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 435 history

The original repeater was established on Mt. Wilson in the KPFK transmitter shack where Bert was cheif engineer at the time.  The station had given him permission to set up the repeater in a corner of the building so long as it didn't interfere with the FM braodcast station operation.  Further they gave him permission to put the repeater antenna at the very top of the KPFK tower, some 450 feet up as I recall.  I was involved in the establishment of the input and output frequencies for the repeater.  The criteria was simple; could we find a pair that was relatively free of intermod from all the adjacent high power emitters up there.   All of this went on in the spring of 1961 as I recall.  I was working for Genistron at the time part time while attending UCLA.  Genistron had a series of EMI test receivers and they let me borrow the NM-30 which covered 30-400 MHz to take up there to use in this project.  In those days there was noTexas band plan of course and if you heard more than two people anywhere on two meters it was a big deal.  It was pretty quiet generally.  The FM "crowd" operated almost exclusively on either 146.76 or 146.94 which came about as a result of surplus crystals available at the time for use in the Motorola and GE radios that were available on the surplus market.  Everybody else was on 145.35 AM running Gonset communicators and Heath "Lunch boxes".  The Heath rigs were modulated oscillator/superregen receivers that put out both AM and FM simultaneously at unknown frequencies.

The original repeater was to be AM only with the input determined to be 146.415 MHz and the output to be 147.420 MHz.  Bert saw however that FM was coming and decided that he would have two outputs and two inputs for FM and AM respectively.  The AM input would be 146.415 and the FM input would be 146.385, + and - 15 kHz with respect to 146.400.  The FM output would be 147.435 and the AM output would be 147.415, again +and- 15 kHz with respect to 147.420.  As it developed, the repeater went on the air orignally as WA6TDD in April of 1961 on AM only using the indicated pairs.  The idea was the FM would be added later.  When later came, sometime in 1966 as I recall, the AM output and input was shut off altogether and the FM output came on on 147.435.  Since there was no more AM input, Bert decided to use the nominal input of 146.400 only which is what it is today.  Some funny stories related to the initial installation that I remember have to do with my first connection to the hard line coming down from the tower top and the stationmaster antenna.  I connected a Bird wattmeter to the end of the coax and got a reading of 15 watts!.  This with nothing else connected to the antenna.  They definitely have some big signals up there.  When the antenna was installed, we actually got KPFK to shut off their 25 kW broadcast rig for an afternoon so we could climb the tower without being cooked.  Orlo Brown, WA6SUD (Suds) climbed the tower.  He had to be on the top of the tower so long that nature took it's course and hence the story of the "yellow Yaseu" comes about.  Bob Thornburg was there and had provided a Yaseu rig of some sort at the bottom of the tower to talk to Orlo on the top.  Orlo warned that there was going to be some incoming fluids shall we say and sure enough, the Yaseu was permanetly stained.  That was a long afternoon but it all went very well.  WA6TDD then became WR6ABE during the later part of the 60's when there was a period of time that repeaters were licensed separately with "WR" prefixes.  Bert remained the trustee all during this time though.  Bert was very good friends with Art Gentry, W6MEP (sk) who built the very first repeater in the US that went on the air in 1955 as K6MYK and operated as such until the late 80's I believe.  I still have my 145.18 crystal for the input of that repeater.  The output was on 146.980 (AM of course).

The Mount Wlison Repeater Association (MWRA) was started by yours truly on a whim in about 1972.  I was single and foolish at the time and a frequent user of the repeater.  I lived in North Long Beach on Louise street and had a ritual of having breakfast at "Kings" restaurant at the corner of Long Beach Blvd and Victoria Street (now it's a Dennys) on Saturday mornings.  I would usually make it known via the repeater that I was holding forth there and first two or three (usually Bob Sudock and Dick Morse) would show up. More and more people starting coming and pretty soon we were taking over the place every Saturday morning.  The people at "Kings" loved it of course, because North Long Beach is not a real major hot spot on Saturdays.  Bob Sudock, WB6FDF and Bob Thornburg, WB6JPI, were early officers.  David Farrone (SK and I forget his call) was later a chairman and under their stewardship, the organization became a big deal with dues and everything. Bert Weiner (K6OQK) was never really involved with the MWRA as I recall as he preferred to dabble in things technical mainly.  The repeater was always pretty friendly and that continued that way until the onset of Richard Burton and friends when then began their campaign of harrasment of Art Gentry and his repeater.  This started in the late 70's I believe and continued for some years.  It only tapered off a bit after Richard went to jail for threats that he made on the air as I recall.  In the mid 80's the site on Mt. Wilson was lost as Bert left the station and they decided that the repeater and Bert went together.  From that point on, I have little idea what happened except that I know it has be located in various locations mostly in the Santa Monica mountains under new "leadership".  I found that I had little in common with the users then and now and so have little occassion to listen or use it.  What little I have listened has convinced me that it is currently of no use in any real sense i.e emergencies etc. as you could never break through all the din that seems to be on there.

