The KA1RCI Repeater Network

My first radio phone integrator / repeater controller 1984

With the expert guidance from my mentor Leo Spaz I was able to build on his original design and construction of a radio telephone integrator and created my first radio phone / repeater. I had been playing with electronics and radios since that first receiver I had built back in 1973. With that simple receiver and a random wire antenna I had discovered the world of SWL and Amateur radio. Now with Leo's inspiration I assembled the components for a full duplex radio telephone system using 29 MHz for my input frequency and 158 MHz for my output. This simple system which used circuits found in the ARRL handbook enabled the operator to send touch tone command from a radio system in his or her car back to the base station and access the land line to make and receive phone calls.

In these first few photos above you can see Leo's hand written system schematics for the radio phone integrator. In the next three photos you can see my system with the commercial VHF radio which was the transmitter and the ham radio used as the receiver.

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 In the photo to the left I was an old VHF radio running about 15 to 20 watts. The photo to the right shows the system after an upgrade with a %100 duty cycle VHF radio and power amplifier running about 95 watts. With this initial system Leo and I had good radio phone coverage all around northern Rhode Island and into parts or southern Massachusetts. As we developed our little "network" we each ran a full duplex system and shared each others nodes dramatically increasing our range. We both used the same system output frequency with different input frequencies and the only real trick was to figure out just who's phone was ringing when one of the systems would activate!

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These next four photos above show my ham station as it grew and evolved over the next few years. Most of the items in my shack were kit's, I built the HK-232 packet radio controller and the Code-Star CW Decoder. All the radios received modification / repairs / upgrades and it is obvious that the system controller was a "home-brew" device, there are a lot of folks that build repeaters but not many that can say they scratch built the controller on perf-board! This first controller was in 7x24 service for more than 15 years and never had a component failure. I still have it today but have salvaged it for parts when building my subsequent "home brew" repeater controllers.

(click on images to enlarge)

These last two photos are just to remind me how young I was 20 years ago when this obsession with repeaters began... Sandy was right there next two me typing away on the packet radio system. (I think she was sending mail on Syl N1DKF's PBBS at the time) Eventually I abandoned the radio telephone system but I continued to upgrade and used that original controller on several amateur radio projects. If you look closely at the various photos you can see that the system controller only had two LED's / switches originally, now with a third switch that gave the system additional "repeater" functions including a CW IDer, it became my first 2 meter repeater controller.

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