Welcome to the WG6OTA Repeater (Formerly AE6TV)
This is a privately owned and managed repeater system NOT owned by GOTAhams, but maintained to support the mission of the GOTAhams club, Local active CERT teams and the Amateur Radio Community.
Here we will introduce you to the WG6OTA Repeater on Sunset Ridge north of Claremont CA and near Mt. Baldy Village.
|Structure Type||SELF SUPPORT|
|Tower Height (ft)||100|
Repeater Type: Motorola MTR2000 Information Index (repeater-builder.com)
There is far more to a repeater than this “Short List”, we will continue to add information of this system and update it as we extend/improve capabilities. We are planning to add backup power, better external linking capabilities and soon a “Broadcastify” audio feed for the capability of our Prospective (Pre-Licensed) Hams to listen to our Repeater and GOTAhams nightly nets!
There has been some question about “Why was the repeater offline so long?” there are many contributing factors in this story, first the repeaters’ location is very challenging to get to rain and snow add to this obstacle. Winter in our local mountains in 2021 was unpredictable, Snow, Rain more snow led to damage along Sunset Peak Trail. the South end of the trail washed out near La Verne, lots of rutting occurred near the west trailhead from Glendora Mt. Road leading to a rockslide blocking that road. Several trips were made in hopes some of the commercial site owners would clear the slide, during one of those trips we met with a local hiker that told us of a third option known as the Cobol Canyon gate (actually it is formally known by Sunset Peak trailhead south). Checking that option led to a successful trip to the N6USO/K6TEM/AE6TV site.
an adventurous group was gathered consisting of Kathi, Myself, Hans Ehlert AE6TV, Craig Brochard KM6EIC, John, Kim and James Setterlund AC6FJ, KE6RXX, KN6IPL. We assembled at the Cobol Canyon trailhead gate at Glendora Mt Road near Mt Baldy Village and began the trek to the repeater site. Upon our arrival some of the group enjoyed the incredible view from Catalina/Los Angeles to Hemet and the San Bernardino Mountains. Hans and I began investigating the repeater system. Hans quickly discovered that the controller power light was not illuminated, leading us to check the power to that device, power was available and at the required voltage. I assisted Hans in removing the controller from the system, moved it to a table in the repeater vault, Hans disassembled the controller and was disappointed to discover that rodents had inhabited the device and used it for their restroom! that’s right traces of Urine and feces had damaged the board. Hans contemplated our options and recommended removing the entire system. I agreed and quickly began assisting Hans in removing the repeater, controller, relay box aux power supply, router etc. and loading into Craig’s vehicle to be taken down the hill.
Hans took the repeater home for what he (and I) hoped would be a timely repair, Hans ordered a new RLC-4 controller from “Audio test Solutions Inc”, to our misfortune many other Repeater owners ordered controllers near the beginning of 2022 and the manufacturer ran out of components that are of course supplied by China, with supply chain issues and much of Chinese manufacturing either shutdown or locked down we forced to wait with everyone else. It took six weeks to receive the treasured repeater controller, Hans Programmed it and did some testing through a dummy load, contacted me and we were headed back up the hill to install the repeater. This trip was staffed by Dave Wilkie K6EV, Hans AE6TV and Myself, Saturdays along this Sunset peak Trail can be challenging as this is popular hiking trail in the Mt Baldy area meaning LOTS of hikers, dirt roads with many blind curves looking for pedestrians at every turn along with slowing to allow them time to find a wide spot and step off the road certainly slows our progress.
We successfully made it to our site, were able to install the repeater system do some on the air testing (we did not have any serious test equipment with us), we were satisfied that the repeater was operating but we would need to monitor it and qualify things were operating correctly.
In the following days and moving our nightly nets did lead us the conclusion that the audio chain within our controller needed to be reset as “Clipping” due to high audio led to sometime difficult to understand conversations. Our Net attendees and regular repeater users were quite understanding, many simply adjust their mic gain etc. to try and tame our wild repeater!
Our intrepid club Secretary Dave K6EV did some lengthy research into options for setting audio levels within our repeater system, finding lots of options within the newly install RLC-4 controller with several different tools we could use from a True RMS voltmeter (not really recommended) to an oscilloscope (better) to a service Monitor (best option). Dave does have an Oscilloscope and I could borrow the service monitor, but I would need plenty of lead time and wouldn’t like having to pay for any damage that may occur on the trip up or back. We scheduled a midweek trip back up to the repeater site, Dave carrying his trusty Siglent oscilloscope, alignment tools, documentation. We soon discovered that we would need to disconnect the many connections to and remove the enclosure housing our controller, remove the circuit board, re-connect it to the repeater system before attempting any connection to or adjusting of the audio circuits. with little space between the wall and the back of the rack housing our system, Dave squeezed in, and tried to attain some receive audio traces, our only input being audio generated by the HTs we brought along (showing the real need for that service monitor). we could certainly see the “clipping” (flat topped sign waves) on Daves “Scope” Dave was concerned that the voltages he was tracking were well below what our documentation showed. Dave made several adjustments and our users that were listening gave great feedback, Tim N6DLC assisted with the IRLP audio adjustments, we were satisfied that improvements were made and discussed the need for better service tools. Now, we’re up to two successful “trips to the repeater”!
The next great question is “What are future plans for the WG6OTA repeater?” (coming Soon)