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GB3FC England flag England

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GB3FC :- Serving Radio Amateurs in Blackpool and the Fylde coast, (for 36 years)

It's located at the NORBRECK CASTLE HOTEL Queens Promenade Blackpool

LATEST info added :-October MB7IFC NOV RECEIVED, (Blackpool Echolink gateway 145.237.5) GB7FC Closed down, September,  MB7IBP turned off, NARSA Dividend cheque added to funds. Town centre saga, cheap radio equipment RF power question added, Yeadon way and height discription added, Town centre & south coverage maps and text added, page edit / tidy

August,N.A.R.S.A  RALLY 2018  - new date Sunday April 29th 2018 Please be shure to up date your dairy. TOWN CENTRE COVERAGE ISSUES EXPLAINED 


NARSA RALLY 2018 , Corrected Date. is now 29th OF APRIL 2018  PLEASE BE SURE TO PUT IT IN YOUR DIARY!


M B 7 I F C   VHF GATEWAY 145.237.5 (CTCSS 67.0hz)  Located in Marton, coming soon

hopefully giving local users in the south part of the town / Fylde a choice and assisting the coverage of gb3fc in both the town centre and South.

Early days yet, initally I had considered ECHOLINK, Currently this is under review

please  see mb7ifc page here at qrz for latest information.

(last addition 03/11/2017)



Mobiles along the seafront are mostly unaffected  but for someone with a handy its a different story.

The question :- Is there a problem?

Sadly yes is my reply - But since starting this there is more and more avenue's to consider.

But It has been quietly growing for some considerable time, but with the popularity of portable radios its highlited the problem,

but it's thrown up another question, That being "Is there a BLACK HOLE that is quietly growing bigger and bigger?"

Yes BUT the added repeater TX power helps but can FC hear your portable clearly thro the maze of buildings?

In August 2017, Les (2E0DYY) and David (G0SLV) Were kind enough to do test's & created this map.


The general conclusion on the day (with useing a Baofeng radio & rubber duck antenna) Some results were slightly better than expected, With the portable being heard thro the repeater.

But please note, with the following locations some problems / worse :-

Winter Gardens  (rear) Better than expected

Palatine road (the centre part) worse than expected land mass west is very low and shielded east rises up still more.

Waterloo rd (Moore street) very enclosed & built up to the north but VERY Poor thro the repeater.

Lytham road (kfc) in comparison to Moore St, Lytham road, has a path North and is a notable improvement and just 100 yards east of Moore Street.

Ambulance station (South shore) is clear to the north BUT is directly in line (shielded) with the metal structure of the rebilt Bloomfield road football stadium.

YEADON Way,  Now 114 years old man-made structure, it was part of the Centeral railway route until 1961 approximately and was closed then disused until the 1980's since then its been incorperated into the road network, with heavy concrete barriers and metal Arnco type barriers on the elevated sections, along the route a large number of tall Trees have since grown with a fair number as high & higher than the lighting poles on the side of the road (the lighting poles are some 9 meters high) Since the repair work in 2015 there is a more noticable rise when travelling west, as you get to and cross over Watson road bridge, to a smooth run down and return to ground level in South shore. If you continue to the end of the road, you arrive at centeral carpark (which was the centeral railway station) the road route runs under waterloo road bridge, and to the west side of the reciently rebuilt Bloomfield road stadum. the land then again rises up to the height of the newly built houses just north giving a clear view in and around the Foxhall area where building work is still on going (altumn 2017)  then finally the road dropping down into the centeral carpark area, just behind the Sealife area.

For amateur Stations south of  Yeadon way there is a signal difference on the map (above - compair the difference from the Solaris / Mirror Ball on the seafront to other southerly test readings)  but to be unaffected by this route cutting across the town from east to west. The above map starts to show just some of the problem. But in 2015 after repair and maintanence work to yeadon way (costs of £3.6 m) various parts have now Steel Sheet Piles (18 m deep!) to help stabilise the carrageway. Sections of Barriers were replaced , but did their replacements have more metelwork in them and were they welded together and to the metal piles to give extra strength?

The RSGB prediction map, and asking why the difference? I after asking for more detail about the ETCC plot, I was informed they use a height cutoff of 50m.

With different prediction Software, its unlikely many will show manmade objects like railway embankments .

(with the height as set to 50m its unlikely to show much of anything on the Fylde coast)

For anyone interested and with access to suitable prediction software please do set height gradation's as low as possible and see for yourself.

With Thanks to Les & Dave for their help with the above map, I hope it helps explain part of the situation.

I feel I should also add into this issue "the Equipment question!" My thanks to Bob (G1EPL) who contacted me in August.

Bob had Purchased some Retevis, 16 channel UHF hand portable radios. Now a question:- in the set of 4 radios and the one tested (at random) was it a DUD?  I cant answer.

On my investigation the radio programmed origionally at 462megs appeared to work ok.

but then with putting a digital power meter with built in dummy load it read 1.6 watts, by retuneing that to the repeater input frequency, that power meter read a staggering 1.2 watts as I showed Bob the manafacturers lable clearly showed the equil to but no greater than symbol and that was 4 watts, with checking the programming a high / low power setting with programming both and switching channel made no difference (1.2 watts at 438mhz) - the device is powered by a 3.7 volt battery! metering it off load 4.0 volts Pd. Checking a online advert for the radio it said OUTPUT POWER  <5Watt.

So that was Less than 5 watts, (Definately ! a lot less)

May I ask Owners & users of these type of radios please if possible can you check on a accurate RF power meter your getting the correct power output

Here's My Dilemma:-

Due to the repeater location, and antenna siteing there appears to be issues with users in and around Blackpool town centre, and beond directly south, Please understand with construction work things are changeing across town year on year, since the 2005 site move of the repeater and local geography coverage problems are getting worse. Large buildings directly north of the Winter Gardens, and the land mass riseing up North at and around Cocker Square / Claremont,  Parts of both the town centre Foxhall area and south shore are difficult to impossible to get thro to the repeater when using hand portable equipment.

