Our 2 meter Repeater Is Graciously Housed at an 
Niagara County Emergency Management Facility 
Along with other County Service's Repeaters.
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Our Call Sign is W2RUI
146.220 (receive) / 146.820 (send)
PL Tone 107.2
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While the origins of Lockport Amateur Radio Association date back to the Late 1940's 
most operations were done on the HF bands as the 2 meter band 
was not available until late 1950's and  2 meter Radios were expensive



A Brief History of how the L.A.R.A. 2 Meter Repeater came to be.


THE PIONEERS:

In 1968, Floyd Ziehl, installed a commercial radio frequency repeater at his family's business
a two-way radio shop,  Ziehl Electronics.

As the FCC opened up the 2 meter band for Amateur Radio users, 
Mr. Ziehl & some friends decided they would convert that Business repeater to a Public Resource.

However it first had to be converted from the commercial frequency range to operate on a specific  2 meter amateur band. 

The group of friends many of whom were amateur radio operators, had been meeting regularly at the shop after hours, to play cards, etc. decided  to tackle this conversion project 
... a job that was successfully completed over time. 

This early "Repeater team" developed quite a rapport with the local "HAM" clubs, 
and went on to complete a number of other important projects, including the next big task: 
Converting Commercial & Military Surplus  radios to use the repeater, 
( 2 meter radios were not readily available in those early days of the band. )

Given that not many 2 meter repeaters existed locally or anywhere at the time, 
the Ziehl Group were true Pioneers .
The only other early repeaters at the time included the VE3RPT unit in Toronto 
and a group, now known as B.A.R.R.A. which at the time was just being formed 
with the key objective, being the installation of a 2 Meter repeater.


CALL SIGNS:

The Call Sign of the Repeater in the early days was the Call sign of Steward/Trustee
who maintained the equipment and operated it under their personally licensed call. 

The original call sign was K2TRN,  then became WR2ACJ 

Eventually the Call sign was Changed to what it is today. 

Our Call sign Is and will remain  W2RUI,  
which was the call sign of Mr. Floyd Ziehl who founded that 1st Repeater Club.

We maintain this call, as a tribute to honor this early pioneer 
whom along with his sons Dick (K2ECQ) and Chuck (WB2BGA) 
created the very foundation for our Association's Repeater operations.


EQUIPMENT EVOLUTION:

That 1st evolution of the repeater was built out of spare or scrounged 
commercial & military grade equipment by many manufacturers and even some "home brewed" components 

A set of duplexers was pieced together out of several donated and purchased incomplete sets. 

The early form of access control was a tone decoder that would start a timer circuit 
and allow COR access when tripped. 

The specific frequency was unknown and likely unstable. 
Nonetheless, the repeater could be accessed by whistling into the microphone 
from a low-to-high pitch (did we invent spread spectrum CTCSS?). 

As the proper frequency was crossed, the timer was started and access gained. 
This was the famous "Whistle-Up Repeater."

As better equipment became available, from a variety of sources, (purchased or donated) 
the repeater was continually upgraded. 

The local HF Radio Club, "The Lockport Amateur Radio Association"  (aka L.A.R.A.)  
had always been intimately involved in installing, enhancing, maintaining and operating the repeater. 

So, during those days of the repeater being housed at the Civil Defense Building, 
L.A.R.A. officially  purchased the repeater and took over full sponsorship of it,
formalizing the club's commitment that the former Ziehl Repeater would  continue to operate.

While the L.A.R.A. repeater was located at the Civil Defense Building, 
the Niagara County R.A.C.E.S.  installed 450 MHz repeater on the air to complement the 2-meter services of the club repeater.

The current L.A.R.A. repeater has undergone  many changes since its birth at Ziehl Electronics.

Initially getting its first micro controller, a S-COM MRC-500 and as well as some fresh transmitter 
and receiver strips from some radio units donated to R.A.C.E.S. by the FBI. 

This repeater operated, essentially unchanged, until  . . . 

In 1998, the L.A.R.A. repeater recieved a Major Upgrade when new (used equipment) was obtained for the club. 
& the "original repeater & duplexers" were replaced but maintained as an operational back-up. 

The Upgrade consisted of:
• The entirely solid-state repeater, a 100 watt solid-state General Electric/Ericsson unit, 
• A new controller, an S-Com 7K controller with auto-patch, voice synthesis and analog delay modules 
• A new set of TX-RX duplexers, 
making an entirely new repeater be placed into  service.

A run of 7/8" hardline feeds the commercial-grade co-linear antenna at about the 80 ft. level on the tower. 
The hardline and antenna only needed to be replaced with a new equipment, 
after the tower was struck by lightning in 2004 , resulting in damage to both.

This version of the Repeater remained in operation until late 2015 - early 2016 
when the repeater was once again upgraded with:
• Shiny New Yaesu DR-1 Fusion Repeater (operating as analog only currently) 
• a S-Com 7330 Controller 
• a set of newer duplexers 

Again the older Repeater and duplexers have been retired to operational Backup units.

SITE CHANGES:

The Location of the Repeater has varied over the years. 
For many years the repeater was housed at the Ziehl family's business. 

Intentions had been to move it to the Farmers and Mechanics Bank Building 
once suitable control measures were installed. However that move never materialized.

The repeater was then located for many years at the Niagara County Civil Defense Building in the City of Lockport.
Although the site even had facilities for club meetings and was suitable for emergency communication 
since it had a backup generator & could also support R.A.C.E.S. operations as well. 

It, unfortunately, was not in the best location to maximize coverage area. 
And some areas of the County were in "blind spot" dead zones unable to reach the repeater.

So in the early 1990's, both the L.A.R.A. repeater and the R.A.C.E.S. 450 MHz repeater 
were relocated to a new site  just outside the City of Lockport NY. 

The 100 ft+. tower & site is owned, operated & maintained  by County of Niagara, office of Emergency Management and is located on property overlooking the Niagara Escarpment. 

The current tower & site provides the best available coverage of the county and surrounding areas 
mostly eliminating the blind spots, and is also equipped with a commercial grade backup generator that provides power to all units on the site during emergencies.

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Foot Note:
R.A.C.E.S. (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services)
L.A.R.A. (Lockport Amateur Radio Association)

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Our Club Mailing Address is 

Lockport Amateur Radio Association (or) L.A.R.A.
P.O. Box 1022 
Lockport, New York 14095

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At this Time L.A.R.A has no permanent "Club House "
nor a Association Contact Phone Number

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Inquiries & Comments 
as well as 
Photo Submissions  &  Event Submissions

can be sent to 
(cut & paste to your Mail Program)

This is a generic "Association E-Mail" account created to centralize Contact information.
It Does NOT represent any Specific Member or Officer.

The account is Monitored Weekly

~ If you wish to contact a Specific Officer or Member ~

Please include the "Name of the Person you wish to reach"
 in the "E-Mail Topic" so the mail may be forwarded to the proper person.

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