my 'Blog Here:
TIMOTHY E BERRY
214 ECHODALE LN
KNOXVILLE, TN 37920
Shirley Mizell Berry
June 3, 1938-April 26, 2013
I love you, Mom!!!
Utilizing several locations throughout the area, covering several
different Amateur Radio bands, the WB4GBI Repeater system provides
East Tennessee with ample repeater service, for both the casual user
and the emergency volunteer.
Please use the buttons on the
left to navigate through the repeater pages,
and discover what each
repeater site has to offer!
the latest WB4GBI News:
The WB4GBI 53.15 repeater is now ON THE AIR!!
Check out the 53.15 page to the right
for more details.
146.94 is back on the air!!
Thursday morning, May 2nd, as I was starting my day, I received
word that someone was transmitting continuously on 146.34 MHz, causing the
repeater to be "locked up" until the time-out timer took care of things. Sometimes,
when someone would attempt to "kerchunk" the repeater, there would be just
enough of a signal reset that the repeater would come back up again for the
duration of another time-out cycle. At this point, I decided that the best
thing to do was to remotely command the repeater off. I did not consider
this decision lightly. 94 and .47 are my two busiest repeaters with
daily activity from the wee hours of the morning until some of the second
shift folks go home late in the evening. However, the signal into the repeater
was quite strong, and anyone who tried to have a QSO on .94 would be "scrubbing"
the offending signal until the time-out occurred. Some of the .94 regulars
moved to 146.625 while this problem existed (hint...146.625 does pretty good
on its own...). I hoped that the person who had left their radio keyed up
would find it and the problem would go away. I checked the repeater several
times during the day and the signal was still there.
On the Thursday night 145.47 net, I mentioned that .94 was off and asked
everyone to listen on 146.34 and let me know if they heard a continuous carrier
at their location. There was a ham from Jellico that said he had a weak
signal at his location...I didn't get his call sign. But I thought..."from
that far away? getting to the .94 site in Sevier County?" But he was
A question was asked to me..."Why don't you just turn on a tone?"
First of all, it is not my policy to have continuous tone squelch on any
of my repeaters except 927.0625. This is my policy for several reasons. The
most important one is that it makes the repeater less "user friendly."
Travelers thru our area could find one of my repeaters with a QSO in progress,
but be unable to join in or call for help if they do not know the correct
tone. Only one of my repeaters (147.075) has a controller which could announce
the tone, but those are not cheap and typically do not fare well in lightning
prone environments. The use of tones on a repeater is not a magic fix for
all problems, but it does help with intermittent problems. I will occasionally
use a tone on 145.47, 146.625, or 146.73 in order to keep them on the air
(118.8 Hz). There *is* a tone decoder on .94, but I do not have it operational
yet. I may try to finish that this summer. However, a tone decoder would
NOT have helped with today's particular problem, as the offending signal was
continuous, and everyone would have had to have been stronger than it was
to overcome it and keep the repeater receiver unmuted.
After the first full day (Thursday) with the offending signal still going
strong, I decided to try to find it. Friday morning, I met up with Danny,
N4ZAA, who had already been tracking the signal and took me to a spot in
Northeast Knox County where it was the strongest. I had a 4 element VHF yagi
antenna with me and attempted to "shoot an azimuth" to where the signal was
coming from. From there we went to North Knox County, Union County, and Anderson
County. The tests were inconclusive, as we would see several "peaks" in the
signal from different directions. In the mid-afternoon, we were joined by
Cleve, KB4UAL, and Frank, W4NCS, who also had a directional antenna. Through
a series of several stops, we found our way Northward into Union County
and Claiborne County. We found the signal in several places, and it
was quite strong, but never strong enough for us to say that we were getting
very close to it. I traveled to several high locations in the area that I
knew from my two-way radio days. I went to tower sites that I haven't seen
for 20 plus years. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was great, but
we weren't getting close enough to the problem signal yet. Todd, KA4OAK, joined
us when he returned to the area after working out of town for the day. He
had also heard the signal in several places, but we were still were not close
When we traveled into Kentucky on US 25 (thru the tunnel), we got a very
strong signal. However, it disappeared rather quickly in either direction
that we traveled. We received some reports via 145.47 from the Middlesboro,
Kentucky area. At this point, Cleve and I decided to split up. He went to
the home of a local ham who had a beam antenna to check the direction from
his location, and I traveled to Pine Rock mountain to see if I could get
a clear direction from the top of the mountain. Both of us determined that
the signal was coming from West of the Middlesboro-Pineville area. By this
time, it was getting dark, and we had just about decided to give up and go
home to Knoxville. However, a breakthrough happened. I found a ham on 146.55
simplex that was in London, who told me he had the offending signal "full-scale."
