BeachNet Repeater System

BeachNet Repeater System

Pacific, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Thurston & Wahkiakum Counties, Washington

145.170 |  145.310 |  145.390 |  147.020 |  147.180 |  147.340 |  224.040 |  224.820 |  440.675 |  441.675 |  442.675 |  444.050 |  444.200 |  444.400 |  444.500 |  444.700 |  444.800 |  444.925 |  444.950
 

 

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Megler Mountain

Pacific County, WA
46.2863, -123.89699
1320 Feet
Call: NM7R

444.925  +5MHz  82.5Hz


Megler UHF IRLP Repeater


IRLP Commands

  Disconnect

  73

  Disconnect

  #

  Keypad Test

  B (+ digits)

  Echo Reflector

  9999

  WIN System

  9100

  WIN System
(no time-out)

  * (a "Star")

  Any Node

  4-digits

  Pre-codes

  -none-



Note the 82.5 Hz CTCSS
(PL) Tone on the 444.925
repeater.


When traveling Hwy 101
in southwest WA State
between Mile 20, and 55
please switch to 444.400
MHz (118.8 PL)
for IRLP
coverage to South Bend.


When holding a "local"
contact, that is, two or
more stations conversing
on this repeater without
involving the IRLP, please
disconnect the IRLP link.

The WIN System has over
90 repeaters connected,
and there is no need to
bother them for a local
QSO here.

04/30/16 This repeater
was placed back into
operation after being
completely refurbished.


Location: The Pacific County Megler radio site is located just northwest of the town of Chinook, WA, on the north side of the Columbia River, overlooking Astoria, OR to the south and Long Beach, WA to the west, from an altitude of about 1300 feet. There are several different sites, within about 3 miles that are collectively known as "Megler", and this is the nortwestern-most and highest of these. The other sites are prominently visible above the Astoria-Megler bridge while crossing north-bound. Access to these other sites is via the logging road across from the "Dismal Nitch" rest area on Highway 401 just east of the Astoria-Megler bridge. The Pacific County site is reached by way of the Chinook quarry road. Although not visible from the bridge, the Pacific County site can be spotted from Highway 101, southbound, just west of Chinook, look up and to the left, to the north of the highway.

Coverage: The "Megler" repeaters cover nearly the entire Long Beach Peninsula, and north along the coast including parts of Tokeland, Grayland and Westport, WA. They can be utilized east nearly to Longview, WA, and south to Seaside, OR. To the west, they have both been worked from 60-miles or more at sea. Click here for a more detailed UHF Megler site plot. The VHF coverage is a bit better than the UHF coverage, as one would expect.

The building and tower are crowded with a number of commercial, public safety and broadcast stations, including six, one-kilowatt television transmitters that serve the greater Astoria-Long Beach area, giving the site a high noise floor, making operations there challenging.

Even though they are stacked one atop the other in the rack, and share an antenna, the 147.180 and 444.925 repeaters have different missions and operate independently. The 2-meter repeater is normally linked to the
BeachNet system of repeaters. Follow this link for more information on the Megler 147.180 repeater. The UHF repeater is not linked to BeachNet and is described below.



The 444.925 Megler Repeater operates independently as IRLP node 3105. Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP) is a system of hardware and software that allows two or more radios to be linked together using the Internet. This provides the ultimate in linking flexibility, allowing connections anywhere there is Internet service. Follow this link for more general information on IRLP.

This node normally "idles" connected to Reflector 9100, the WIN System (Western Intertie Network), a network of over 90 repeaters in 17 States and 4 countries. The WIN System started in Southern California, and has grown to the point that there is always someone to talk with! This repeater is a WIN System Affiliate. Follow this link for current status of this IRLP Node.


Even though the repeater may normally be connected to the WIN System, you are completely welcome to disconnect it and connect to another IRLP node if you wish.

   Yeah, really!


Reflector 9100 and the WIN System are just one of the several thousand possible IRLP connections, including over two dozen other Reflector-based groups, and thousands of individual nodes. If you want to meet a friend on a schedule, check into the node back home, or just explore, please do! It is not necessary to contact the node owner before using or controlling this node. It was put in place as a community resource for general Amateur use. If you need any additional information or wish to contact the node owner, Click here to email Frank, NM7R.

There is no special equipment needed to operate IRLP. All that is necessary is a UHF Amateur radio transceiver (Mobile, Base or Handheld) that has a DTMF, "Touch-ToneĀ®" keypad, and a solid signal into the repeater. All commands are sent to the repeater, using your keypad.

To access a list of all available IRLP nodes, and their four-digit codes, CLICK HERE for a list of all current nodes, in order by State/Province, or (if that doesn't work), go to: IRLP.net, and click on "NODE INFO", then click on "List of nodes and Frequencies". This will bring up the Status Page. Click on any of the Tabs to view nodes by category, or click on the "All Nodes" tab for a complete list of all active IRLP nodes, worldwide.

Special Commands: If our node is currently connected to another station, you must Disconnect before connecting to another node. Think of it as "hanging up the phone" before dialing another call. The standard disconnect command is "73", or on this repeater, a pound-sign, "#", by itself, also works to disconnect a link. You can send a disconnect command while people are talking on the IRLP connection. They won't hear you. You don't have to wait for a break.

A keypad test is available, to see if your signal is solid enough to command the station. Use the letter-"B" key, followed by a series of digits. The "B" key is one of the four non-numeric keys, normally down the right-hand column, or possibly across the top row, on your keypad. The controller should read back the digits to you; fifteen digits maximum, and it won't read back the "D" key, which functions as an "Execute" command. If you are having trouble getting the repeater to accept your commands, a keypad test may be advisable. If some of your digits don't decode, try moving to a different spot. Unless the DTMF codes are correctly received, you won't be able to control the IRLP link.

