PCARA
POLK COUNTY AMATEUR RADIO ASSOCIATION
PCARA
N9XH Repeaters - History
 
Yaesu System Fusion - The Journey to Prime Time - 2015
n9xh_system_fusion_on
March 12, 2015 - The Yaesu System Fusion DR-1X repeater installed at the tower shack in Balsam Lake. Mounted in the cabinet is the DR-1X, CAT-250 controller, 2 link radios, AC power strip, 2 150AH batteries and a Astron RS-20A power supply. The repeater was turned on just before noon on Thursday the 12th of March. First QSO on FM between Chuck WD9GWG and Greg N9CHA. First C4FM QSO between Chuck WD9GWG and Mark W9GWG.
n9xh_fusion_rear
March 12, 2015 - The rear of the cabinet is open, allowing access to all of the interconnect cables. The computer monitor and keyboard are used for Echolink and APRS. Both the VHF and UHF repeaters, including packet and APRS are backed up using large batteries.
n0xc_kc9roi_scope
March 1, 2015 - Steve NØXC and his son Ben KC9ROI monitor their digital oscilloscope during the testing phase of the System Fusion integration. A custom interface using an Arduino UNO microprocessor is used to handle control timings between the CAT-250 and the DR-1X. Analysis of these control lines were shared with the engineers at CATAuto. All of the testing and building was completed at Bruce N9BLU's machine shop.
kc9nvv_gavin_test
February 24, 2015 - Chris KC9NVV and his son Gavin turn the DR-1X on. At this point a functioning interface had been designed and tested. The repeater used a UHF pair which Chris has coordination for in Rice Lake. A low height UHF antenna at Bruce N9BLU's shop was used for local testing.
dr1X_ptt_block
February 24, 2015 - The PTT lines were run out through a hole and attached to a terminal block. The DC wires from the internal power supply are also run out through this hole.
dr1X_split_ptt
February 24, 2015 - One of the "warranty busting" modifications included this surgical cut into the control line going to the transmitter. The PTT wire had to be interrupted with both the go-to and come-from lines handled by the Arduino UNO controller. The firmware in the System Fusion controller became confused with switching between Base and Remote and from Auto to FM. It was necessary to slice open the cable and pull the PTT wire free.
n9blu_dr1x_cabinet
February 15, 2015 - Bruce N9BLU opens up an area between vent hole to install a rubber grommet. DC from the power supply and TX PTT control lines needed to exit the DR-1X cabinet.
dr1x_power
January 25, 2015 - The internal power supply was tapped using Molex connectors. The power was routed outside the cabinet so the CAT-250 Controller could receive power. Since there is a battery backup, this power source will go uninterrupted if the AC Mains should go down.
dr1x_access_hole
January 25, 2015 - A hole was punched into the DR-1X cabinet cover to allow access of a programming switch in the main receiver. When a firmware update is released, it is necessary to flip a small programming switch inside the repeater. Several screws need to be removed making the job difficult. This access hole provides a much faster process.
arcom_adr
February 19, 2015 - The photo shows the Arcom ADR interface which was tested for use between the DR-1X and the CAT-250. unfortunately, it only worked a part of the time. Users of the repeater could still confuse the switch between Base and Remote because this interface does not take control of all PTT functions. An Arduino UNO was finally put into service which provided a smooth transition between modes.
dr1x_arrived
January 4, 2015 - The repeater just after un-boxing. The unit was shipped to Rick W9WS and it arrived the day after Christmas. After the holidays, Greg N9CHA began the project by evaluating the repeater and learning its programming functions. At this point the research started on how to interface the DR-1X to an external repeater controller.
 
IRLP 3443 Active Using Raspberry Pi Computer
IRLP3443
April 7, 2013 - Shown above are the components that make up the control features and IRLP hardware installed on the UHF repeater. The IRLP board is mated to the Raspberry Pi computer and the Repeater Controller. The +5vdc required by the computer is provided by the DC-DC power supply. The network connection is made through a CAT5 cable. All of the above control equipment is mounted on a plastic sheet that slides into the Kenwood TKR-850 chassis.
 
Controller Update
N9BLU_Mill
March 17, 2012 - Bruce N9BLU is hard at work making some "spacers" to raise the repeater controllers chassis cover in order to accommodate a new audio processor board.
N9BLU_Assemble_Spacer
March 17, 2012 - The aluminum spacer is assembled. Bruce is a professional machinist and makes very sophisticated tools and machine parts, so this little project was easily accomplished in a short amount of time using materials he had on hand.
Controller_Spacer_Cover
March 17, 2012 - The spacer in its place... now there is an additional 3/4" of space above the main controller board to accommodate the additional modules which are mounted to the cover. The update including the audio processor board (small board on cover with 3 blue pots) was added to help eliminate users from "falsing" the DTMF decoder. This simple fix, thanks to Bruce, keeps all of the controller electronics clean and free from interference.
 
