Since 1995, SMARC has operated an open 2-Meter FM repeater on 146.655 (-) PL100 from the City of Alcoa water tank site up on Reservoir Hill.
In 2013, the club's original GE Mastr II repeater had to be retired after rodents invaded the Reservoir Hill site, took up residence inside SMARC's equipment cabinet and, over a period of several months, gradually damaged the repeater to a total loss. Members noticed that over time the repeater's performance had deteriorated. Upon visiting the site, it was discovered insulation had been gnawed from the internal wiring harnesses and large accumulations of mouse feces and urine had corroded the chassis and dissolved several PC board traces. The poor old Mastr II was a sticky, foul-smelling mess and was deemed unsalvageable. A pair of mobile rigs were wired together as a temporary backup repeater.
In 2014, the system was rebuilt by Kurt Meltzer, KC4NX with a new Kenwood repeater, Henry PA, S-Com controller, new power supply with standby battery and low voltage disconnect, Telewave duplexer, Sinclair dual stage isolator, PHEMT preamp with 8-inch bandpass cavities and an oversized mouse-proof cabinet. The cabinet is an oversized surplus computer server rack, fortified against rodent intrusion. Every cabinet opening larger than 3/16" diameter was blocked and all cables exit through tight-fitting bushings. We also found and patched some small holes in the building. We're confident these measures will keep future generations of mice out of our equipment. They can certainly do tremendous damage to a repeater!
At about the same time (2014), SMARC worked with the city to clean up their 100' Rohn SSV tower. A professional climber was hired by the club to install new Sinclair antennas for the club repeater and remove several worn out, abandoned 460 MHz antennas which formerly served the fire and police departments before their migration to a statewide trunking system in 2012. In appreciation of the city's longtime rent-free sponsorship of the club on their tower, several members pitched in to clean up the site, mow weeds and re-paint the equipment shelter, which was showing its age. The new club repeater is working great and is something all members can take pride in.