The First UHF and 6 Meter Repeaters in the Grand Traverse Region




Coverage Maps


The 442.025 and the 52.90 repeaters near Cedar MI.

In 1991, the 442.025 repeater was the first UHF ham repeater in the region.   Until the KF8KK 442.025 repeater came along, the UHF band in the north was devoid of 440 activity with the exception of the 442.000 repeater near Pellston, and perhaps another at NMU in the UP.

Later in the year, the 52.90 repeater was added to the system and operated in split site with the 147.3 'Sugar Loaf' repeater as the receive side.   The three repeaters were tied together and also made use of a VHF and HF remote base system at the 442.025 site.

The 442.025 and 52.90 repeaters had a coverage area that comprised the central regions of Leelanau county and parts of the northwest portion of Grand Traverse County.

When KF8KK decided in 1995 to take a hiatus from the hobby, the 442.025 coordination was transferred over to W8TVC in Long Lake township where it aired for a year or more before lack of interest/need caused it to be silenced.   the 52.90 repeater frequency was turned back into the coordination pool in 1995 and has since been reborn in 2002 as the WB8DEL repeater in Mackinaw City.


The repeater equipment was located on a hill behind the home of N8NCO (parents of KF8KK) on County Rd 651 just north of M72 in Leelanau county.

The trail up the hill, while short, was a refreshing walk in the underbrush.

At the top of the hill was a moderate sized maple tree.

Since this repeater was to be a 'low budget' operation, a tower was not immediately erected and the Hustler G6-440 repeater antenna was affixed to the tree via a pole and some nails.

The red arrow in the photo at left shows the antenna pipe.  When the system was dismantled, if my memory is correct, the antenna was left in the tree.  It is quite likely still there, though a foot or so higher than before due to tree growth.

Just before you come to the tree with the 440 repeater antenan you will find a guyed 30' telescopic mast with a unity gain vertical tuned to 52.9 for use as the six meter repeater transmit antenna.


Thanks to the generous donation of Dave Dell, W8TVC, the repeater had a shack to call home.

Daves old fishing shanty had spent it's last winter on Green Lake and was now serving as the home for the new repeater.   This shack is presently still in place, but at the home of John N8VVG near Lake Leelanau and was home to the 147.3 repeater for a few years.  It is currently awaiting its next assignment.  As of 2003, it is still in good shape and water tight.


This is another view of the repeater shack.

After this photo was taken yet another mast was erected, to the right of the shack in this view, with a 146mhz five element yagi attached along with the center support for a 40 meter dipole, used for HF operation in conjunction with the repeater.

Inside the repeater shack was one rack with the machine.

There wasn't much room inside, as the shack was just 5' x 6' inside, but it was water tight and had a minimal amount of insulation.  It was mostly rodent free, but not entirely.

At the top of the rack you see a card cage which held the DTMF control decoders for the remote control of the repeater.   The main repeater control was performed by a homebrew "KF8KK style" controller which allowed for considerable linking and flexibility. 

The homebrew controller is in the single rack unit 'black box' below the DTMF decoder and above the Icom 2mtr transceiver.


In the middle of this photo you can see the nice Cellwave six cavity 440 pass/reject duplexer.   That duplexer has done a great job for KF8KK over the years (originally on the WB2VTN repeater in Medford NY) and is capable of handling a 300w repeater with GasFet front end without desense (as was once run through it by WB2VTN when in NY).  This duplexer is still in use and it's an all time favorite of mine.

Above the duplexer is an Icom IC-22S two meter transceiver.  This is an early synthesized transceiver.  At the time of this photo, the IC-22S was used as a remote base onto 147.3 as part of the linking arrangement between the equipment at this site and that at the 'Sugar Loaf' 147.3 repeater site.


This photo shows the RCA700 UHF transceiver which was the heart of the 442.025 repeater.  

The transmitter section of this was set to provide 15 watts output and kept cool with an extra heat sink and fan.

To the right of the RCA you can see a gold colored box which is the Lunar Electronics GasFet receive preamp.


Below the RCA700 UHF transceiver is the RCA700 series VHF-Low 52.90 MHz transmitter.

This transmitter has an output of 50 watts and is from an old RCA base station that Bob N8LRU found in the trash from a local radio shop in 1991.  

This piece of discarded radio gear (and it's matching receiver-- found in the same pile-- ) is till in service and is the present transmitter for the 52.92 Glen Arbor repeater!  Some old rigs just never die.... or even fade away.