Grant: WB6ECE Simulcast System Upgrade

Date: September 2022
Amount: $22,801

The WB6ECE repeater system is a multi-site, VoIP-linked, voted and simulcast UHF repeater system. The current simulcast repeater system uses Yaseu/Vertex VXR-5000 repeaters with custom modifications to allow for GPS frequency locking of the transmit frequency. It was built in the early 2000s, and it is time to upgrade the (failing) hardware, expand the system, and replace some equipment and spares destroyed in a wildfire.

This grant will will help the volunteer-run ECE Repeater Group obtain much newer repeater hardware and upgrade and replace associated RF and computer components needed to keep the repeater system operating at peak performance. This includes replacing the amateur-band microwave link to the Empire Grade site, expanding both the UHF simulcast and linked VHF repeater system, and purchasing spare equipment.

The ECE Repeater Group uses the system to support multiple events, including the Santa Cruz Triathlon, the Sea Otter Classic bike races/rides, and the Fireworks Endurance Ride (equestrian event). It is used by the Santa Cruz County Equine Evacuation team to support their efforts during wildfires, and is often the only repeater that can provide coverage. It is an open repeater system at all times and supports seamless two-way voice communications from King City to north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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