AREC Repeater Group, Inc.
|In January of 2014 it came to our attention that the City of
West Palm Beach was planning to replace the tower which we had been on for
20 or more years. They did not notify us - it took a letter to the
mayor to acknowledge that we had a vested interest. We asked that we
be included in the planning process but that never happened.
A year later we were contacted by the project manager and laid out our requirements. At this time we were expected to pay for the entire move: antenna, connectors, coax and installation costs. We assumed that space was allocated in the West Palm Beach communications shelter for us.
By June of 2015 the tower had been installed and one communications shelter was present at the new location. In September we found out that no work orders had been cut to move us to the new tower. Then we were presented with a quote for $3108 just to purchase 400 feet of coax. I was able to obtain a much better quote of $1381.
In December, the County contacted me and affirmed that the tower was planned to have our antenna in the same place as on the old tower, and they were assuming that we would relocate our equipment into the City's shelter since there was no place for our outdoor cabinet to be installed within the fence. This was confirmed in February of 2016 by the Mayor's office.
During the negotiations, we committed to purchasing a new antenna - that was all we could do with our limited budget. The old antenna, while working well, was over ten years old. The city agreed to install it without charge and stated that it needed to be delivered by April 29; Sphere Communications was contracted by the City to install it. At some point, Harris Communications volunteered to provide the coax. We were able to obtain the new antenna, delivered, for $756.00, considerably cheaper than the quotes from West Pam Beach's consultants. The new antenna is placed and oriented the same as it was on the old tower except that now we have a "snubber," a device at the top to prevent bending from high winds.
In March we were provided with a quote for a new outdoors communications cabinet for $18,000.00.
Hearing about this problem, Mark filla, N4DES, the County's Radio Systems Manager, agreed to look into a possible relocation into their shelter. By April 18 this was confirmed and we proceeded to forge a new license agreement with the county, and modify the one with the City. That took another year!
Finally, on February 29, 2017, Chris Hite, AJ1Q and I, John Samuels, K2CIB, moved the Quantar, duplexer and auxillary power supply out of the (very) old traffic signal cabinet at the base of the old tower, and moved the components into the clean, air-conditioned county shelter where Motorola technicians installed the repeater. Chris checked out the repeater with his service monitor and it was right on.
Subsequent testing has shown that the coverage has improved perceptively over the previous setup. Perhaps the new coax and antenna has made the difference. We expect that the power supply failures will no longer occur in the new environment.
A Motorola technician installing the coax. At the left,
in the rack, you can see the Quantar in the center
and the duplexer at the bottom.
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