For digital users GB7FO is located close by and east of the town centre, and are not affected by the problem, from the repeater's location look down into the black hole, and with good coverage in all directions (thanks to Alan G0WDA)

While trying to find a fix for the coverage issue with GB3FC many hours trying to find a lasting realistic workable fix have been considered (pass the headache tablits please!)

Trying to get a clearer understanding of all the issues only resulted in more questions / problems:- land mass of the town centre and south shore are at low levels the ground rises up quite noticably from North Pier up Talbot road and to the north, the east side of the black hole along park road - the land mass dips down towards the coast but street maps gives no indication, consider the following roads :- Adelide Street, Albert Road , Charnley Road, Read's Avenue, all have large buildings, makeing matters worse. Futher South:- Condor Grove & Cunliffe Road rise sharply.

Large structures like the new Council offices, Bloomfield road football stadum & complex can have an effect. But this can effect the signal path in a particular direction, In 2016 Plymouth road bridge was closed for month's while work to rebuild strengthen and raise it, to allow for electrification work to continue on the train lines to Blackpool north station, but combine that with Hoo-hill just south at the top of westcliffe drive, well its probably going to have little effect to someone so close in layton, but someone further away where the RF path Crosses the hill and effected by structure or its reflection, could well find a problem.

Most town centre roads (east west)  have quite a slope riseing up as you travle east, With looking futher trying to understand with Tall buildings, multy story car parks, The new council offices, the conclusion that the black hole has got bigger of late, the repeater is not located on Blackpool tower but futher north With Both land mass and buildings causing extra obstacles / attenuation.

Further south and possibly a cause of historical problems in south Blackpool & south Fylde, is the old Marton elevated railway, or as it was then known central railway route built in 1903, cutting east west from southshore to the helter skelter roundabout (near the end of m55 at mereside) due to the local terrain the elevated route is about 40 feet high (agl) depending on your location, there is the odd area where its only 20 feet agl, Careful observation while on the road in most places your looking down from quite a height be it looking at large industrial buildings, houses all of which appear quite low lyeing,  in most places with trees and other shrubbery growing unchecked to the sides many easily reaching to excess of the height of the roads street lighting, above the level of the elevated road. Amateur Stations South of the elevated route have proved it again is all but impossible to get a clear signal into the repeater without use of an antenna fitted quite high this is lifting signals up out of the Rf shadow of Yeadon way, one question being with the metal re-enforcings used in the barrier's along the route, and the steel metal piles added in 2015 how big a screen has been created when it became a road (origionally opened in january 1986) It was the preferred closure option by Blackpool Council in the 1960's while Beaching had suggested closure of Blackpool North station.

With considering and attempting a suitable fix, with constraints of what would be allowed no practical (workable) answer has yet been found, (altumn 2017) but there is still an avenue of exploration I've yet to try (more news later)

Blackpool tower is a grade 2 listed building and Commercial antenna's there have been cause of issue's in past years. One solution may be to connect GB3FC to the internet allowing local connects, this may be the only practicle fix that will work and keep working, while other RF type fixes could be only limited and subject to futher issues of future construction projects and other limitations. Suggestions and other possible answers in the pipeline have involved futher consideration and tests, with possabilities with Internet and Rf gateways to effect a more suitable fix, its very much a impossible task to find a fix that will work for every one.


This section gives a general indication and shows more clearly some of the local topography. While a bit Bland you can see more easily the elevated area JUST north of the town centre, this is locally known as Claremont. The Gray at 35m is in sharp contrast to the Blue (colour shades) of 0 to 12 m

ABOVE 65m is white

key to map / colours. I've tried to upload the height maps without adjusting sizes, as to avoid any picture distortion / stretching with editing with checking on a mobile device (in a READER mode) the height graduations right hopefully will display correctly on your screen but this very much depends on what your viewing this on, I hope it works for you. (during Page editing It did make me a problem as - right 1/3 of plate was not visible)


THIS HEIGHT IS RESCALED TO 30M - I've reduced the heights scale and in the map you can now see more clearly the local heights (That were simply lost at 65m heights map above)

Please note  by changeing height scale the colours / height has now changed


Is a close up of map 2 with height max shown coloured to 30m (this is the same as map 2) just bigger! both red and blue areas are still low lieing in comparison to the Green and yellow areas.

close up view, of the 30m height map.   (Plot software used to produce the above maps GEO3 by G4JNT)



Hopefully this has been of some help to explain to all as to why FC has a problem, sadly it does not fix anything, but finding the correct answer that would suit will take longer, in the meantime IF users can help with mapping out the true extent of the current problem it can help by giving a more clearer picture for all GB3FC users.

As to What to do next, Please do help with the mapping of the extent of the problem, do have your say, I do not use Facebook or Twitter, (by personal choice) but  email me at  this address :- g6aos(AT)blueyonder.co.uk with comments / suggestions & findings using your portable radio's where possible please If you can tell me its RF power output when tried on a suitable meter will also be of help with the equiptment question.

As with Comments sofar what to do next to try and combat the black hole are wide rangeing, eg:- workable over 50 km on a handy (line of site - thanks Barry g4mkt) as I found from Chorley hospital Main car-park s9 on the Baofeng and 2 getting back in (on a short 50mm antenna) but un-useable in places just 5 km from the repeater in the centre of town. With the advent of MB7IFC located in Marton, should also help the situation once on air.

For anyone Located in the Shadow of Yeadon way, or any other large obsticle:-

Please consider / remember where the repeater is located, geography of the town is such it may not be line of site to your station, a fixed station South of Talbot road may need a suitable antenna (with elevation) to clear local obsticles to get a clear siginal. However Progress (the changeing buildings locally) new construction can and will have effects, depending on what and where in combination with your location, the net results are cumulative and construction can and will affect Rf path's.

