On receiving an offer from ICOM UK of a D-Star repeater and control box, the members of Tenby Radio Repeater Group were thrown into a bit of a dilemma, as we did not at the time have a site where we could locate the repeater, let alone the funds, as there was just over £1000 in our account, by sheer coincidence the Cleddau Amateur Radio Society, our sister organisation had just moved QTH to the man shed Pembroke Dock, after 31 years in Neyland, the new landlord being the Milford Haven Port authority, the building being the former office/guardroom for the now disused mine depot, which if you stood outside and looked in a southerly direction and about 250 foot up just over the roof of the local hospital, could glimpsed the very top of an ever rotating radar. One of three that guard the Milford Haven waterway. Little did any of us know at the time, that the slightly dilapidated building that lay at the base of the mast that held the radar aloft, was an ex-Marconi station which we would eventually go on and rent. The locals only knowing the area as the Patrick’s Hill aerial farm.
However who actually came up with the idea of asking the Milford Haven Port Authority if they might have a mast that we could use, is slightly lost in the mists of time. However Howard Bancroft MW0HVB, was nominated to make the initial approach. The meeting went better than we could ever of hope for, as the port authority offered us the use of one of their two masts at Patrick’s Hill and the use of one of the rooms in the building for the grand sum of £1 a year which included the electricity. However there were one or two conditions to this offer the first one being that the group must obtain a notice of variation (NOV) for the repeater before we could sign the lease. We had also started the process of applying for a lottery grant, however we could not send the grant application form in until we knew whether we had the NOV. the building, and the repeater equipment from ICOM as the lottery demands full enclosure and details of any project they offer a grant for, without the grant the project would not even get off the ground, this left us with a bit of a chicken and egg situation, as if any part of the chain broke we would not be able to use any of the links we had already put in place.
Therefore it was a very long six weeks wait before we received the letter saying we had been granted the NOV for GB7PD-C, at which point we signed the lease for what we now know as the ex-Marconi station at Patrick’s Hill, and contacted ICOM UK, who true to their word and at lightning speed sent us the repeater equipment. However the club still did not have the funds to complete the project, so we submitted the application for the lottery grant, and with ever decreasing funds had the phone line installed and purchased the climbing equipment required by health and safety to remove the old antennas and radar from the top of the mast, which had been specified by the port authority as part of the lease. Another eight weeks went slowly by, as we waited for a decision from the lottery, eventually we had an offer from them which we were only too pleased to accept as we were nearly out of funds despite receiving £250 from the Pembroke and Pembroke Dock Lions club to help fund our project. There was another slight delay of two weeks before the lottery funds were paid into our account, which at least gave us the time to remove the old diesel tank from the generating room which now was our part of Marconi house, and while this was not part of our agreement with the port authority it certainly made it smell a lot better in the room.
Once the money arrived the group went on a spending spree! Well perhaps not a spending spree as such as everything we needed had to be specified and costed on the lottery grant form. Our biggest expense was the cavity filters which came from JAG in Canada, and once again there was a delay of four weeks which slowly turned into ten. However this did give the group some breathing space in order to bench test the software, erect the antennas, and the myriad of jobs that seem to appear out of nowhere in order to be able to switch the repeater on once the cavities arrived, which they eventually did, there was another slight delay of a week, while we installed the filters, at which point the repeater was ready to go on the air which it did on September 22, the group is now making plans for a second d-STAR repeater on site GB7PD-B and eventually to move their six meter repeater GB3AE from its current location to Patrick’s Hill. There also hope to relocate GB3AP to a new more convenient site in Pembrokeshire, once the funding becomes available.
The committee and members of the Tenby Radio Repeater Group
would like to thank all at ICOM UK for their help and support during the long process of eventually getting GB7PD-C on the air.
To download a PDF version of this article click on Tenby Radio Repeater Group and GB7PD-C Article
By: Jolly Red Frog (John GW0JRF),