Amateur Repeaters Fall Victim to Washington Wildfires
Two Central Washington repeaters, owned and operated by the Lake Chelan Amateur Radio Club, have been destroyed by one of the wildfires raging in that state. The co-located machines, one on 2 meters and one on 6 meters, were sited on Slide Ridge near Manson, Washington, in Chelan County. On August 27, the First Creek Fire completely leveled the building housing the repeaters. Scorched antennas and support structures are still standing but are likely beyond repair. The club’s Roger Odorizzi, W7CH, said the repeaters had been offline for several days.Remember that old riddle, what runs faster uphill than down...?
“We knew the fire had wiped out the power going to our site, but we hoped for the best, that our mountaintop building was possibly spared,” he said. “Now we have confirmation this was not the outcome.” Odorizzi said the area remains closed, and the club likely will not have access to it “for a long time.”
The club’s Ken Rau, K7YR, said the loss, in addition to the building, included the two repeaters, duplexers and antennas. The repeaters provided coverage in North Central Washington. Rau told ARRL that it’s unlikely that the building housing the repeaters would be replaced. It once housed radio and TV broadcast translators, most no longer in use. Topography is also a factor. “This is a mountain site — 4900 feet above mean sea level — with power lines that were installed on a very steep slope.”
Anyway. Not gonna be cheap. Also likely to have a major impact on plans to have today's drill exercise the ability to have Western Washington EOCs communicate via Eastern Washington sites...
(If they hurry, the Lake Chelan Amateur radio club may be able to get in on Yaesu's deal on their new digital repeater, but they'll need someplace to put it/them...)