Alternatively please DO come along to the 2018 Blackpool rally (29th April) and let me know your findings / preference - suggestions then as we all have plenty to chat about.



ANOTHER DATE FOR YOUR DAIRY:- Please Make note, just days before the 2018 rally and a good reason to get to the air, In 2025 it will be its Centenary!

for more info please see :- http://iaru.org/world-amateur-radio-day.html

WEB PAGE HITS (2016/7)  1987 hits THANK YOU, up to September 4  from last September the number of hits on this page, Hopefully users / viewers have found the info / help useful.

Since I started this page in 2010 viewings this year are almost x3, of that first year.  Thanks for your interest...


NARSA 2014 Rally  (L to R) Rob 2E0FFS  John M0JFE & Toby  Steve G6AOS  Peter  G0VXN

GB3FC IS ON CHANNEL RU 68 THAT'S 430.850 TX + 7.6 mhz -  82.5 ctcss tone, there is NO 1750 TONE ACCESS NARROW DEVIATION (is required)


Firstly a very big Thank You FOR 36+ YEARS. To our Site owners, GB3FC is sited at the ever popular NORBRECK CASTLE HOTEL, who have kindly allowed us to use their excellent site over the years.

GB3FC is sited at the North end of the building (Looking East) Carlton Polton-le-Fylde (Looking North-west) Cleveleys & Fleetwood (Looking south-east) Layton flats (Demolished in 2015/6) and the tower

THE FYLDE COAST REPEATER GROUP came to being on 24th of April 1981.

Permission for the site was granted to use the NORBRECK CASTLE HOTEL on July 10th 1981, and with obtaining a suitable Nov * [ see below] to allow setting up of a repeater Gb3FC's transmissions commenced on 4th of October 1981 and GB3FC was reborn with founding members from the THORNTON CLEVELEYS A.R.C. THE FYLDE COAST REPEATER GROUP'S first AGM was on 16th July 1982 with 30 members. FC previously was sited on Mowbray drive, Layton but that site was lost, due to the site owners going into receivership and the site locked up by the receiver, GB3FC aerials and Hardware were almost lost it then was part of another repeater group responsible for GB3RF.

From 1981 to 99 GB3FC Was located on the high tower on the north wing of the Norbreck Castle Hotel, its since been moved to the south tower In 2005 the repeater was moved again to a different part of the building due to site refurbishment, as result antennas are much lower than before and located futher north on the building resulting in coverage problem's south, to affect a cure to this problem In mid 2006 GB3FC became a wide spaced repeater it's coverage is Primary for Blackpool and the Fylde m55. It can be heard / used on the m6 between junctions 29 thro 36 It may be heard / used on parts of the m61 / m65 also, Coverage depending upon terrain and conditions and more importantly your mobile configuration. A fair test with a mobile is with a ERp of 25 watts, but please remember vehicle size (height) is important.

In Late 2015, the Pye repeater was retierd after 19 years service, it has now been replaced by a KEY (Kyodo) KF450 Repeater with voice announcements

(with thanks to Tim G4WIM - for his help with testing and alinement of the gear)

Coverage:- Users have told me its getting heard better than the old Pye unit, and with good results.

Thanks to Brian 2E0TOG, John M0JVW Barry 4MKT, for the reports while out and about & with fedback  from locals and visitors Fc is being heard / used.

Im told coverage NORTH with the extra power & the antennas in the clear has improved noticably.

SOUTH, has improved of sorts with the extra power, but as expected with terrain there can still be some issues the computer plot for FC suggests Lytham and StAnnes Seafront can be a problem due to the height of buildings and the topography, (it's below the horizon) Remedial work on YEADON WAY, saw the installation of 18m Steel piles and new section(s) of crash barrier's, but how much extra metal re enforceings were added, making the east west shadow more noticable.

EAST towards Kirkham & Freckelton, Has improved the road from Wrea Green south was particularly bad previously, is now workable but noisy with 20 w

West / South West, Awaiting new reports.

At one time FC was workable from the seafront on the isle of man, Additionally from Llundudno & Anglesey.


There still are a number of black spots in various parts of Blackpool, South Fylde but unlike some repeaters GB3FC is not located on top of a 1000 ft hill or on top of Blackpool Tower as sometimes assumed.

Blackspots and coverage does alter but to building work and other things but is very much depend on your location, operating conditions in addition to band conditions.

Please see gallery picture(s) on page to give you a better idear of site take off for coverage. Thease were taken in 1996 and has been pieced together - picture's were taken from prints and has been quite difficult to piece together from what was on file while not perfect but is not easily replaced as the high vantage point from where pictures were taken is no longer accessable.

GB3FC - Location = North shore Blackpool just north of Bispham its on the coast. Look Slightly north of center of the fylde coastline. FOR A BETTER VIEW PLEASE SEE GB3FC COVERAGE map available from uk repeater.net

Coverage map Key :- Blue = Predicted Good / Useable siginal area Violet = Poor areas (expect some drop out) - COVERAGE IS ALSO AFFECTED BY BAND CONDITIONS - COVERAGE AREA IS A COMPUTER PREDICTION BUT IS NOT GARUNTEED, it however does not show height changes below 50m or manmade objects for example Yeadon way which cuts across the town from east to west, with 18m Steel reenforseings and with the new barriers fitted in 2015 potentally extra steel there is an added effect,

Like all repeaters GB3FC DOES have limits, from the topography to the antenna is all of relevance to overall performance. You need to Listen on 430.850 and transmit on 438.450. The repeater needs a 82.5hz CTCSS, hopefully with GB3FC being heard (25w power) for comperable return signal  depends on your location, equipment and power.

