Yankton Repeater History


Submitted By Bill Jennewein, K0WIU 

The Prairie Dog Repeater Association (PDRA) was established in the summer of 1973.  The goal of this organization was to install an amateur 2 meter repeater in Yankton, SD.  The PDRA was initially made up of several Prairie Dog Amateur Radio Club (PDARC) members who were interested in 2 meter FM communications. They were:

  • K0YJF, Ed Nelson- Yankton, SD
  • K0VXM, Chuck Hoover- Yankton, SD
  • K0KXR, Chuck Woodman-Vermillion, SD
  • W0MMQ, Roy Jorgensen-Vermillion, SD
  • K0WIU, Bill Jennewein-Vermillion, SD
  • K0GDS, Del Hybertsen-Centerville, SD

 Ed Nelson was a friend of Darrell Radek who was the superintendent of the Human Services Center north of Yankton. A meeting was held with Darrell and permission was granted for the PDRA to install a repeater on the water tower at HSC.

 Application for the repeater license was submitted to the FCC in October of 1973.  The repeater would have a 146.250 MHz input receive frequency, and 146.850 MHz transmit frequency.

The repeater system was made up from a Motorola T-43 VHF mobile business band unit provided by Bill, K0WIU. This was a tube type radio which used a 6146 in the transmitter final and provided 30 watts of RF output. Because this radio was used in the 152 MHz business band, it was necessary to modify both the transmitter and the receiver for operation n the 146 MHz amateur band.

The antennas were two Cush-Craft 2 meter Ringo antennas, and transmission line was RG-8 foam (9213). The antennas and coax were provided by Chuck, K0KXR. No cavities were used; too expensive. One Ringo antenna was mounted on top of the water tower and was used for transmitting and one antenna for receiving was placed up side down below the water on one of the tower’s horizontal girders. This setup worked reasonably well with the transmitter running about 15 watts. De-sense did not appear to be a serious problem at this low power level.

 The construction of the repeater was a joint effort of the following:

  •  K0YJF, Ed- Constructed the landline and control circuitry. Also helped install antenna system at the site.
  • K0VXM, Chuck- Provided crystals for the transmitter and receiver units. Also, helped install antenna system at the site.
  • K0KXR, Chuck- Performed all the necessary calculations and paper wok for the repeater license application. Loaned his Bird watt meter and Singer service monitor for testing.
  • W0MMQ, Roy-Modified the receiver for 146 MHz use and built the audio interface, and a test set for metering the transmitter and receiver parameters.
  • K0WIU, Bill-Modified the transmitter for 146 MHz operation and built a power supply for both the transmitter and the receiver. He also built the carrier operated relay (COR), and helped install the antenna system at the site.
  • K0GDS, Del-Built and provided the building for the repeater at the HSC site.

 License for the repeater was received in January of 1974 with the call of WR0ADG. The repeater was operational on February 1, 1974.

 A PDRA 2 Meter net was soon started.  Regular stations checking into the net, other than those mentioned above, were:

  • W0ION Bob Ray- Mission Hill, SD
  • WA0NUU Gene Hoag-Yankton, SD
  • K0TVJ Dean Albertsen-Canton, SD
  • WA0UNE Wayne Schupbach-Hartington, NE
  • WA0WMG Pete Szymanski-Tyndall, SD
  • W0JEF Ted Hawerlander-Yankton, SD

We were well pleased with the coverage that this modest repeater had. Mobile coverage was good in Vermillion to the east and Tyndall to the west.  Good coverage for 30-50 miles with 15-25 watt base stations.

Plans were put into place to obtain a 4-cavity duplexer from WACOM in hopes of being able to increase the transmitter power to 30 watts and use a single antenna.


Over time the Vermillion Repeater on 147.375 was linked with the Yankton Repeater.  By the early 2000’s after working well for years the repeaters fell into dis-repair and the link stopped working and eventually the repeaters did not work well.  In 2009 Ed W0SD installed a Micor Repeater at Yankton and Vermillion.  He was assisted by some of the PDARC members.  They were not linked.  In 2014 and especially in 2015 the Yankton Repeater developed repeater problems.

In November of 2014 the PDARC approved taking over the Norwegian Hill Repeater.  In January of 2015 a PDARC repeater committee was formed chaired by Bruce K8UDH.

On Friday April 3, 2015 Vermillion Repeater was taken off the air as we lost our site on the Vermillion Water tower.

Wednesday April 26th NWH went on the air.

Friday May 22nd 2015 NWH UHF link went on the air


Wednesday May 26, 2015 Yankton .85 – installed new antenna and installed NWH yagi fed with 7/8″ heiliax and changed to 1/2″ heliax to yagi to Vermillion.

Pictures of the refurbish work on May 26, 2015

Ground Crew-01_5-27-15^


On Wednesday May 26th 2015 at the Yankton .85 site a new antenna was instialled and a yagi aimed at NWH was installed and fed with 7/8″ heiliax   The yagi toward Vermillion was changed to 1/2″ heliax.

Saturday May 30th 2015 the UHF link went on the air at Yankton so NWH and Yankton were linked.

Cage To The Top Of The Tower-01_5-27-15^ Ed Almost To The Top Of The Cage-01_5-27-15^ Ed Almost To The Top Of The Cage-02_5-27-15^ Ed At The Cat Walk-01_5-27-15^ Ed Half Way Up The Water Tower-01_5-27-15^ Ed On The Cat Walk-03_5-27-15^

All the tower work was done by Ed W0SD.   Ground crew on the work day was KD0TGH, K0WIU, W0OE, KE0CLO, WA0GMH.


Saturday May 30th 2015 UHF link went on the air at Yankton so NWH and Yankton are linked.

Tuesday July 7th 2015 Vermillion .375 went on the air.

Summer of 2020 the Yankton repeater was moved to NAPA Junction after the State of SD decided to demolish the old water tower at the Human Services Center.

The repeaters are maintained by WA0GMH assisted by W0SD.