Bevan VK6VX and myself made a site visit to the Katanning repeater site out at Fairfield on Monday 17 September 2007.
We inspected the site, our equipment in the rack and the antennas on the tower. We removed all of the equipment from the rack (repeater, link transceiver, packet TNC & user port transceivers) & cleaned up around the rack as it had become home & haven for rodents. They obviously liked the warm heatsinks of the radios and the PC as these were well & truly stained. They have also enjoyed feasting on the interconnecting packet/data cables and even the plastic foam on the front of the FM828’s!
The repeater was replaced with the FM814/815 unit that we acquired from the Geraldton ARG last year was installed. The cavity duplexer no longer appears to be at the site (They were in a picture taken 8-10 years ago) and the repeater has been running on split antennas. There were 7 unmarked coax cables running to the amateur rack in the hut and 7 amateur antennas up on the tower. We were able to narrow the VHF from the UHF antennas by the use of a VSWR meter, but where they sit on the tower will be a job for another day! In the end, we picked the two VHF antennas that had the best S meter readings from VK6RMS & VK6RAA repeaters and plugged them into the repeater.
The old repeater and packet gear was loaded into Bevan’s van and we left the site around 2.00pm. On the way home I was able to trigger the repeater with 300mW around Tambellup (35km) and it is full scale into my home QTH on the collinear (approx 60km). Bevan is able to key the repeater from his QTH at Kendenup, about 80km and I have keyed the repeater just before Mt Barker, about 95km, and out at Frankland, about 60km.
I have sorted through the gear brought back from the site. Some just had to go to the tip and from the other stuff that is salvagable I will have to check with Gary VK6GS what belongs to him and what is WARG equipment.
The next job will be to remove some the antennas from the tower that aren’t being used any longer, use what antennas we can for the voice repeater, otherwise work towards replacing the antennas & coax feeders that need it.
Bevan has all the tickets, accreditations & permissions to climb the tower, but we will probably be needing the services of a second climber for safety and support. We hope to arrange this over the next few months.