You might want to check with Bob Thornburg (Jippy) and Oro Brown, both of whom are still around and could correct and possibly add to my treatise here.

73,  Steve (W6RHM)

================ this was just emailed to me =================

This article has two subjects; the 147.435 repeater and Underground Radio. This is due to the way these subjects are interrelated. The '435 repeater' is an amateur radio repeater located at Mt. Lukens as of February 2011. It was formerly on Santiago Peak during 2010 and prior to that it was located at Contractors Point. Many users of the 435 repeater have a well known reputation for operating practices which are considered by fellow amateurs to be questionable or illegal. Courtesy of Bill WA6ITF: The rules violations began back in 1978 on the .435 repeater (when it was still reversed channel from today) with the formation of the now long defunct ham radio political movement known as "Underground Radio." The stated purpose of "UGR" as it called itself was: "...to free repeater users from the totalitarian rules imposed by repeater owner operators using any means at its disposal..." Since there were few rules on the .435 repeater nobody ever figured out why it began there -- but it did. And from a small central core of a dozen or so whose calls are long forgotten -- there began an all-out war against every 2 meter repeater within the LA - San Diego RF corridor that lasted close to 4 years. UGR formed "attack squads" that would show up on repeaters, jam out QSO's with high power mobile or remote base radios and leave as suddenly as they appeared. One repeater -- the old K6MYK machine owned by the late Art Gentry (W6MEP) -- the person generally credited with inventing the first practical ham radio repeater -- converted his machine from a repeater to a 24 / 7 code practice channel. Others fought back in kind by invading .435 and jamming the stations who had jammed their repeaters. By '82 many of us had simply abandoned 2 meter FM -- going to 222 or 440. 222 was of little interest to UGR and they seemed to be scared to try to tangle with those on 440. In that day and age a ham did not dare to show up on a 440 repeater without a specific invitation to use the band as issued by its then inhabitants. In fact, the local retailers were quite reticent to sell the average ham a 70cm radio for fear of reprisal from the 440 community. Actually, its a lot more complex than that -- but it would take pages to go into full detail. So UGR stayed on 2 meters and harassed any group it pleased. But one day they made the mistake of taking on the '76'ers -- the group that had for decades kept repeaters off of 146.76 MHz simplex-only and considered it their own private channel. When the UGR folks showed up on .76 they were literally met with what one could equate as an organized military response. UGR never again showed up on 146.76 -- likely in fear of their personal safety. (.76 was a closed community detailed in "The Chronicles of .76" as authored by the late Kendal Webster Sessions, K6MVH. It had its own society, its own rules and even its own police force known as the Seven Six Secret Service or SSSS.) But the real downfall of the UGR movement was when it went up against the DX Club repeater. A group of very wealthy doctors, lawyers, bankers, film industry executives and the like who had the "connections" to force the issue. It also had a hard-bitten attorney, the late Joseph Merdler, N6AHU, who had personal contacts at the level of the U.S. Congress. Within weeks of UGR's assault on the DX Club repeater, Merdler made a trip to Washington to meet with Rep, Jim Corman. Within a month of that meeting the local LA FCC office had begun targeting hams breaking the rules -- especially those identified as members of UGR. I still recall being at the ARRL SW Division Banquet in 1980 when the then ARRL Division Director introduced two Federal agents who in turn announced the arrest earlier that day of one of the most blatant violators. By late 1982 UGR was gone but the toll it took on 2 meter FM operation likely will never be accurately assessed. But the remnants of UGR hung around on .435 but as long as they stayed there nobody cared. Just as long as they stayed off everyone else's repeater -- all was well in the world. Those there now -- whomever they are -- are there because they cannot operate elsewhere in the unorthodox style -- the dame as their predecessors. To out of town'ers who hear it on the Internet and to newcomers who hear it for the first time -- live -- it tends to be upsetting. But once people understand the "unofficial truce" that exists, it just becomes a way of life.

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