BBARC is Testing a New Radio Repeater Installation in Alpine

April 2, 2018, Alpine, Texas
Alpine has a new frequency to access the club’s repeater system. It is an odd configuration and is only in test mode at this time, but as we work out the details, we hope we can make it permanent.

The frequency is 446.150 SIMPLEX with 146.2 PL tone. Do note, as you try to program your radios for this frequency, most modern radios may try to use an offset transmit frequency for 446.150. You will likely have to force the SIMPLEX operation.

This is one of our Cross-Band repeater boxes that we have been using for some events in the Big Bend Ranch State Park and will probably use in Big Bend National Park. We have 3 of these boxes and each time we need them we have to borrow someones dual band radio, get it programmed and mounted inside the cross-band box, and after the event we extract the borrowed radio and return it to its owner and put the box back on the shelf. We can go into more detail on the box at another time, but in short, it is an empty equipment box with a removable top. it has power terminals on the outside, a coax connector on the back and an NMO mobile antenna mount on the top cover. Inside the box we mount a mounting bracket for a mobile radio. The power terminals, coax connector, and mobile antenna mount have pig-tails to complete the connections to the mobile radio.
Recently, an older model Kenwood model TM-V7A dual band radio was donated to the club so at least one of the 3 cross-band boxes could be equipped and ready to go at a few moments notice. That is nice, but as experience has taught us, as with the 145.23 emergency repeater, equipment that sits ìReady to Goî , inactive on a shelf for long periods of time, may not be quite as ready as we would like when we need it. That is part of the purpose of Field Day, to check equipment and see if it needs attention.
So it seemed a good idea to build this, one equipped cross-band box, and put it into service in Alpine so we could know that it is in working condition on a daily basis.
Today this unit was installed at the Alpine True Value store. In this ‘Phase One’ part of our test, a mag-mount dual-band mobile antenna has been mounted on top of a commercial down-draft water cooler on the True Value store roof and coax runs into the offices inside the store to the cross-band box.
Performance tests today were very promising. There is full quieting HT performance from inside the store, which is an all steel building, and also from inside the old Wool and Mohair building on Murphy street. This is good since the Wool and Mohair building is now a Morrison True Value property and its owner is Bob Ward, wa5roe, who is also our ARES Emergency Coordinator.
But aside from giving Bob HT monitoring capabilities from downtown Alpine, it also provides HT access to our repeaters for visitors to Alpine who might only be traveling with HT radios.

So phase one; is the idea of maintaining a ready to go cross-band, in service and monitored on a daily basis possible? The answer seems to be yes.
For now we don’t know how far the usable range extends, but a more efficient antenna may be considered later.
Phase 2 is a technical matter of operation format for a permanent station. Then phase 3 will be the consideration of higher gain antennas.

For now this project is considered under development and temporary for the time being. But we expect to work out the details to make it permanent in the future.
As we are an open repeater system, so the cross-band is open as well. While we know the range is very limited, ( good within a mile probably, but local building obstructions will have an effect,) we will be interested in signal reports. What we will be looking for is whether a station is a mobile or an HT station? What is the station location? If it is HT, is it from inside a building, is it from inside a car or bus or train, etc., is it using an OEM rubber duckie antenna, a high gain HT whip antenna, or an HT connected to an external mag-mount or other antenna. And since this station is just installed and the frequency not widely published, BBARC members will probably be the only users for some time. So for tose members who are in the Alpine valley, or those who travel in and out of Alpine regularly, please feel free to work this cross-band and note its performance.

IF AT LEAST ONE STATION IS ON THE CROSS-BAND, we would like a signal report.
Here is the info we are interested in on signal reports:
Were you on a local repeater or the cross-band?
Was the other station on a local repeater or the cross-band?
If a local repeater, which repeater and which station?
Precisely were was the cross-band being worked from, (location, outdoors or indoors?)
What was the location of the other station?
Was the signal full quieting, solid but noisy, did the audio drop out and how bad?
Common sense, where were you, where was the other station, who was on which frequency.

Collect your signal reports and you may give them on the Wednesday 2-meter net so everyone can share, and/or you can e-mail to

146.920 Repeater, July 13, 2016

146.920 Glass Mountains Repeater

Filed by: w5ato


Crew; No trip.

ISSUE: Site has lost link to BBARC hub again.

Shortly before the weekly 2-meter net we lost the link from the 146.920 repeater site to our BBARC System hub. Once again we have been unable to restore it remotely.

CURRENT STATE OF SITE: The 146.920 repeater is functioning but is NOT linked to our system. It does seem to be linked just fine to the West Texas Connection system.

FOLLOW UP ACTIONS: The exact problem has still not been identified. It is likely that we have a bad link radio. It is also possible we may have a problem with the controller. It is going to require at least one or two more trips to the site, and possibly some, “try this and see what fails where the next time,” steps before the exact problem can be pin-pointed.

It will be some time before anyone can schedule another trip, but we hope to get to the site within the next 3 to 4 weeks.

146.920 Repeater, July 10, 2016

146.920 Glass Mountains Repeater

Filed by: w5ato


Crew; N5HYD, KB5R, W5ATO

ISSUE: Site has lost link to BBARC hub

Why the hub link to the 92 site went down and could not be re-established could not be determined. It seemed a power recycling of the link radio may have been what restored normal operation. These particular radios are somewhat unpredictable when voltage levels become unstable.

