U.P. Linked System

The U.P Link System is a system of 6 repeaters linked together using an RF Backbone (UHF, 70cm band), designed by KB0P and first constructed beginning in 2006. The repeater system was installed to serve the UP200 SLED DOG RACE route, between the cities of Marquette, to Munising, to Grand Marais, Michigan. In addition, this system includes a VOiP Linking System (Internet Linking) to allow the repeater system to connect to additional repeater systems around the world using IRLP and Echolink.

The U.P. Link System provides tremendous 2-Meter coverage, expanding from Crystal Falls, Iron Mountain, through Republic, Ishpeming, Negaunee, into Marquette, Gwinn, continuing to Munising, Seney, Grand Marais, and beyond Newberry. Essentially, a mobile 2-Meter Radio can stay in communication for over 4 hours from the west-end to the east-end of the coverage area.

Repeater Locations for the U.P. Linked System

The clip above depicts the location of each repeater in the system. There are five 2-Meter repeaters all linked together using a single 70cm repeater as the hub. When any of the 2-Meter repeaters is activated by a user, the audio passes through that repeater, into the 70cm Hub, and then forwards out to all the remaining 2-Meter repeaters in the system for all to hear.

This diagram gives a quick visual of how the 2-Meter repeaters on the U.P. Link System are connected together. I call this format the “Wagon Wheel” format, but it is commonly referred to as a “Star Network”. At the center of the wheel sits the HUB, which holds the wheel together. Each spoke represents an individual 2-Meter repeater. All audio from each repeater is passed into the HUB at the center and then distributed out to the remaining repeaters on the wheel. Essentially, that is how the system functions.

The advantages of this configuration is that the audio heard on each repeater is only 2nd generation audio (as audio passed through repeaters, it becomes degraded with each pass). Also, if one 2-Meter repeater develops issues and drops out due to failure, the rest of the network remains intact. Finally, this layout makes it easy to add addition 2-Meter systems into the mix, even if a temporary repeater is needed to cover an event during a weekend, for instance.

Adjusting the UHF Yagi used for linking

The HUB for the Linked System is located in Marquette, north of US41 on the Dead Basin Ridge. This site provides the elevation required to effectively link to all the remote sites.

The HUB site for the U.P. Linked System (2020)
The antenna grounding panel for the HUB site (2020)

The repeater system consists of the Yaesu VXR-7000 repeater radio and the CAT-400, CAT-300, or CAT-200B repeater controller. The linking radios are either the Yaesu FT-7900 or the Icom IC-880H depending on the site.

Tower located at the HUB site in Marquette (2020)

To check on the IRLP and Echolink Status for the U.P. Linked System, click on the link to the right under “HARA Information (K8LOD)” or the status link under “VOiP Linking Systems“.

The learn the commands for using IRLP and Echolink on the U.P. Linked System, click on the link to the right under “HARA Information (K8LOD)“.