ATV News in the Rockford area
The W9ATN ATV Repeater
on the air transmitting on 421.250 (horizontal).
Please check back often to learn the latest on
Rockford's Premiere ATV Repeater.
*** NEW INPUT FREQUENCY ADDED***
1.250 GHz and now 434.000 (horizontal)
(Webpage updated September 13th, 2005)
Latest notes on the Repeater...
October 4, 2005
Gene - wb9mmm went up to the repeater today and found out they had a power outage, which caused the NASA channel
receiver to lock up. After powering down and back up, it said something like "not authorized", but that did not stop
him from pushing buttons. Pressed MENU and it said acquiring signal for a few minutes and then it came back.
That is the good news.
While he was there, or sometime today, the 28 volt power supply died again (third time - three power supplies). Gene
has one he has fixed (but since it blew up once, it might again, after a period of time) and then we have the BIG ONE,
a 70 amp supply, that Herb donated. But if we are going to put that up there, GENE NEEDS HELP. It weighs about 120 pounds.
He can't do it by himself. Any volunteers??????
Please let Gene know.
October 1, 2005
Reports that the NASA feed is down, have been confirmed. We will try to correct the problem ASAP
September 11, 2005
It has taken a while, but the Rockford ATV repeater has actually had a two-way ATV "conversation" on it for
the first time. John, KA9SOG, and myself exchanged video tonight.
John was transmitting on 434 MHz into the repeater, and I got it at least a P4 1/2. I transmitted on 434 MHz
and I believe John also said it was like a P4. Then I switched to the 1.250 GHz transmitter and he received
a good B&W image of what I sent.
Anyway, looks like systems are working and users are needed!
Gene - WB9MMM
August 4, 2005
The repeater was activated this evening in conjunction with the Winnebago County ARES and Information Net. We fed the
downlink from NASA to the repeater for retransmission. Several people reported they were able to see the signal from their
homes, and one stated it was as good as cable! Let's see if we can do this more often.
August 4, 2005
Gene forwarded this email with photos from a ATV'er (WB8ELK) in Huntsville, Alabama.
He found a band opening on July 23rd and 24th. Take a look at some of what stations he was able to see... in NORTHERN
Illinois! He was able to see one station that was running 3 watts!! Awesome!
July 9, 2005
This just in, a DX report on our repeater was received today. The report states our repeater was seen
P5 in St. Joseph, Michigan! That's roughly 140 air miles on a bearing of about 100 degrees.
A photo was e-mailed to Gene - WB9MMM.
July 9, 2005
Wayne - KA9IMX went up to the repeater today and moved the filter to the transmit side of the duplexers.
Testing of the system later showed it still would not function. Turns out he hooked things up alright,
he just wasn't familiar with the repeater and didn't realize it did not ID as power was applied, and after
considerable troubleshooting, left it hooked up but forgot to turn the power on as he finished the last time.
Gene - WB9MMM made a quick trip up and made the easy fix... sorry Wayne..;-)
July 9, 2005
ATV Meeting Minutes
The Rockford ATN ATV group got together on July 9, 2005 with the meeting starting at 9:20 am.
Attending were KA9IMX, KA9SOG, KC9ATR, N9SH, and myself, WB9MMM.
The meeting consisted with show and tell.
Wayne, KA9IMX brought his AEA ATV transmitter so we could confirm what frequencies it was transmitting on. It is on 439.25 MHz and 434 MHz. So, although it only puts out one watt, he is ready to be on the repeater.
Wayne has an amp (that needs fixing) to use with it as well. As Wayne and I find time (being free at the same time!), we can now do some testing to optimize the picture through the repeater.
John, KA9SOG brought an old, newly acquired, piece of Sencore test gear to show us. Looks like it does everything with TV except prepare dinner. This could be useful once he finds a manual someplace for it.
Dan, KC9ATR, brought a selection of lenses to try on the new imported cameras. He had found that some "C/CS" mount lenses would not focus properly on the imported cameras. It appears, but we do not know exactly why, that the lenses that he brought had a longer focal length than a "C" mount, but less than a "CS" mount. We were able to make them focus by screwing the lens out part way. For your information, the difference between a C and a CS mount is 5 mm in focal length. The C has to be 5 mm further from the CCD than the CS mount ( http://www.k3pgp.org/ccsmount.htm ). The web page just mentioned talks about sometimes needing to make a spacer to get a lens to focus properly.