Audio Processor Added to Controller
Controller_Audiio_Processor
March 10, 2012 - This is a view of the inside of the top cover of the repeater controller chassis. The DL-1000C Audio Delay board provides audio delay so users DTMF tones are not heard while controlling special functions, like activating the Weather Net. This board was installed back in 2008 when the MSR-2000 went on-line. The AP-100 Audio Processor was added to help eliminate DTMF "falsing" by users audio. At times, users audio would be decoded as a touch-tone which would in turn enable the audio mute function normally used when DTMF is sent to the controller.
 
DC Power Connectors Repaired
DC-Power-Poles
March 10, 2012 - Two new Anderson Power Poles were crimped onto the #8 wire leading to our backup battery. For some reason, the blue connector bodies which were original to the installation failed and disintegrated when touched. No evidence of heat related trauma was indicated. Mark KC9GHQ and Mark W9GWG completed the repair.
 
Remote Receive Site - Taylor's Falls, MN
n9cha_remote_receive
July 28, 2011 - Making the final connections to the remote receive site in Taylor's Falls, MN is Greg N9CHA. This receive site allows hams to easily get their 2 meter FM signal up out of the St. Croix Valley and into the N9XH repeater.
k9wen_grounding
July 28, 2011 - Attaching the ground wire is Bill K9WEN. The antennas are attached to polyphasers to reduce the risk of a lightening strike. While the antennas are not the highest object in the area, it's always a good idea to provide additional safety.
remote_receive_electronics
July 28, 2011 - The receive site electronics utilize two Motorola CM200 mobile radios, a back-up battery, temperature controlled fan, and a programmable PIC controller for transmitter identification.
 
New Repeater Antenna Installed
DB224_110209
November 2, 2009 - The DB-224, 4-pole dipole, collinear antenna installation was completed by Len N9QIP and his assistant Jason. The fiberglass radome Sheriff antenna was removed. A Hustler G6-270 dual-band antenna was also installed on one of the side-arm mounts. Remaining at the top of the tower are two side-arm brackets with cellular antennas attached.
Photo: Mark W9GWG
The club is using a Motorola MSR-2000 using the CTCSS tone of 110.9 and transmitting 50 watts into a 6 dBd gain vertical Andrews DB-224 TX/RX antenna. The tower is located near Balsam Lake, WI. The repeater has a battery back-up in case of a power failure.
Click HERE to view a coverage map provided by the K5EHX web site.
History

2015 - UHF Yaesu System Fusion Installed (June 23, 2015)
2015 - VHF Yaesu System Fusion installed (March 12, 2015)
2014 - ECHOLINK 991104 Installed on VHF Repeater
2014 - UHF Repeater DB-404 Antenna Installed
2014 - UHF Beam (Balsam Lake - Barron County Link) Mounted at 150' on Tower
2013 - Repeater Shack Painted
2013 - UHF Repeater On Air 8-9-13, IRLP 3443
2012 - Main AC Line Replaced Pole to Shack
2012 - UHF Beam (Taylors Falls Link) Mounted at 50' on Tower
2011 - Air Conditioner Installed
2011 - Cell Phone Company Leaves Site
2010 - Battery Back-up Installed
2009 - DB-224 Antenna Installed
2008 - Motorola MSR2000 Replaces Motorola 1225
2007 - Call sign changed to N9XH (06-09-07)
2008 - Moved to the Balsam Lake Dump Site tower
2003 - Call sign was changed to AA9FW
2001 - Club moved to the Polk County Government Center
1996 - Installed Repeater Tower at Government Center

1995 - First on the air with the call sign N9QFW
1995 - Polk County Amateur Radio Association established

Video - 1996 Repeater Antenna Installation

The video was taken in May of 1996 by Chuck WD9GWG. It is 7.5 minutes long. You will need a high-speed internet connection as well as Adobe Flash Player 8 to view. It depicts the men involved with installing the tower sections to the penthouse of the Government Center. The repeater at the time was a Hamtronics mounted in a 19" rack cabinet. While some of the crew were installing the tower section, others were fishing coax through the building. An additional antenna was installed on a section of mast also mounted to the penthouse. It was used for emergency communications from an EOC point within the building.

In 2008 the repeater was moved to its current site. (The club no longer uses the Hamtronics unit, it was replaced by a Motorola 1225 and eventually by a Motorola MSR-2000) The tower and antenna are currently being utilized for APRS operation.

N9XH - Polk County Amateur Radio Association - 1732 Forest Circle - Balsam Lake - WI - 54810 - Info@N9XH.org