down a spell, and fix some coffee or hot cocoa and read on..
the repeater got off the ground is one interesting story all to it's own.
In 1987, I was working at radio station KAWW-AM/FM in Heber Springs. Since
law enforcement knew and loved the station, they knew a lot about the superb
staff there. (I just had to rub it in!) One day I received a phone call
from a fellow nearby in Pangburn who due to disabilities wanted to become
licensed as a ham, as the police referred him to me. Years ago, Heber Springs
had a ham radio club, but had nothing active at that time as many residents
would travel nearby to Greers Ferry for their meetings. I decided to begin
arrangements for an exam session through my VEC and due to the fellow's
difficulty in locating another ham to be examined for his first license,
I decided to pose the question to other hams if a local club was warranted.
first meeting was at the First Electric Cooperative building where most
of the early meetings were held. To my knowledge, I coordinated the first
VE exam session in Heber Springs where all exam elements were offered.
The initial club treasury consisted of $98 which I received as a tax refund,
and others in the early stages of the club donated funds to the point that
the amount when the club went inactive in 1990 was around $160 which has
since been invested into the current repeater as promised to the people
who helped me make this into reality. I envisioned the possibility of having
a repeater which would serve Heber Springs as a whole very well.
Greers Ferry had a system near Diamond Point on 147.33(+) but it couldn't
serve the downtown Heber Springs area since downtown is in a valley. Two
repeater locations at that time could cover it adequately, "Evans Mountain"
at Alread (Van Buren Co.) and Fox in Stone County. When the Air Force dismantled
the county's two "Titan-2" missile silos, I was
offered one of the self-supporting 65 foot towers.
The tower I received was from the site less than 2 miles east of me. I
used to recall all the blue Air Force vans which traveled
up and down Highway 16 when I had first bought my property in late 86'
and the occasional sonic BOOMs (which soon ceased) due to my location in
the heart of a Military Operations Area. I never erected the tower. A man
from Pangburn bought it from me in the early to mid 90's after I had moved
to Russellville, and he used it to construct an observation platform on his
property. I never had a
real reason to erect the tower at that point anyway, although my property
had a sign for many years for a road which didn't exist at that time!
Towerspace Road had a new sign installed by the County and I had finally built road access to it. The property was fully purchased when I fulfilled
my contract during 8/96, but I sold it in 2005 at the height of the real estate boom, reinvesting the funds in various gold, silver and uranium investments.
submitted a request for a 2-meter repeater in 1987 to the frequency coordinator
in Little Rock for a frequency which I knew would be available! I submitted
the club's initial name of Lake Area Amateur Radio Club, but
the name had changed to Heber Springs Amateur Radio Club, of which Presley and several others in
the HSARC were original members, reorganizing the
present club in 1993. A promise I made
to Presley and the original group is one I still follow to this day. I
pledged to any properly licensed ham who is a Cleburne County resident
of continued access to my system, and that any ham club which sponsors
it cannot force repeater dues on any Cleburne County radio amateur since
the frequency pair was originally coordinated in Cleburne County, and that
coverage of the county was a primary consideration in locating my repeater
in Stone County, not necessarily to leave the machine to near-exclusive
usage by hams in another county. Much credit is owed to both Stone County
ARC and Clinton ARC for their continued and past support, maintainance, equipment
insurance, and other matters over the years as the machine has been of
good use even with its difficulties during the first 10 years of operations,
9 of those with me residing outside the general coverage of the machine.
It's my hope that more Cleburne County residents over time will make more use
of "Fox" as is possible, especially when the power and receive capabilities
are both maximized.
I'm happy to have assisted with suggestions which led to coordination
of the 145.43(-) N5XUN repeater which is again situated near the top of Heber
Mountain, and it's my hope that the system will do well for
Heber area hams for years to come. At one point in the past, it was requested that I consider allowing
the repeater to be housed on any tower I constructed next to Towerspace Road, but that is no longer possible.
nearest operations on the frequency at that time were 257 miles at Cleveland,
OK (near Tulsa, which is now the infamous 51/11 repeater serving Tulsa)
and 217 miles away in Ackerman, MS. I was granted the frequency pair of
144.51/145.11 after coordination was made with MO, OK, TN, and MS. A friend
in Mena, Arkansas gave me a tube-type repeater, and using dual-antennas,
the WD5C Repeater went online in December, 1989 at Fox. I got the offer from
Jack Oyler, transmitter supervisor at KEMV-TV Channel 6, operated by the
Arkansas Educational Telecommunications Network
at that time known as Arkansas Educational Television Network, to
consider moving my repeater there
from the original coordination at Heber Springs. I accepted his offer since:
to recoordinate the repeater for Fox, but it took a short while before
the change made it to the ARRL Repeater Directory. In 1995, I requested
a recoordination when it was discovered two years before that my system
was coordinated a mere 15 W ERP. A 100W ERP allocation was approved along
with one of only 5 special designations for "X" or extended area coverage
protection in Arkansas for that time. You can view that
on my property wasn't erected, nor was there any site yet developed for
of the KEMV tower site was superior for what I needed. At over 650 feet
height advantage at the ground level over my property, my system could
benefit more people in the region, especially due to my sole usage of the
145.11 frequency pair in Arkansas at the time.
one of the two sites earlier mentioned which covered downtown Heber Springs,
a primary consideration to me since I lived downtown at the time, and I
wanted coverage of the entire city. Even at 27 air miles from downtown
Heber, the height was significant enough that I could copy the repeater
with few problems, and could access it in many areas with a 1.5W
of all, the basic components such as antenna and feed line were in place!
