Steve's Mt. Vaca ham (amateur) repeater

442.025, PL 179.9

This repeater is "open", meaning that it's available to all licensed amateurs.  It covers most of the Sacramento Valley, Sierra Nevada foothills,   the northern San Joaquin Valley,  and the San Francisco Bay Area on the east side of the Marin County and San Francisco peninsulas.  It also covers much of Contra Costa county (Concord, Walnut Creek, Danville, Antioch). 

This repeater is linked to another repeater on the same channel (with 156.7 PL) in Nevada (click here for more info on that repeater).  It's amazing that the link works at all, the path is about 140 miles and the link transmitters are only about ten watts at both ends.

Click on the images (or links) below to see the larger version:

Here it is.  The bottom half is a Motorola Micor repeater.  Above the repeater is the 50 watt RF amp.  If you look closely through the holes you'll see that the amp is really just a GE Mastr-II PA chassis with the GE boards removed and replaced with Micor mobile PA boards.   The two boxes above the amp are the Reno link consisting of a GE Mastr-II receiver and Executive-II transmitter.   
Click for larger image
bldg_sm.jpg The main repeater antenna is a Decibel Products DB-413 eight dipole array.  It's aimed toward Sacramento and gives (I think) about 12 dBd gain in that direction, 9 dBd off the sides and 3 dBd toward the back.      It's about 18 feet long.  I've always had much better luck with these exposed dipole antennas than with anything else (even Stationmasters).
Click for larger image
north_sm.jpg (3263 bytes) This is the Scala Paraflector antenna that links to the Reno repeater.   I don't know exactly what the gain is, but I seem to remember reading that it's 18 dBd.  This one was made for the 450-470 band, but I put longer screws in the ends of the elements at the feed and tuned it down to 420 MHz.    
Click for larger image
vaca_cov_sm.gif (6070 bytes) Computer simulated coverage map.  This is a pretty good computer simulation of the coverage.  The grey area is strong, green is not so strong, red is weak.  It's the same map as on the Mt. Vaca building page.

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