Current ZIA Connection Status

Status Report of ZIA as of 5-09-99

QST Virden, NM, 9 May 99

Fellow Amateurs, Seventeen years ago a concept in VHF FM communications made its on the air debut after some four years of planning, building, testing, and installation. In July of 1982, The Zia Connection started operation with a nucleus of three repeaters, Guthrie Peak, Jack's Peak, and Mt. Lemmon. A full time linked repeater system with no operator controls was new, unique, and more importantly operated with excellent audio quality and quick keying. During the ensuing years additional sites came on line expanding the system to the extent that most amateurs have become accustomed to utilizing the last ten years or so. Perhaps the only significant change from day 1 until today was the implementation of CTCSS access in the late 1980s. It is with considerable regret, but at the same time with much relief, that I am making this public announcement that The Zia Connection will cease to exist and operate over the course of the next couple of months. A number of factors have brought me to this decision. In a nutshell, I do not have the time or financial ability to properly operate, maintain, and make upgrades to the system. This inability has been noticeable the last couple of years as various repeaters have suffered considerable down time. That type of operation is not what I want for the system and therefore the only proper thing to do is cease to operate. At this time I want to give proper THANKS to two individuals who have been at my side from the initial concept to this day. Joe Montierth, WA7ZNY, and Martin Raue, WB5LJO, have been my right and left hand supporters in word and deed for this entire period. Without their efforts, The Zia Connection would have never appeared in the manner that you know it, and would not have existed for this length of time. At the same time, I must thank my ever supporting (I think) wife. She, together with our seven children have undoubtably suffered most from my dedication to the system. Some of my kids have never known a time when The Zia Connection didn't exist. There have been many others, too numerous to list, who have helped in many ways through the years. And certainly there are a few who have yearly sent a cash donation to assist in defraying a portion of the expenses. THANKS TO ALL who have made this effort a rewarding experience for me and my supporters. The Zia Connection will now become a portion of amateur radio history and I certainly hope that all the memories will be positive. The dismantling of the system will begin this coming weekend. The eastern part of the system will be the first to go. I am negotiating with some individuals who want to retain the Benson Ridge repeater as a standalone or possibly linked only to El Paso. The western part of the system will go away the latter part of the month of May. Again, I am negotiating with certain individuals who desire to maintain the Guadalupe Mtn./Quartzsite repeater as a standalone. The center portion of the sytem in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico will essentially remain intact although major changes will be made to the linking method, locations, CTCSS access, and call signs. This system will be renamed and will operate under the auspices of an organized club. Although the system will be open to all amateurs, membership in the sponsoring club will be expected from anyone other than the casual transient operator. The primary intent is to provide the highest level of communication capability within the entire operational area. Some additonal repeaters will be added to provide coverage where now there is limited or no coverage. Again, THANKS for all the memories. After 39 years of licensed amateur radio activity, it is still as much fun for me today as it was way back then.

Milt Jensen, N5IA

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