As in some cases 5 watts from a handy may not be quite enough, even though GB3FC does have additional RX gain over a similar stock receiver.

there is nolonger any 1750hz tone access or any courtsy pip.

GB3FC Key repeater

With Inbuilt mains PSU (shiney anodised box center rear)

White units (LEFT TO RIGHT) :- Tx Exciter, Modded RX unit (i.f preamp fitted) Media Player

Black Switching control unit (center)

NOTE:- Additional led's and switching (main panel - left)

Black panel in the case (above repeater) is the Celwave duplexer

Repeater Output stage is at rear of the repeater tray (not visable in this picture)

For a Slightly clearer photo - Please see futher down the page.

Echolink - Other modes, NO PLANS at present

GB7FO Is located in the Blackpool area (Dmr) located close to the town centre.

GB3LF and GB3OA & GB3RF Are also internet linked - please check The ETCC repeater page for their current status.


My Thanks to ALL Amateurs Past and Present who have given their time, help & support keeping GB3FC alive - while other repeaters are no longer operational AND SADLY, SOME GROUPS NOLONGER EXIST (for various reasons)

Thank You.

 (other pictures available on request - as trying to keep page to managable size!)

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND WHAT AND WHY THE REPEATER IS OPERATIONAL not only as a voice repeater but a propigation indicator for other users - GB3FC has a great sea path across to Anglesey and is useful to others near and far, please see the Repeater section of your RSGB Yearbook as It gives both predictions for coverage of most UK repeaters and how a repeater works.

WHILE USEING ANY REPEATER PLEASE OBSERVE THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF YOUR LISCENCE As directed by part 2 of your liscence document YOU NEED TO GIVE YOUR Call Sighn(s) REGULARLY when useing any repeater. Please leave GAPS it gives others a chance, ie mobile's and somone else wishing to perhaps call in.

V.O.X   A  Reminder to users with shack in a box type rigs

Please ensure your VOX is turned off while monitoring the repeater channel, as simply with CCTSS engaged, any noise in your shack of 0.5 second or more will either be relayed, or cause the repeater to be triggered, every time. Causing annoyence to others and possible embarrasment!.. thanks.

Amateurs Code You mite like to try this link, for some words of wisdom written some time ago :- W9EEA (please click the link) Many of which still have relevant today.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO GIVE YOUR CALLSIGHN REGULARLY WHEN USEING THE REPEATER. You have earned your callsighn, remember " to use it.." Your callsighn should be given with sufficent frequency to identify you.

A PERSON GIVING A CALLSIGN ONCE EVERY 15 MINUTES ON A REPEATER IS INSUFFICENT. To make matters simple for all to give YOUR CALLSIGN " ONCE" with each transmission would make sence FOR ALL, should you have a problem with this please think of me... Everyone gets my callsign wrong (well at least once) and I never got the choice of callsigns years ago- ITS A TOUNG TWISTER with too many vouls and consinents!

PLEASE NOTE GB3FC IS AN AMATEUR REPEATER -ITS NOT A CB CHANNEL Should you hear strange noises on the repeater, Please stand by or check later when normal service is resumed, ITS NOT YOUR PRIVATE CB CHANNEL EITHER, KINDLY REMEMBER THIS, As GB3FC Has all kinds of listeners, Liscenced and unliscenced it's located on a public building we have been allowed us to use their site. GB3FC USERS MUST REMEMBER THIS AND ACT ACCORDINGLY As I have Told users over the years

"You Never Know WHO'S LISTENING"

Well it happened to me in 2016 - While in Victoria Hospital (of all Places!)

A Police Officer  "I know your Voice..." he said, Not only did he come out with my Callsign but my Name as well.

ACTIVE SOUND SYSTEMS, buisness radio and other on site services with the site, there is a real possability GB3FC could come thro as unnessicary breakthro on speakers or thro other equipment. Why chance loseing the site, because of careless talk alternative site's are not readily available and could result in a perminant loss of service to the local amateur community. relocation would take months if relocation is at all possible. Rag Chewers and club nets are well advised to use a simplex frequency where ever and when ever possible.The RSGB rightly point out when someone is using a repeater "IT IS NOT ONLY RADIO AMATEURS, BUT MANY OTHERS WHO LISTEN TO VOICE REPEATERS" I fully endorse this as both repeater keeper and Nov holder and all users MUST remember this when using GB3FC as its Notice of Variation [N.o.v"] is on MY LISCENCE Kindly keep your dialogue of both a light hearted and sensible nature as NOT TO OFFEND Sadly this fact is sometimes forgotten by users new and old who sometimes should know better. please DO leave a gap else as discribed by a user (thanks -  chris nzn) "sounds a bit like Monty P as stations were talking over each other! - Again"

The Best list of do's and dont's I ever saw was on a American website in 2011, and titeled the 10 commandments, stateing precisely what you could / should not do and in VERY Clear No Quibble term's, as FC is located on a public building with ACTIVE SOUND SYSTEMS (24 / 7) please BE AWARE. It shouldn't happen but "please be aware" AND err on the side of caution, As I did at the 2012 Blackpool rally the echo in the main hall while I was haveing a quick word on the repeater from radios running round the hall while it was not excessive it was quite disconcerting - if it does via the sound system IT CAN AND HAS echoed across the carpark it's something else, but with Deregulation and LPD's on 70 cms kindly remember this when using the repeater. if you need more information about repeaters additionally please see :- http://www.ukrepeater.net/operating.htm


However lets hope unwitting repeater users don't end up on the "sound stage" as there is serious potental of you being overheard, and even being the Cabaret for the evening. People ask IF they can book tickits.

As for OTHER REPEATERS users cought out already on youtube! kindly remember this when using the repeater, please DO use the repeater sensibly as it is a valuable resource of many years standing service and imposing a curfew defeat's the object of having a repeater.

DONT TRY THIS AT HOME (or on the repeater - thanks) Altitude sickness anyone?

