The History of VE3NRS Repeater
Credits: Howard Cowling, VE3WT January 1981
FM Mobile operation became popular around 1955. At that time, some of the taxi and police radios became unlicenceable by the D.O.C. The frequency 144.144 was established as the first F.M. channel, using 30 KHZ deviation. About the mid 60’s the D.O.C. agreed to permit us to experiment with repeaters. The first repeater was VE3RPT on 146.46/146.94, followed by VE3OSH on 146.22/147.12 then VENRS on 146.22/147.24 The ARRL Band Plan was adopted in 1974.
Soon after, many Canadian repeaters changed to the standard 600 KHZ channel spacing. The reason for the Lo/HI split at 147 MHZ was because most commercial receivers, at that time, lost their sensitivity beyond a band width of 500 KHZ. The first VE3NRS was a rebuilt 30w Motorola 8OD mobile unit. It was installed on my 150’ tower on Mountain Road on the 6th June 1966. It used 2 — 3DB antennas and separate feedlines with a single 6” dia. cavity in each line. When I sold the business, we had to move the antenna and repeater. Thanks to Roland Brundel VE3COW, we obtained permission to install the repeater on the tower at radio station CHSC and the antenna was mounted at the 300’ level on the tower. This was about 1972. In 1972, we obtained 2 — 6DB colinear antennas and installed them with new 3/8” heliax feedline Also in 1972 we acquired VE3NRS II a 50 watt base station formerly worn out by 4500 Taxi in Welland, having been in 24 hour service for 12 years. We are still using this much revamped unit today. The old repeater and cavities were sold to VE3TDX for $175.00 and are still used as a backup repeater.
In 1975 we were able to con Phil Hudson VE3BAL into building the present six cavity duplexer which has worked a well as any $800.00 commercial duplexer. This enabled us to use one antenna. We were able to obtain a donation of a Sinclair 210A4, 4 dipole 9DB antenna from McLean Hunter. A group of us removed it from on top of the water tower in Welland. We then purchased 300 ft. of 7/8” heliax with connectors from Andrews in Whitby at a cost of $300.00. New brackets were made and the antenna and cable was installed on 20th June, 1975. This is still in place. Prior to installing the 210A4, we tried four 4 element beams but this was not a satisfactory arrangement. The original identifier was a motor driven code wheel, driving a microswitch made by Cy Williamson VE3TW. The electronic identifier was installed on the 10th March, 1975. The solid state COR and timer was installed on the 20th June, 1975. During this period the repeater was supported financially by the users through donations.
In 1974 the repeater was turned over to the Club. The antenna is at 900 ft above sea level with 9 db gain. The effective radiated power is approx. 215 watts. Due to noise at the repeater site, the RX sensitivity has to be run at .8 u.v. for 20 db of quieting. The autopatch was approved on the 15th of January, 1979, and purchased for $750.00 It was installed on the 12th February, 1979. A new 30w solid state repeater VE3NRS III was donated by Canadian Marconi Co. through the efforts of Tom Maunsell VE3LJR.
Chuck VE3CUU has since added a 65 watt amplifier, power supply and card rack. He is in the process of preparing it for operation in the near future. We feel that this repeater has had the least down time of any repeater in the province and has provided a worthwhile service over the years.