Myself, WB9MMM, had a bunch of toys to show:
1. Camera, color, 1/4" Sharp CCD, 1 lux, 420 lines, with varifocal lens - 6-15 mm f 1.4, with 3" tripod
2. Camera, color, 1/3" Sony CCD, 0.5 lux (day)/.01 lux (night), 420 lines, with varifocal lens - 6-15 mm f 1.4, with 3" tripod
3. Mini tripod - folds
4. 5-section tripod - ball head
5. Videolynx 434 transmitter - 100 mw on 434 MHz (http://www.transmitvideo.com/ )
6. Videolynx V70A - 100 mw on 4 different 440 band frequencies
7. Videolynx VM-70X - 4.5 watts on 4 different 440 band frequencies
8. LB-1000 camera from P.C. Electronics - fixed lens, 3 lux
9. Intuitive Circuits ID board that hooks to a PC
10. Intuitive Circuits DTMF board with 8 relays
We also talked about needing filters in both of the receiver inputs to get a better picture. I am hoping to modify a filter given to us by Dick Tidberg from 390 MHz up to 434 MHz. I modified one (he gave us two) up to 421.25 MHz and it is now on the amplifier output. This will help prevent spurious emissions from getting below the 420 MHz band limit. I think we were OK before, but this is extra insurance.
If I missed something, I invite the others in attendance to add to the minutes!
The meeting adjourned around 11:10 am.
Gene - WB9MMM
July 2, 2005
Gene - WB9MMM installed a new passband filter on the repeater. Got home and checked the system and
found he could not bring it up. After thinking about the project, he relized he put it in line AFTER the
duplexers.. will need to get back there and move it to the Transmit side. Until then, the system is down. Sorry.
March 24, 2005
Well, I broke it again last night. I think it is just a fuse. Don't have
time to check until Friday. Looks like the amplifier is blown. While we were testing,
the repeater kept coming on and off and on and off. All of a sudden it
didn't. If I blew a fuse (for the new power supply) it was a 30 amp fuse!
Unless I only blew the input fuse to the power supply which was a 5 amp. I can
tell the repeater is still working, just not more than milliwatts for
Gene - WB9MMM
March 12, 2005
The repeater is back ON THE AIR.
It appeared that the local video (ID, NASA, and camera on the thermometer) were giving good output, but the two
receivers, 1.250 GHz and 434 MHz were not giving good output.
The controller and two receivers were at the QTH of WB9MMM for correction of the problem. We were looking
for a 6DJ8 tube for a Tektronix 529 Waveform Monitor that Herb, K9AMJ, has loaned us, so we could have a
good look at the waveforms coming through the receivers. Could not find one as yet, so had to order one.
After getting a tube, I now have a good way to see the signal coming out of the receivers. Since the
434 MHz receiver was a P.C. Electronics unit, I decided to ask Tom O'Hara what he thought. After a
couple of emails back and forth, Tom asked me what the video signal looked like coming out the back of
my TC70-10 transceiver (there is a video out port to monitor your own signal). I never used that as
I never got a good signal when I was transmitting, so therefore never thought to check.
So, I hooked the waveform monitor direct to the output of the transceiver, and guess what. The problem
that I had been seeing was caused by what I was transmitting. The thing I learned today was, when you
transmit a bad signal, you get a bad signal! To describe the waveform that was bad, the sync was
larger than it should be and the video portion was small. Inside the transmitter, there were three
adjustments, the monitor out, RF level, and pedestal. Getting out the manual and following the steps
that they give and using the waveform monitor to evaluate my adjustments, got the transmitter set up
so the waveform looks as it should. When I transmit through the repeater, it now looks OK! So, as you
have heard before, garbage in, garbage out.......
On the 1.2 GHz side, it appears to be a similar situation. The (my) transmitter is not giving a great
waveform. And some of the web sites that talk about these units point out this fact along with pictures of
waveforms that look much like what I see. I emailed G1MFG, and he said it was typical of these units,
but did give me some tips which I have yet to try. More to come on this. I did also email our friend in Ohio,
Art Towslee, who has used them in their repeater (he is the one that made the mass buy). I hope he will have
some comment. Since I have only evaluated one unit, it may not be fair to say they will all be the same,
but the web articles indicate that they might be.
So, the repeater has been put back together (on Saturday, 3-12-05), with the assistance of Dan, KC9ATR.
We have a new (to us) 28 volt power supply that came from Herb, K9AMJ. It is a monster, but looks like
it is working OK. It stills drops in voltage when transmitting, but is adjustable and I was able to adjust
it to run a little higher without exceeding the voltage of the transistors when it is not transmitting.
Output looks like 100 watts at this time.
