Planet Fox > Microwaves > Interesting Microwave Antennas in the Wild > Passive Repeater Stations

Northern Pennsylvania Passive Repeater Stations

Passive Repeater

This is a Valmont Microflect passive repeater station in Potter County, Pennsylvania that's part of a 6 GHz fixed point-to-point link. When this repeater was originally installed, the link probably carried an analog TDM signal. Since it was upgraded recently (2018) it's now carrying a SONET digital backbone connection capable of operation at up to OC-12 speeds using Alcatel-Lucent (now part of Nokia) MPR-9500 radios. One end of the link is a gas company compressor station called Greenlick Station, 1.5 miles away, call sign KWR65, visible as a complex of white buildings in one of the photos below, and the other end is at an active repeater station called Cherry Springs 13 miles away on the horizon, call sign KGM76. Transmitter power is 1¼ W.

The cool thing about passive repeaters is that they don't need any kind of maintenance, or modification or adjustment when you do upgrades. The un-cool thing about passive repeaters is that they're usually used in places that are hilariously difficult to get to. I was doing work on the endpoint radios for this link, and I didn't actually have to visit the repeater, but I finished early and thought it would be cool to see if I could make it up there.

I'm in pretty good shape, but after making it up that mountain I kind of just wanted to lay down there and die. The satellite photos really don't do justice to just how remote this site is and how rugged the terrain is. I had my car instead of my normal 4WD pickup, so I had to hike straight up a mountain. I don't know how far I walked, but it was over a mile because it's impossible to tell if you're on the right path and I hit a lot of dead ends before I finally found a way up there. It took about two hours.

Anyway, the first nine pictures are of the Greenlick passive repeater. I tried to get some close-ups of the linkages, so you can see how the reflector is dialed in. You'd have a technician on either end with power meters, and a third technician at the repeater. The jack screws allow the reflector to pivot up, down, left, and right a few degrees. As to how long it's been there, I'm gonna say late 80's, but that's just a guess.

The first picture in the last column is the view from the front of the reflector. You can see the compressor station to the right.

The last two pictures are of a smaller, tower-mounted passive repeater that's part of the same network, connecting the Cherry Springs active repeater to the Leidy compressor station via an Alcatel-Lucent MDR-8000 carrying 16 T1 lines (24.7 Mb/S).


41°28'13.2"N 77°44'02.9"W


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