The Leicestershire Repeater Group.
The Leicestershire Repeater Group was formed in 1975 with the object of building and operating VHF and UHF amateur Repeaters in conjunction with the Radio Society of Group Britain.
An ideal site for the group was found in Charnwood Forest, 10 miles NE of the city 680 feet above sea level. The site has a very good command of the M1 Motorway. The antennas are on a 40 foot mast.
The first repeater to be licenced was GB3LE, a 70cm. UHF machine operating on RB4 in 1977, This was built by a local amateur. Mark 2, an update version has now been constructed and it is hoped that it will come into service in late 1979. UHF coverage is about a 30 mile radius.
On the last day of 1978, GB3CF a 2 metre VHF repeater came on the air. Local amateurs did the construction including the 6 cavity filters. Coverage is about 100 miles radius. The licence came unexpectedly so there was no hardware ready at all. Within 2 months everything was built, tested and on the air.
Both repeaters are on a single aerial working. This means that each machine has one antenna which is used for both transmitting and receiving at the same time. These were the first amateur repeaters to do this.
Repeaters around the UK. have been used by amateurs in cases of emergency. The Birmingham GB3BM was used last year to operate and control the whole of the West Midlands Ambulance service during an industrial dispute. We did not look on this as strike breaking but as a life saver. In 2 weeks local amateurs handled 750 emergency 999 calls. Repeaters in South Wales, West Country and the Midlands have been used in relief for heavy snowfalls, floods and forest fires.
With these thoughts in mind Leicestershire with 2 repeaters operating is now well-placed if an emergency situration should come about. One problem that did worry the group is that our site was prone to power cuts, but now we have a battery standby supply that is a thing of the past.
Amateur radio has developed most of the important advances in radio. No commercial concern has the manpower for testing as the amateurs have ( 26,000 in the UK. 350,000 in the USA.) With this in mind the Leicestershire Group are installing a 3 cm Beacon. GB3LES on site this summer. This beacon will send its callsign in morse code continuously will join 3 other similar beacons in the country to investigate the propagation of the Super High Frequency, the communication medium of the future.
The Leicestershire Repeater Group is always on the lookout for experimental projects to be included in our programme.