Saturday, December 14, 2019
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TOPIC: Installing SWAT repeater

Installing SWAT repeater 2 months 1 week ago #444

Just to give you an update on yesterday activity. Two teams comprising of below went to carry out installation of repeater at Swat Valley

Peshawar team with AP2NAS, AP2STA, ARS Yankee
North Team with AP2AJM with friend, ARS S, ARS Z and AP2AUM

We departed around 03:50 am from Islamabad and had our first stop for Breakfast around 8 am in Khwaza Khela. Peshawar team had a night stay in Mingora and hence joined us Khwaza Khela. The repeater location was an offroad track which took us to around 7500 feet height. The next 500 Feet height was gained by climbing the hill by foot with all that equipment. It took us a good 30 mins to reach the site at an altitude of 8000 ft.

Breathtaking views and excellent site. The rigger we engaged was immediately put to work and he climbed the tower to install the antenna. Once done we hooked up the handy and SWR and Viola it was 1.1. We called up back up stations from Islamabad and pesh and Abbottabad and were a bit disappointed that only Abbottabad was 5.9 whereas Peshawar was 5.5 but Islamabad/Pindi was absolute dead silence. Not agreeing to the result we made the rigger unbolt the heavy antenna and climb another 30 feet to 110 feet. Total height of tower is 150 ft. we had to add in more RG 213 taking the length to 135 feet of cable. This was 6th hour of rigger atop the tower and he was absolutely drained.

We check the swr again and it remained the same. Ground stations were again called for signal report and this time it was worse than before. Abbottabad was 5.5 but Peshawar was gone and Islamabad was never their anyway. Felt very disappointed however still hooked up the duplexer and antenna and fired up the repeater. We just couldn’t do anything else except to leave it for trial run till we return back with a better solution.

Total time spent was around 20 hours.

Lessons learnt:
• RG213 is a good cable upto 100 Ft length. Anything more and you are destined to LOS
• Always have your own back up and never rely on other people facilities ( There is loadshedding of 1 hour after every hour hence the repeater keep turning off and on after every hour. We were assured 24/7 genset presence.
• Always take food and water to the site location and never leave it in your car :-D we had food and water but did not have the energy to climb down 500 ft and then come back to the tower site with food.
• Always keep a time lapse camera and put it at sight to record all of your activities. We have made videos and pics and I will make a VLOG and upload it on youtube and our website.

Things need to be done in coming days.

• Procure low loss cable of ½ inch dia around 135 feet.
• Take a double transfer repeater to the location to be hooked up with Changla repeater. This will ensure connectivity from Lahore till Kalam on one frequency.
• Solar panel and charge controller and 120 Amp maintenance free battery

Thankful to Ap2MKB, Ap2CJ, Ap2SAG, Hasaan (SWL) ARS Charlie, ARS Sugar (Junior), Habib Ullah (SWL) and Abdullah (SWL) for back up and ground support.

The team that went are simply awesome and rock. Without their dedication to Amateur Radio Services this would not have been achieved.

Thank you all.

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