The Utah VHF Society

Other Repeaters
of the Intermountain Intertie
 
 

Utah Repeaters


The Scott's Hill Site and the
                    tower
The Scott's Hill site and the tower with antennas.
Click on the image for a larger version.

Scott's Hill, near Brighton, Utah - Elevation 10,000 Feet (3049 Meters) ASL
145.27 (-) 100.0 Hz tone
 
The location of the Scott's Hill site is a bit hard to describe if you haven't been there:  It is north of Brighton Utah, not too far away from Guardsman Pass.  Most of the equipment on site has to do with relaying TV signals in to SouthWest Wyoming and extreme NorthEastern Utah, and there are various other radio services as well.  The coverage of the 145.27 (negative offset, 100.0 Hz tone) is nearly identical to that of the Hidden Peak repeater - except that it doesn't cover as well to the south.  It, too, is tied full-time to the Intermountain Intertie.

There is also a UHF repeater on-site (it is not linked to any other system) on 449.525 (131.8 Hz tone) that is also available for all amateurs to use.

For more pictures from Scott's Hill, click here.


Farnsworth Peak, 18 miles SW of Salt Lake City - Elevation 8950 Feet (2729 Meters) ASL
147.12 (+) 100.0 Hz tone
Nighttime view of the
                    tower on which the 147.12 repeater antenna is
                    mounted
A nighttime view of the tower on which the 147.12 antenna (the one along the left side) is mounted..
Click on the image for a larger version.


The Oquirrh (prounounced "Oh-Kerr") mountains are those that bound the west side of the Salt Lake valley.  In the northern half of the range (approximately even with 50th south) is one of several broadcast sites in this range - this one owned by one of the local TV stations.

At this site is installed several amateur repeaters, including the 147.12 repeater.  Because of its location, it provides coverage all along the Wasatch Front, from the southern end of Utah county up north to the Idaho border along Interstate 15.  Due to local geography, however, there are a few "weak" spots in the Weber/Box Elder county area - this due to blockage from the tower itself as well as a larger transmitter facility located just north of this site, along the ridgetop.  More recently, the output power of the 147.12 repeater was increased allowing it to be "heard" a bit better along the Wasatch Front.

The location of this repeater also allows it to act as a link site to other Intertie repeaters in southern and central Utah.  For several years now, it has been used to link to Frisco peak (near Milford, Utah) via 70cm.  This path, however, is somewhat difficult as it grazes the Sheeprock mountains near Vernon, causing the 70cm signals to and from Frisco Peak to vary somewhat and requiring fairly large antennas and higher power to maintain a solid link.  More recently, with the installation of the Levan Peak repeater, a superior, alternate link - through Levan Peak - is possible:  Levan Peak, being line-of-sight to both Frisco Peak and Farnsworth Peak is now used as the primary relay point into the southern Intertie repeaters, although the direct link to Frisco is still maintained as a backup.

This repeater is linked to the Hidden Peak repeater at the top of the Snowbird tram which, in turn, is the "hub" repeater to many other repeaters and links into Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.

For more pictures from Farnsworth, click here.


Levan Peak, - Elevation 8350 Feet (2546 Meters) ASL
145.27 (-) 103.5 Hz tone
Wide-angle view of
                    the Levan Peak site
A wide-angle (fisheye) view of the Levan Peak site.
Click on the image for a larger version.


For many years, the Intertie had a "dead spot" in the middle of Utah:  While it provided coverage along the Wasatch Front, southwestern Wyoming and into Idaho as well as into the southwestern corner of Utah, it didn't cover well in centeral Utah - until recently.

Several years ago, permission was obtained to place a new intertie repeater on Levan Peak in the central portion of Utah, but it wasn't until near the end of 2007 before all of the necessary work (mountain of antennas on towers, running feedline, preparing radios for the site, and making modifications to other sites to interface with the new site at Levan Peak) was finally completed.

This repeater re-uses a frequency pair also used in two other places on the Intertie (Scott's Hill near Brighton, UT and Mt. Harrison near Burley, ID) but because the primary coverage areas of these other repeaters are so distant, interference is unlikely.  Nevertheless, Levan Peak's subaudible tone is 103.5 Hz - a departure from the normal 100.0 Hz tone used elsewhere on the Intertie.  Why was this done?  It was noted that it was possible to use the Levan Peak repeater into Utah County (where coverage of the 147.12 repeater is much better) and get some interference from the Scott's Hill repeater on the same frequency:  If the same tone had been used, a user could have brought up both repeaters at once, possibly causing problems to those listening on the Intertie.

