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First test is promising!
I drove the full century course late this morning. The good news is it looks like we’ll be able to use our repeater system for most of it. Williamstown covers well in downtown Montpelier, East Montpelier and VT-14 out towards Woodbury. Past there, coverage is shaky, but Cabot picks it up nicely through Hardwick and up rt 15 and 16 into the area just before Glover. That’s when coverage gets fairly spotty, but picks up again strongly in Barton, sort of near the solar field/Leroux Brothers Transmission. Coverage is strong through Irasburg, Albany and Craftsbury, and there are even some places here where the Williamstown machine picks back up! (I even had a P25 digital QSO with Chris (K1MHZ) on Williamstown with minimal packet loss.) While stationary in Irasburg (Bob’s Quick Stop, to be specific), I had no trouble reaching Cabot.
By the time I got to Morrisville/Elmore area, Williamstown was full-quieting once again, and those on the repeater had no trouble copying me at all.
In some of the weak spots, I had to use high power to reach the machines – which in my case is 110 watts. We may want to consider the use of cross-band repeaters. This will be important for mobile stations – if they drive through spotty areas while transmitting, the net control station in Montpelier may not catch the full message.
I have yet to drive the other courses, but this first test was pretty promising. I just thought I’d give a synopsis of my findings today.
Thanks to WS3RVO, KA1HQR, K1MHZ, KC1EKV and WA2LRE for their help during my adventure today!