Getting on the air with Boafeng UV-5R: Repeaters

Discussion in 'On-Air Operations - Q&A' started by KI5QMP, Jul 2, 2021.

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  1. KI5QMP

    KI5QMP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey everyone, thanks for all of the help on my first post, especially from KA9JLM and KJST. Just to verify that I'm doing everything correctly, I've listed the below steps that I'm following to connect the 146.66 K5AB repeater listed on Repeater book's McLennan County, Texas page with a Boafeng UV-5R (Plus) & NA-771R antenna, power set to high (couldn't hear on low/medium):
    1. Set to VFO mode & Enter Frequency : 146.660
    2. Menu 11 set R-CTCS : N/A
    3. Menu 13 set T-CTCS : 123.0
    4. Menu 25 Set Shift + or - : - (Negative)
    5. Menu 26 set Offset : 0.6 MHz
    6. Menu 27 Save Channel : Chan 001
    I have been able to hear the Station's CW but no users and one has responded to my call sign in about 3 days of continuous attempts on various repeaters (or 146.52 MHz - no offset or tone).

    I realize that quality control issues with this device and working with a 5W antenna may be the cause for some issues, but just to get the user error question out of the way, I was hoping for a few extra sets of eyes.
  2. ND5Y

    ND5Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do you have another radio or scanner to check if your UV5R actually transmitting audio?

    I would stop using the long antenna and use the stock one that came with the radio until you can figure out what is going on. Baofengs have crappy receivers that can be overloaded or desensed when a better antenna is used. I'ts possible but maybe not likely that the repeater is hearing you just fine but you might not be hearing the repeater.
    KI5QMP likes this.
  3. KI5QMP

    KI5QMP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a second UV-5R & Stock antenna that I was able to send / receive to the other device through the repeater using the same settings. Apologies: I should have listed that in the OP.
  4. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    To get attention, Most people around here transmit the Alarm sound. :oops:

    A mobile radio may be the key using a mag mount antenna on a automobile, Or a large Cookie sheet if your wife will allow it.

    Good Luck, Never give up. ;)
    KI5QMP likes this.
  5. KI5QMP

    KI5QMP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah I've been debating the magnetic mounts for the truck. I really want to get these HT's figured out with a few different sets while I study for the general exam / before I build a shack.
  6. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The fact that you hear the repeater's CW ID tells me that you're able to hear the repeater. The fact that you're not hearing any other traffic on the repeater tells me that there isn't any other traffic, at least not while you're listening. So that leaves us with two possibilities: Either the repeater is working and nobody uses it, or the repeater is not working. Maybe there's a lot of local noise near it, and its receiver just can't hear well.

    So I'm not sure, but there's at least some chance the problem isn't on your end.

    After you transmit into the repeater, are you hearing a "squelch tail"? Most (but not quite all) repeaters will transmit a few seconds of dead carrier, sometimes ended with a tone, at the conclusion of a transmission. You should be able to hear this. This usually allows you to at least determine whether you're getting into the repeater, though sometimes you'll hear the squelch tail even though your signal into the repeater is so weak as to be unreadable.

    Programming other repeaters into your radio is worth a try. You should be able to get at least one of them to return a squelch tail. If you can drive to within a mile or so of the repeater, that would be a way to reduce the chance of weak signals or marginal antennas being the issue.

    Oh, and FWIW, the fact that nobody is coming back to you on 146.52 isn't necessarily surprising. Unless you're on a high summit overlooking a populated area, it's certainly possible that an HT on 146.52 isn't being heard.
  7. KI5QMP

    KI5QMP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for your reply and input.

    1). Squelch tail: Yes, I hear about 3-5s of it with each of the 5/6 repeaters that I've programmed into the radio.
    2). Other Repeaters: I followed the same method to program 6 repeaters listed as in my county; though I am on the edge of my county and am unsure of the repeater's exact location or altitude.

    Any reason that it would be crickets for 4 days? The grid tool seems to find a ton of registered hams in our area.....
  8. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That's great to know. It tell us that your radio is programmed properly, and that the repeaters are hearing your radio, at least somewhat. There's still a possibility that no understandable audio is getting into the repeater from your radio, if the signal is very weak.

    There are many inactive hams. And some who are active only rarely; some who stick to bands and modes other than 2m FM, etc.

    See if you can program your radio to scan those 5 or 6 repeaters, and then leave the radio on as much as possible. Surely you'll eventually hear a conversation. When you do, write down the call signs, and after the conversation is over, say, "<other callsign> this is KI5QMP, trying to make my first contact on this repeater". Most hams will jump at the chance to talk to a new ham (and those that won't aren't worth worrying about).

    Carrying that thought a bit further, it wouldn't hurt to call out on a repeater "This is KI5QMP, looking to make my first contact". Some people may listen a lot, but will only answer a call if you give them a reason to, so sometimes, just throwing out your call sign isn't enough.

    It's also possible that nobody's listening. Don't get too discouraged. Keep trying...
  9. ND5Y

    ND5Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    That could be normal in your area.

    That's how it is here. Last time I checked there were about 400 licensees with mailing addresses that include "Wichita Falls TX". There are very few active hams on the 2m/70cm repeaters on a daily basis.

    Wait until there is a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning for your county then scan your local repeaters.
    Around here the wx-weenies that you never hear otherwise will crawl out of woodwork if there is a skywarn net or even if there are updates from the NWS before the severe wx actually starts.
    KI5QMP likes this.
  10. KI5QMP

    KI5QMP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well guys, after a week of trying and second guessing myself, I finally made a local contact. Thanks again for all of the support.
    KC5AKB, AD5HR, KA9JLM and 2 others like this.

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