Clatsop County, OR
444.500 +5MHz 118.8Hz
Nicolai UHF Repeater
Nicolai Packet Station
Site runs on batteries,
kept charged by solar
panels and a propane-fired
generator as needed. The
sun keeps things working
fairly well during the
summer months, but needs
some help come winter.
At times the link may be
down or the repeater un-
available to conserve
power. Our options are
limited with regard to
Please bear with us.
Location: The Nicolai Mountain radio site is
about ten miles of rough logging roads south of
Bradley Summit (Bradley Overlook State Park wayside) on
Oregon Highway 30, a few miles west of Westport, Oregon.
The ridge rises to the south with
radio site itself, at 3000-feet elevation,
perched on the sheer southern
face of the mountain, overlooking
Jewell, Mist, Vernonia,
and the Nehalem River Valley. The vantage into
Longview/Kelso is good, as well as into some parts of
the Portland Metro area. The land is
part of the Clatsop State Forest,
under the supervision of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF).
Coverage: Nicolai anchors
the southeast corner of
our service area, including the Longview-Kelso area,
north along Interstate 5,
well into the overlap with the
Olympia repeater coverage, and south to Woodland.
The Nicolai repeater is usable
along WA Hwy 4, from Longview, to
Cathlamet and westward, where it
overlaps the coverage with other
repeaters. The Nicolai repeater
is usable on Oregon Highway 53 in the Nehalem River Valley,
into Nehalem, Wheeler and Manzanita. Parts of Oregon Highways
26 and 30 are covered, and it can be
used in the Portland/Vancouver area, as well as
east up the Columbia
Gorge, if you pick your spot carefully.
Affiliated with the
system, ownership of the Nicolai repeater
is shared by K7GA, NM7R and WA6TTR.
It is primarily intended to provide
emergency communications in
Wahkiakum County and the rest of
ARES/RACES District Four (Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark and
Skamania Counties). During emergency situations, the Nicolai
repeater may be taken off the network for
use by District Four.
Originally, there was a
forestry lookout tower
on the site. In the mid 1980's, this structure (encrusted in
antennas and feedlines) had fallen into disrepair, and was
rickety enough to be condemned. All the users were given
one year to remove their antennas. The State Forestry Department
erected a steel tower, and rented space on it. Several tenants
provided their own poles to avoid paying for tower space.
The old lookout tower is now long
gone now, replaced by a
Hardware: The repeater
consists of a
GE Mastr-II 110-watt
base station (running 40-watts),
with an Arcom RC-210 controller in a
44-inch GE cabinet.
The duplexer is a Decibel
bandpass-notch type feeding a
9 dBd omni vertical
antenna through 50 feet
of half-inch hardline.
The repeater antenna was originally
mounted atop the
but was moved to the
tower when Amateurs were relieved
from having to pay a fee to do so.
There is a UHF GE Rangr mobile
incorporated as a link transceiver,
with a 6-element Yagi antenna
mounted on the short tower.
Also tucked into the cabinet is a
packet station using
a 2-meter Kenwood radio, with a VHF
bandpass cavity, feeding
a 3dBi vertical on a pole
next to the building. There
are plans to move the antenna
to the large tower.
line to the site
failed for the last time
in 2010, with Oregon Department
of Forestry unable to replace the
failed buried cable.
picked up the slack with their
diesel generator until December,
2011, when they shut off the
juice, removed their generator
along with their radio gear,
and abandoned their
Our landlords (fortunately)
wanted to stay. We came up with a plan
to provide power to their (our) site.
We already used a
battery bank to run the station.
To this we added
5-kW propane-fired generator
in the building.
We modified it to include
a home-brew control
system to allow us to operate
the generator remotely,
using the UHF repeater. This
charges the 1700-AmpHour battery
bank through two 80-Amp chargers.
Our original plan included solar panels, but a generator would
still be needed for days when the solar input
was inadequate. The generator came first.
In August of 2015 we finally installed
pair of solar panels
on the small Rohn tower to
provide a base charge, and
capitalize on the open
southern exposure, taking some
strain off the generator. On full-sun days
the panels are enough to operate
the station and keep the batteries charged.
The load consists of our UHF
repeater, VHF packet
station and our
landlords' commercial low-band-VHF
seasonally supports logging operations
in the verdant timberlands surrounding
the site. We babysit the power system to keep
the station on the air, in exchange for rent-free use
of their building for our own gear.
They pay for propane and the site fees.
The UHF repeater controller incorporates
a complete set of remote controls,
with voice feedback, to operate the
generator, and telemetry to report critical
voltages and temperatures that allow
confident remote operation.
radio node is located on this site.
is part of the 145.630
MHz 1200-Baud Washington
Coastal EOC Packet Network.
This node is primarily intended
to extend the range of the W7CWY-10
Winlink2000 RMS station in
Cathlamet. It is able to connect
with most of the Western
Washington high-level nodes, including
"3SIS", which overlooks
Puget Sound in Pierce County. The
also has a Telemetry
beacon (every half-hour when
activated) that reports
voltage from the site.