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British Columbia Frequency Modulation Communications Association

VE7IRN 146.660 MHz (-600 kHz)

This repeater is located at about 6000' AMSL on Iron Mountain, outside of Merritt, BC.

In 2020, the BCFMCA was made aware that the repeater no longer had a maintainer, the callsign was defunct (no sponsor) in the ISED database, and while it was on the air, the coverage was very poor.

The BCFMCA proceeded to petition ISED to acquire the VE7IRN callsign, and take over a sponsor of the repeater, in order to keep it on the air. Merritt is an important transportation hub, and this is the only wide-area amateur radio repeater.

In June 2020, a group of dedicated amateurs descended on the repeater site, now owned by Omega Communications, volunteering to clean up the site of old and dangerous remnants of various previous radio systems. Unsafe towers and antennas were removed from site, and the "old" IRN machine was removed and scrapped. The site was prepared to receive a new repeater, and the preliminary ground work was established to get internet connectivity to the site via BCWARN/TPARC/KARC/VE7CHW.

On July 24, 2020, VE7FET and VE7FSR installed the new repeater that VE7FET had built. They identified that the repeater antenna that was still on site didn't resonate in the ham band (VSWR of 1.8:1), so it was abandoned, and a temporary SRL-210C2 was installed.

The controller is a Raspberry Pi, running the AllStarLink repeater controller software, and is registered as Node 435454. It is connected to the internet, allowing it to be linked to other repeater systems around the world.

BCFMCA members can request access to the repeater via internet client (Android/IOS/PC), should you wish to connect direct to the repeater over the internet (and not link in from another AllStar node).

Live repeater audio is available on Broadcastify.

The repeater shares the antenna with the VE7IRN APRS digipeater, using a Sinclair C2034 combiner.

The repeater uses a Harris A2000B radio, running 50W. After duplexer, combiner, and cable losses, actual power up the coax is closer to 20W (duplexer needs retuning). There is about 40 feet of LDF4-50A Heliax to the SRL-210C2 antenna, which gives and ERP of about 59W.

Converage of the repeater is generally as follows:

  • City of Merritt
  • Hwy 5 (Coquihalla) south to Larsen Hill summit
  • Hwy 5 (Coquihalla) north to Helmer Road
  • Hwy 8 west through Lower Nicola
  • Hwy 97C (Coquihalla Connector) east to Pennask Summit
  • Hwy 5A north past Nicola Lake
  • Hwy 5A south from Aspen Grove
  • Hwy 97C north to Logan Lake

There is no PL tone required to access the repeater.

Theoretical coverage of the repeater is (click for bigger image):

Click for larger image.