|VK6RAW went on air in the mid 1970's at Mt.
Latham near Wagin and was the results of several local amateurs, VK6LD
(Dennis) VK6GS (Gary) and VK6JI (Chris). The original equipment was a
mix of what ever could be found and proved difficult to keep on air. I
have some of the original log book of VK6RAW showing how much
effort was put in to keep the repeater on air (link below).
The amateurs who built, installed and maintained the repeater all came from a technician back ground and as such had a wide area of knowledge. What was lacking was experience in putting a repeater on air that was reliable, had no desensing and did not change in its performance. These were early days of repeaters in VK6 (and VK in general) and most operated on split antennas, one for receive and one for transmit. A duplexer, which allowed the repeater to operate into a single antenna was for most of us a step too difficult. It would be a few years before WARG built 11 duplexers and they became widely available for repeater groups around VK6.
The link below is of some pages of the log book of the beginning of VK6RAW and shows the dedication and amount of site visits to keep the repeater on air. Desensing was a major problem as the repeater operated most probably with not enough receiver and antenna separation. Various means were tried to reduce the desensing, such as band pass cavities and tuning of the receiver and transmitter. As can be seen from the log book this had varied success.
The time spent visiting the repeater site, the poor performance, the cost, and the all round frustration using make shift equipment begins to dull your enthusiasm. It was eventually decided to buy an amateur commercial repeater from the USA. The correspondence below from The Great Southern Repeater Group announcing the purchase. Note the cost of $1015, which in 2015 dollars is $5,956....!
Letter to WARG announcing the expensive purchase.
The newly installed repeater, an ECHO III from Dynamic Communications , at Mt.Latham. In the picture, taken in May 1977 is Gary's daughter Jeneane, proudly holding the new Channel 8 Repeater Log book....Lets hope few entries.