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Troubleshooting Connections

Hello everyone.

I’ve been having some issues getting into the VE6RWC (Edgerton) repeater so that I could be in contact with my local club and get some mic time under my belt.

So what is the issue?

In short it is the landscape. Macklin, where I reside, is located in a bit of a hole; a geographical low spot and I would need a very tall tower to get up over the hill that is in the way.

From my house there were a few times I could hear traffic on the repeater, hear it’s ident and occasionally kerchunk the repeater, however, the couple times I tried to talk with someone my signal was not great.

I did a test and packed up my radio, antenna and a speaker stand and drive north of my house about a kilometer or so to a family member’s field. I parked, set up the radio, ran from battery, bolted the antenna to the speaker stand and pushed it up to about 10 ft. This location gave me a different angle to the repeater and I was able to receive the repeater much better.

How did I figure it out?

In short I used google earth.

I got the GPS coordinates of the repeaters locations and entered those into google earth. I followed by creating a path in google earth from my home to each of the repeaters I wanted to evaluate. With the paths created I was able to right click on the path in the side bar and choose show elevation profile.

The VE6RWC repeater is 62km from my location with a ground elevation of 719 meters. My QTH is at an elevation of 674 meters. My Diamond X50NA Antenna is sitting at the top of a 30ft tv antenna tower and will eventually move to a DMX52 tower. In the above image you can see the yellow highlighting on the map and on the elevation profile show an elevated elevated area that starts at about 2.63 km and goes until about 26.3 km from my home. The highest part being 707 meters; or 33 meters ( 108.27 ft ) above my home and it is not practical to put a 100 foot tower in my back yard to get over it.

What am I going to do?

I evaluated another one of the repeaters in our repeater network. It is the VE5RI repeater which is further north. It is 86.3 km from my home and at a ground elevation of 754 meters. I was told the antenna sits at 230 ft up on that tower.

If you look at the elevation profile, I have a much cleaner path to the repeater from my home and while it is a fair distance I think that with the use of a 2m beam I can make a reliable connection.

Further there was talk at our last club meeting of moving the VE6RWC repeater from Edgerton to Wainwright and possibly putting another near Provost, AB. which is a sure shot from my place.


I need to work toward getting my DMX52 in the air, get a beam and rotor and test the connection with the VE5RI repeater as well as keep checking as our linked repeaters move or new ones get added.

In the mean time I think I will put a mobile 2m rig in my truck so that, at least when I am mobile, I can have some radio fun.