About the Repeater
The 147.225 Barnesville repeater is located on one of the towers at W8JI. This repeater is not club affiliated or sponsered, although many of our members belong to the Monroe Country Amateur Radio Society. Repeater operating costs and maintenance are provided by W8JI with occasional contributions from private individuals. This is a primary ARES repeater with full battery backup.
As a courtesy to other repeaters on the same frequency and to comply with FCC rules users should run the minimum power necessary to access the repeater reliably. I understand on trivia night the competition aspect makes people want to turn the wick up to beat others into the repeater, but let’s not make that a habit!
I would like all users to not encourage (or even gently discourage) base stations north of I-20 or far outside our normal mobile coverage area from using this repeater. I installed this repeater and maintain it to facilitate local stations, especially mobile and portable stations, around this general area to use. Like it or not, I am not fond of people 100 miles away DX’ing the repeater. I don’t want to be unfriendly, but please do not welcome and encourage people 60 or 80 miles away to use the repeater.
The repeater is for training and emergency use, friendly conversation, and helping each other. Our basic rules are no politics and talk like we would in front of our teachers, pastors, or mothers (with a big bar of soap). We lose too many friends these days over silly stuff.
About The Hardware
The repeater is on an experimental Rohn 65G tower I used to compare various 160-meter antennas. The tower was originally an insulated base tower used as a 5/8th wave vertical on 160-meters. The tower was also used to hold various horizontally polarized antennas for 160 meters. The largest horizontal antenna was a two element phased array beamed either east-northeast or west-southwest! I probably climbed this tower 100 times 20 years ago. The large 160-meter antennas were removed after data was collected.
Retired from all 160 meter use and with the base insulator removed, this tower now supports some 80 meter antennas as well as the repeater antenna. Some details are at the legacy website www.w8ji.com I hope to add some lower VHF/UHF antennas to reduce p-static in inclement weather. The antennas are ready to go but I am now 70 years old, and no longer fond of climbing.
This is a very active repeater. Two of our most busy times are Monday at 9PM for techtalk lite hosted by KE4BB Lyle and Trivia at 9PM on Wednesday hosted by N5FBI, Tim.
We have a heavy technical net on Sunday and light Monday at 9PM.
The typical reliable coverage range to mobiles is about 30-35 miles.
The repeater is an old Motorola Mitrek base unit converted for repeater use. The repeater is carrier operated squelch.
The repeater antenna is about 320-feet AGL (above ground level) or 380 feet HAAT (height above average terrain). The sea level height is, of course, quite meaningless since the repeater is not on the ocean.
The repeater has a 4-bay dipole array. This array is about 22 feet long and has 6 dBd of honest gain. This has proven to be a very rugged antenna. Bring the tallest structure for miles the antenna and tower have survived hundreds of direct lightning strikes. The feedline is 7/8th inch Andrews Heliax.
The unique thing about this repeater is the lack of polyphasor or special lighting protection. All protection is by remnants of the 160 meter ground system (sixty #16 AWG radials 120 feet long) along with 8-deep buried heavy copper radials, and proper ground and cable bonding. This system has been up since early 2000 without a single lightning failure.
We are current slowly working on a better control system called MAVIS. Mavis will be an artificial intelligence self-learning system. We are probably several months to a year out on release.