Rubicon Ham Repeater Replaced

The Rubicon repeater started as a surplus handheld radio mated to a mobile in Rubicon Springs in 1992.  Merlin Scott (KC6BFV) became the first caretaker of the Springs in 1991, and in 1992 his friend Frank Yost (KA6GWY) decided to make his life safer by putting in a barebones repeater. Originally the antenna was mounted on a shovel handle stuck in the ground, and eventually the antenna was hoisted into a tree each spring and removed at the end of the season.

In 2004 Merlin moved to Spider Lake and the repeater moved with him.  It had much better coverage now but was still old handhelds in a pelican case powered by a used car battery and solar cells lying on the rocks.  The antenna was mounted to a tripod held down with sandbags.

In 2008, with driving force from Dennis Mayer, RTF made an agreement with the Spider Lake property owners to put in a permanent vault, making the repeater year around.  It has gotten better over the years with improved receivers, new engineered antennas, more solar power, a remote weather station, and added digital capability.

In the last two weeks the repeater hit another milestone.  Last year RTF voted to appropriate $5000 for the purchase of a brand-new commercial quality repeater.  The repeater was ordered from Daniels Communications, and tuned and mated to the RLC-1 controller that was added in 2013.  Last week John Arenz (N6YBH) took the repeater in and with help from Ryan O’Neal and Steve Nelson it was installed.  The last of the glitches were repaired by John at the Spider Lake vault and Frank by remote control this weekend.

With support from our donors, RTF has funded, and Frank Yost and the Rubicon Nerd Patrol have put in place the premier ham radio repeater on an OHV trail anywhere.  It has been used to save many lives and ordered a lot of parts over the years.  Now it will be in place for years to come!

The Rubicon Trail Foundation is federally recognized, non-profit organization dedicated to the future health of the Rubicon Trail.  The Rubicon Trail Foundation acts as the support for Rubicon work projects, Friends of the Rubicon, and as a liaison with local government organizations. This support can range from getting approval for projects from the appropriate agencies, to feeding the volunteers, to buying the supplies needed to maintain the trail. We also fight the efforts of others to close or restrict use of the Rubicon Trail System.  All funds raised help to enhance the future health of the Rubicon Trail, while ensuring responsible motorized year-round access.


Our Officers and Directors represent a wide variety of Rubicon Trail users and supporters.  These include trail users, land owners, county representatives, manufacturers, and Rubicon event organizers.  For more information on getting involved or supporting the Rubicon Trail Foundation please call us at 888-678-2426 or visit our website at

By Chris Cowan Education