CURRENT STATE OF SITE: Fully functional as designed. The link to the BBARC repeater system has been restored.

While on site, a change was made to the link radio to the West Texas Connection repeater system which we use for the region wide emergency link to connect us to Midland/Odessa. In the past we had linked that radio to the WTC repeater at the Notrees. That has now been changed to link to the Odessa WTC repeater hub. We now hear no extra repeater drops that tell us we are linked to the WTC, and the audio is much better.

FOLLOW UP ACTIONS: We will, in the future, add some type of tone, courtesy beep, or something that will let us know when the WTC is linked to the BBARC system.

Event Update- Big Bend 50

Changes to the Big Bend 50 Ultra Run

This year there will not be a 50 MILE course. It is being replaced with a 50 KILOMETER course. This should shorten the race day and hopefully bring in more runners. As of the moment we have no new start and closing times but the Big Bend 50 web page says they will be coming soon. Race day will be Sunday, January 15, 2017. The new 50k course will follow the old course to about half way between station Bravo and Charlie, then turn north up Fresno Creek to Golf, then follow the old course back to Bravo and Warnock.

Visit for more information.

146.720 Inspection 4-JUNE-2016

146.720 Alpine Repeater Inspection Visit

Filed by: w5ato



ISSUE: Storms and high winds have passed through the area. An inspection was made to determine that equipment was in good physical condition.

The antennas for the 146.720 site are mounted in a 5-gal paint bucket, filled half way with concrete with a 1-1/4” mast stub. A 5 foot mast is set on the stub. The 2-meter antenna is mounted at the top of the mast and the 440 antenna is mounted just below that. The mast is guyed with parachute cord, to three other 5-gal paint buckets filled with local rocks.

All equipment was in good condition and all buckets, guy ropes and antennas were in good shape. No problem issues were found.

CURRENT STATE OF SITE: Fully functional as designed.

FOLLOW UP ACTIONS: None at this time.

FUTURE PLANS: At some point we want to replace the antenna mounting system with a more permanent installation with a little more height. For certain we will want to drive in some guy anchor rods. With anchors in place we can move to about 20 feet of mast or tower sections. This should get the antennas at or above the scrub oaks, possibly adding a little stronger signal and extending the fringe area of coverage by a small percentage.

146.920 Repairs 4-JUNE-2016

146.920 Glass Mountains Repeater

Filed by: w5ato



ISSUE: Follow Up Repairs from 28-MAY-2016 Trip

Of the two solar panels that were removed for bench repairs, one was repairable, one was not.

The one repaired solar panel was reinstalled.

A 3-element 440 yagi was installed for the WTC link. The coax feed lines were re-connected to put the WTC link radio to the 3-element antenna and the Wink link radio back to the 7-element antenna.

While installing the new WTC antenna, a field test was conducted using a 5-watt HT through the new antenna. It was found we have a full strength signal from the WTC Odessa repeater, and contact was made with KB5JXO Benny, in Ft. Stockton. Benny was on the Ft. Stockton branch of the WTC so his link was going through Notrees and on to Odessa and then to the 146.920 repeater site on our WTC link radio, or my HT in this case. The signal and the audio were strong and clear, with intermittent break up, likely in the WTC system between Ft. Stockton and Odessa. But the signal from Odessa to Glass Mountains was strong and solid.

An attempt was made to reprogram the “Personality” of the repeater controller. The “Personality” of the controller refers to several elements of its operation. It determines what control codes are accepted and what actions to take, and what CW responses to send back in response. The new Personality did not behave as intended so the pre-existing Personality was restored.

CURRENT STATE OF SITE: Fully functional as designed.

FOLLOW UP ACTIONS: The Link radios we are using (440 links to the HUB, WTC, and WINK,) require programming on the bench to establish memory frequencies for use. Another WTC radio will be programmed for the Odessa repeater frequency and installed on the next trip. The Personality program will also be reviewed and re-written. Both will be installed as soon as they can be completed and another trip to the site scheduled.

146.920 Repair, 28-MAY-2016

146.920 Glass Mountain Repeater Repair Trip



Little or no power in mornings. Suspect weak battery.

Arrived on location to find one solar panel torn from its rack and laying on ground, link antenna to WTC torn off its mount to the tower leg, and link antenna to Wink had been twisted from its aim to the north to aiming east with the tip of the boom against the guy wire. This all looked to have been done by very high winds from about a week previous.

solarP_7330 crop-400    antenna_7330 crop-400

Electrical inspection revealed two of the older solar panels were not generating power and they were removed to be inspected closer on the bench to see if they can be repaired. There was no physical damage to them. One side of the 100 watt panel frame had been torn from the panel, still bolted in the mounting frame. The wires were torn from the butt connectors, but the panel was un-broken and still generated power. Field repairs were made to re-mount the 100 watt panel in the mounting frame and it was reconnected to the power circuit.

Jumper cables were used to recharge the batteries from the truck while repairs were being made. After repairs, the charging system and the batteries all seemed to be in good working order. More permanent repairs will need to be made as soon as practical.

The one destroyed antenna was removed, the other antenna was re-aimed, and coax was switched to connect the remaining antenna to the WTC link radio. The Wink radio has been left off-line until the next repair visit.

The 146.92 repeater is still working and linked to the system and should work normally, the only exception is the temporary loss of the 440 MHz Wink Link radio.

allen-doug_7346 crop-400