PI3ZOD – the city repeater of South-East Drenthe
How things started
In 1994, ideas started to build our own 2-meter repeater in Emmen. We gathered information from the VERON officials about the possibility of getting the needed special permission. Soon it became clear that all 2-meter frequencies were used, but that there might be a possibility of a so-called ‘City repeater’. Because we were in for the experiment we exploited the opportunity and started working on a repeater with restricted range. The best location for the repeater was the same location as where our ATV repeater PI6ZOD was located. A phone repeater on top of the ‘Hondsrug’ would attract more activity in the local area and also create a meeting point for radio contacts, mobile stations and visitors of other areas. For more details, read the Dutch letter which went with the special permission (BT) request.
The equipment was spend by the EDON, a local energy company in province of Drenthe. Since their mobile network on 150MHz was no longer used, a lot of Condor rigs were become obsolete and the former base station (Storno CQF-613) was no longer necessary. The Condor rigs are now used by the members in the local radio club and the base station was given to PA3ANG. After the transmitter and receiver were adapted to the granted 2 meter frequencies and the control circuitry were revised the configuration was placed on top of the ACM building at May 30, 1997. As duplex filter we were allowed to use the reserve set from PI3MEP in Meppel. We used this filter up to April 14, 1998 and since then we are using our own filter set, which was made possible because of fund raising during the local VERON meetings.
What is a phone repeater
A repeater is an unmanned radio station, which receives signals at one frequency and re-transmits them at an other frequency. By choosing a convenient location for such a repeater station, radio signals can be send over large distances no matter the weather. Also connections can be maintained with low power. As a proof that this experiment was very unique, the local press wrote an article about it. If you want more information about repeaters in The Netherlands, visit the site of the VERON for more information. You’ll also find there links to other repeater groups. On the site of PI6ZOD you’ll find more information about the ATV repeater in Emmen. Here’s probably also a link to the South-East Drenthe community of the VERON.
Location and range
As said, a good location is one of the predecessors for success. Since May 30, 1997 the repeater is located in Emmen, at the ACM building. ACM is an animal feed factory housed next to the Rondweg in Emmen. A 10 meter long antenna pole is on top of the building. The mast is used by the Red Cross network as well. The uppermost antennas are used by them. The antenna of PI3ZOD (the folded dipole) is, as you can see, partly masked by the steel building, which limits the repeater’s range towards the South (Germany). More or less, the range towards the East and South-East is the German border; West and South-West the line Coevorden / Hoogeveen; towards the North the motorway intersection near Gieten. The average range (in a car) is about 25 kilometer. On the map things are visualised a little.
The new PI3ZOD
Since September 2008 a complete new repeater located in Emmen. The location of this repeater is very close to the old location and is situated still on the south border of Emmen in the surburb called Bargeres. (very close to where I used to live)
I May 2006 already, plans where made to replace the Storno repeater by to Yeasu FT2800 transceivers. Theo PA4TP has build this new repeater and had it operational from his home QTH for some time. The old location at the Rondweg in Emmen was no longer available as it seems at that time and now the repeater found shelter at the former receiving station of the cablenetwork in Emmen.
Next to the original filter unit an additional 3 section filter unit is placed in the transmission feeder and the original Wacom filters are tuned to the receiving frequency. You can see the new repeter in the (clickable) pictures. (courtesy © PA4TP)
At the moment (October 2008) the local repeater team is working on optimising the receiver sensitivity and adding a second antenna. By doing so the current desensing issue will be solved. Also a minor problem with the morse id needs also to be repaired.
As it looks today, the coverage of the repeater has remained the same. A possible improvement to the south could be observed as the antenna ‘can see better’ in southerly direction now.