Click for demo :- THE HAMBAND

If one wants to put the world to rights,,, please do so  "but use a SIMPLEX frequency " 

As it allows others chance to use the repeater AS NEEDED.

If your tranmitting for 5 minutes  kindly leave a GAP(s)


LET THE CARRIER DROP or  THE REPEATER WILL TIME YOU OUT!   and so anyone wishing to join / use the repeater can join in.


WHEN CALLING ON THE REPEATER:- Kindly remember GB3FC is not for just calling one's friend's - W H Y NOT CALL C Q

But please  - Call just once do you really expect an answer? (yes people still do it and no they dont get a answer!)

why not call several times then someone with a scanner MITE hear you! (giving most scanner's time to lock on the repeater)

give it a fair crack, WELL CALL AT LEAST THREE TIMES (a longer call gives better chance for someone to hear you) PLEASE CALL AND LISTEN ! and perhaps call again just incase as happened to me, someone calls - I cant always answer straight away, then when I am able to answer "TOO LATE THEY WENT!" as happen's, You never know who might pop up why not give it a try? ! Why not use FC as a meeting / calling point, IF you can QSY Simplex please do so Leaving FC Clear and available for others to use. Listening is great, but with 6 listeners and no one calling, who knows your all there?

WHEN PLANNING A LOCAL RADIO EVENT: WHY NOT ARRANGE TALK-IN FOR ANYONE THAT NEEDS IT VIA THE REPEATER..  but to ensure someone is monitoring TO SAVE ADDED FRUSTRATION trying to find your location, as happend in early September (2017) a new liscencee needing directions. Blackpool Rally Talkin IS USUALLY ON 2M.

For more information were amateurs help people / emergency services and on events you mite like do a search for RAYNET Do you remember Lockerbie ? RAYNET members from this and other areas were all called in for emergency communications as Emergency Services Radios could not cope. (Click highlight's for more info on raynet)

NARSA RALLY  BLACKPOOL,  The Norbreck Castle Hotel Has been the location for many years now GB3FC IS LOCATED upstairs (why not come along and bring your handy with you and see who you may meet there)

NARSA RALLY 2018   APRIL 29th.. (See you there ?)      --- PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS - Dont forget APRIL 18th is World Amateur Radio Day

HELP AND ADVICE by STEVE    photo of sunny Blackpool (with the seasiders Quartet) Always there ready to lend a hand / Foot.

Sometimes, things dont quite work as expected, Here is a little help with questions that I have been regularly asked.


DO IT ONCE AND ITS DONE!  but save it to 3 different memory slots. (just incase)

some of these rigs a long button press and its gone!

In the case of my friends (left) lots of help and advice, just ask!

The 7.6 shift:- The reason's why we are running a wide spaced repeater is because single aerial working was essential due to the repeater's previous antennas and their resited locations, to make the repeater viable it was suggested by RON G8CXR/ M0FWD to go Single antenna / wide spaced and has since proved worthwhile, additionally its helped reduce Blackspot's, it caused a lot of people problem's of how to program the shift and use both 1.6 and 7.6 shift easily without having to reset every time. The Good news the Coverage problem due to previously a very low tx antenna shielded by the building has been overcome.

The Replacement duplexer and the repeaters increased power without de-sence of the receiver.  Has given good service improveing coverage helping reduce blackspots, and Thanks to A kind benifactor (with Thanks to Adrian GM1FML)

The Simplest way to use the 7.6 shift in most radios is to program that and the relevant CTCSS tone (82.5hz) to a memory and then simply use FC from the Memory in your radio (but Easier Said than done as People tell me!) Kindly refer to your handbook, why not ask at the local radio club if your having problem's? However GB3FC will ONLY work with CTCSS now. With Older equipment you may find it nessicary to reduce your transmitter deviation - GB3FC is NARROW FM, memories are Useful for presetting repeater and to "simplify" operation pre-set CTCSS tones, any shift as required. any relevant band. to simplify user operation at any time why not program a memory? While some radios are hard to program, others are quite easy, Once you have mastered the basics, why not program ALL the channels (favorites even) your likely to need into memory, FOR VHF and UHF, The Benefits, Simple, ease of use, you get to the frequency or channel you want and its all there pre-set. Handy while out mobile or portable or at home, by using Memory as simple mode all you need to do is to scan memories, and where it stops your ready to transmit, if one can break down programming into simple steps, or program via a PC, having difficulty why not ask a friend?

CRACKLING NOISES ON THE REPEATER they dont just affect GB3FC but similar noises can be heard during bad weather periods on other repeaters, BUT IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU AS WELL. After some debate & futher investigation. I concluded the problem to be the way the elements are put together MOST GLASSFIBER ANTENNAS have Crimped elements inside  the construction of said elements, under crimping can be a problem (aerials vibrateing in the wind) loose sections causeing problems. I soldered several LOOSE joints then varnished over them to seal joints that would / could fail.Others have grub screws as well to consider as they could shake loose but question being which solder - Electrical or Plumbing type solder?

(PLEASE NOTE:- All new WHITE STICK "GLASSFIBER"antennas should be checked for this BEFORE FITTING! grub screws should be varnished to stop them vibrateing loose)


CTCSS DOES NOT WORK :- This is a regular (SOME RIGS default IS 88.5) Please SET 82.5 hz, We are in tone zone "D"

CTCSS still does not work :- Some radios not only have a tone setting option but also a on off facility. Please ensure your equipment encode is turned on. The Repeater needs to receive 0.5 seconds of CTCSS tone BEFORE it latches the transmitter,

CTCSS works once then it stops working :- This has even caught me out, on Yaesu equipment.(ft 817) If you catch the dial accidently, and bring it back to the correct frequency it wont re access the box. Please realize by moving the dial it can reset both repeater shift, and CTCSS tone. Sadly this fix is a little more complex but it usually is the answer. You need to program it into memory once this is completed simply for different tones and shifts memory programming makes operation easy. Sadly easier said than done, some equipment is darn hard to program.

