will only need to dial 7-xxx-xxxx. Likewise, if you wish to dial (412) xxx-xxxx, you will only need to dial 4-xxx-xxxx. The computer will automatically add the "1" and correct area code that you specified before the number you wish to call as it !
For those that have speed dial numbers, you will enter your speed dial number (#*xxx) as usual. The correct area code is stored in the computer's memory, and the number will be dialed as usual. Since this is a "beta" version, I'll be looking for feedback & suggestions (and bugs) on how to make the auto-patch system more user friendly. I want to thank all of the auto-patch members who contributed their suggestions & ideas in making the area code changeover a success. Thanks for your cooperation!
** Additional Repeater Maintenance to be performed ** 4/7/98 Now that the weather is getting warmer, there will be additional maintenance performed on the SHARC-1 (145.130 MHz) repeater over the next several weeks. Scheduled maintenance is to include the following:
1. Retune pre-amp & receiver using newly acquired RF generator.
2. Retune transmitter using newly acquired spectrum analyzer.
3. Adjust transmitter for full power output. Transmitter is currently set at 50% power.
4. Clean all components, including contacts on new controller.
5. Set Receiver and transmitter frequency using frequency counter.
These tasks will be performed prior to the new antenna/tower section installation also scheduled for this Spring. Once these tasks are completed, the repeater will then operate with the PL disabled. Additional maintenance & changes are to follow. We'll keep you informed as they occurr.
** New Hardline Purchased for New Antenna Project ** 3/26/98 100 feet of new 1/2" hardline has been purchased from Andrews, and will be used to replace the existing hardline on the SHARC-1 (145.130 MHz) repeater this Spring (expenditure: $200.00). The hardline was funded by KA3EBX.
** Changes to be Implemented to Repeater Controller Software ** 3/14/98 In my spare time while I've been out of town, I've been doing some extensive rewrites to the software that controls the .13 repeater. Some of the changes include the following:
1. Rewrote the auto-patch routines to be more efficient & to be 412/724 area code compliant.
2. Deleted expired user/speed dial numbers & added new user/speed dial numbers.
3. Added new auto voice ID function which is triggered by the receiver's carrier operated switch (COS).
4. Changed the basic autopatch access code and all control operator access codes.
5. Added link commands to enable/disable the 442-100 MHz link.
The new software will be installed next week (3/16 - 3/20). More changes are scheduled to follow.
** New Hardline Connectors Purchased for New Antenna Project ** 3/8/98 Two new "N" type hardline connectors were purchased from Andrews, and will be used when we replace the existing antenna and hardline on the 145.130 MHz repeater this Spring (expenditure: $40.00). The connectors were funded by KA3EBX. The existing 60' of hardline will be replaced with 80' of new Andrews 1/2" hardline. We will need the additional length to compensate for the additional tower section which will be added to the existing 60' tower.
** Autopatch Software to be Revised to Handle New 724 Area Code ** 3/7/98 I am currently revising the autopatch software to be compliant with Bell Atlantic's new 724 area code. The autopatch on the .13 repeater is controlled exclusively by a Commodore 64 computer. I'm trying to simplify the operation so that users will not have to enter 10 digits when manually dialing a number. For example, if you wish to call a number in the "724" area code, instead of dialing "724-xxx-xxxx", you will only have to dial, "7-xxx-xxxx". Likewise, if you want to call the "412" area code, instead of dialing "412-xxx-xxxx", you will only have to dial "4-xxx-xxxx". Once the computer receives either the "4" or "7" area code digit, it will auto-dial the entire "412" or "724" area code for you. For those that have personal speed dial numbers, you won't have to do a thing, as the correct area code will be auto-dialed for you. Although it would be possible to let the computer choose the right area code based upon the number's prefix, but that would only be a short term solution, since Bell Atlantic plans to duplicate the current prefix's between both area codes. I've updated the autopatch subscription form to be area code "sensitive". Please be sure to include your proper area code when submitting your form. The software should only take a few days to complete & test. Many thanks go out to our autopatch subscibers for their ideas & suggestions in making the autopatch changeover a pleasant one.
