147.285 MHz


London, OH

Early History of the 147.285 Repeater in Madison County

By Don Kovalchik, W8DPK

Equipment Coverage Operation Site Index

The 147.285 MHz repeater was first put on the air in August 1983.  It was joint effort of WB8IUH (Don, later WE8R, now W8DPK) and N8CWU (Larry).  Since Larry had the shorter callsign, it was decided to use Larry's callsign on the repeater.  Because of the band plan in use then, the output frequency was 147.885 Mhz.  We chose that frequency because there were no other repeaters in Ohio on that frequency.  The receiver was a Kenwood TR-7400A (a 2 meter mobile rig) located at Don's QTH near West Jefferson, and the transmitter was an Icom IC-22S (another 2 meter mobile rig) located at Larry's QTH about ¼ mile away.  The two sites were linked on 449.700 Mhz using low powered VHF Engineering modules.  The controller was a Commodore VIC-20 computer running a BASIC program for simple control of basic repeater functions.  No autopatch was available.  Later in 1983, the Icom became the receiver and the Kenwood the transmitter for increased performance.  The Icom IC-22S worked so well that it remained the 2M receiver until 1994.  Split sites were used because we didn't have and couldn't afford to buy a duplexer.

In 1984 the software was updated to the RC-4 Repeater Control Software for the VIC-20.  This software, written by Don, was later sold as a commercially available product.  An autopatch was added, sharing Don's home phone line.  Later in the year, the band plan changed and the frequency pair was inverted and changed to the current 147.285 Mhz.

By 1985, the repeater system was informally associated with MARC - its users and contributors were all MARC members.  Thanks to the efforts of Bob Kirby (KA8GTJ, later N8IDJ, now SK) and Orville "Doc" Russell (KA8KHS, later N8IBS, now SK) and possibly others, a site was secured at the Madison County Hospital in London, and the transmitter site was moved from Larry's QTH to the hospital.  Also installed was a new transmitter, a GE Royal Exec mobile rig, modified to use a 440 Mhz link receiver and a 147 Mhz transmitter running about 15 watts.  A dedicated phone line was installed at the control site (Don's QTH) for full time autopatch operation. 

In 1986 the link frequency was changed to 444.725 Mhz to avoid interference with systems in Dayton and Mansfield.  The link transmitter was changed to a GE “PR” handheld transmitter strip and a Motorola Micor™ amplifier running about 50 watts.  This also doubled as our UHF output transmitter.  The orphaned UHF link receiver at Larry's QTH was re-crystaled to 449.725 MHz for use as the UHF input frequency, and the N8CWU Repeater was now a dual band repeater on both 2 meters and 440 MHz.  Users with dual-band rigs could take advantage of the full duplex autopatch.

In 1988, N8IJV (Terry, SK) donated a Motorola Micor™ base station for use as the main transmitter in London.  Don added the UHF link receiver and modified it for use as a repeater.  It was installed on February 29, 1988.  The transmitter is rated for 110 watts but is set at about 75 watts for repeater duty.  This was the VHF transmitter until it was replaced in 2000 with the current Hamtronics equipment.

In 1990, the link transmitter was changed to a GE Master II mobile transmitter strip running about 15 watts.  (This is our current link transmitter at the Mt Sterling receive site.)

In August 1992, a major lightning strike severely damaged or destroyed most of the equipment at the Don's control site.  The system was down for one week while the equipment was repaired.  This was the first time since 1983 that the repeater was off the air for more than a few days.

In September 1994, another lightning strike blasted the Icom IC-22S receiver beyond repair.  The repeater was down for nearly three weeks while a new Motorola Micor™ VHF receiver was adapted for amateur band use.  (This is our current receiver at the Mt Sterling receive site.)

 In November 1994, all of the power supplies for the radios and computer equipment were modified for 12 volt operation, and a 30AH battery and charger installed. 

In February 2000, the repeater call sign was changed to KE8RV in memory of Wanda Cutlip, SK.  Wanda was the club "voice" for many years.  She was always around when anyone accessed the repeater.  She made everyone using the repeater feel welcome.  Wanda was a part of the club's core and could be found at any club event.  People could always depend on Wanda for taking an active part in the club's success.  Ernie Young (WB8WHQ, SK) was another welcoming “voice” on the repeater.  Wanda and Ernie would QSO for hours, and others would often join in.

Since I was not an active member of the Club from 1999 to 2002, I do not have knowledge of the repeater history during that time.  If anyone would like to contribute any details of the events during that time frame, please contact me and I will add it to this page.  My email address is:  W8DPK email address

Copyright ©  2006, 2009 All rights reserved
   Donald Kovalchik

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This page last updated January 6, 2009