The Ridgeway Repeater Group (RRG) was formed on 29th April 1987 at an inaugural meeting at Oakfield School Swindon (was The University of Bath site in Swindon and currently being developed by Nationwide Building Society for housing)
The committee consisted of members of two previous repeater groups which were The Vale of White Horse Repeater Group (GB3WH and GB3OX) and The Thamesdown Repeater Group (GB3TD).
These were based in Harwell and Swindon respectively. Many of the committee were already on both committees and it seemed sensible to amalgamate the groups.
GB3WH was relocated to a site Southeast of Swindon from its original site at Culham laboratories on 5th February 1981.
The Vale of White Horse Repeater group had been forced to find an alternative site due to installations at the Harwell site including some high voltage power lines nearby.
Most of the original repeater was “Home Built” including the receiver, transmitter, power supplies aerials and cavity filters. Experimental home built logic was constructed by Cliff, G2HIF which gave automatic signal strength reports.
Today the RRG uses commercial equipment but still uses the skills of Amateur Radio to encourage and promote the hobby where possible.
Currently the radio equipment is a modern Tait 7100 base station and a G8CUL logic control system which returned to the air in November 2017 after a short outage due to a failure with the original equipment.
GB3TD was constructed by the Thamesdown Repeater Group and consisted of much modified Pye radios, GB3US Mk1 logic, Admiralty type cavity filters and home built power supplies and aerials.
The repeater was located on a Water Tower at the Burderop Hospital site near Wroughton.
The repeater was forced to close down in March 1992 after a period of 9 years on the air due to the site being sold by the Health Authority.
Many sites were investigated until the present site on the Marlborough Downs was found.
The repeater came on air from the new site south of Swindon in December 1993.
In October 2015 the filter system was modified to incorporate GB7TC into a combined system to a common antenna.
A Storno 9000 base station together with an identical spare unit were used for many years but in August 2016 this was superseded by two Motorola GM340 Transceivers and G8CUL logic control system.
In October 2019, TD changed frequency to a wide split reverse RU67 7.6 Mhz split as an experiment with the ETTC. New filters and duplexer were installed but unfortunately, TD was causing interference to GB3BS who were operating 25Khz spec equipment on an adjacent channel 12.Khz from our output.
Due to this, the RRG offered to revert back to RB3 on the 30th October 2019 pending further consultation with the ETCC.
GB7NW is a packet AX25 repeater for north Wiltshire operated from a third site south of Swindon in April 1995. Originally, a packet repeater GB3TA also operated from the Burderop Hospital site near Wroughton (see above).
GB7NW was previously operated by G8HBE from his home in Chiseldon until a house move resulted in the group having to find an alternative site.
The node provided good links to the Forest of Dean and Salisbury together with local end user links on VHF and UHF.
In July 2014, the packet nodes were formally handed over to a third party and are now no longer the responsibility of the RRG and now closed down.
MB7USW is a VHF APRS digi located at the same site as GB3TD/TC. It began operation in 2007 on a frequency of 144.800Mhz.
In 2016 the repeater was also connected to I-gate via an internet connection.
GB7TC is a DMR (Digital) repeater which came on the air in October 2015. It is co-sited with GB3TD and uses the same antenna system as the analogue repeater. Initially connected to the Southwest Cluster, it currently operates on the CC3.net Worldwide and Regional DMR network.
The repeater uses a modern Motorola base station and has battery backup.
Updated January 2021