The History of the 146.940 MHz Repeater

Our new repeater, a Motorola Quantar.
Located on the top of Mount Rafinesque in Troy, NY

As told by Dave, W2GBO

In 1962 The Telephone Pioneers asked the help of GE Mobile Radio in Lynchburg, VA to put a VHF repeater on the air outside Troy. GE donated the equipment and the repeater using the callsign WB2NNZ, a secondary call held by Mac, W2LWX, went on the air at the New York Telephone IMTS site on Bald Mountain, which is northeast of Troy at N 42.7821291  W -73.6293442.

Over the years, New York Telephone went through several revisions and The Telephone Pioneers disappeared. The repeater’s call changed from WB2NNZ to W2LWX. When Mac became ill, Dave who had been doing the upgrades and maintenance on the repeater plus adding a UHF repeater, put his callsign, WA2GBO later W2GBO on it.

The original repeater, which received on 146.340 MHz and transmitted on 146.940 MHz, was housed in two watertight outdoor cabinets with one antenna for transmit and another for receive mounted on a telephone pole above the cabinets.

In 1962 the FCC did not have rules for repeaters, so the Bald Mountain repeater was considered a remote base. Nor did it have an identifier, so when you used it you had to say something like “this is WA2UMX via the WB2NNZ repeater”.

About the same time the Schenectady club put a repeater on the air. There is no present information about which repeater was first, but the general viewpoint is that the Telephone Pioneers repeater was first. Schenectady’s received on 146.46 MHz and transmitted on 146.940 MHz. Because hams on two meters normally used horizontal polarization for their antennas, the Schenectady repeater originally had horizontal Big Wheel antennas. The Telephone Pioneers was vertically polarized. 

Note that both repeaters transmitted on 146.940 MHz but received on two different frequencies. This allowed a ham in downtown Troy to hear an operator in downtown Schenectady. Another reason was that the surplus all-tube radios had a receiver strip with one receive channel and the transmit strip would have room for two transmit crystals. Lastly, the receivers of the day were not broad banded and only had decent receive sensitivity on one frequency.

At present the 94 repeater, which has been on the air for 57 years, has no club or group that sponsors it. Bob, K2RHI, has an agreement with the building’s owner to allow 94 to stay there plus he pays the National Grid bill to keep it on the air.

“Somewhere out there under the cover of darkness in the broadcast capital of the world, THIS is N2WWW in Schenectady, NY”

-Patrick Huba N2WWW