CTCSS, Works but I cant hear the repeater pip's. You de-key and theres this strange silence!, THATS CORRECT NOW,  as theres no pips!...


IT DOES NOT WORK STILL I CAN HEAR THE REPEATER, BUT... Please check, by chance are you transmitting on the output? Yes you will hear it and try and try, getting the pip from the old girl.. NO sorry it'll never work

But please be aware, various rigs (yaesu 726 / 736 for example) you can set the CTCSS and nothing happens... Be sure the CTCSS panel is fitted! The gear looks and accepts the tones as if a tone panel is fitted.

Please do not be fooled different manufacturers use different names :- CTCSS, PL tone, TSQ, QT (Quiet Talk) are all the same thing.

Weak and watery audio :- Is there something wrong with my audio? Yes Please speak up!, talk into or across the mike not at it, unless your audio settings are set to a maximum for gain and sensitivity, you should speak in a normal voice 3 inches from the microphone. Audio levels, please understand good audio correctly set can be adequate for most, there are exceptions when LOUD AND PIERCING AUDIO can be helpful to a mobile on the edge of coverage and gets thro, however EXCESSIVE AUDIO can be difficult to hear / understand on a speaker mike on a handy.

Please try to keep audio clear and "Clean!" without going over the top (thanks) GB3FC NEEDS The FM NARROW setting engaged.


Too much AUDIO, also causes GB3FC [ and other repeaters ] several other problems, Kindly ensure your Audio settings are set correctly and within sensible limits.

a LOT of background noise (mobile on the motorway - with road noise) Can be a problem as the built in AUDIO A.V.C can and does make the background noise worse. (if there is a PMR engineer with a fix for it, to work and not compound the problem, please let me know how!)

Too much WILL cause the repeater to close down as your transmission is excessively wide. TOO MUCH CTCSS TONE WILL ALSO GET THE SAME RESPONSE, (the repeater receiver Squelch opens briefly and then closes due to any transmission with EXCESSIVE DEVIATION)

High levels of compression on the audio settings on radios like the icom 706's when inadvertently left on having switched from SSB to FM can be a problem - you may find resetting audio levels for FM helpful. IF YOUR AUDIO IS TOO HIGH you will appear noticeably louder than others, through the repeater, some times it may help while other occasions it may be a problem particular if the listener is using a small speaker mike.

Local Analog Repeaters and links Info supplied (in good faith repeaters and links working at updated as info becomes available) for visitors and locals alike. :-

Local to Blackpool and Fylde - likely workable from different parts of the Fylde Coast are the following repeaters and links.

(depending on how you view the chart below some lines may not line up - from this side of the keyboard its ok as displayed)

--- CALL --FREQUENCY---------TYPE------------------------ CTCSS- LOCATION / SHIFT / KEEPER--









Lytham (G4WIM)

BLACKPOOL SOUTH (awating nov)














































145.675 R AND LINK 110.9


GB3OA 145.612.5 R AND LINK 82.5


Other VHF and UHF repeaters in locality workable depending on operating conditions and power / ant and location and mode.

GB3GO 145.787.5 REPEATER 110.9 GREAT ORM
GB3RF 145.775 R AND L 82.5 EAST LANCS    DM / DMR
GB3MP 145.750 R 110.9 NORTH WALES
GB3TP 145.725 R ? KEIGHLEY
GB3EV 145.700 R 77 APPLEBY
GB3MN 145.650 R 82.5 STOCKPORT
GB3GD 145.625 R 110.9 ISLE OF MAN
GB3PP 433.375 R 82.5 PRESTON
GB3LF 433.350 R AND LINK 110.9 KENDAL
GB3WP 433.275 R 82.5 STALYBRIDGE
GB3LI 433.250 R 82.5 LIVERPOOL
GB3AN 433.200 R 110.9


GB3CR 433.150 R 110.9 CHESTER


GB3IM -R/ -C






110.9 / 71.9


-R = RAMSEY / -C = CARNANE ****

audable under lift conditions

GB 433.000 R 82.5  













Crick  Widespace


Fishponds (North East Bristol) Co-Channel under Lift conditions up to s9 !

See www.gb3bs.com for info  -







1750 TONE




for latest up to date status of the above repeaters (and any CURFEW LISTING's) please see http://www.ukrepeater.net/repeaterlist1.htm For full list.



DSTAR USERS :- Please see.. ukrepeaters D-Star Maps and List at www.ukrepeater.net/d-star.htm

the Local d-star unit is GB7LF ON DVU43 ITS OUTPUT IS ON 439.537.5 - IO84OA Repeater Keeper BOB G3VVT See www.slrg.org.uk for details



GB7FF BLACKPOOL , VHF GATEWAY MB7IBP Alan Tells me due to LACK OF USERS have been turned off (September 2017)

for details see  http://gb7fo.co.uk / http://www.gb7ff.co.uk  / http://www.gb7ff.co.uk/mb7ibp

for information about Wires-X  see   www.cq-uk.com/wires-x

System Fusion  see  https://systemfusion.yaesu.com/what-is-system-fusion

Phoenix  see  www.dmr-uk.net/index.php/layout/


for details see http://mbars.co.uk


GB7FC CLOSED DOWN (PER NOTE 8th October- on ETCC web page)

MB7IFC BLACKPOOL SOUTH (awaiting permission - enquiries to g6aos)


CQ PORTABLE RADIO USER AND INTEREST GROUP.. while beside the seaside, why not take a radio with you get some Sea Air, and work the world.. an up coming radio pass time, (somewhere between contesting and the Mountain goat award!) now appears to be fishing for world wide contacts while cooling them heals at the beach.. http://www.cqportable.webs.com

The above link takes you to the opening page with useful links and gallerys


For radio AMATEUR and CB, an interest group has started, for more details please see :- http://www.fleetwoodradiogroup.moonfruit.com/

With Meetings in Fleetwood Tuesday Evenings

OTHER POINTS (Advice on radios) Please note with today's technology radio and the face of ham radio HAS changed

As the hobby is "communications" incorperating both Analogue and digital Radio, With internet use (Linking & Chatrooms)

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE, and a radio / antenna has become optional!