We made some tests, but since you can not see your own signal when transmitting on 434 and receiving on
421 MHz, I can't really tell you good or bad at this point. I will be making more tests soon. It looked OK
on the ICOM R3 at the repeater site, but Shari could not see anything much at home. Sunday, at the Sterling
hamfest, I talked with Ron from Malta, IL, and he is ready to watch while I transmit to see what the signal
looks like. I will also make some tests with Shari transmitting with me mobile. Then I will have a better
idea what is going on.
KA9SOG is supposed to receive his 434 xtal, maybe today, so I can test with him as well. It will be good
when we have more transmitters going.
More later. Gene - WB9MMM
Mar 5, 2005
Gene has received the 6DJ8 tube he ordered a couple weeks ago. He is trying to get the Wave Form Monitor working and
hopefully get the inputs leveled. He is looking at having the system put back into service ASAP.
Feb 12, 2005
REPEATER IS OOS. We took the repeater out of service to try to correct the problem with the sync. We are not getting the proper wave forms
coming into the control board. It appears the syncs are not proper in some cases. The IDs appear okay, and the monitor
of the thermometer is good too, but it appears the receivers of the NASA feed, along with the 440 and 1.2 GHz are not putting
through the proper syncs. We are still looking for a 6DJ8 tube, just in case someone has not looked yet. As of today,
the repeater has been taken OOS as Gene is bringing it home so he can work on the problem easier
Feb 5, 2005
We tried to correct the problem with the wave forms and the inability to sync the videos by installing a piece
of equipment that should equalize the wave forms and sync the various video inputs
coming into the control board. Unfortunately when we tried to install it today, it appears one of the tubes has gone bad.
We need a 6DJ8. If anyone has a spare one, we would appreciate hearing from you.
Feb 4, 2005
Just in case that there may be some of you that monitor these ATV lists that
might live in the West Chicago suburbs, Freeport area on the West,
Beloit/Janesville to the North, Byron/Oregon to the South, we have the
434 MHz (horizontal polarization) input receiver working on our ATV
repeater. It should activate with sync. The output is 421.25 MHz horizontal omni and has been received by a few
in the suburbs. Our other input is 1250 MHz vertical. We listen on 144.34 MHz. Hope to see you try it out. Let us know your
results. We may still need adjustments, and your feedback will let us
know. If no one is using it as a repeater, it will identify in video and
Morse code every 10 minutes.
Jan 17, 2005
We worked on checking the hardline and connectors and found we made substantial improvements in the output.
We have also been having problems with getting a proper sync on the videos. We seem to have a difference in
the sync signals coming into the controller, but were unable to determine the problem.
Jan 12, 2005
Have the repeater back up and running. Hooked up the new inputs, now have DTMF controller hooked up
and we can now punch up different video inputs! We have the basic ID's, a camera showing the temperature
of the shack at the repeater, the 440 input and an input of the NASA channel!
Jan 6, 2005
DTMF is working better than ever. Still have low power out, only 10 watts or so.
Once the DTMF was working, I turned on the second input so it could be brought up with sync.
but it does not. There is an adjustment I need to make but need help turning the
transmitter on/off remotely, while I make adjustments at the site. I may have some
time to work on it this weekend.
Gene - WB9MMM
Jan 3, 2005
I have the control radio at home so the repeater is off the air for a short while. I want to make sure that
the high tones are coming out as they should. I found some information that indicates that there may be a jumper
that needs to change position, but when I went to the repeater site tonight, I found that Motorola uses special
heads on their screws. So I brought the radio home. It did seem to have plenty of signal to me, about 300 mw peak to peak.
I will check it out as quickly as I can to get it back on the air.
Gene Harlan - WB9MMM
December 31, 2004
KC9ATR, KA9PMM and WB9MMM checked out the antennas and hardline with an antenna analyzer. They found the problem to be
with the hardline, as both antennas read Okay when connected directly to the analyzer. They ran a new line of LMR400
coax to the transmitter. The SWR reads good but the power output is down to 45 watts from 80, but we don’t know why.
Looking into the controller problem, it was noted that some radios’ (tones) to switch feeds are accepted, and some not.
We have no idea why this is.
December 18, 2004
KC9ATR and WB9MMM switched out the 440 transmit “Rib-Cage” antenna for the homebrew copper pipe antenna. Once installed,
they noted the SWR was high on the new Copper Pipe antenna too. The SWR had been fine in an earlier test at home. Also
noted was that they could turn the repeater on and off, but couldn’t change channels for different views.