Additionally, Bo, KI4VMR, was on 145.47 (which had been serving as our coordination
frequency) and told us that he had the 146.34 signal full scale on his portable
two meter radio with the antenna removed. He was right in the area. I met
back up with Cleve and Frank, and we headed up US 25 from Pineville to Corbin.
By now it was fully dark.
By this time, Bo had to go to work. Elizabeth, KJ4NRY, volunteered to
lead us to the area where Bo lived. We met on US 25 and traveled toward
Corbin. By now the 146.34 signal was strong enough that we could hear it
on our hand-helds inside our vehicles. As we approached Corbin, it became
strong enough that Cleve could not attenuate it using a selectable attenuator
pad (guess who forgot his?) and we could indeed hear the offending carrier
without antenna attached to our portables. It was time to look around.
I was familiar with the tower that we could immediately see as we came
close to Interstate 75, as a very close friend of mine is the Chief Engineer
of the radio stations that utilize the tower for their signal delivery. We
drove to the entrance of the studio building adjacent to the tower. We could
not attenuate the signal at all whatsoever. I made a phone call to
my friend, who was now in Knoxville winding down for the evening. He called
the station owner, who traveled to the site and let us into the building
after we explained the situation. He knew all of the equipment inside the
building and went immediately to the equipment that we and he suspected was
the culprit. The removal of the AC power confirmed our suspicions...the 146.94
interference was finally gone after over two days!!!
The offending equipment was a UHF amateur repeater with a two meter remote
base. Was this interference intentional? Of course not. We did not pursue
troubleshooting any further after the AC power feed was unplugged;
that is the discretion of the site owner and the owner of the repeater. By
this time, it was almost midnight, and Cleve, Frank, and I had a hour plus
trip back to Knoxville.
I was unable to restore .94 to service until I got back in range of my
UHF control receiver at the 94 site. I was able to access my control receiver
for the .94 site on Caryville Mountain as I traveled South on I-75. When
I successfully commanded 146.94 back on, there were folks waiting. One said..."Its
back!!" We had a great coming-home roundtable QSO until I made it back
home a little after 1 AM.
I'm happy to say that the WB4GBI 146.94 repeater is back on the air serving
the ham radio operators of East Tennessee, just like it has since 1967 and
that's the way I want it to be.
I want to say a HUGE Thank you to all of these Amateurs that made this
"mission" a success:
and to all the others that helped us along the way with signal reports,
directions, and monitoring.
On a separate note, THANK YOU to all of your for your prayers, concern
and caring during the passing of my Mother. She went home to Heaven last
Friday. It still hurts and probably will for a long time. A friend once told
me..."Your mother is your 'rudder.' " She left a wonderful legacy to myself,
my brother and my sister. We were her proudest accomplishments. I know where
she is, and I will see her again someday. I hope I continue to make her
proud until then for the rest of my life.
73 de Tim WB4GBI
On a recent basketball
trip to Connecticut... Tim was able to sneak away for a little while,
and visit the folks at the
While at the guest operating position of W1AW,
Tim worked 7P8JW and EA8TL on 20 meters!
Tim and Steve Ewald, WV1X,
my friend and tour guide at ARRL headquarters
Now this is what it's all about!
Tim and Bob, WB1GCM, inside the
ARRL's RF-shielded enclosure
More information about repeaters throughout
the southeast can be obtained by a subscription to the Southeastern Repeater
The Repeater Journal is a publication of SERA -
or better known as the South Eastern Repeater
of which WB4GBI is a proud member!
Those of you who subscribe
to the Southeastern Repeater Journal, might want to take a closer
look at the November 2008 edition of the Journal. There are a
few photos on the cover that might look VERY Familiar....
All of the
WB4GBI repeaters are completely open & available to serve
entire Amateur Radio Community!
there may be a need to place a 118.8
tone on a repeater,
reception problems or other outside interference,
is only to eliminate reception problems - not to close a repeater)
you for stopping by this web site.
enjoy these pages... and the repeaters...
they have been built, tuned, installed and maintained to serve everyone.
in early 1995 Tim had an opportunity to honor one of his mentors, George
Shaver, K4HXD in a local Ham Club Newsletter. George was the one
person most responsible for taking Tim "under his wing" and showing him
how much fun this hobby can be. Tim's article was in response to
George's passing, and he would like to share it with you here.
Wonder why some repeaters just tend to "Act Up" in the dead of winter?!
I wonder why that is...