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Boundary Waters Amateur Radio Club

The Boundary Waters Amateur Radio Club is a Cook County based organization that welcomes you to our area and invites you to use our repeaters. Our club meets at noon on the last Wednesday of every month in the Cook County Community Center located in Grand Marais. If you are in town at that time, visitors are welcome so please feel free to join us!

ORGANIZATIONAL INFORMATION: Our Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation are available by following these links. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in order to read these. If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat, you can get it from Adobe.

If you are interested in joining the Boundary Waters Amateur Radio Club, you can e-mail us for information.

BWARC owns and maintains six repeaters including a system backbone that serve Cook County, including much of the eastern BWCAW. As you might expect, this costs a lot for a small organization. The Boundary Waters Amateur Radio Club is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization supported by memberships, donations, and fundraisers. If you use our system, please consider joining BWARC or donating to help us defray the cost of maintaining the equipment. Membership dues are only $20 a year or $30 for a family, and any additional donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Thank you!

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Repeater Information

Repeater Frequency CTCSS Offset
Maple Hill 146.895 151.4 Hz -600 KHz
Gunflint Lake 146.730 151.4 Hz -600 KHz
Grand Portage 146.655 151.4 Hz -600 KHz
Sawbill 146.865 151.4 Hz -600 KHz
Grand Marais 444.250 151.4 Hz +5.0 MHz

The BWARC currently maintains five repeaters in Cook County. The four VHF repeaters are connected via a UHF backbone and with that, we enjoy mobile coverage for virtually the entire county. Approximate coverage is outlined below, or you can view our coverage map.

Our one UHF repeater has excellent coverage around town and in the immediate area around town. It can be found at 444.250 with CTCSS of 151.4.

In Grand Marais, along the North Shore, and inland from Grand Marais, we have the 146.895 machine using CTCSS of 151.4. This repeater is located on Maple Hill just outside of Grand Marais and provides excellent coverage along the North Shore itself. Inland coverage varies due to terrain, but the rule of thumb would be coverage to about 20 miles from the shore of Lake Superior, primarily along the Gunflint Trail corridor.

Approximately 45 driving miles up the Gunflint Trail at the Gunflint Lake tower site, is our 146.730 repeater which uses CTCSS of 151.4. Coverage for this repeater is approximately a 20 + mile radius for mobile radios. Along the Gunflint Trail this would be starting near the Lullaby Creek Rd. and covering well into the BWCA and Quetico park areas. Here, too, terrain is a big factor and needs to be taken into consideration.

Our Grand Portage repeater – 146.655 with CTCSS of 151.4 – is located in the northeastern corner of the county. It is approximately 3.5 miles inland from Lake Superior and approximately 1/4 mile above Lake Superior. This machine not only gives us excellent coverage for that part of the county and the NE part of the BWCA, but it also reaches into Thunder Bay, Ontario. It also provides us with coverage along the HWY 61 corridor where the Maple Hill repeater doesn’t reach.

Our Sawbill machine can be found at 146.865 with CTCSS of 151.4. It is physically located approximately 12 miles up the Sawbill Trail from Tofte and provides us with inland coverage for the west end of the county and into the southern portion of the BWCA.

If you are traveling in the Boundary Waters or Quetico and can provide us with coverage information, we would appreciate hearing from you about your experience. You can contact us via e-mail through the link provided at the bottom of the page. Thanks in advance for helping us out!

If you have packet equipment, consider using the new Maple Hill packet node, MNGM and PBBS GMBBS. More information about packet can be found here.

Current BWARC Newsletter

For those of you looking for a copy of the current BWARC Newsletter, you can view it online by clicking here. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in order to read the Newsletter. If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat, you can get it from Adobe.

Cook County ARES Response Team


The Cook County ARES Response Team was formed in 2003 to support both local government and non-government agencies with emergency communications. Utilizing their skills as amateur radio operators, CCART members are active in both emergency and non-emergency communications. CCART holds a net on the air every Sunday at 1900 hours on the BWARC repeaters. More information about CCART can be found here, or send an e-mail to the informational link below.

History of WØBBN


WØBBN was the call sign sign of the late Dr. Wallace “Doc” Smith. Doc was an Elmer to many of the local hams and was responsible for much of the spread of Amateur Radio in Cook County. When he passed away, the BWARC contacted his widow and, with her permission, adopted his call sign for the club as a lasting tribute to him. His call sign also identifies all club repeaters.

Many, many thanks to John, N6YBH, who pointed us to the availability of this QSL card of Doc’s from 1949.

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