N.A.R.S.A. RALLY 2017 - Firstly a big thank you To Both Mr Dave Wilson and the NARSA comittee, for all their time trouble and efforts to make things go smoothly on the day... thank you one and all. Additionally to all Friends Old and New on the Day, DONATIONS on the day raised a total of £121.50 up on last year - it will go to help cover various costs incurred with the new repeater, Like all things yes there is a cost involved due to the changes, a tamper proof cover was needed in addition to field service spare boards, and other replacement items needed to complete the installation with the other duplexer, shortly the site insurance is also due, for another year.

September (2017) Narsa dividend Cheque received  Adding an additional £20 to the repeater's coffers.

Thank You Its been great to see so many folk on the day, I hope you got what you were looking for at the rally and netted that elusive bargin on the day.

With visitors from far and wide,my day chatting to rally visitors from Ireland, Scotland, The North East, midlands, Newzealand. As well as old friends giving help and advice (where needed) its good to put a face to that voice.

Thank you one and all for your support.

I hope visitors found the 'Vintage!' display (the Very old repeater) of interest, I'm proud of its milestones thousands of hours run time.

I'd be happy to see it go on permanant display a museum locally - As yet no takers (september 2017)

So how was the rally for you?.


New diary date N.A.R.S.A 2018 -  APRIL 29th,  - PLEASE UPDATE YOUR DIARY!


GB3FC is currently funded by DONATIONS at the rally for the repeater kitty to keep the old girl running Its been mentioned several times now " There's nowhere to donate funds for the repeater upkeep" Kindly note There is a box for donations on the GB3FC stand at the Blackpool Rally. Please come along and say hello next time. While there is costs with all repeaters, as for the kindness and generosity of site managers it makes the difference as to the question, If we can countinue with limited funds, and options availble? Missed the rally but wishing to make a donation? kindly email (g6aos(AT)blueyonder.co.uk) for treasurer details to mail your cheque to.... Thank You.



With Thanks to TIM (G4WIM) for his help with testing and alinement of the repeater and duplexer.

Photo Left (Top view of repeater) - showing the main modules (L) Tx exciter (center) Pa compartment, power supply, RX unit & control circuits (R) Voice announcer

Photo Right (Lower View of repeater) (L) AUDRINO switching modules (x2) (centre) Mother board (R) CTCSS unit

Voice announcements.

The GB3FC  beacon is set to run approximately every 15 minutes - Short and sweet (causing least disruption to users) It runs at a lower level, when the repeater is in use.

System announcement:- There is a service announcement, advising users of the changes with TONE ACCESS / PIP'S ect. Once the service message is running, please do not transmit over it, as its there for all users to hear. THIS IS ONLY ONLY SENT WHEN THE REPEATER IS IN STANDBY MODE (and users should note its NOT 24/7) If someone is transmitting when the logic goes into this announcement mode, the message IS locked out) - discontinued at present

Leaveing gaps, Timeout is set at around 7 minutes  there is a 5 second hang time, before it drops key.

(This gives other stations chance to call in should they wish)


Photo Left (view inside the MODDED receiver)

Photo Right (view inside of TX Exciter)

Plots of the Passband (thanks to Tim G4WIM)

Things Users need to Know:-

1/ THERE IS NO CW IDENT [Replaced by voice announcements - after 34 years!]

2/ THERE IS NO PIP TONE Theres NO provision - Sorry!,

Please give others a chance to join in, the repeater has a 5 second hang time and then the PTT latch drops.

3/ THERE IS NO 1750hz ACCESS You will need to use a CTCSS tone 82.5hz tone zone D


[Please reduce your deviation] the replacement GB3FC Is narrow filtering! Exessive audio will appear very broken or may not get thro, or with perhaps reports of distorted audio .



Someone Asked at the 2017 Rally:- "Why  does the Repeater give a toneburst BEFORE the voice ident?"

Reason why:- So users are aware the voice announcement is automaticly generated and not a live transmission.

It has caused some confusion, with users and Tourist's alike (sorry!) its not intentional (we just moved GB3FC into the 21st Centuary)

Personally I got fed up of the CW after 34 years!

GB3FC  uses a commercial radio system, that does not have, piptone or a 1750 access tone and it's NARROW  deviation due to the filtering used. But there is advantages with useing this type of gear. (more transmitter power, better heatsinking of the transmitter, Better filtering of the receiver, This type of receiver uses a double balenced mixer for sensativity, ITS LESS SUSCEPTIBLE to wide band noise sometimes heard on the band from other sources, There's audio AVC (Automatic Volume Control) helping to give a better thro audio for (most) users..

Being a commercial repeater, with built in Timeout timer (Tot) and Tx Hang (theres no need for pips) already, This ment the conventional type of repeater logic was either duplicating functions (or unused)  Hence a different approach has been employed with putting the Key repeater in service.

The Replacement Repeater consists of a Key KF450 Radio unit, With changes to theReceiver, and the Transmitter (cooling) and mods to the rack case and terminal board., with a inbuilt switchmode power supply. The voice announcer and additional control boards (PCB's for the Audrino Shield!) A Celwave Duplexer (Thanks Adrian - GM1FNL ) with a Shurcom-digital Media Player and additional main panel controls.

Key Radio's & Repeaters, have been used in various Amateur radio applications for some time, and have given good results, with other repeater and Raynet groups.