An Echo Reflector is available, to listen to how your own signal sounds to the repeater. Send "9999" to the idle, disconnected repeater, and it should announce the connection to the "Echo Reflector". Key up and send a short transmission (under 15 seconds or so). When you unkey, the repeater will send your transmission back to you, delayed by 20-seconds. This transmission was received by the repeater, sent digitally to the IRLP server, received back from the server, turned back into analog, and sent back to you by the repeater. This is exactly what you would sound like to another station. This is an excellent way to determine what your signal quality is. Remember to disconnect when you are done.

When disconnected, you may dial up another node with its four-digit node number. There are no pre-codes, just the four-digit number. For best results when dialing DTMF commands, hold the first digit for a half-second, and then "press" (not jab) the other numbers.

When you are through with your contact(s), please disconnect. Thanks.

There is a 20-minute time-out on normal connections. Any local key-up will reset this timer, so the connection will stay alive as long as it is actively being used. But if you let 20-minutes go by without a local key-up, the connection will auto-terminate. This is protection in case you drive out of range and can no longer drop the connection.

The "Star" command automatically connects to the WIN System and suspends the time-limit. If you are actually listening to the WIN System for an extended time, for example, the Insomniac Net from 11:00PM until "whenever", then please use this feature. However, if you are only going to listen for a short time, please use the "9100" method so the repeater will turn off after 20-minutes, to save wear and tear on the (more than 30-year-old) equipment. In this mode, every time you key up on our end, that resets the timer for another 20-minutes.

The "9100" command can also be used to verify the status of the IRLP link. Sending a "9100" will either return the WIN System sign-on, and connect you up (if the link was idle), or if connected, will announce the node to which it is currently linked.

Remote Audio Link: The repeater is at 1320-feet on Megler hill, but the computer and DSL connection are at my home station, 17 miles away over Willapa Bay in Nahcotta. I have a pair of yagi antennas on the side of my tower, aimed at the repeater site, supporting a 220-MHz up-link from the computer to the repeater. The 440 antenna listens to the repeater output as a down-link. When the user keys the repeater, a PL tone on the repeater transmitter tells the computer that the local user is talking. This mutes the up-link and whatever the user says is sent out on the Internet IRLP connection. When the user un-keys, the PL tone drops*, and the computer starts sending audio from the Internet up the 220-MHz auxiliary-link to the repeater site to be transmitted to the user. It is for this reason that it is strongly recommended you NOT to use CTCSS Decode on your radio when using this repeater. You will not be able to hear both sides of the conversation if you do! The two pictures below, on the right, are the antennas on the tower at my house, and the other end of the connection, looking back from the repeater site to my house.

This arrangement allows the IRLP to share my home DSL connection, avoiding the cost of an Internet line at the commercial site. It also lets the computer live under my workbench at home, in a more benign environment, where it is easily accessible for software maintenance. I don't have to drive 60-miles round-trip to the hill and back, just to hit the reset button. The Bandwidth used by the IRLP connection is minimal, and I have never noticed any speed reduction in my normal on-line activities. The control link is full-duplex, allowing commands to be sent at any time, even when the IRLP link is talking. I much prefer this to the more typical remote link where the user must wait for "dead air" to send commands.

Hardware: The repeater is a GE Mastr-II 110-watt continuous duty base station running 75-watts output through a circulator, low-pass filter, a four-cavity Motorola bandpass duplexer and a VHF/UHF diplexer to share the Comet X510 dual-band antenna mounted above the roof of the building (with the 2-meter 147.180 repeater), fed with 50-feet of LDF4-50 half-inch hardline. The station uses a Mastr-II Auxiliary Receiver (originally a VHF High-Band model, converted to 220-MHz) as an uplink receiver, to bring the incoming audio from the Internet computer to the site, using a 4-element Yagi. The controller is an Arcom RC-210 model. The power supply is GE Mastr-II.

*Technical Note: The PL encoder on the 440 repeater output signal isn't switched on and off. If handled this way, when the encoder is switched off, the decoder "coasts down" for as much as a second before closing. Instead, the PL encoder is switched between two different tones. As soon as the "wrong" tone hits the decoder, it slams shut. The encoder runs all the time, but one of the tone-selection pads is either grounded or floating to change tones, providing more immediate switching.

Historical Notes: 02/09/05 - This repeater went on the air as an open, IRLP node, available for general Amateur use.

12/18/10 - The IRLP connectivity was temporarily "down" due to the failure of the computer during a sudden power outage. A new power supply failed to revive the beast. Dan, N7DRD, provided a new HP computer to replace the original (nearly 20-year-old) one. I swapped the old hard drive over to the new computer and as of 01/07/11 the IRLP station was back in business.

12/24/12 - The DSL modem died, and was replaced. The internal IP address scheme was different than the old unit, presenting problems which were finally laid to rest 04/01/13, with the help of Brendon Moore, K6BDM, who was able to link in from Southern California to perform remote magic.

09/02/15 - The antenna was destroyed during a wind storm at the repeater site, requiring replacement. The UHF repeater was also replaced with an upgraded version. This was finally completed 12/14/15.

04/30/16 - Replaced failed Power Amplifier, also restored the channel-disable circuit for the VHF Megler repeater receiver voter.

07/03/16 - Power Supply fuse replaced.

08/02/16 - Power amplifier replaced.

08/11/16 - Power amplifier replaced.

 

 

 

 




 

145.170 |  145.310 |  145.390 |  147.020 |  147.180 |  147.340 |  224.040 |  224.820 |  440.675 |  441.675 |  442.675 |  444.050 |  444.200 |  444.400 |  444.500 |  444.700 |  444.800 |  444.925 |  444.950
 

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This Page Last Updated: 10/28/16.