** Signal Generator Purchased for Repeater Maintenance ** 2/21/98 A Wavetek Model 3510 Signal Generator has just been recently purchased, and will be used for general maintenance of both the 145.130 MHz & 442.500 MHz repeaters. The generator is fully synthesized with digital readout, programmable AM/FM/PM modulation/deviation, and 100 memories. The generator covers between 1 MHz and 1 GHz, and was funded by KA3EBX. The generator will get it's first good use, when it will be used to retune both repeater receivers.
** SHARC-1 Repeater Maintenance Performed ** 2/19/98 New alkaline batteries were installed on the VOX clock driver card (expenditure: $5.00). All plug-in control cards on the original 1981 repeater controller were removed and cleaned with electrical contact cleaner. The controller motherboard was also cleaned. The autopatch relay contacts were cleaned to eliminate transient noise recently observed during normal and reverse autopatch use. Additional maintenance will be scheduled to remove and clean all of the plug-in cards on the 1984 Cylon-1000 repeater controller.
** Looking for Volunteers ** 2/15/98 We're looking for volunteers who would be interested in becoming a "Repeater Celebrity". What is a "Repeater Celebrity"? Well, if your PC is equipped with a sound card and microphone, you qualify as a Repeater Celebrity! We're looking for individuals who would be willing to record a brief 10 second voice ID for the 145.130 MHz repeater. The repeater is equipped with a RCA cart machine (a device used by commecial radio stations to play commercials) that will allow us to play up to 7 1/2 minutes of various repeater ID's. The audio is recorded on a endless loop tape that looks very much like a 8-track tape, a format extremely popular in the 70's. The ID's will be activated at random intervals when the repeater is keyed up, or they can be accessed by entering #*930. If you're in!
becoming a "Repeater Celebrity", simply email us a 10 second or less ID (.WAV format) and we'll add it to the new tape we are making. Okay, okay.....you're asking, "What do I say?" Well, here's a few examples, but you're free to deviate and use your own creativity:
1. "You're listening to the KS3R Repeater in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania"** Evening Get Together Schedule ** 2/10/98 Join us each evening between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM EST on the SHARC-1 Repeater (145.130 MHz -600 kHz) for a hour of friendly conversation and downright fun! The topic of conversation is open to anything . Tell us what you've been up to lately, throw out your technical questions to the group, or tell us a few good Bill Clinton jokes. Everyone is welcome! ** DANGER ** We might even revive the infamous "QST PICTURE NET" !
2. "On 145.13.....You're listening to the KS3R Repeater"
3. "With 100 watts of power, you're listening to the KS3R Repeater"
4. "Two meters at it's best....You're listening to the KS3R Repeater"
5. "This is (your callsign), and you're listening to the KS3R Repeater in Bridgeville Pennsylvania"
Please use the highest (mono) sampling rate available on your PC. Do you do celebrity impersonations? We're looking for those too! Email your ID to: KA3EBX. Once we have enough ID's to complete a 7 1/2 minute tape, we'll put it on the air!
** Spectrum Analyzer Purchased for Repeater Maintenance ** 2/5/98 A Hewlett Packard Model 8565A Spectrum Analyzer has just been recently purchased, and will be used for general maintenance of both the 145.130 MHz & 442.500 MHz repeaters. The analyzer covers between 1 MHz and 22 GHz, and was funded by KA3EBX. The analyzer will get it's first good use, when it will be used to retune both repeater transmitters.
** Spectrum Plots of SHARC-1 (145.130 MHz) Repeater Duplexer ** 2/5/98 Click here to view the spectrum plots taken after the SHARC-1 (145.130 MHz) repeater duplexers were evaluated, and returned to service.
** SHARC-1 Repeater Returned to Service ** 2/5/98 The SHARC-1 (145.130 MHz) repeater is back online. The duplexers were evaluted, and found to be tuned correctly. Filter response plots were taken, and filed away for future reference.
** SHARC-1 Repeater will be Offline During Maintenance ** 2/1/98 The SHARC-1 (145.130 MHz) repeater will be temporarily off the air for 24 hours while the repeater's duplexers are being retuned. The repeater will be offline, and unavailable for use between 12:00 PM Wednesday (2/4/98) and 12:00 PM Thursday (2/5/98).
