Donner Summit Repeater
Ham Radio


One of the founding members of the group, Buzz La Bonte, was a Ham Radio operator. Appearantly he was able to demonstrate the various capabilities of his hobby in a way that convinced the other members as well as the Sheriff's Laison Officer to seek their licenses. By the Winter of 1962 their were six Amateur Radio operators in the group and they were operating on 51.6 mhz simplex. During this time period both the Sheriff's Department and the local California Highway Patrol were also operating on the VHF low band (30 - 50 mhz). The By-Laws of the organization were modified to require either a Class D Citizens Band or an Amateur Radio license from the FCC to become a member.

Over the course of the next few years the construction of 6 meter radio relays became popular and the group was one of the first in the state to make use of them. The first repeater was a split-site affair using a telephone circuit between the transmitter at Jack Crusinberry's house on Carolyn Street and the receiver at the Herrington property a little further up the hill. Later it was moved to a location called "Panorama Hill" which is now called Channel Hill near Bowman and Luther Roads. The frequency at that time was listed as 51.2 mhz and it was operating under the call sign WB6QVV.

In 1969 the repeater was moved to Foresthill and an attempt was made with mixed results to use split antennas on the tower. A remote receiver was added on a hilltop across the canyon in Weimar using UHF to link the received signal back to Foresthill. Eventually the bugs were worked out allowing for duplex operation from the Foreshill site.
'60s Vintage GE Progress Line
'60s Vintage GE Progress Line

In 1970 a project was begun to locate a 2nd repeater at Donner Summit. It began operation in 1971 under the call sign WB6IDD.

Amateur radio has served the group well over the years and has been used extensivly for public service events such as the Tevis Cup and Western States 100 Mile Run.