History Of The Quincy Repeaters

The 34-94 repeater got its start in 1969 when Gordon Davis got the Illinois Bell Telephone Company to donate a GE unit to the Civil Defense for use in community service. The reason it was given to Civil Defense was because that was Illinois Bell’s policy. This repeater was set up in the elevator shaft at the roof of the W. C. U. building with a 5/8 wave mobile whip into ground plane antenna spaced approximately 20 feet apart; with no more separation than this, we had desensitizing problems.

Screen cages were built for both the transmitter and receiver; plus, single stage cavities were built for each. The coverage was limited but, was better than the simplex operation we had been using for the marathon swim from LaGrange, to Quincy.

With several types of antenna arrangements tried, we had no better results. Wayne Bergman approached Mr. Tom Oakley about the use of the WGEM-TV tower and generator shed for the repeater site. Vern Killion, who was employed by Harris Corporation, contacted Amphenol and they donated 600 feet of 7/8 inch Heliax which was delivered by a Motorola truck from Chicago to Quincy at no charge. The Heliax and antenna were installed at the 300 and 200 foot levels with the same mobile ground plane antenna on 10 foot booms on the south-east leg of the WGEM-TV tower.

We were not satisfied with the GE unit and Walt Andrus had a 1941 vintage Motorola 60 watt unit that had been taken out of service. He was approached about using it as a repeater. He agreed, provided it was returned to him in working order when a replacement was secured.

A latching relay and a squelch control was built and the unit was put on the air in time for the Road Rally in 1971.

The coverage of Adams County was still not very good, so a harness of a second antenna was installed on the north leg of the tower. We were still not satisfied, so two dipole Isopole antennas were built and installed at this time with loss of separation creating a desensitizing problem. After loss of several drivers and final tubes, due to de-tuning of the transmitter to get rid of the desensitization, we installed the single stage cavity in the transmitter line. This took care of the problem.

In the mean time, negotiations were under way with Motorola for a later model unit. Motorola donated a 1952 unit, provided it be set up and not belong to the WIARC or Civil Defense. Therefore, the setting up of the Adams County Emergency Radio Service was formed.

In 1973, Civil Defense had a Motorola tube unit in the basement that was not in use. At that time, repeaters could not be on the RACES frequency so, the Civil Defense unit was set up on the transmitter frequency of 147.030 MHz, which was the Adams County RACES frequency. We picked up 146.22 MHz frequency for the receiving frequency, as it was not used in this area. This repeater was to be used only as a back-up unit in case of an emergency.

The unit and antenna were installed at the KHQA-TV tower site after negotiations with Lee Enterprises. The antenna and single dipole were set at a low height. This unit was controlled by the personnel of KHQA. It was turned on in the morning and off at night.

At this time, repeaters had to be licensed separately. Test and license procedures were harder than those of broadcast stations, so a Repeater Committee was formed consisting of Vern Killion, Jim Ruxlow, Glen Hollyman, Glenn Glessner, Wayne Bergman, Lee Gray and Rex Wickell. Both repeaters were licensed (WR9AEA and WR9AEC).

It was decided to raise the antennas on the 147.030 and 146.220 machines. KHQA loaned us 450 feet of solid 75 ohm coax which was put up at about 375 feet for the receiving antenna. A single dipole and some fiberglass coax was procured from a Harris sale of GE excess material. We spliced the two pieces together and the antenna for the transmitter was installed at approximately the 200 foot level.

In 1975, a Solid State Motorola unit was purchased by Adams County at half price to be used by the Adams County Emergency Services. 600 feet of Heliax and a six cavity duplex was purchased and a six to one power divider was built. Six five element yagi antennas were installed at about the 535 foot level..

A problem each fall with the duplexer forced us to go to separate antennas. The problem was improper tuning of the cavities. Once corrected, no more problems. We have had problems twice with the PA module due to lightning and we lost a complete set of antennas during an ice storm at Easter when the Jacksonville TV tower went down. Adams County Insurance replaced the antennas.

In 1979, the FCC stopped using “WR” calls so the repeaters were licensed to K9JJD for the 34/94 units and also because Glenn Glessner was a member of the Repeater Committee and an employee at WGEM-TV. The 63/03 repeater was licensed to K9AAJ because Lee Gray was also a member of the Repeater committee and an employee at KHQA-TV.

Well, I hope for those of you who are new or who didn’t know the history of the Amateur repeaters of Quincy, that this will give you a better idea.

by Andy Myers, N9XEO on 10/3/95

Revised by Glenn Glessner, K9JJDr on 12/18/96

The above information was provided by Andy Myers, N9XEO and Glenn Glessner, K9JJD. Glenn was a participant in early WIARC repeater construction, control and operation.