Grant: Williams Hill Relay Site

Date: September 2022
Amount: $46,800

The ECE Repeater Group, Inc. operates a digital microwave network on the ham bands spanning (at present) from San Francisco, CA to Salinas, CA and a 441 MHz simulcast/voted repeater system. In addition, the ECE Repeater Group operates a 147 MHz repeater in Salinas, CA and holds site leases for other amateur uses, including the site lease for the “ham shack” on San Bruno Mountain above San Francisco, which hosts numerous amateur microwave and repeater systems. The south end of the Salinas Valley is underserved for telecommunications and emergency services despite being situated as a halfway point between the existing amateur networks in the San Francisco/Monterey Bay region and the San Luis Obispo region. A prominent mountaintop, Williams Hill, overlooks this region with line of sight to both existing networks. The top of the mountain is controlled by the State of California, and efforts to lease space for amateur radio uses at any facility on the mountaintop has previously been blocked. However, the ECE Repeater Group, Inc. has successfully managed to negotiate a ground lease of 800 square feet on private ranch land immediately adjacent to the top of the mountain at a very modest cost.

This grant enables the ECE Repeater Group to build a facility that will be occupied by multiple amateur radio groups providing analog and digital repeaters, AREDN, APRS, Winlink and other capabilities that are currently unavailable in the region. A 35′ self-supporting tower (the maximum height permitted without special permitting) and a (used) air-conditioned telecommunication shelter will be installed. A grounding system will connect both the tower and shelter. Several 19″ relay racks and appropriate cable entry weatherproofing will also be used. The system will connect to existing PG&E utility power and also will install a solar power system sufficient to power all critical resources in the facility. Additional facilitity needs such as a reinforced concrete foundation and fencing will be covered by the grant as well.

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