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 Allen County Amateur Radio Technical Society

The History of the ACARTS

The Allen County Amateur Radio Technical Society began at the home of Chuck Guinnup, WA9SDO, on March 7, 1967, when he and two other Fort Wayne amateurs -- Larry Soughan, WA9SDP (now WB3ELM) and Jack Shutt, K9UBF (now N9GT) -- decided that VHF activity in the area was worthy of a new organization. Coming from the old Indiana-Michigan-Ohio (IMO) Radio Club, these three and nine other amateurs began their early operation on six meter AM. Public service and VHF ragchewing on 50.4 MHz and the Fort Wayne Six Meter net on 50.58 MHz comprised most of the activity of the early club. Two meter operation was confined to AM until September, 1968 when the telephone company donated the old Fort Wayne mobile telephone system to the organization. With encouragement from Ed Rehberg, W9INX, the GE Progress Line base station was turned into a repeater. Consisting of a 330 watt transmitter and two receivers, the system was placed on the air in March, 1969. Operating split-site with the transmitter located at K9UBF and the receiver at K9LSB, the two were linked together with 440 MHz units using TV-type UHF antennas. With no more than about 17 miles of coverage, the system provided ACARTS members with a usable communications medium and a sense of real achievement. The original system, under the call sign WA9YJV, continued to be improved until, in November, 1969, the ACARTS was granted permission to place the repeater receiver at WANE-TV, with an antenna at 300 feet. A telephone line from K9UBF to WANE-TV tied the two sites together. In the spring of 1970, the transmitter joined the receiver at WANE-TV and the whole system was finally at one location. This system operated on 146.46 MHz input, 146.88 MHz output. In early 1972, a 6 meter repeater on 52.68/53.88 was installed. The 2 and 6 meter systems were linked together so that the output was on both bands. This operated until November of that year when cross-banding was ruled out by the FCC.

In July 1970, the ACARTS lost a good friend when Ed Rehberg passed away. To honor his enormous contribution to the club, the ACARTS applied to the FCC to adopt Ed's call, W9INX, for the club and repeater station. In January, 1975, the club was to also lose one of the original founders, Chuck Guinnup, WA9SDO. The repeater continued to be a strong influence over the club's activities and contributed to its complexity. The ACARTS was incorporated in 1971. In August of that year, the repeater input frequency was changed to 146.28 MHz according to the national standard. The repeater regulation Docket 18803 caused the repeater callsign to change to WR9ABN in 1974. After several years of planning, the autopatch was installed in June 1974. The repeater was modernized to nearly all solid-state in May of 1975 with the installation of a new GE "Master Pro" repeater package. In December, 1978, a second repeater on 147.255/855 was put on the air using the call sign W9INX/R and the autopatch was moved to this repeater in February, 1980. With the resignation of long-time trustee Jack Shutt, N9GT, in December 1980, the WR9ABN license could not be continued and the repeater call signs became W9INX/R for 146.28/88 and WA9SNV/R for 147.255/855. 

1983 saw the installation of an all-solid-state GE Master II for the 88 machine, along with battery back-up of the power supply to provide for emergency operation. January, 1984 brought the club back to UHF operation with the installation of a 440 MHz machine on 448.80/443.80 MHz. April, 1984 brought a change in frequency for WA9SNV/R as the input/output was inverted to 147.855/255 in accordance with the standardized plan for these frequencies and in 1985, a solid-state GE Master II and an S-Com microprocessor controller was installed for the 147.255 machine. In 1986, the club ventured into the packet radio field and today provides NETROM Node digipeaters on 223.66 MHz and 145.01 MHz, and an APRS Node on 144.39 MHz.  In 1987, another S-Com controller was installed on the 88 machine, making emergency autopatch calls on this repeater possible.  Finally in the mid 90's all three S-COM controllers were replaced by CAT controllers providing more features and more reliability than ever before.

Although the repeaters have become a principal club activity, the ACARTS remains more than a repeater maintenance organization. Today, with over 150 members, the ACARTS continues its commitment to public service activities, as well as to those that promote the traditional fun and fellowship among radio amateurs.