For more than several decades, TCARES has established and maintained five repeaters across Tuolumne County. We have recently finished an inspection and survey of the systems and performed some FCC licensing updates as well as renewing some repeater coordinations with NARCC. You can view our current repeater set up here.
While the repeaters are holding up fairly well, especially for such old installations. we determined that Tuolumne County could be better served. Currently, someone trying to get help from the wilderness, may find no-one listening on an isolated repeater. TCARES members are advocating we upgrade our system with a linked system so that effective communications from remote locations are achievable and reliable. The result should be a very impressive network for emergency and casual communications!
In late 2019, the TCARES Board of Directors approved a plan to research linking some repeaters together so that Amateur Radio operators can talk across linked repeaters between remote regions of the vast terrain of Tuolumne County’s 2,200+ square miles of hilly and Alp like mountainous terrain. Communications can also work from as far as parts of the Bay Area and extreme north and south of the Central Valley.
The Project Research
As part of the research, Greg, WA6HNA, performed a propagation survey via software. He layered each repeater together in a single graphic showing wide coverage when all three repeaters are used together. Greg presented the linking concept during the January 2020 American Red Cross Ham Radio Workshop in Sonora.
Additionally, Greg, Phil WB6GGY, Craig KM6NCU and Rich KN6HSR have each been meeting with repeater location sponsors and trustees: Tuolumne County OES, Mi-Wuk Sugar Pine Fire Station, Dodge Ridge Ski Resort to review existing agreements and memorandums, update them or create new ones.
The current plan involves both adding a linking capability, plus moving two repeaters. The Telegraph Hill repeater will be relocated to the 6,000 foot elevation Duckwall location. The current Mt Lewis repeater (.115/HUH) will be relocated to the Mi-Wuk Fire Station.
If you would like to see a google Earth tour of the existing and planned locations, watch this video, and scroll down further to learn more about the project and how you can participate.
Simulation Tour of the Planned System
Duckwall Mountain Site Visit
The Moccasin and Dodge Ridge sites have been in place for a very long time. Duckwall Mountain will be our next location. A site tour was arranged and Greg, Jerry, Marc, Todd and Gabe all visited the Hetch Hetchy controlled communications site at the summit of Duckwall Mountain.
During the site visit, the team inspected the rack space and determined where TCARES would be placed, which battery we can utilize, where we would mount the antennas and where the feed line would run into the vault. After final approval MOU is provided by County OES, we will be ready for the installation project.
TCARES and the County OES both agreed that TCARES can provide members from time-to-time to assist with work at the location to provide a safety person or perform soldering, etc.
Greg performed an airborne survey at 7000′ above Duck Wall to verify that 147.945 won’t be conflicting with other nearby repeaters with success.
Remaining Project Tasks
- Finalize and test the Hub repeater and controller
- Test the link with the current Telegraph Hill 2 meter repeater
- Finalize MOU with County OES
- Perform Duck Wall Installation as 147.945 repeater and link hub.
- Turn Down Telegraph Hill Repeater
- Relocate MT Lewis (.115/HUH) repeater to Mi-Wuk Fire Station
- Develop MOU with Dodge Ridge for regular access
- Update Dodge Ridge repeater to join the linked system.
- Finalize and test full syatem
- Educate the local Amateur Radio Community on how to use the new system.
How you can help!
We have several ways you can help get this project finished this year.
- Write a check to TCARES, Inc for any amount, write “Repeater Fund” in the memo and mail it in to our PO Box.
- TCARES PO BOX 3555, Sonora CA, 95370
- Let us know about some Amateur Radio gear you would like to donate to the club. We are able to re-sell it and donate the proceeds to the Repeater Fund.
- Associate your Amazon Account to our Smiles account and we will get a percentage of your spending donated to our club.
- Spread the word!!!
Please let us know how you are helping if you are planning to donate. (Optional if mailing a check)