Group  History
(The Beginning)


Individuals that showed-up day of installation of 146.97 at cable TV tower north of Carmel, IN
Back Row: (Tom Hamblin * KB9PRS * W9TN(WB9NIF) * WB9SYD * K9HU(WB9HFU) * W9HBH(WB9HBH) * ?)
Front Row: (WB9VIF * Bob Loyed * WB9YCZ * K9VTS-SK * WB9OPR)

 

 

The I.C.E. group began with about 7 local hams in 1975 that had a interest in building and operating repeaters in the Indianapolis & Carmel area without the political involvement of large ham club organizations back in the 70's.  

The first repeater was 146.37/146.97 (WR9AEG).  It went into operation from a location in downtown Carmel, IN and shortly was moved to a site northwest of Carmel on a cable TV micro wave tower.

The second repeater was the 147.66/147.06 (WR9AEP) which was located at the WIRE radio station on the near northwest side of Indy.  

We also constructed a repeater on 223.38/224.98 that operated from the location north of Carmel for a short period of time, but do to a lack of equipment and interest at that time we abandon it for a bigger and better project. 

We then set our sites on a ambiguous project in 1977 that would give us the best covering repeater to date.  This repeater was the 147.99/147.39 (WR9AND) repeater that was built for tower mounting of the entire system on the  channel 13's TV tower at 950ft.  This system had a 7 watt transmitter with the transmitter antenna mounted 25ft. above the repeater cabinet and the receiver antenna 75ft. below it.  This repeater covered from Illinois to Ohio through the center of the state.

These systems operated for several years until we decided to refit the 66/06 repeater with a new RF package to make the first high profile 440 MHz repeater in the Indianapolis area.  The first location for this repeater was still at the WIRE radio station tower at 400ft.  This repeater on 447.65/442.65 (WB9HFU/R) was operated as a closed private repeater for a limited number of members.  The repeater was also designed with the capability of being cross-band to radio's on 52 MHz, 146 MHz, and 224 MHz.  This repeater was moved to the WXTZ new tower site with a antenna located at 840ft. in early 1980.  This is the same location the repeater is at today !

Over the years thing like a 10 meter link radio on 29.6 MHz FM was added to the 146.97 repeater in Carmel, but when that antenna tower was taken out of service the link radio was not reconnected at its new location.  The repeater was moved to its current site on channel 40's TV tower in 1984 were it is today.  

The 147.39 repeater met its sky high domain because of someone working on the tower opening the cabinet for a peek see and not closing it backup tightly.  The repeater was on and off the air for several years and was operated on the southeast site of Indy running spit-site at Wavetek and CT Systems with very low antenna height.  

In 1985 the 224.92 (at that time N9ARQ/R) repeater was put in service on the TV 40's transmitter tower.  It was fitted with a cross-band radio in 1986 so the control operators can link the repeater to the 2 meter or 440 bands if needed.  The antenna on this system was lost in a ice storm in March of 1988 and had to be replaced in early 1989.  

In 1987 we put the 147.39 repeater in service in Hamilton County.  In 1989 a new antenna and receiver unit was installed on the 2 meter repeater and the addition of the 444.125 repeater to the package for full time cross band operation.  

The 6 meter repeater 53.11 (K9YDO/R) was put in operation in Hamilton County in early 1993.  We also replaced the entire RF package of the 444.125 repeater that year.  We also had to replace the antennas on 147.39 & 444.125 late in the year because problems with high SWR and noise on the systems.  

In 1995 a new Motorola 110 watt final PA amp was added to the 444.125 repeater.  

The 442.65 repeater was rebuilt with all new RF equipment and put in operation as a open access system after the lack of maintenance and usage by the closed members for many years in 1996.  

In 1997 the 7/8" feed line and antenna was replaced on the tower for the  146.97 repeater because the original equipment that was removed from the tower in Carmel was starting to have problems.  We also had to replace the130 watt RF power output amp in the 147.39 repeater.

In the summer of 1999 we were contacted by the Central Indiana Skywarn
organization about taking over the communication needs for the their operation. After several meetings between are organizations, all operations of Skywarn nets were moved to our repeater systems in early 2000.  With the responsibilities of the Skywarn operation, we acquired an optional antenna for the 146.970 repeater at the 800' level to improve coverage to the western counties of the state.  We also added a linking system radio to our 442.650 repeater to add more versatility to the net operations for Central Indian Skywarn.

