If you recall in my post Troubleshooting Connections, I was struggling to make a connection to the VE6RWC (Edgerton) repeater in our repeater network due to my location and the terrain between me and that repeater.
I tried a beam!
I was given a home-made 5 element gamma match yagi from one of the members of my club as he was no longer using it. This, by the way, is just one of the benefits of joining a club.
I got up on the tower, installed a support and hung the beam.
I used the app HamGPS on my phone, to enter the gps coordinates of the VE5RI repeater and used this to point my antenna to VE5RI which 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.
I adjusted the gamma match to dial in the antenna to the input frequency of the repeater 146.340.
You can see in the image of my RigExpert that I have a farly nice match. I actually had it at 1.02/1.03 but the little clamps that secure the gamma match elements were a little loose and as the wind comes up the SWR drifts a bit. This is something I will need to address.
How did it work?
Well, long story short, my first couple attempts at a contact were unsuccessful. I logged into the repeater via echolink with my phone and then put my call out on the repeater. . . VE5NDK Testing . . . I started with 25 watts out of my Icom IC-7000 and then bumped it to 50 watts. Still no luck.
I also noticed my noise floor sitting at S5 so I am sure that is playing into it.
In regards to testing, I will need to climb up there and take another stab at pointing the beam to make sure I am aimed in the right direction. Tonight we have a net scheduled for 9:00pm MST and I will see if I can hear that. I also have a couple different transceivers that I can try to see if they perform different and I will wait for help from one of the other members to see if I am indeed getting into the repeater.
Update – May 14, 2023 @ 9:00pm
I turned on the radio just before the net and my noise floor had dropped to about an S3. I could hear the repeater and callsigns were just legible but very noisy.
I am in a bad location relative to the repeaters and have some challenges to overcome.
There are plans to move the Edgerton repeater to a new location and potentially setup another one directly west and much closer to my location.
I might have to just be patient and wait.
Either way, this is still fun and in the mean time I have my portable FT-891 setup that I am working on.