History of the
Nottingham Forest Repeater
In The Beginning...
New Forest UHF repeater operational!
November 1981, GB3NF commissioned by the Waterside Repeater Group, New Forest, Southampton.
GB3NF was the ‘New Forest’ UHF repeater on channel RB11. It was administered by the Waterside UHF Repeater Group and was located in the radio room belonging to Lyndhurst Printing Ltd on the Hardley Industrial Estate.
The repeater was switched into operational use at 19:00 hrs on the 4th November 1981 by Clive, G4KCM and Mike, G4HXT and was witnessed by Peter, G4SBF and his XYL Jill who also joined in the onsite celebrations sharing a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the occasion.
A modified PYE T461 transmitter & R460 receiver was considered the MK1 GB3NF repeater for New Forest, Hampshire.
The transmitter produced about 10 watts to the cavities with the receiver managing 0.5uV for 12db SINAD measured at the diplexer antenna input. Receiver squelch threshold was 0.3uV.
In 1984 the repeater was replaced with a Wood & Douglass transmitter & receiver which used the existing J-Beam C8/70 producing 8.2dBi gain.
On Saturday the 11th April 1995 the repeater was de-commissioned & dismantled. The callsign GB3NF was returned to the licencing body in October of that year.
And so the story begins...
RMC. Dorket Head.
The callsign was re-registered and adopted GB3NF Nottingham forest. First licensed in 2005 the callsign was acquired and the new build of the repeater commenced. At this point the repeater was managed by the Midlands Repeater Group and was put on air at the Dorket Head site. The site is believed to be the highest point in the city of Nottingham. The TX-RX unit was a Philips/Simoco FX5000 mounted in a vintage PYE L300 modular cabinet which is believed to have been salvaged from the GPO, Bowman Telephone Exchange, Bath Street, Nottingham.
The repeater did not live there for long and was took off the air on the 3oth March 2006. There was some dispute as to what happened after it was closed down in mid 2006.
RMC. Woodborough Road.
In April 2006, Keith Moody G4NRZ took over as acting repeater keeper and a new site was found on Woodborough Road, Mapperely. Nick Button G4IRX agreed to take on the role as acting engineer for the repeater and considered the original Philips/Simoco TX-RX unit to be in an “un-usable” state. After the previous site move the hunt for an entire re-build of the repeater became apparent.
June 2006. The new working party formed for the site installation & future engineering team was G1MBQ, Keith G4NRZ, Ron G4XOU & Nick G4IRX.
The group was donated a Kyodo KG-110 Nokia BSR 150LN VHF unit, (pictured in next article), the same setup as the UHF Nottingham repeater GB3NM. With extensive research and development & advice from Dominic G7NPW with the Nokia BSR 150LN a complete build of the two repeaters together in the vintage PYE cabinet and matching G1SLE MKII logic controllers paved the way for Nottingham’s VHF & UHF repeater systems. The new VHF cavity filters (pictured below), consisted of a custom made arrangement manufactured by SINCLair with dual ferrite transmitter isolators. This was a custom arrangement and was modified by Ian Ashford G8PWE which exhibited on the GB3DX stand at Castle Donington rally September 2006.
The repeater was finally returned to service on the 28th of October 2006 & carried on for the next 14 years, when on the 15th of May 2020 it was decided by Keith Moody G4NRZ that the repeater be de-commissioned and all equipment removed from site.
GMW. Plains Road.
The repeater & all of its equipment was moved 1.5km from the old site at Woodborough Road to the new site at Plains Road, Mapperley. On the 21st of July 2020 Shane Daley M0VUB took over as acting repeater keeper of GB3NF which was kindly donated by Keith Moody G4NRZ. It was decided to bring GB3NF into the modern age and make the repeater network capable.
Allstar, EchoLink & IRLP was discussed but was decided that Allstar was the best option. A complete re-build of the G1SLE MKII logic was done to integrate Allstar network capability while maintaining the nostalgia of the original G1SLE MKII logic.
It was also decided that an up-to-date method of operating the repeater for remote shutdown and routine maintenance was to be added. A remote management controller was also built to maintain remote operations on the repeater and was designed to be connected separately to the G1SLE MKII logic controller via IP. A dedicated network infrastructure was built around the hardware for complete off-site management.
The repeater is hoped to be in service for the next few years at the current site to provide ample coverage throughout the City of Nottingham and the surrounding area’s. The repeater now sits in the original PYE cabinet with a new companion….
And so the story continues…..