April 2022 Meeting: The History of TELCO

On Wednesday, April 6, SPARC welcomed Bill Westphal, WB6YPF, the trustee of one of our area’s most important ham radio resources, the TELCO repeater in Pasadena.

TELCO, W6MPH, was originally installed by the amateur radio club of the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company (hence the name). Bill joined the phone company right out of high school in 1969, and he has been carefully maintaining the repeater since 1992. In 2017, the Pasadena Radio Club stepped forward to contribute funds for the repeater’s continued operation. PacTel may be gone, but the legacy of its radio club is in good hands.

Bill gave a brief history of repairs and upgrades he has made to TELCO over the years. The most important recent repair to TELCO had nothing to do with the repeater itself – a microwave antenna located on the same roof as TELCO was leaking signal and causing interference. After grounding the offending equipment, the noise is gone and TELCO sounds great once again. Bill also revealed the origin of the station identification, “Welcome to the D Light Full W6MPH repeater.” The digital ID system doesn’t include the word “delightful,” so Bill programed it to say the word phonetically. For a time, Bill connected a PC to the repeater that would read “A Visit from St. Nicholas” on Christmas Eve.

TELCO’s current configuration. Its output power is 30 Watts. The small grey box with the dial is an exciter driver built by Allen Wolff KC7O.
Two rows of duplexers separate the input frequency (bottom) from the output frequency (top).

Bill recommends that anyone looking for more information on repeaters should check out the Repeater Builders web site and their associated Groups.io page.

SPARC thanks Bill for the evening of local radio history and for his many years of service to the ham community.