---> Wildrose Amateur Radio "900" <---
The Wildrose Network is venturing into an area that not many hams have gone especially here in Western Canada and maybe even the North Western USA. There are a few of us that are supporters of the Wildrose Network that are getting into 900 and so far we have found it to be very interesting. More information will become available here as we move forward. Watch the updates below as they occur.
Mike VE6AMC is steering this project so he will be the main person to contact for any question regarding 900 Megs.
Now up and running VA6TWO on 927.0125 (Narrow Band Only) -25 Megs PL 131.8 TX / 151.4 RX - Calgary
Now up and running VA6TRE on 927.0500 (Narrow Band Only) -25 Megs PL 131.8 TX / 151.4 RX - Banff (OFFLINE)
SO YOU ASK HOW DOES 900 MHZ PROPAGATE?
Like 1200 Megs, 900 MHz can be a tough band to operate. It is almost completely ‘line of sight’. Almost anything can block or hinder communications on these frequencies. Even trees! Using one central repeater to provide mobile coverage over a huge area of real estate rarely works well unless the site is very high (such as a very tall building or mountain) and the surrounding area is relatively flat and clear of obstructions. However the band does have some interesting characteristics. It bounces off of mountains, buildings, and other solid objects very nicely. And where you have line of sight, very little RF power is needed for reliable communications. And because of the very short wavelength, antennas can be small, yet be designed with very high gain. Dish antennas were popular to use for this band for point-to-point links, giving very high ERP with tiny amounts of transmitter power. Moonbounce operators like the band for its good EME characteristics. And ducting will sometimes carry signals beyond line of sight.
NOTE: The Wildrose Network has been around for many years and has done some unique things along the way that not many other groups or clubs can claim. Some have followed but never have had the same results that we have had. Consider that we have very little funds to work with we do have the resources and expertise that most clubs do not. And now moving into the 900 meg range this band for the most part is a builders band especially for ham radio. With the success of converting commercial mobiles and portables to work in the 900 range we are now making good use of 900 and recently putting up a 900 repeater our group has come a long ways into making use of a band that only a few years back was never considered for amateur radio use. I would have to say that with all the repeaters we have put up on different bands this one on 900 is the best. Thanks goes to Mike VE6AMC for his hard work on 900. Mike has done much of the research and has converted all of our commercial radios. I just may retire here on 900. Dale/VE6CPK
NOTE#2 - Please read the following if you plan to buy or use an
Alinco DJ-G29 220/900 portable on VA6TWO or VA6TRE repeaters:
Attention: Before Purchasing an Alinco 900 MHz Portable please read the following!
Please note that the Alinco 200/900 portable out of the box is not compatible with the VA6TWO or VA6TRE repeaters due to the fact that our repeater is a true commercial narrow band (12.5 KHz channel spacing) repeater. The deviation levels, mic circuits and IF strip of the Alinco are constructed for wideband operation (even when set to “halfdev”) and the quality of audio is very poor compared to the converted commercial gear we are using. The manufacturer built a compromise product to accommodate 220 MHz, and the 900 band section is not built for operation on almost all of the North American repeaters. Those of us who have proper narrow band equipment do not hear a very clean signal from these portables, and it is very unpleasant to listen to when recovered through the narrow band IF. Usage of these radios on our system is highly discouraged, unless the deviation has been reconfigured to work through a narrow band system. We will assist supporters of our repeater to reduce the deviation of their radios to avoid “over baked and distorted audio”. Please note that at some time down the road, we may eventually go to commercial access modes to maintain quality of communications audio. Potential and current users of our 900 MHz repeater are encouraged to support our endeavours by obtaining compatible commercial narrow band 900 gear. (Preferably through us, to support the repeater) All of us who have operated with converted commercial equipment have been very pleased with the results. VA6TWO, VE6TRE was installed with the intent of true experimentation through the conversion and rebuilding of both hardware and software of surplus commercial equipment.
We hope you understand and accept our position in maintaining the system audio integrity. If not, please feel free to set up your own repeater system. It’s a big band, and there’s room for everyone.
VA6TWO, VA6TRE 900 Team
Jun.15.15 The Wildrose Group now has a 900 Meg repeater running in Banff. The 900 repeater (Quantar) is located same place as the DStar repeater and coverage on both is about the same. As we found in Calgary 900 Megs likes to bouce off building and especially mountains so it will be interesting to know where the 900 meg signal ends up in the Banff area. In Banff itself the signal is very solid, even in buildings and below grade. East of Banff coverage is good to the Dead Man Flats area and this is where the transition point occures for the Calgary 900 Meg repeater. We have not had a chance to test it west of Banff but hopefully soon. Were also planning something more for the repeater so stay tune for updates.
Feb.06.15 Its been awhile but nothing really new to report. 900 working just great. We welcome some new users and recently some new Motorola radios.
Jun.15.14 NOTE: We recently have been having some intermod issues at the repeater site on 900. What we have done for now is gone split PL, and from our initial test this seems to be working well. So for now you still transmit the same PL as before 131.8 and you can either not decode PL or decode 151.4. If you need help in programming your radio please let us know.
Nov.13.13 Update on our 900 Meg repeater: There have been some amateurs that have expressed interest in our 900 MHz project. The initial team responsible for the first 900 repeater (the group of five) in Calgary has decided that all users contribute a donation of $50/yr to support the new on-going costs at the radio site, and help cover hardware/software costs of the entire project. We are a privately funded group and do NOT receive monies from government agencies. We are looking for a sponsor'(s) who may be able to assist us, and we will review the contribution if and when successful. The repeater is a high end surplus commercial repeater, and the performance to date has been stellar. If you plan to use our 900 MHz repeater, (please read note#2 above) please support us with the minimum $50 donation for costs. We will in turn support you with providing assistance getting on the band, and setting up a good station. Please note radio equipment must be set properly. True narrow band only. We do have radios for sale to support the repeater project. Please contact Mike VE6AMC or Dale VE6CPK for more information. “One foot is where it’s at.”
Jul 20/13 VA6TWO went on the air today, a 900 Meg repeater running 100 watts. This package co-exist with our DStar repeaters in Calgary. Coverage is excellent. Workable most of the way to just west of Lac Des Arc west of Calgary. Portable coverage around the city appears to be quite good. We also had a mobile contact with Andrew VE6EN near Horse Shoe Canyon viewpoint near Drumheller. WOW!!! Also I had a portable contact with Dennis VE6BGZ of 127 km, how is that possible using a portable? I was standing on Mt Barrier at 9800 feet. Signal was solid in both direction. Shows that line of sight takes very little power. Watch for more details to come as we learn more. Another first for our group, the Wildrose Network. We believe this is the only 900 meg repeater west of Winnipeg, Manitoba and only 1 of 5 in all of Canada. Check us out on the RepeaterBook.
When you hear us talking on 900 about the KNOB, here is an image of what we are talking about. It's a great little antenna and works very well.