Levan Peak fills in a large coverage gap in central Utah, providing cover in much of the Sevier River Valley (including Monroe, Richfield, Gunnison and Moroni) as well as much of the Interstate 15 corridor that passes through Juab county down near Fillmore, into the coverage area of the Frisco Peak repeater on 146.94.

For more pictures from Levan Peak, click here.



Laketown, South of Bear Lake - Elevation 7575 Feet (2310 Meters) ASL
147.020 (+) 100.0 Hz tone
 
The antenna arrays at the
                    Laketown (Bear Lake) site
The multitude of antennas at the Laketown, Utah site covering Bear Lake
Click on the image for a larger version

Laketown, Utah is a small community along the southern edge of Bear Lake in Rich county.  On a ridge near town is the 147.02 repeater (positive offset, 100.0 Hz tone.)  This repeater, permanently tied into the Intermountain Intertie hub repeater on Hidden Peak provides coverage of Bear Lake and surrounding communities as well as some coverage into the extreme southwest corner of Wyoming.

This repeater is located on at a site that is primarily used for TV translator service - that is, to relay TV signals into the Bear Lake communities.  Having numerous TV receive and transmit systems on-site makes for a site with a lot of antennas - as the picture shows.

Bear Lake is a long, narrow freshwater lake that extends north into Idaho.  Due to geography, it is not in the coverage range of any other populated area and in that respect, it is very isolated:  Only those repeaters located in the area have any sort of reasonable coverage.
 
The 147.02 repeater and its linking equipment, as well as the old NOAA NWS transmitter.
Click on the image for a larger version

Because of this isolation, the amateurs involved in maintaining this site, Eldon (KB7OGM) and John (K7JL) struck on an idea to provide a community benefit:  There was no coverage of the Bear Lake area by NOAA Weather Radio at all - and due to its remote location and budget constraints, there was unlikely to be coverage very soon.  Why not provide coverage for the weather service?  John - who knows several people at the Salt Lake NWS office - asked about this, and they seemed to be very willing to help.  John and Eldon would do the hard part - that is, procure and install the radio equipment as well as provide a site, and the NWS would provide a signal to feed the audio and the license to operate the transmitter.

Thus, after a year or so, it was on the air!  For several years the NOAA transmitter used commercial GE radio gear - functioning as a simple repeater, taking the 410 MHz feed from Mt. Logan and retransmitting it on 162.500 MHz to cover Bear Lake with the callsign of WXL-63 and more recently, it was upgraded by the NWS with a more powerful transmitter.  From its first day, this system has provided good coverage of Bear Lake and the surrounding communities.

As far as is known, this is the first instance where Hams had actually provided equipment for and a home to a National Weather Radio transmitter, providing a community service as well as allowing the scarce NWS budget to be used elsewhere.

For more pictures from Bear Lake, click here.


Idaho Repeaters

Jumpoff Peak - Elevation 9045 Feet (2758 meters) ASL
146.850 (-) 100.0 Hz tone
Tower at Jumpoff Peak showing
                    Ken, W7NPO, Dwight, K6LOV and Bliss, WB7RUG
The Jumpoff Peak site, showing Ken (W7NPO,) Dwight (K6LOV) and Bliss (WB7RUG.)  The 2 meter repeater antenna system consists of a pair of 2 element yagis - one above and another below the curved reflector-type antenna near the bottom of the tower.
Click on the image for a larger version

Jumpoff peak may be found along the north edge of south-central Snake River basin in Southern Idaho - about 57 miles (91 km) west-northwest of Idaho Falls.  This repeater (on 146.850 MHz, - offset, 100.0 Hz tone) easily covers Pocatello, Idaho Falls, and much of the rest of the southern portion of Idaho.  This portion of the Intermountain Intertie could be considered to be the "Idaho Hub" as it connects to the Malad Pass site (to the south - which, in turn, is connected to the Hidden Peak hub) as well as to Mount Harrison (also to the south and west) and to the Sawtelle Peak site.