We acquired the operation of the 224.98 repeater in 2001 from one of our old group members.  John Gardner (WD9EZK) had to remove this machine from operation do to site reallocation.  After rebuilding the RF package it was put back in operation in early 2002 in downtown Indianapolis.  At the same time we started construction of a 1.2 GHz repeater to be located in the same cabinet with the 220 system.

Do to noisy operational problems with our 800' optional antenna for Central Indiana Skywarn, we replace the antenna with a new Stationmaster in March of 2002.

In April of 2002 we put in operation the first IRLP repeater node in the central
Indiana area on our 224.98 repeater.  This allowed the connection of this repeater with over 400 other ham radio systems all over the world.  The 1293.50 repeater was also put into operation in April with it's basic RF package.

November of 2002 we started the construction of our 900 MHz repeater system.  Testing with this system is currently ongoing with a replacement of a antenna to be installed at the 900+ ft. height in the near future.

In July 2003 we installed a completely new RF package for the 442.65 repeater.  It is a complete Motorola Mico repeater with a tube RF final amplifier.  This package has much improved receiver sensitivity and can produce more then twice the output power with the tube final.  We then took the old repeater package and retuned it to 444.125 and installed it in its Noblesville location.  This made for a nice improvement to the operation of that repeater over its old package of a Motorola mobile radio.

We started construction of the link radio package in early 2004 to help with communications in the southern counties of the Central Indiana Skywarn Network.  This package was installed in Jackson Co. in April and has proven to be a great addition  to help provide better coverage for the network.

In September of 2004 we were ask to remove our ham radio equipment from both of the WHMB (TV Ch40) towers.  Because of additional tower loading requirements for their new HDTV antenna to the main transmitter tower in Indianapolis, we had to remove the 146.970, 224.920, & 927.9875 repeaters.  We also had to remove the 53.110, 147.390, & 444.125 repeaters from their studio tower located in Noblesville, Indiana even though there was no real reason for tower loading problems at this location.  The stations interest in supporting the amateur radio community changed completely after a new head engineer was hired at the station, who was a ham??  So all equipment, antennas, & feedlines were removed from both sites and new locations were started to be located to get all the repeaters back in operation.

In November of 2004 we put the 147.390 repeater back in operation temporarily at a site north of Sheridan, Indiana on a privet 110' tower.  The system was rebuilt with a new 110 watt Motorola RF deck before being moved to this location.  Shortly after the installation of the repeater at this site a ice store destroyed the antenna system and it had to be taken back off the air.

December 2004 we installed the 146.970 repeater at its new permanent home at WISH (TV Ch8) transmitter tower located on the northwest side of Indianapolis.  The antenna is installed on a platform mount located at the 540' level off the south side of the tower.  This site provides for complete back-up AC power via the station 13 Megawatt generator.

In April of 2005 we put the 444.125 repeater back in operation in Noblesville, IN by combining it with a 5 channel commercial trunking system.  It uses the same RF package as before but has a different antenna for the transmitter and receiver.

In the early summer of 2006 we put back on the air the 927.9875 repeater at the WISH (TV Ch8) tower sight.  This repeater uses the same feedline as the 146.97 repeater, so installation of the system at this site only required the addition of the 900Mhz antenna and splitter box on the tower to get things back on the air.

November of 2006 we put in operation the first D-Star repeater in Indiana.  The system started operation on 443.90Mhz but was shortly changed to it's current frequency of 444.125Mhz do to intermod problems at the site and the 443.90 frequency was moved
to the repeater in Noblesville.

In April of 2007 we installed the VHF post on the D-STAR system and utilized the
147.390 MHz frequency which we were not using.  We also connected the S-STAR package
to the Gateway which allowed the repeaters  to be connected to other D-STAR systems
around the world via the internet.

 


 

Our group has changed a lot over the years.  As stated at the top of this page, we began with about 7 hams and it built to as many as 25 hams in the group back when we had the closed private repeater in the late 70's.  Interest dwindled during the early 80's to just a few active hams and we got fired back-up again around 1985.  Since that time the purchase of the equipment, construction, & ongoing maintenance of all the repeaters and sites is the work of a few hams.  Ray Warren (N9ARQ - SK), Dale Schieman (WB9YCZ), Bill Akin (K9YDO), & Frank Swindler (WB9OPR). Although we enjoy what we do and the enjoyment these repeater systems provide to our fellow hams, we will be glad to accept any donations others would like to make to our effort to help keep these high profile systems on the air in open access now and in the future for all of us to enjoy.

 

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