NOTE: I’ve done the best I can with the info i have available, and what memory I have left. If you see any errors, or have additional info, please contact me.
The earliest mention I found of a repeater, was in the February 1981 club newsletter. It mentions our repeater. Again in March 1981, it talks about our repeater on 224.68 Mhz, and a desire to get it installed on the Xerox Square building in downtown Rochester.
Not completely clear on the details, but my understanding that Paul DiLorenzo, WB2IMT built the repeater for us, or we bought it from him and he became the trustee. He was an employee around that time, and some relationship was forged to benefit both parties.
My recollection was that a club member, Dan Thomas, KJ2E, was instrumental to gaining approval for the repeater to be installed on the Xerox Tower. There may have been others – but it was announced in the June 1981 newsletter that the repeater would be moved in August, and it apparently was.
Here was info published in October 1981:
Funding came from likely a variety of areas – member dues, member donations, XRA yearly stipend (few hundred dollars usually), club members manning food stands for XRA events, etc.
At some point, I am not sure when exactly, WB2IMT was no longer working at Xerox, and Peter Secrist, WB2SUN, became our repeater trustee. Paul may have still been involved for a few years, but at some point in the mid-80’s, Pete was the repeater focal point.
The exact date is unknown, but a 440 Mhz repeater was added to the system. The first mention I see in my newsletters was October 1985, so it was before then. The output Frequency was 444.825 – input 449.825 MHz. Unsure if the original WB2IMT homebrew controller was being used, or if it had been replaced.
In June 1986, the newsletter mentions approval by “XCIP” for the club to receive repeater funding. As of yet, I have been unable to locate any details of this, but my guess is this paid for the 220 and 440 hardware we were using up until Nov 2014.
The 2 Meter repeater project started in mid-1989, with John Wright KE2MK the driver. A repeater frequency of 146.805 was obtained and the machine first started some testing in late fall 1989, initially located at Xerox on top of building 128. Sometime shortly after that, John was appointed a co-repeater trustee with Pete Secrist.
In March 1990, the club approved purchasing the 2 meter duplexer. John was finishing up work on the controller. Also around that time the frequency allocation was changed to 145.29 MHz. Not much else showed up in the newsletters until August, where it was apparently on the air, I assume still in Webster. Also thanks was given to a non-ham and non-club member, Jim Hutchinson, who worked on parts of the repeater for us.
In September 1990, it was published in the newsletter, that the repeater was ready for the Xerox Square building. There were still discussions ongoing about antennas.
In October, Pete Secrist announced he was stepping back as repeater trustee, and John Wright assumed the sole duty. Funds were allocated for new antenna(s). December 6 was the target for moving the 2 meter repeater to the square and installing new antennas.
Newsletter were missing for a few months, but in March 1991, the repeater was on the square in service, though with some intermod issues.
More missing newsletters, but October 1991 a problem was fixed on the repeater that solved all the issues. Rich Place, WB2JLR was much involved in the 2 meter repeater project, helping John out with radio issues.
If I can locate more interesting information, I will add it here. Essentially, the 2 meter/220/440 machines operated until late 2014.
Modern Era 2015-Now
The club languished a bit in 2008-ish until 2014. Some new hams brought interest in the club again, and it re-formed as the XRX Amateur Radio Club in September 2014.
Xerox was in the midst of constant downsizing, and the Xerox Tower was sold to a private developer. Xerox was still leasing much of the building, but not the roof. The developer had hired a two-way firm to manage the roof and all communications equipment. I received a call that fall, that we would need to lease space for antennas and repeater. For all three antennas, it was somewhere between $2000-$3000 per month. We only generated a few hundred/yr in dues, not counting other necessary expenses. I don’t recall exactly how this timeline worked out, but one of our club members met the owner of Xerox Tower at a social event. They struck up a conversation about the radio club’s use of the site for a repeater. He seemed sympathetic to our plight, and it was thought maybe we might get a reprieve, but unfortunately he died in a tragic plane crash shortly thereafter. So we had to move, which we did in November.
John Wright had long retired from Xerox, and was interested in other things. Brian Donovan K2AS took over as repeater trustee. The repeater callsign was changed to W2XRX, which was the club’s callsign.
I don’t recall exactly how it happened, but through an old friend W2HYP, he offered us a spot on a tower, but about 30 miles south of Rochester in Canadice, NY. The good news was the tower was on an 1800 foot hill.
In December 2014, the old 2 meter repeater was moved to Canadice, though due to the weather, the antenna was only put up about 40 feet. Thanks to club members and non-club members for helping out, Mark AE2EA, Jim W2COP, Mike W2HYP.
In February, the club approved the purchase of a Yaesu DR1X repeater. It was installed in April 2015. The antenna was moved up to about 160 foot level on the tower in May 2015. Again thanks to many people, but Tim AA2RS and Mike W2HYP for tower work.
Only the internal controller was used on the DR1X. We did have an amplifier on it so we could run less power on the DR1X. A remote Wires-X link was established at the QTH of K2AS.
The 220 and 440 repeaters were decommissioned after moving out of the Xerox Tower. The 220 duplexer and repeater were sold. The repeater was not functional. The 440 repeater was also sold, but we kept the 440 duplexer.
In early 2017, club member Dave Carlson asked if he could purchase the club’s 440 duplexer and take over our repeater frequency pair. After discussion and votes, the club decided to purchase another Yaesu DR1X, supply the duplexer and freq pair to Dave, who would be the trustee for our 440 machine. Dave has a location at Roberts Wesleyan College in North Gates. He wanted to include D-Star capability, which he funded himself. It went on the air in late Spring 2017.
In March 2020, the club approved an upgrade to a DR2X. We traded in the DR1X and installed the DR2X just as the Covid epidemic took hold. Harry Ramos W2HRY helped me with the install, and we kept out social distance!
As of January 2023, both machines are running fine. Internet access is not available at either location.