A Short History of the Southeastern Wisconsin FM Amateur Repeater Society, Inc.  

2-Meter FM Voice Repeater

The SEWFARS 2-Meter FM voice repeater has been in operation in some form since 1963, making it one of the oldest continuous operating systems in the Midwest.  Originally, it was a combined base sta­tion / repeater owned and operated by Carl Rohde (ex-W9ROM) having a input frequency of 146.34 MHz and a output frequency of 146.94 MHz.  Increase in 2-Meter FM activity forced a frequency change to 146.34 MHz input and 146.76 MHz output.


SEWFARS was founded in 1970 and frequencies on the 2-Meter repeater were again changed to 146.07 MHz input and 146.82 MHz output.  Another revision was made in 1970 to make the frequencies 146.22 MHz input and 146.82 MHz output.


To reduce adjacent location interference, CTCSS (also known as “PL”) was added to the 2-Meter repeater receiver in 1992 (the repeater always transmitted a 127.3 Hz PL tone for users who had the capability to use it.)


70-cm FM Voice Repeater

A 70-cm UHF FM voice repeater was put on line in 1987 on 449.125 MHz input/ 444.125 MHz output with a transmit/receive PL of 114.8 Hz.  In 2003 the PL frequency was changed from 114.8 Hz to 127.3 Hz to comply with standards set by the Wisconsin Association of Repeaters (WAR.)


Digipeaters – Packet Radio and APRS

SEWFARS’ entry into the digital world was the ownership and maintenance of the “WIDEL” packet node on 145.07 MHz from 1991 to 1995.  With the rise in Automated Position Reporting System (APRS) activity, WIDEL was reconfigured to run as an APRS digipeater in 1995 on 144.39 Mhz with the callsign K9ABC-10.


In September 2007 the K9ABC-10 primary and backup hardware was reassigned K9ABC-1 to agree with current APRS equipment type contentions.  K9ABC-1 is a widely used APRS digipeater in Southern Wisconsin.


Serving Local Communities with Reliability and Coverage

The systems owned and operated by SEWFARS are considered to be among the best in reliability and coverage, and exist for all types of appropriate/proper use by appropriately licensed Amateur Radio Operators.  This is possible with all systems being at a location highly suitable for wide range communications, sound engineering practice and prevention – based management of all owned resources.


SEWFARS systems are used for a number of civic events, among them being the MC200 Relay (formerly the Great Midwest Relay; a foot race between Madison, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois,) the MS150 BDBT bike tour and until 2009 the Trek 100 bike tour.


SEWFARS systems are used as contingent resources for a number of public service organizations and the agencies they support.  In May 2007 SEWFARS entered into a support agreement with the Southeast District of Wisconsin ARES/RACES.  Under that agreement, the SEWFARS VHF repeater was used for resource coordination in support of the flooding response in Racine and Kenosha Counties in August 2007 and again for resource coordination for flooding response in June 2008 for Jefferson County.  Use of the SEWFARS VHF repeater is also written into the communications plan for the Sullivan Committee’s SulCom Backbone, a communications system used for, among other things, conveying ground truth weather spotter reports to the NOAA’s National Weather Service Office in Sullivan WI during the severe weather season.


In July 2009 SEWFARS entered into a support agreement with Waukesha County ARES/RACES for use of the UHF system.  Waukesha County ARES/RACES currently uses the UHF system for their semi-weekly nets and has used the UHF system for support of both the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Red Cross and Waukesha County Emergency Management in response to the Eagle, WI tornado of 21 June 2010.


Historically, the SEWFARS systems are not heavily used for day-to-day activities, but the SEWFARS systems have demonstrated a reputation for being there when needed.  Feel free to use any of our resources, but we ask that all users be considerate of others, and use the resources wisely.


Additional user guidance is available on our System Usage Guidelines document, or  contact us   with any other questions.