** Repeater Expenditures ** 1/28/98 Hustler G7-144 Antenna: $178.80, (4) 131.8 Hz PL reeds: $40.00, (4) 4' flourescent light bulbs: $8.00, WPRC dues: $20.00 (SHARC-1) .
** 1998 WPRC Membership Dues Submitted ** 1/27/98 1998 memberships dues ($10.00/repeater) have been submitted to the Western Pennsylvania Repeater Council (WPRC). Membership dues help defray the costs associated with frequency coodination, mediation services, and other miscellaneous operating expenses of the WPRC .
** Spectrum Plots of SHARC-2 Repeater Duplexer ** 1/25/98 Click here to view the spectrum plots taken after the SHARC-2 (442.500 MHz) repeater duplexers were retuned, and returned to service.
** SHARC-2 Repeater Returned to Service ** 1/23/98 The SHARC-2 (442.500 MHz) repeater is back online. The duplexers were retuned, and an additional 25 dB of rejection was achieved. Filter response plots were taken, and filed away for future reference.
** PL News ** 1/21/98 The SHARC-1 (145.130 MHz), Bridgeville & SHARC-2 (442.500 MHz) Canonsburg repeaters (KA3EBX/R) are now using the CTCSS frequency of 131.8 Hz. When enabled, you will need to set your CTCSS encoder/decoder to 131.8 Hz. The repeater's transmitter will also provide a CTCSS output of 131.8 Hz. By enabling your receiver's CTCSS decoder, you may virtually eliminate any undesired stations, noises or interference from opening your receiver's squelch. When enabled, the repeater's courtesy tone will change from 3 tones to 2, by disabling the center tone. Note: Normally, CTCSS will not be enabled on either repeater, and will only be enabled when natural or malicious interference is present. It is not meant to be used as a deterrent to preclude users operating in accordance to FCC regulations from accessing either repeater. Special thanks goes out to Chuck - N3MJQ, for assisting in the PL frequency modification.
** SHARC-2 Repeater will be Offline During Maintenance ** 1/21/98 The SHARC-2 (442.500 MHz) repeater will be temporarily off the air for 24 hours while the repeater's duplexers are being retuned. The repeater will be offline, and unavailable for use between 12:00 PM Thursday (1/22/98) and 12:00 PM Friday (1/23/98).
** Link Receiver & Transmitter Acquired ** 1/16/98 A link receiver and transmitter has been acquired in order to establish a link between the SHARC-1 and SHARC-2 repeaters. Crystals have been ordered, and have already arrived. The link will be able to be controlled by either repeater. We'll keep you posted as further progress develops.
** 6 Meter Repeater Activity ** 1/16/98 Ron - N3WX and I, are currently looking into the feasibility of constructing a 6 meter repeater. We have already obtained a suitable 100W commercial low band VHF transmitter and receiver, and site for the repeater. Ron will be working with the WPRC, in order to obtain frequency coordination. We'll keep you posted as further progress develops.
** Duplexers Scheduled to be Retuned for both SHARC-1 & SHARC-2 Repeaters ** 12/27/97 Plans have been made to retune the duplexers for the both the SHARC-1 (145.130 MHz) & SHARC-2 (442.500 MHz) repeaters. The retuning will be performed with a Hewlett Packard network analyzer. The retuning will occur at a telecommunications facility in McMurray. Both repeaters will be unavailable for use during this time. Expected repeater down time during the retuning process should be less than 24 hours.
** New Antenna for SHARC-1 (145.130 MHz) Repeater ** 12/27/97 Discussions were recently held, and tentative plans have been made to replace the existing 10 year old antenna with a new Hustler 7dB Coaxial Colinear antenna in the Spring of 1998. In addition, new hardline and an additional 20' tower section will be added to the existing 60' tower section. The new antenna and additional tower structure is expected to greatly enhance the repeater's coverage. The antenna was financed by KA3EBX, and with private donations from several valued repeater users. Special thanks goes out to those who have faithfully supported the repeater.