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Lancaster Repeater Information

The LFCARC currently operates and maintains repeaters on the 6-meter (53.09 -1mhz), 2-meter (146.70 -6khz and 147.03 +6khz), and 70-centimeter (443.875 +5mhz) bands. The 6-meter and 70-centimeter machines are linked. The use of CTCSS/PL sub-audible tone codes are required. These are 71.9 (for 53.09mhz, 147.03mhz, & 443.875mhz) and 94.8 (146.70mhz).

To see a larger image, click on a photo.


 
Fairfield Medical Center antenna Fairfield Medical Center Police Office Fairfield Medical Centr 5th Floor Rm. Fairfield Medical Center 5th Floor Radio Equipment Rm.
FMC antenna FMC Police Office FMC 5th floor rm FMC equipment rm
       
Fairfield Medical Center Tower Radio Building at the Reservoir 17 KW Back-up Generator Racks for the 147.03mhz & 443.875 mhz repeaters
FMC radio tower Radio bldg-reservoir 17 KW generator Racks for repeaters
       
147.030mhz Repeater & Power Supply Rack for Packet Radio nodes Rack for 147.030mhz receiver & 6-meter receiver Tuned Cavity Cans
147.030mhz repeater Packet radio nodes 6-meter receiver Tuned cavity cans
       
Fairfield County Tower at Reservoir Packet Radio Antennas at Reservoir Tower View towards Columbus  
Fairfield County tower Packet radio antennas Tower view  
       

   

History:
Around 1973 the club members were embracing the new and latest fad of repeating your station from another located in a much higher location which also made mobile and hand held operation possible over a very long range of coverage area. To permit this, the oncoming 2-meter band proved to be the most popular. Several repeaters were in operation, most notably the 146.76mhz repeater in Columbus and the 146.94mhz repeater in Athens. Both repeaters could easily be heard in and around the Lancaster area (even with mobile and hand held equipment).

During this time the FCC also relaxed some rules that would permit amateurs to use repeaters to “connect” to the local telephone company and place land-line calls via your mobile or hand held. Can you imagine the rush to get your own mobile and hand held radio so as to impress your family and friends how you could make telephone calls from other than your home or office! For the next 25 years ham operators ruled the mobile and portable telephone world until cell phones became popular in the early 90’s. Most days if you were monitoring our local repeater it would be common to hear several phone conversations daily, most which consisted of the ham calling home to see if they needed to stop at the store to pick anything up on the way home.

Several efforts were made in the early 70’s to get a repeater operating in Lancaster. It wasn’t until four club members, John/W8OF (former WB8RON), Jim/WB8RCT, Dave/WD8AOL, and Harvey/WB8DWI formed a group and placed the first repeater on-the-air in 1975 using 146.025+6mhz as the operating channel. After the great blizzard of 1978 the repeater was moved to an abandoned State Patrol transmitter building at the Lancaster City Water Reservoir north of Rising Park on the flat rocks. At this time the frequency was changed to the assigned pair 147.03+6.mhz.

147.030 Repeater:
The original repeater was a 25 year old tube type General Electric transmitter and an old Progress Line receiver. In 1983 the older equipment was replaced with newer GE Master ll equipment donated to the club. During these years two aux receiver sites were installed, one on the Shetrone Store tower in Baltimore and the other at the Fire House #1 in Lancaster’s downtown. These operated until the late 80’s when the older equipment became too expensive to maintain.

In 1992 the repeater was moved from the old radio building on the south side to the new building on the north side of the reservoir and antennas were moved to the Fairfield County tower. In 2004 the club received a used Motorola Micor repeater which replaced the aging GE radios. In 2008 the County EMA purchased and installed an emergency generator to power all radio equipment at the site. In 2013 a generous club member Carl/WA8HSF donated $1,200 for a new repeater and thus a Yaesu VXR-7000 was purchased and installed. Later in 2013 FMC purchased an 8 channel LDG voter and the Fairfield County EMA donated used Motorola UHF radios which were incorporated into the repeaters. 2013 was the year for many improvements and two aux receiver sites were created, one back at the downtown firehouse #1 and the other in the northwestern part of the county at the residence of Steve/KD8JLA. In 2014 the club hired a tower company to relocate and install several antennas on the 160’ Fairfield County tower. Because of these improvements the range on the clubs main repeater has increased and mostly useable from 35 to 60+ miles from Lancaster. Due to rising expenses and lack of use the auto-patch was removed in 2014.

147.700 Repeater:
During the mid-80’s the club acquired the remains of a 146.70 repeater that a couple local hams built. The old system was donated to the LFCARC which could best support its continued operation. In 2010 Fairfield Medical Center purchased a new Yaesu VXR-7000 repeater, duplexer, controller and antenna which were installed on the hospital’s 90 foot tower located on the roof of the sixth floor. This repeater currently is used for Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) activities in the Fairfield County region. One aux receiver is located on the County tower at the city reservoir.

The ARES repeater is used during any ARES functions and public service support by the club when assisting community activities such as during parades, the Lancaster Festival concerts,  and other community events. This site is ideal due to the facilities available including a very good back up power source.

147.875 Repeater:
In 1999, a donation of a used Motorola repeater and antenna was given to the club. The repeater and antenna were installed on the Fairfield County tower. This provided the local hams a new venue in the UHF spectrum.  In 2006, the system was replaced by a GE repeater to incorporate into the UHF Ohio Linked repeater system. The system was in operation until 2008 when the system managers pulled the plug. The system was then reverted to local use. In 2013 the equipment was updated with used UHF gear provided by the County EMA. Currently the range is about 30 miles in some directions and 40+ in others. In 2014, this repeater was linked to the clubs new 6-meter 53.09mhz repeater. Cross banding UHF with 53mhz provides for fun use of hand held to communicate over a wide range when the 6-meter band is open and longer local range due to the lower frequency in use.

53.090 Repeater:
In 2013, the LFCARC authorized the start-up of a new 53.09mhz  repeater. Several club members assembled and installed the necessary equipment. The transmitter site is located on the FMC tower and the receiver is located on the Fairfield County tower. This repeater is linked to the 443.875mhz repeater; therefore a UHF operator can easily talk to a 6-meter operator or talk on the same band to each other. The transmitter power is 100 watts and uses a mostly omni-directional pattern antenna. Continued improvements are in store for this machine.

Repeater Support Providers:
The local radio repeater systems have been proven to assist our community during times vital backup communication is requested and services provided. These systems could not operate if the following agencies and community members were not involved and offering their continued support of our mission:

• City of Lancaster Fire Department
• Fairfield County Commissioners and Emergency Management Agency
• Fairfield Medical Center
• Members of The Lancaster Fairfield County Amateur Radio Club
• Members of the Fairfield County Amateur Radio Emergency Service
• Other various support businesses and agencies


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Updated 11/9/15