W4FAR Repeaters (CTCSS 94.8) VHF:145.37 MHz (-); UHF: 443.55 MHz (+); DMR: 440.5375 (+)

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The History of the Foothills Amateur Radio Club

The Foothills ARC was first organized in 1977 with a small group of about 20 local hams. A group of Hams from Raleigh, headed by Danny Hampton approached the club to sponsor a repeater on the Blue Ridge at the top of the mountain off to the east side of highway 18.

On October 7, 1977 the 145.37 repeater was put on the air with the call sign of N4AGN.

The original repeater hardware was a GE Master Pro feeding a Hustler G7 antenna. Also included was a 220 link to the Asheboro, NC repeater and then on to Raleigh. The duplexers were purchased from a military surplus dealer in Hickory and were tuned by Danny Hampton and his crew. The first contact was between N4AGN and W4YSB (now a silent key). Later on, the Foothills Amateur Radio Club was in need of an autopatch on the repeater and since the location was out of the county and long distance calls would be required, the decision was made to move to the top of Pores Knob on the Brushy Mountains, just south of Wilkesboro, NC.

After the move, the old GE Master Pro was replaced with an excellent GE Master II which had been used for a short time in a military activity. The Hustler G7 antenna was replaced by a 21 foot 4 dipole Phelps Dodge commercial grade antenna which was mounted on a 50 foot Rohn 25 tower. A new ACC85 controller and autopatch system was incorporated into the repeater system.

About 10 years ago the repeater was moved into a common building and the antenna was placed at 80 feet on a 150 foot commercial tower. 2 years ago the antenna was moved again to the top of a 90 foot tower standing beside the commercial tower.  On May 19, 2018 the repeater was moved to its new home next to the W4FAR DMR machine on Buck's Knob, with the first conversation between WR4LW and AB1JU at 2PM a successful test of the repeaters new home.

Except for a few days after the devastating hurricane Hugo slammed our county, the 145.37 machine has been doing it's repeating business!

In early 2016, the club voted to purchase a DMR repeater as part of the NC PRN DMR network for service in the Wilkesboro area. In the spring of 2016, the repeater was purchased and put up for testing on 440.5375 mHz. On June 04, 2016, the repeater was moved from its testing location to its permanent home on a 50 foot tower located on top of Bucks Knob, the 3rd highest peak in the Brushy Mountains. In the fall of 2017 the club added another 20 foot section on the tower, bringing it up to 70 feet. The first conversation between W4HF and AB1JU was successful on June 4, 2016 at 6 PM and the repeater was then deemed ready for public use.

In mid-2023, the club took advantage of the opportunity to add the 443.55 UHF repeater to our group. This repeater has an excellent location on the WKBC radio tower high up on the Brushy Mountains. The club purchased a new ARComm repeater controller to replace the existing controller, which was failing. Thanks to Stoney, WB4PZA for bringing this opportunity to the club and his technical expertise in configuring and changing out the controller. On November 6th, 2023 the repeater was deemed ready for public use with the new controller and is now part of the W4FAR repeater family.


 

Club Officers for 2023

 

  • President: David M. Ritter, ND4MR

 

  • Vice President: TBD

 

  • Secretary and Treasurer: Vicki Davis, K4VIK

 

  • Website Design, Administration and Social Media Manager: Brian D. Lisle, AB1JU

 

  • Repeaters Trustee: Brian D. Lisle, AB1JU

 

  • WCARS VE Liaison: Larry Sloop, NC4WX

 

 

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