The Group was formed in the late 1970s when amateur repeaters were just beginning to appear. Several Guildford locals were chatting in a 'net' and the comment was made 'wouldn't it be nice to have a local repeater in Guildford so we could communicate with each other a bit more easily?' From this comment emerged the Repeater group. After several exploratory meetings it was decided to go ahead with the project to provide the amateurs of Guildford with their own repeater. A licence was applied for and the equipment obtained, mainly through donations. A demonstration of the repeater operating into a dummy load was given to the local Guildford and District Radio Society in 1979, several months before the licence was issued.
The most difficult part of the preparations was finding a suitable site. Eventually after many 'false starts' a "friend of a friend" offered the use of his house on the North Downs overlooking the town centre. Interestingly the house was originally part of the admiralty semaphore chain which used to relay messages from London to Portsmouth in the early 1800s. So the owner was quite keen to revive its communications role. The repeater was finally switched on in March 1980 and proved to give good coverage to the north and south of Guildford. Effectively bridging the North Downs. It continued to give good service until 1990 when the owner of the site announced he was moving. The new owners did not want us to continue to use their house so we were forced to look for another site. Through the efforts of our chairman we managed to obtain permission to use a disused building on the other side of the Wey valley at a similar height to the original site. Disused is perhaps too kind a term for it ,derelict might be better. However much effort was put in by the members of the group and eventually all the rubbish was cleared, electricity was laid on and the repeater equipment installed....
Then came the wait... although we had only moved about 1km the entire licence application had to be re-submitted. The primary used of the 70cm band is the ministry of defence and they have to approve any repeaters on the band. Unfortunately the first gulf war meant they had other things on their mind. So we sat and waited for almost a year. Various attempts were made to try to speed up the process including a letter to our MP. Whether that had any effect or not we will never know but soon afterwards the licence finally arrived and the repeater went back on the air in June 1991 and has continued at that site since then.
One incident occurred at the end of December 1993. The site was broken into and the entire repeater system was stolen, including the antenna which involved climbing a 40 foot tower in the dark!. Much effort was put in replacing the equipment and increasing the security measures and the repeater was back on the air within 5 weeks. Despite involving the police and circulating the amateur press the equipment was never recovered.
From 1993 to 2007 the repeater continued to give good service. Like a lot of repeaters the level of use has dropped in line with the general decline in amateur radio activity.
In 2007 the repeater was replaced with a new unit made by Simoco (used to be Philips / Pye). This added access by 88.5 Hz CTCSS in addition to the original 1750 Hz toneburst. The antenna and antenna mountings were also all renewed at the same time.
In 2014 the site owners decided to replace the roof of the building. This meant removing the repeater antenna and temporarily relocating it lower down the building. The repeater operated with reduced coverage for about three months until the new roof was finished. The opportunity was taken to fit a new antenna and mounting.
In August 2014 it was decided to apply for a licence to set up a
DMR digital repeater on the same site as GB3GF. The Callsign applied
for was GB7GF. The application progressed fairly quickly through the
system and the Licence variation was issued on December the 17th
GB7GF was switched on for the first time on December the 28th 2014 at 1300.
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