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> Passive Repeater Stations
Northern Pennsylvania Passive Repeater Stations
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
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).