While Skyview has had a 2 meter repeater on 146.640 for many years, we recently added a 440 repeater on 444.525 (+5 Mhz offset and 131.8 PL) to our communications capability. Both repeaters are located at our clubhouse grounds atop a 120 foot tower.
For our 440 repeater we decided to go with a Yaesu System Fusion DR1X. At first we ran the repeater on Auto-Mode Select mode. After we got the repeater working and stable we connected WIRES-X internet linking to the repeater. The WIRES-X is parked in the America-Link room where conversations can be heard from all over the world via the network server located in Texas. And yes, you can talk to any of these many hams via the repeater!
When we got the WIRES-X system up and running we switched the DR1X repeater to transmit only in FM while the receiver is still set to AMS mode. In this way anyone with any standard FM or C4FM radio can make use of our repeater to talk to other hams world-wide. You can hear conversations very often since the America-Link “Room” is very active.
To operate the repeater in FM you will need a PL tone of 131.8 encoded. If you live in the area feel free to use the repeater any time. If you live out of the area and would like to communicate with friends back home in Pittsburgh, and you have WIRES-X capability simply log into the America-Link room and call. Set up skeds with you buddies. Make good use of the repeater. That is why it is there.
Many thanks to all that helped with all aspects of getting this repeater up and running.
When contesting on HF you often run into a situation where you are working the majority of your stations in Europe. Them, you start to hear stations from South America. So you swing the beam south to pick up the SAs, then you hear more EUs! So you swing the beam to EU, then you hear stations from SA! What’s a contester to do?
So to help resolve this situation we mounted a Hygain TH-5 MK2 mounted permanently south on our repeater tower. This way we can simply use an antenna switch to quickly change from EU to SA on the fly. It works great.
Skyview is once again raffling off a high-end CW paddle to help raise funds to keep our clubhouse a first-rate facility. For 2015 we are raffling a Begali nickel plated Pearl iambic CW paddle!
With short 1:1 paddle ratio this key is capable of sending perfect Morse code with minimum effort. The beautiful nickel plating will make this key the center of attention on your operating table for many years to come.
The real beauty is in the operation of this fine paddle. The base is heavy enough that it will never move on your desk despite heavy keying methods. The paddle can be set so precisely that the lightest pressure will accurately send and you can’t even feel the movement of the finger pieces! We will be offering tickets for this fine paddle at local hamfests and the winning ticket will be picked at our annual Swap N Shop on Sunday, August 30th 2015. Winner need not be present.
One of the favorite antennas the club has is an old Lightning Bolt 2 element, 5 band cubical quad. The quad performs as well, or better than many much larger arrays plus has the added benefit of a notably quieter receive. This antenna was mounted on a makeshift tower arrangement that served the club well for many years. It was a lightweight guyed-type tower strapped to a telephone pole. Now that the pole that held the tower up was over 45 years old we felt it best to replace this tower before disaster happened.
We purchased a used Rohn BX tower from a local radio club. We cleaned up any corrosion, treated the rusted steel with zinc paint then applied many coats of an industrial white enamel.
The base was dug with the help of one of our members. There were many members that were involved with this project. From tower finishing to digging, setting the form, making the base template, pouring the cement, pulling the tower up, removing the quad from the old tower, removing the old tower, repairing a bad balun on the quad, re-stringing/retuning the quad and installing it on the new tower including wiring for feedline and rotor control. This was no small project!
In the end we have a very nice self-supporting tower that should serve the club for many years to come. The quad is back in operation and ready for DX and contest season!
MANY MANY thanks to all involved in this project. Job very well done!
In late May of 2014 we replaced our repeater antenna. The old antenna, an Andrew DB224 went noisy on us likely due to water in the harness or perhaps internal harness damage from lightning.
We decided to try a Sinclair SD224 4 bay dipole array. The construction is very solid and hopefully will give us many years of trouble free service. It is mounted 120 feet about ground. Our height ASL is 1200 feet. If you find yourself in the Pittsburgh/New Kensington area please feel free to make use of our machine. 146.640- 131.8pl.
Thanks to all that helped out with this important project!
\Having a club that has property is a major blessing. It is also a major commitment when it comes to maintenance, updates and repairs.
During the summer of 2013 we took care for an issue that has been brewing for a long time. At Skyview, we have many trees on our property. Some of these trees grew very tall and were threatening the power lines leading to the clubhouse. A worse case scenario would be for one or more of these trees to fall and knock out power to the clubhouse in the middle of winter allowing water lines to freeze and other damage.
Many of these trees were diseased, dead of hollowed out. Many were in a situation that they needed to be brought down by a professional to help ensure no damage to power lines or surrounding structures. Once the trees were on the ground it was up to club members to finish cutting up the remains. It was a lot of work that occurred over a couple of months. We also had trees trimmed to allow installation of a large yagi on our crank-up tower.
In the end the club grounds are much more open but still plenty of shade from the remaining trees. Thanks to all that helped clean up all the debris in time for our Swap N Shop in August. It was a lot of hard work!
A couple years ago the PITT Panther Amateur Radio Club donated a retired tri-band yagi to Skyview. The antenna is a KLM KT-34XA 6 element trapless beam. It was to replace a HyGain TH5-mk2 yagi that was on our 72 foot crank-up tower. The new antenna boasted a 32 foot boom and almost flat SWR across the three amateur bands it was designed to cover.
The antenna was stored for almost two years before we were ready to rebuild and install the large array. When we started reassembling the antenna we decided to replace all element-to-boom brackets in the interest of the antenna not needing anything repairs along time. A new high-power balun was also installed. It was great that so many members turned out the day it was to be installed! With an antenna this large it takes some horsepower to get the beast into position. We needed to first lift the antenna up to the top of the pavilion and shed. It was then lifted with a rope and pulley to the mast. All in all it went very well!
We look forward to using the new antenna for the upcoming contest season. We are sure it will live up to expectations. It looks great up there with the tower extended.
Many thank to the PITT Panther ARC and to all involved with this whole project. Great job!
Last Update September 11, 2016