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Repeater site cost?


mwaggy
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There's obviously not one fixed price throughout the country, but I wonder ballpark what I'd be looking at to set up a repeater at a commercial tower site.

 

I happen to have an R1225 repeater (50W UHF) sitting around from a lot of equipment I bought, but I live in a valley and in a condo, so setting it up at home would be borderline useless. There's a big hill / small mountain not too far from here with a number of towers on it, and while hiking in the area I noticed one of the equipment sheds has a sign mentioning that they have space available on a combiner/multicoupler system. I have absolutely no concept of what renting space at a place like that costs -- am I looking at a $50/month type deal, or more like $500/month?

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If you can find an owner that will work with you. If your only options and towers owned by American Tower or Crown Castle, forget it. I had quotes in the $3.75 per foot of height with a 100 foot min. Try to find a locally owned tower or building top. I have some commercial gear on a commercial tower and pay $75 for 150' plus another $30 for internet per month. My GMRS tower was gifted to me on a long term lease for almost nothing. I have full use of the 150' and secure space with power for my gear.

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We just relocated from our little 30 foot mast with an effective 40 foot height to a commercial tower site at 220 feet. Yearly costs for mine are $1200 a year (which is probably cheap) with the site at one of 3 of the highest spots in the 4 county area. I was lucky that there was an open slot with an antenna already in place. It's on the east side of the tower which is not optimal for me, but oddly covers like a glove for my area of operation. Portables that are 10-15+ miles from the repeater are quieted outside and probably an S2-3 in a basement of aluminum sided house at same distance. Mobiles are like S5.

 

Moving our site to the new location was day and night for coverage. I would say you would want to evaluate what your true coverage needs are, our original system was covering 90% of my AO mobile and 50% portable, something I could live with, my choice was place a 70 foot tower and probably get 100% coverage mobile and 70% portable, again something that I could live with. I was fortunate that I work at the shop were the 220 slot is at.

 

In our area we have repeaters placed throughout the area and were technically afforded 100% coverage even on handhelds as long at the control radio could hit them all. So investing in your system I would see what your options are and if alternate sites will meet your needs before investing a lot of money into tower space, unless you are Corey and should be playing the lottery with his luck  :D

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Those numbers aren't pocket change, but they're more reasonable than I had feared. The site I have in mind sits about 1,000' above the area, so a lot of the licenses up there have something like a 400m HAAT with the tower included. Their coverage maps are amazing and cover several large cities.

 

It seems like the type of thing that becomes pretty affordable if you can get a few friends to pitch in. Now I need to start pitching the idea to some friends... ;)

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It all depends on site management and the territory it serves. Here in New York City the install costs at some locations could run you $5000 plus the monthly because you have to factor in the cost of liability insurance as well as the fee for the climbers to mount your antenna and route your feedline. Also, most well organized sites have minimum equipment requirements I.E. You're not going to get away with 2 mobile radios and a cheap duplexer/antenna. You've got to coexist with the other customers at the site so quality equipment is a must. Again it is all location specific...

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It all depends on site management and the territory it serves. Here in New York City the install costs at some locations could run you $5000 plus the monthly because you have to factor in the cost of liability insurance as well as the fee for the climbers to mount your antenna and route your feedline. Also, most well organized sites have minimum equipment requirements I.E. You're not going to get away with 2 mobile radios and a cheap duplexer/antenna. You've got to coexist with the other customers at the site so quality equipment is a must. Again it is all location specific...

RFMedic is right, not just the sites needs, but in a heavy RF environment you might see a lot of desense happening, effectively making your repeater deaf.

 

I would if looking also consider the other services on the site and the amount of activity it has.

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It all depends on site management and the territory it serves. Here in New York City the install costs at some locations could run you $5000 plus the monthly because you have to factor in the cost of liability insurance as well as the fee for the climbers to mount your antenna and route your feedline. Also, most well organized sites have minimum equipment requirements I.E. You're not going to get away with 2 mobile radios and a cheap duplexer/antenna. You've got to coexist with the other customers at the site so quality equipment is a must. Again it is all location specific...

 

Good point; I'd neglected to consider setup costs. The particular place I had in mind already has a shared antenna setup with TX combiners and RX multicouplers, but that's obviously not true everywhere. (And I suppose there's still some inevitable setup costs in tuning the filters or whatnot.) The little mobile duplexer my R1225 came with isn't really cut out for being on a busy tower.

 

And there's definitely some existing UHF repeaters up on the mountain. I suppose whatever filtering the site does isn't necessarily going to be optimized for my frequency, so I can't really get away without worrying about filters.

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I would not allow your mobile duplexer to even be taken out of your car at one of my sites... They have no business at professional and shared location. If you're supplied with a TX combiner and RX multicoupler you may need to add an additional bandpass to tighten up the RX side of things. Generally a multicoupler is going to have a wide bandpass filter (i.e. 465-470) and that might be too broad to keep other services from killing you especially those that are co-located. Just food for thought...

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I would not allow your mobile duplexer to even be taken out of your car at one of my sites... They have no business at professional and shared location. If you're supplied with a TX combiner and RX multicoupler you may need to add an additional bandpass to tighten up the RX side of things. Generally a multicoupler is going to have a wide bandpass filter (i.e. 465-470) and that might be too broad to keep other services from killing you especially those that are co-located. Just food for thought...

+1

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