Clinton ARC had moved their Alread 31/91 system at Fox, but due to the height
and location, this presented
a sizeable interference problem to co-channel Springfield,
MO during times of "band openings" where conditions existed that enhanced
the operating range of repeaters in that band. Clinton moved the machine
back to Alread, vacating the feedline and G-7 Hustler antenna.
The State Office of Emergency Services had upgraded their radio system to
the trunked 800 MHz system which many state agencies went to. Since there
was no immediate need to remove the 3/4" hardline and 4-pole antenna at
was offered indefinite usage of it which has proven of value to
users over time.
next year, Arkadelphia was granted usage of 145.11 by the AR Frequency
Council and set up a system on the pair but at 125 air miles away, I
had some concern about it. MACC (Mid America Coordination Council,
an organization of frequency coordinators servicing amateur spectrum needs
in most of the Central and Western U.S.) recognized a 120 mile on-channel
separation of repeaters. When I discovered the natural barrier of the
Ouachita Mountains in Saline and Perry Counties would block my signals from
theirs and vice versa, I voiced no objections provided they didn't construct
their system too great in height due to my high power allocation (which had
not been fulfilled to that point.) I'm not certain if the 97' tornado which
struck downtown Arkadelphia destroyed the repeater, as it was off air
for a while and came back strong. It was during 97' that I purchased my
duplexers to make Fox a very good single-antenna system. I did that in
conjuction with a special request from Jim Collum, N5YU (N5YYU at the time)
whom I've supported the Clinton ARC in the past, in part due to his Holley
Mountain linked system project.
wanted to expand his linked system of participating repeaters which the
National Weather Service links with during periods of severe weather, and
my extended coverage further northwest has at times proven a valuable addition
to what is called the "Holley Mountain linked system." Today, an important part of ARLinks.
agreed to his proposal for these main reasons:
y2k arrived, it appeared that NN5NN/R would finally
receive the full upgrade in power and linking. I initially disliked the idea of using 114.8Hz systemwide PL tone for Fox to access the link since Arkadelphia had
already been using it. Remember earlier that Arkadelphia and I "share the pair" now. The Arkadelphia group agrees I'll be better served by using the 114.8
tone to keep consistent with Holley's systemwide linking, and will change
(or have changed) their tone when I begin using it to prevent keying by
distant remote stations who make contact with
them, since Fox was
initiated as a open-carrier machine. A local tone was later inaugurated and initially 151.4 Hz.. The repeater operated with carrier access for local operation for a short while with 110.9 to link, then Jack decided to force continuous tone on the squelch. The 151.4 tone became history either in 2004 or 2005, becoming 114.8 for systemwide access and 110.9 became local access to match the other active Holley link machines. As of 2007, the Arkadelphia machine, at a low elevation, operates with 88.5Hz PL.
the link equipment, including the UHF linking antenna absolutely free.
linked my repeater through Holley Mountain in previous situations involving
my system will encourage more usage of my repeater in northern Arkansas,
an area under NWS Little Rock's responsibility which my repeater could
well be used to pass along urgent and emergency communications with the
goal of saving property and life.
I was a
declared meteorology major at an earlier time if I decided to return to college, especially full-time, however, I attended Iowa Lakes Community College from 2009-2011 in their Wind Energy program. I retain a strong interest in this geoscience which much remains to be discovered and better understood. Not having allowed linking the machine to assist NWS/NOAA would prove me hypocritical on at least two points; the
spirit of amateur radio in aiding storm spotting,
and would be against my passion of helping others better understand and deal with severe weather phenomena.
Let me emphasize that NOAA's WXL-66 which covers north central Arkansas broadcasts from this site on 162.45 MHz. The station changed frequency from
162.4 during late September 98' and operates today at a full Kw! Although the site covers the city of Yellville very well, there are portions of that area which are blocked by the rough terrain nearby, so a new station near Yellville, WWG-54 operates on 162.5 Mhz.
constructed this repeater, my philosophy was simple; "If just one life
is saved through this device, all the monies and effort by all put into
it would have been well worth it!" Jim's philosophy and thinking is very much on-par with this.
history is being updated as events with the NN5NN Repeater change. The system
is still undergoing evolution with time, and I remain committed to improving
"Fox" as I can to maximize its range and usability so hams throughout
the coverage area can make use of this valuable resource. You can get the
status of both the Holley Mountain Link System and my machine by the
to the NN5NN Repeater page)