Among the many challenges associated with mountaintop sites are those of reliability and durability:  Mother nature seems to throw her worst at such sites - trying constantly to break antennas and destroy radios.  Jumpoff is no exception, requiring both refinement and reinforcement of the original installation.  For example, the original UHF yagi link antennas were mounted near the bottom of the tower.  This had two problems that, in retrospect, should have been expected:

The problem was greatly reduced by the installation of folded dipoles (instead of yagis) and mounting them on their own mount, located away from the tower.  The picture gives some detail: The folded dipoles are much more rugged and are intrinsically more resistant to detuning due to ice buildup.  As the picture shows, there are three dipoles - the top two are phased together (for more gain) and are oriented such that they favor the Malad Pass site while the lower antenna is optimized for the link to Mount Harrison near Burley.  These dipoles are mounted 1/4 wave away from the mast, providing a bit of gain and directionality.
 
The same three hams at the mast
                  supporting the UHF link antennas
Ken, Bliss, and Dwight at the UHF link antenna mount.  The top two antennas are for linking to Malad while the bottom one links to Mt. Harrison.
Click on the image for a larger version.

If you have ever visited a typical high mountaintop, you'll know that one simply doesn't dig a hole.  This simple fact was reinforced upon installation of this link antenna mast:  A jackhammer was used to put the hole into solid rock, and the heavy steel pipe had to be set into concrete (water to mix the concrete had to be brought on-site, of course) and all of these materials had to be hauled to the top of the mountain.  All of this makes for a long days' work - only to return later to finish mounting the antennas, running the cables, etc. etc...

The 146.850 repeater antenna system consists of two folded dipoles, each located behind a single director (with the 1/4 wave spacing to the tower acting as a sort of reflector element.  If you look carefully at the large picture showing the tower, one can just see the two antennas - one located just above the curved reflector antenna and another located just below, both oriented to direct the signal southwards.  Why do this?  Owing to the geography, it was decided that there was little reason to provide extensive coverage to the north as signals were blocked by the high mountains in that direction:  Redirection of the signals southwards provides better coverage of and receiver sensitivity to stations in those directions than might otherwise be obtained with a typical omni (nondirectional) pattern.

As mentioned previously, this site also links the Sawtelle Peak site.  Not shown in any of the pictures, this link utilizes a Telewave folded dipole (the other folded dipoles are also made by Telewave) antenna mounted on a separate pole, also away from the tower and its falling ice.

For more pictures from Jumpoff, click here.



Sawtelle Peak - Elevation 9866 Feet (3083 meters) ASL
145.230 (-) 100.0 Hz tone
A view of the entire Sawtelle
                  Peak facility.
The Sawtelle Peak facility
Click on the image for a larger version.

Located just south and west of West Yellowstone, Montana (but actually in Idaho... barely) the Sawtelle Peak repeater (on 145.230 MHz, - offset, 100.0 Hz tone) covers much of Yellowstone National Park and down toward the South and Southwest toward Rexbug, Idaho Falls, and much of the Upper Snake River Basin.

Sawtelle Peak (also known as "Sawtell" Peak or Mount Sawtell) is the home of one of the FAA Long-Range RADAR sites.  When the 2 meter repeater was originally installed atop Sawtelle on its original frequency of 147.12, the presence of the RADAR proved to be a problem:  A "buzz" would appear in the audio - not only an annoying artifact or RADAR interference, but it tended to effectively reduce the sensitivity of the repeater.

On August 18, 2000, Vance, WA7FDR (the trustee) got together with John, K7JL and they went to Sawtelle to see if they could solve this problem.  Once on the site, they determined that the buzzing noise did, in fact, cover most of the 2 meter band - but there seemed to be less interference below 146 MHz.

At this point it was decided that an "impromptu" frequency change was necessary.  Dwight, K6LOV graciously offered to bring the programmer from Idaho Falls (a 3 hour round-trip) to a meeting point somewhere closer to Sawtelle - so while Vance went to meet Dwight,  John, with the help of the on-site FAA engineer, determined that a low 145 MHz repeater frequency pair was the best choice.
 
A view of the Sawtelle
                    facility. The 2 meter repeater's antenna is on the
                    left edge of the dark building.
A closer view of the facility.  The 2 meter antenna is just visible to the right of center in the foreground (along the left edge of the grayish building, in front of the dome.)
Click on the image for a larger version.

With the aid of an ARRL repeater directory and a few phone calls to the Idaho, Montana and Wyoming coordinators, it turned out that the 145.23 pair was available (a distinct advantage of being in the middle of nowhere... where there are still some pairs available.)  After meeting Dwight and returning to the site, Vance reprogrammed the repeater (thank goodness that it is synthesized...) and John retuned the cavities for the new frequencies.