With Commercial users like the BBC and Channel 4 using haveing used Key radios on various broadcasts for some time, they were definately worth consideration but were not available due to cost.

Until 2014 the KF450 types has only been seen surplus with the Nokia / BSR Badges, While these use the same basic radio gear they dont have such a complex main panel. with push buttons and enhanced metering.

Mid 2014, the KF450's started appearing regularly in online auction's, going for as much as £120 each without any modifications and The CTCSS unit may not have been fitted.but dual CTCSS units are expencive The inbuilt Mains Power unit was retro fitted to many repeaters, but its NOT the MANUFACTURERS  standard.

When the CTCSS panel is fitted there's potentally 5 eproms in the equiptment, Eproms being a Black art programming them back from the days of the 1980's and 90's, some folk have kept away from these radios (can you blame them?) I've used the eprom chip from the Key mobile (KG105 version of the radio) with a small mod the base station will work off the mobile chip, but still allowing use of the origional type chip if needed. So fitting 2 identicle mobile chips one for each radio unit, 2 other eproms are now redundant and the last is to do with the function buttons on the main panel.

I came across the KEY (also known as kyodo) mobile KG series 20 years ago with 3 versions for VHF & UHF. Being impressed with its construction & receiver proformance and the double balenced mixer it had potental, Similarly looking at the Base station Handbook the Spec and the construction, all looked very good. Looking at the modular receiver I soon realized it had better filtering than the mobile sets. Its old technology (NO surface mounted devices here AND you can work on the thing!) With Plug in modules and now limited availability of spares the KF450 already covering the Amateur band ment to bring it on our frequency was straight forward. I modified the Recever, Tim Told me with What I had done Sensativity was at around -124 on the service unit (thanks Tim) With Future proofing the thing I tried adding privision for a Preamp but thats for the future, As tests with the Modded RX and a mutek preamp were a bit much, The preamp with a stock receiver may be a better answer With Tim's help He told me inital tests had shown a sensativity of -130.

Useing a COMMERCIAL repeater rack has caused a different problem, with already haveing some repeater control functions fitted what amateur logic do you use that does not conflict? (I started fitting An amateur logic and abandoned the idea very quickly after a week of trying)

The next thing was to find something suitable to give the repeater callsign, With Limited choice I found a less expensive option after some test and developement work, came the task of  how to fit it. Due to the Media player's unusual functionality (1 amateur logic and 3 attempts to install the media player I had a talking repeater on the bench.

Due to illness and other priorities all told its been better part of a years work, with mod's other upgrades and refurbishment but thats only the story so far.

In the meantime I've written my own handbook on the work done From Fitting additional Case Bonding and Screening of RF leads, and If you recall I had said about the built in logic not argueing with the amateur control, Well it was fine on the bench. but from going on site within the first hour clearly there was somthing wrong, the Timeout timer was chopping people off mid sentence for no reason.After a weeks pondering, and a second site visit to iorn out this and another problem, The only thing I could understand on the Time control circuit was there was too many possible combinations (5 settings and a 16 position time duration switch) There was One link allowing control of the Transmit PTT for the mike socket on the main panel should a mike be fitted, so I changed the setting (what difference that mite make - I've no Idear, but it works for me)

So here we are..

## Anyone interested in the more technical side of the thing please EMAIL for more info (Please see details at the bottom of the page)

As I think Ive said enough here, without getting over complex.


GB3FC (narrow) programmed into memory.

Heard on the repeater the other day, someone mentioned they were going to program GB3FC back in with the new NARROW setting.

May I remind all users unles you have already made the nessicary adjustment to memory settings it would be advisable to do so, as soon as you change to a different memory and on your return your back on the origional wide setting.

(as it too cought me out just last week - another job for the 'to do list!')


THANKS TO GB3FC USERS FOR ENCOURAGING COMMENTS, the repeater has lived up to expectations, mostly with good reports the aditional power has ment its got a better siginal in places that were poor previously.

May I remind users to please "LEAVE GAPS"  as the repeater will time you out, and additionally for someone wishing to join / call in.

more news as things progress......

GB3FC  on  2m

Years ago (1980 > 1983) GB3FC COULD BE HEARD ON 2M. The then equipment used a power tripler in the transmitter, 20 watts of drive at VHF giving about 7 watts at uhf in a high power frequency mutplyer, as every word could be heard over 2m over a short distance. The TX was replaced FOR ONE OF A DIFFERENT TYPE.

IF YOUR HEARING SOMETHING LIKE THIS, "NO NEED" TO RESET YOUR RADIO, feel free to contact  steve IF its of any concern.  The repeater hardware is tested and built to Approved MPT Standards for land mobile / Buisness radio which was relevent at the time of the repeater manufacture as this type of equipment had type approvle, for commercial use.

How to prove its not breakthro or bad desighn of your equipment , simply disconnect your antenna inject a test signal  at UHF (and its gone from the vhf spectrum)

THE BOTTOM LINE the last word's of advice "IF IT AIN'T BROKE - DON'T FIX IT! If its not working AS EXPECTED - please check your handbook ! for everything else Theres an APP for that"

If ita a Baofeng (stuck in alarm mode) to SILENCE IT "INSTANTLY" Simply press the BATTERY RELEASE CATCH to shut the thing up (oh - dont forget to "catch the BATTERY " as it drops to the floor)

Thank you, for taking the time to look up GB3FC here on QRZ.com hopefully you have found information here to help you be it use the repeater or solve a problem.

(SUGGESTIONS FOR POSSIBLE PAGE ADDITIONS :- If you have a suggestion or useful Addition you can send them to g6aos(AT)blueyonder.co.uk )

regards from Steve

G6AOS (keeper GB3 Fylde Coast) EMAIL to g6aos(AT)blueyonder.co.uk

8428795 Last modified: 2017-11-03 12:26:20, 69823 bytes

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