December 12, 2004
It was too cold and windy to work on the antenna this weekend. I still have
the system up and running even with the high SWR (4/1 or so). In case the
existing antenna is not fixable, I have made one of the copper pipe antennas
that was in the July QST page 58. It works and only has a SWR of 1.3/1. This
antenna is OMNI and horizontally polarized. To use it at our site my preference
would be to stack four of them. So, we will see what happens when we get a
chance to get on the roof. What I am guessing is wrong with our rib cage antenna
is that one of the wires has broken where the balum and coax attach to the
center of the antenna. Gene - WB9MMM
November 13, 2004
Volunteers from the ATV Repeater group spent the last 2 weeks putting the W9ATN/R back on the air.
The repeaters antenna mast which is located on top of St. Anthony Medical Center near N. Mulford Road and E. State Street,
suffered damage during the wind storms 2 weeks ago. Crews replaced the old mast with a piece of 1-1/4 inch schedule 80
pipe, 15 feet long.
Now that the repeater is up, we will be eagerly working to get reception reports from you! (There has been
some discussion of certificates being issued for video confirmation reports.. where you might send us
a tape of what you saw, and we would confirm the report.. but more on that later.)
Reception of the W9ATN/R
The output of the repeater is on 421.250 AM horizontally polarized. It should be possible to receive video on a regular
TV by tuning to CABLE channel 57, AND hooking up a regular EXTERNAL antenna.
It's important to remember that the TV must be set to receive CABLE channel 57,
not AIR channel 57... big difference.
The W9ATN repeater identifies every 10 minutes with 10 seconds of video ID a few seconds of CW at the end. Control operators
are monitoring the 146.61(-)(PL 114.8) and the 144.34 ATV simplex frequencies. They can access the repeater controls to
turn the system on for you. In this mode, it rotates through a series of 4 ID screens which helps evaluate the signal.
The input to the repeater is 1.250 GHz (as of November 10) and is vertically polarized. Future plans call for another
auxiliary input frequency in the 439 MHz area, but we need more money before we can go this route. Want to see it
happen sooner? Please join the group! Send an email to Rockford ATV at and let us
know of your interest.
The following are a few reports from people who have seen the video from the
repeater in early October 2004.
We would like to hear how well the repeater is getting out. If you can see the repeater video, please let us know
by sending an email to . We would like to know how well you see it (signal report using
the ATV P-Signal Report System. Also, let us know something
about your antenna.
- WB9MMM - Gene = P5 - 5 blocks away
- KA9SOG - John = P1-P2
- KA9OYR - Brian = P0 - nr RMH
- KB9ZXG - Kirk = P2 8 miles
- KB9PWQ - Roland - P2 in Harwood Heights about 4 miles E of O'Hare
- N9AB - Andy - About P2 in Mundelein
- N9GLL - Scott - P1-P2 in Chicago
- KB9MMA - Jim - P2 in Racine
- W9ZIH - Ron - P4 in Malta
- KA9H - Bruce - P1 in Downers Grove - 25 element yagi at 25'
- KA9IMX - Wayne = P5 - 1 mile, 15" bowtie antenna hung on the back of the TV!
We sure would like to hear from you.
This first photo is looking West from the W9ATN / R antenna farm.
The second is the antenna farm itself.
WB9MMM in the penthouse by the repeater, and the repeater close-up.
Here are a few photos of reception reports for you..
First photo is a photo from KA9SOG - it's P1-P2.
The second photo was of the set-up I used for my first test.
The third photo was using a bow-tie antenna hanging on the back of the TV.
This one is P4.
(Please forward any snap shots you might have received for inclusion here!)
Just a note - We already have been using ATV on several recent events:
- The Head of the Rock Regatta,
- The OSF Heritage Run,
- a "Live Demonstration" at the Midwest
Regional Emergency Preparedness and Response Conference, and
-the Westlake Village Triathlon.
The ATV group has an e-mail reflector with a lot of good information flowing!
If you think you might be interested in getting on ATV in Rockford, why not join us!
We can use your help.
For further information, please contact Gene Harlan - WB9MMM at 398-2683, and, while your at it,
send a message to the reflector and get on the list! To subscribe to Rockford ATV group,
send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the words "subscribe rockfordatv"; in the body of the message.
Check-out our local Rockford ATV guru's website, and also our
parent group, the ATN website for ATV information from
around the country!
Ok, so you don't have the equipment or can't see the pictures from where you are.. how about Slow Scan TV (SSTV).
There has been activity on the 442.075 repeater.. SSTV pictures! It's easy.. download
MMSSTV ver 1.09 and load it into your computer..
It downloads in 4 or 5 minutes on a dial-up service, installs rapidly.. and within minutes, you too can share in
the fun of sending and receiving SSTV photos! (I use an HT, go from the headphone jack to the line-in on the
computer for my sound.. then, to send, just key the HT and hold the mike to the speaker! That's it!!)
Give it a try and feel free to give me a call if you want to share some photos.
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