System Costs

Equipment costs for radios, duplexers, antenna systems, etc., approximately $40,000. Benson Ridge is the site I built from the ground up for the system. About $8,000 in the building and tower. The electricity bill is about $30/Month. It has been there for 16.5 years, so that is 198 months and the total power bill would come to $5,940. Site fees have averages about 75/Year so that is $1,275. Add those figures to the radio costs for the site and it is easily the most expensive one. Some sites have been free of site fees as Zia has been housed by entities who recognized its value. Telegraph, Guadalupe, Greens, and Sandia are among those that I was personally responsible for that fit that category. Cash outlay for vehicle wear and tear and expenses would probably total about $25,000. If my time had been billed at the rate which I did for my TV and radio services during this same period, it would total $60-70 THOUSAND. Donations to Zia through the years would not take care of the electricity bill on Benson Ridge alone. All donations were greatly appreciated but the fact remains that 99% of the people have no idea what it takes to install, operate and maintain a communications system on mountain tops. The ARA has perhaps 1,500 members. Their repeater sponsorship is less than the whole Zia and certainly over a much smaller area. I am not complaining; just stating the facts. People think that when they spend their few hundred dollars on their HT or mobile, that the rest is FREE. Back in the beginning of Zia it was much different. I truly believe that 60-70% of the system users today have never know a time when Zia did NOT exist. They take it for granted.

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