When all was said and done, the RADAR interference was no longer a major problem - only noticeable on weaker signals.  The exact cause of the interference?  It is hard to tell:  The "buzz" (from the RADAR's modulation) seemed to come from everywhere on site.  It is possible that some nonlinear junctions are present with resonances that happen to be in the 2 meter band.  It could be radiation from some equipment (such as the power supply or pulse modulator) or even re-radiation from something else entirely.  Fortunately, whatever is doing the re-radiation hasn't "drifted" down in frequency:  The 145.23 pair remains relatively clear to this day.

The Sawtelle Peak repeater is almost always linked with the other repeaters in Southern Idaho - and these are usually linked into the Intermountain Intertie.

For more pictures from Sawtelle, click here.
 

Note:  As of 7/11/03, the 2 meter antenna was replaced, putting this repeater back into service.





Mount Harrison - Elevation 9265 Feet (2825 meters) ASL
145.270 (-) 100.0 Hz tone
The Mt. Harrison site
This picture shows the site on Mt. Harrison with the 145.27- repeater - as well as several other repeaters.
Click on the image for a larger version

This repeater operates from Mount Harrison, about 16 miles (26 km) south-Southeast of Burley, Idaho on 145.27 (- offset, 100.0 Hz tone) and covers much of southern Idaho and parts of northern Utah and northern Nevada.  This repeater should not be confused with another repeater, also in the Intertie and also on 145.27 located on Scott's Hill near Brighton (at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, between Salt Lake and Park City, Utah.)  These repeaters are far enough apart and geographically separated such that they do not interfere with each other to a significant degree.  Anyway, because both of these repeaters are usually linked to the same system and carry the same audio, potential interference issues are mitigated.

The Mount Harrison site is linked to the Intertie via Jumpoff Peak and provides a relay to the War Eagle Mountain repeater that, in turn, provides connectivity into the Boise area.  In looking at the map on the Intertie page, you might notice that the link to Harrison (via Jumpoff) would seem to be a roundabout way of going.  While this path works quite well, having the hub repeater at Jumpoff simplifies system design and increases flexibility.

For more pictures from Harrison, click here.



The Malad "remote" site - Elevation 7127 Feet (2173 meters) ASL
146.430 (simplex remote) carrier squelch only, no squelch tail
John K7JL and Don WA7GTU
                  at the Malad Remote site
This picture shows the new (as of summer 2005) building at the Malad site.
Click on the image for a lager version

Located on a site approximately 11 miles (17 km) west of Malad, Idaho, the Malad "remote" site serves several functions:


The "Simplex Remote" operates much like a remote radio - mostly because it is!  This radio can be remotely steered to other 2 meter frequencies as necessary, but it is usually "parked" on its normal 146.430 frequency.  When using this remote (when it is active) there are several things that one must keep in mind:

In the summer of 2005, a new building and tower were finished, replacing the old building and tower.  The old equipment was de-installed and then reinstalled to the new building.

For more pictures from the Malad site, click here.
 


The tower at War Eagle Mountain
The tower at the War Eagle site near Silver City.
Click on the image for a larger version.

War Eagle Mountain - Elevation 8041 Feet (2452 meters) ASL
145.230 (-) 100.0 Hz tone
 

War Eagle Mountain is to the south and east of Silver City, Idaho.  It has a line-of-sight path to the Mount Harrison machine as well as much of the city of Boise, providing coverage over much of southwestern Idaho along Interstate 84.

Note that this repeater uses the same frequency and tone as the Sawtelle Peak repeater, but because of the distance and terrain, interference should be unlikely - and it saves you from having to use another memory in your radio!

For more pictures from War Eagle site, click here.


Other pages of possible interest:

More pictures and info will be added - check this page again in the future!
 
 
Why this page?
Occasionally, we get some pictures of and information about other repeaters affiliated in some way or another with the Intermountain Intertie.  While we may not have enough information to devote an entire web page to that repeater, we feel that it may be of some general interest:  After all, some of you are interested in how all of this goes together...

Go to the  Utah VHF Society Home Page

Questions, updates, or comments pertaining to this web page may be directed to:  uvhfs@utahvhfs.org

This page was last updated on 20121220