WR7AAA History

Following is a brief history of the WR7AAA Repeater located on Frisco Peak near Milford, Utah.  The repeater is sponsored by the Rainbow Canyons Amateur Radio Club and is an affiliate of the Utah VHF Society.

The original repeater for WR7AAA was a tube type repeater that had become surplus property through the military in 1968.  The receiver and 450 MHz control receiver were Motorola's and the transmitter was a General Electric.  The controllers were essentially home-built by WA7GTU and went through numerous stages of development and refinement over the years.  The repeater started out at what was then Southern Utah State College, was later moved to Beacon Hill south of the Cedar City, Airport.  From there it was moved to Big Mountain for several months.  Since Big Mountain had such limited coverage into Cedar City, it was decided to move the repeater to Iron Mountain, about 20 miles west of Cedar City.  It occupied that site for several more months, then in the fall of 1971 permission was obtained to re-locate it to Frisco Peak, where it has resided ever since.  For many years the repeater used a GE MASTR II with three GE MASTR II mobiles as link radios.  In 2011 the link radios were replaced with more current Motorola CDM-750/1550 radios and in 2014 the GE repeater was replaced with a Kenwoood TKR-750.  It's current configuration is a Kenwood TKR-750 repeater, a Phelps Dodge Duplexer, a Phelps Dodge Collinear Antenna and a Palomar controller.  Frisco Peak is west of Milford and is 9660 feet in elevation.

When the FCC announced that it was going to begin issuing repeater calls, Bob Williams (W7MUG) and Don Blanchard (WA7GTU) set about trying to interpret the new regulations and making application for a new repeater license for the repeater that was located at Frisco Peak.  Prior to this time repeaters existed, but they were not officially recognized as such by the FCC.   After literally months of work, the application was submitted with Bob as the trustee and a few months later a second application was submitted for a remote base on Blowhard Peak with Don as the trustee.  The intent of the Blowhard remote was to use it to link into the WA7HXO remote in Las Vegas.  The WR7AAA repeater license was issued on April 30, 1973 and according to sources at the FCC, the license was the very first repeater license issued.  It was issued directly from the Washington, DC office rather than from Gettysburg.  The remote base license was issued on June 17, 1974 as WA7AAN.  The licensing procedure was fairly complicated and followed essentially the same requirements that were needed to file for a commercial FM license.

It was during the summer of 1974 that the original links to St. George on 442.100/447.100 MHz and to Snowbird on 224.1 MHz were established.  The link radios to St. George were Motorola L-44 base stations using all tubes.  The attempt to link on 450 to Snowbird was not satisfactory and that link was established using "Ham" grade mobiles on 220 MHz.  The original ham gear links to Snowbird were replaced  by 2 meter versions of the GE Master II radios that had been modified to operate at 220 MHz.  The 220 MHz link between Frisco Peak and Salt Lake was later replaced by a 450 MHz link going to Farnsworth Peak.  At that point in time, all of the links were using 450 MHz GE Master II radios.  In 2011 the Utah VHF Society provided funds to replace all of the link radios on Frisco Peak, Utah Hill, Blowhard and Farnsworth with Motorola CDM-750/1550 radios.  These installations were made during August of 2011 and took 21 straight days and some nights of work.  Robin Critchell, WA6CDR,  orchestrated the upgrades along with the co-located Cactus links and was at the sites for the entire 21 days.

In 1978 the FCC announced that is was planning to discontinue repeater and secondary licenses.  Bob immediately filed for renewal of the WR7AAA, license making the repeater not only the first to be licensed, but it was very likely the last to be licensed under the original repeater rules.  The repeater operated with the original WR7AAA call from 1973 until 1988.

A later FCC ruling made it possible to get the call WR7AAA re-issued as a club call to the Rainbow Canyons Amateur Radio Club with Bob Williams, W7MUG (Now a Silent Key) as Trustee.  The call was returned to the 146.34-94 repeater on Frisco Peak on November 20, 1997.  The current trustee is WA7GTU.  There are other WR calls now in use around the country.

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Last Updated November 10, 2016 by Rainbow Canyons Amateur Radio Club