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147.435 W6NUT Repeater Information

Santiago Peak, Orange County, CA

Input frequency: 146.400 MHz (odd split *)
PL Tone Required: 103.5
Output frequency: 147.435 MHz
Location: Santiago Peak (Saddle Back Mountain)
Orange County, CA
Coordinates: 33 42 42 N
117 31 59 W
Elevation: 5635' AMSL
Signal Strength: 120 Watts ERP

* Most repeaters in the U.S. use a 600 KHz split between the input frequency and the output frequency. The W6NUT repeater enjoys a 1.035 MHz split between the input and output. This is referred to as an ODD SPLIT and you will need to refer to your radio's manual to learn how to program this odd split into a memory channel.

The additional 435 KHz of seperation between the input and output frequencies makes it easier to duplex (listening to the output while talking on the input) so you can hear if you are inadvertantly doubling with another station or being jammed by GK.

Santiago is the highpoint of Orange County in Southern California. It lies along the crest of the Santa Ana Mountains, a coastal chain located southeast of the greater Los Angeles area. It is often referred to as Saddleback which refers to the skyline profile formed between it and nearby Modjeska Peak. There are various fire roads that approach the peak from all directions, and some more inviting trails that make it nearly to the summit as well. The Holy Jim Trail is probably the most scenic route to the top. The terrain is mostly chaparral, typical of the southern California mountain landscape, with stands of oaks and sycamores found in the deeper canyons with seasonal water flow.

The top of the peak is crowned with one of the densest arrays of telecommunications equipment found anywhere in the state - there is no single location for sweeping 360 views. By walking around the various installations in about a quarter mile radius, one can see views in all directions covering five counties and a large portion of the southern California area - from Catalina and San Clemente Islands out in the Pacific Ocean, south to Mt. Palomar, east to San Jacinto Peak and the desert environ, north to the San Bernadino Mountains and San Gorgonio, and of course the ever-popular hundreds upon hundreds of square miles of urban sprawl all around.

Some 435 History by WA6ITF . . .

What is now the W6NUT repeater is actually the worlds second oldest continual operation repeater that started life in the early 1960's as WA6TDD. Its longevity is only eclipsed by K6MYK (now W6MEP) which took to the airwaves in 1954. Both K6MYK and WA6TDD started life as AM repeaters. Both went to combined AM and FM operation during the late 1960's through early 1970's transition from AM to FM. Both were technologically superior to any other systems in the country of the latter 1960's and early 1970's and as the one who chronicled all this for years in 73 Magazine, it is very safe to say that what you people take for granted as a day to day norm of having repeaters to use would not exist if not for the pioneering work of Burt Weiner, K6OQK, who built WA6TDD and the late Arthur M. Gentry, W6MEP who developed the worlds first successful amateur radio in-band automatic repeater. (Please see http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Techn...f/pasterna.pdf for more on the history of K6MYK)

When I moved here in 1972, WA6TDD was the busiest repeater in town. 24/7 the system was loaded 6 to 10 deep with QSO's and somehow everyone got his/her word across without jamming or profanity. All this changed in or around 1978 with the emergence of a small but vocal group of newcomers to 2 meters who waived their "1st Amendment / Constitutional Right" to say as they pleased including use of vulgarity and profanity. The group was loosely organized under the masthead of "Underground Radio." As WA6TDD was then the highest profile and widest coverage 2 meter repeater in the region (sitting atop the KPFK FM broadcast tower on Mt. Wilson with most of the areas broadcast stations) -- it became the prime target of the Underground Radio movement. (Underground Radio claimed that it existed "to free repeater users from the tyrannical rule of the FCC and repeater owners.")

After trying all he could to curb the problem created by Underground Radio, Burt bowed out of ownership of WA6TDD (by then WR6ABE under the Repeater Rules of the 1970's that had been crafted by the late FCC Bureau Chief A. Prose Walker). In the ensuing years, the machine has had about a half dozen owners and as many or more site moves.

From about 1978 to 1985 the FCC did act in response to the antics going on on what is now W6NUT -- and to some extent -- on every 2 meter repeater in the Southern California area from the US/Mexico border to the Tahicipie Mountains. By then, Underground Radio -- and/or those copying the antics of Underground Radio were making repeater life on 2 meters miserable so many of us that we gave up and migrated to 220 and 70 cm. (Underground Radio did not seem to care about 220 and I think they were scared of the retribution they would face if they tried to tangle with the 450 system owners of the era. Many were far more "reactionary" than the Underground Radio folks. If you have hears rumors that from the 1950's through the 1990's that 450 in SoCal was a "by-invitation - private band -- the stories are essentially true.)

The FCC did what it could. It levied a number of fines. There were several arrests and one guy went to jail 3 times for operating without a license after iy was revoked by the agency. However, most of the FCC's "wins" in the administrative process to revoke licenses of those using foul language were overturned in the Federal appeals courts on the basis of 1st Amendment right to free speech. In the end, around 1987 the FCC basically walked away and the problems of SoCal spread across the entire country. And it remained that way until Riley Hollingsworth became the FCC's "Chief Ham Radio Rules Enforcer."

Meantime, several copies of Underground Radio were formed elsewhere. Two I can recall were Jamming International (which was along the US/Canadian border in the latter 1970's) and The Jammasters, Inc. which was an HF version and directly responsible for some of the conflict on 14.313 MHz that remains to this day.

So why is W6NUT still there? Ill say what nobody else will. Its there because the Los Angeles ham community -- for all of its rhetoric and pontificating against it -- really wants it there. Some look at it as pure entertainment but to most it is viewed it as a kind of "corral" for for those who they do not want on their favorite repeaters. Maybe a better way to explain it is that most hams here look at W6NUT as a kind of "insurance policy" -- if you will. That being, as long as its on the air their favorite repeaters are not likely to become what WA6TDD/WR6ABE/W6NUT has become.

All of what Ive written here-in is available -- in-depth -- if you have access to an archive of the old 73 Magazine's and/or HR Report. While the other major publications of the era were ignoring the situation, these two publications plus my own Amateur Radio Newsline (then Westlkink Radio News) covered it in-depth.

Lastly, a lot of audio of this repeater exists -- some going back to the 1970's. Listening to it one can easily follow the changes.

So the story of the W6NUT repeater is not new. In fact, its more than a half century -- and a half dozen owners -- old. And 100 years from now, if ham radio still exists, its likely this repeater will as well