I had been in ham radio since the mid 1960s, active on 20 meters RTTY and heavy into VHF DXing, and in 1977, I was asked by the CVRA if I would be interested in coordinating repeaters in Central Virginia. Other great hams I worked with on coordination were Carter Cogle-K4ARO, Amos Rhames-K4WQS, Al Dyson-W4PDL, Lee McDaniel-WB4QOJ and Don Williams-W4VT. There were lots of other VHF Dxers, mostly in North Carolina, at the time. Those include Danny Hampton-K4ITL, and Herman Cone-WB4DBB. It was nothing in those days to talk directly through repeaters in Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Richmond, from here in Lynchburg. Because there were basically no other repeaters on those frequencies for hundreds of miles! I even made it into the "Possum Trot" net in southeastern North Carolina 5 days in a row from mobile during one of the peak sunspot cycle years!
It was right after I started doing coordinations, in the fall of 1978, that I put a VHF FM repeater on the air for the Lynchburg-Roanoke area just to encourage the growth of RTTY in the Lynchburg-Roanoke area. At the time, there were about 25 or 30 hams on 146.22 Mhz RTTY using autostart and old Model 14s, Model 28s and Model 32s and even some Model 33 RTTY machines. The original location of the repeater was Johnson's Mountain, about 10 miles South of Lynchburg, at the THEN WSET-TV-13 transmitter site (now WRVL's 88.3 radio site). We had several area hams involved. The original main group was: John (WD4GPS), Randy (K4RHH), Randy (WB4BZX), Lee (WB4QOJ), Mike (WD4RMK), Jan (WB4HPD/WR4L), Bob (WD4KQI), Herman (WB4DBB), Vic (WB4JBI), and myself. (Sorry if I left anyone out...let me know!) At one point there were over 50 local hams on VHF RTTY using the 147.105 repeater. We had a Monday night Net and a RTTY Bulletin Board-Mailbox system controlled by a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model III, owned and operated by Mike Clark, WD4RMK. Then came packet radio, and it took over RTTY, and now the repeater is used for voice communications. The repeater moved with WSET-TV-13 in summer of 1982 to the current location, about 5 miles south of Bedford, Va., on Thaxton Mountain. The WB4JBJ repeater frequency is 147.105 Mhz. The original duplexer, a Sinclair hybrid ring design, was made in the '60s, and was purchased used when it was taken out of service by the Forestry Department in the early 80's. It was around 30 years old and was used on the 105 repeater for almost 18 years before it was finally retired on June 5th, 1996 (see below).
From 1980 until 1990, the 147.105 Mhz
WB4JBJ repeater was linked to the 147.075 Mhz W4PNT repeater near
Afton Mtn., near Staunton, Virginia. The link expanded the coverage through
the 147.075 repeater beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains to the north, into
areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, Waynesboro and Richmond.
The normal coverage of the 147.105 repeater is from about Lovingston, to
Farmville, to Danville and Martinsville, and west to Wytheville, which
includes Roanoke, Lynchburg and of course Bedford. The link was taken off
the air in 1990 after Adelphia Cable in Charlottesville took over the
Faulcnorville cable TV site (near Amherst, VA), which is where an intermediate
link was located, saying there was not room in the building for the link
equipment. It only took up only about 2 square feet of space! I was never
allowed to get the 3 antennas off their tower.
Sometime in the future, I've considered linking the 105 repeater via Echolink or some other digital network.
Since going on the air in 1978, we have been able to operate a very inexpensive, open, quality repeater all these years, with no dues or restrictions of any kind. We've had help now and then from other area hams, and I always appreciate any help that is offered.
The building is getting old
and starting to show some deterioration.
The floor is getting very weak in spots, and even has at least one hole in it (I
have covered it for now). We may not be able to make it much longer without
replacing the building or the floor. Sometime in the next year or two, there will be a new antenna
and new mast installed. The ice falling from the TV tower has taken its
toll on the antenna. The repeater is downwind (east) of the TV tower, which is
1100+ feet tall. We are still running the original antenna, a Hustler G-6. It has perfect
1:1 SWR, but now two of the ground radials have been bent down by falling ice off the TV
Other Area Repeater & Radio Club Home Pages
Links updated & tested 3/11/99
Lynchburg Amateur Radio Club
Blue Ridge Video And Digital Society
Roanoke Valley Amateur Radio Club
Boston Amateur Radio Club
Davidsonville, Md 147.105 Repeater
Research Triangle NC Ham Information
RATS FrostFest Home Page
Richmond Amateur Telecommunication Society (RATS)
Virginia Repeater Listing
North Carolina Repeater Listing
Nationwide Repeater Listing
Southeastern Repeater Association
Southeastern Repeater Association History
Misc Links (from SERA)
T-MARC (Mid-Atlantic Repeater Council)
NC Hamfest Newsletter
Carolinas Hamfest Calendar
Thanks to WSET-TV-13 for the donation of space & electricity for the repeater since 1978.
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