News

Holiday Repeater Is Back On The Air

The 443.450 Repeater at Holiday is now back in service.  The event that caused this outage resulted in the loss of the RF Power Amplifier that has allowed the Holiday repeater to operate at its full authorized power output.  Until this vital piece of equipment can be replaced, the Holiday Repeater will be operating with significantly reduced power.

With Hurricane Season upon us, the West Central Florida Group Board is asking for your support to help get the Holiday Repeater back to full power.  Your tax-deductible contribution will help us raise the nearly $1,300.00 needed for this vital piece of equipment.  Just click on one of the buttons below to make your tax-deductible contribution via PayPal. The West Central Florida Group, Inc. also accepts checks and money orders which can be mailed to:

West Central Florida Group, Inc.
11931 92nd Way North
Largo, FL 33773-4321

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NI4CE Supports Tour de Cure

Congratulations to the American Diabetes Association and all the bike riders who participated in the annual Tour de Cure Bike Event on Sunday, April 10th.  The West Central Florida Group, Inc. was happy to lend our support of the 145.430 Repeater at Verna for Event Communications and Safety.  Several of the Ham operators who participated in the event also used the NI4CE-10 Digipeater for APRS tracking of SAG vehicles.

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2016 Hurricane Season

The NI4CE Repeater System is ramping up for the upcoming 2016 Hurricane Season.  NI4CE will support the National Weather Service with any SKYWARN Tropical Weather activations as it has since 2001.  Remember, hurricanes and tropical storms can spawn tornados, damaging straight line winds and severe flooding.

Preliminary forecasts are calling for ABOVE AVERAGE hurricane and tropical weather activity with fourteen (14) named Atlantic storms, eight (8) Hurricanes and four (4) Category 3 or higher Major Hurricanes.

Make sure you have a three day supply of food and water on hand, a ample supply of all prescription medications, First Aid Supplies and mosquito repellant.  Make sure you have plenty of batteries on hand and a means of charging your cell phones and Ham Radio transceivers.  For assistance preparing an Evacuation Plan should one be needed, go to http://www.floridadisaster.org

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The Real Cost Of A Repeater System

Here is a cold, hard fact.  Amateur Radio and Ham Radio Repeaters are not FREE!

Consider the following:

  • Tower or building top space for the average Amateur Radio repeater is worth approximately $1,500.00 per month.  The cost of tower space on tall Broadcast towers is even more.
  • Commercial-grade Repeaters, RF Amplifiers, DC Power Supplies, Duplexers, Antennas and transmission line are expensive.  How much?  A new repeater can cost $2,000 or more.  Commercial-grade RF Amplifiers can run $1,400.00 or more.  A set of duplexers can cost as much as $3,000.00.  A commercial-grade antenna built to withstand winds of 130 MPH can cost as much as $2,500.00.  7/8” hard line cable can cost up to $9.00 per foot plus connectors (up to $100.00 each) plus installation.
  • Even though many Amateur Radio repeaters lie dormant for extended periods of time, they must be built for a one hundred percent duty cycle to withstand the impact of extended operating time when they are in use.
  • An Amateur Radio presence on a “commercial” or broadcast tower requires multi-million dollar Liability Insurance coverage that can cost the repeater owner $2,500.00 per year or more.  This is a direct, out of pocket expense.
  • A tower crew to install an antenna and transmission line on a three hundred foot commercial tower can easily cost $4,000.00.

The West Central Florida Group, Inc. operates the NI4CE Repeater System to enable the Amateur Radio community to be connected and pro-active when severe weather threatens, Health and Welfare messages need to be passed or whenever the West Central Florida community needs our support.  Our IRS 501(c)(3) charitable status enables our corporate partners including Cox Media Group Inc., iHeart Media, Vertical Bridge and others,  to donate tower space and the use of ground facilities to house the repeater equipment.  That provides significant financial relief.  All other capital and operating expenses require cold, hard cash.  Operating an Amateur Radio repeater, much less a five site, eight repeater system is not FREE!

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