HamRadioNow: Do NOT Call CQ on Repeaters

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KN4AQ, Apr 14, 2017.

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  1. KN4AQ

    KN4AQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, this is a click-baitish title. Just ish, because it's leading you in the right direction. Not that I expect that to mollify the restless mob here on the Zed.

    Hams have been complaining about lack of activity on repeaters for well over a decade. Way back in 2003 I created a cover for a magazine I was editing (the SERA Repeater Journal) that spoofed the ARRL's Now You're Talking license manual by changing the title to Now You're Missing.

    RJ Cover 'Now You're Missing'.jpg

    I also wrote an editorial about the phenomenon in that issue. (Download the PDF)
    HRN 315 CQ Repeaters POSTER SquelchTALE CU 250.jpg

    14 years later... and a ham poses the same question on Reddit: Where is everybody? (I'm paraphrasing. No, I'm totally re-writing, but that's the gist of it).

    So I trot out my standard advice: make some noise. I even recommend calling CQ, because that's almost guaranteed to get someone to respond, if only to tell you that you're not supposed to call CQ on repeaters.

    I don't know who made up that rule, but they're wrong. I think it happened back in the 60's and early 70's, when HF ops looked down their long pointed noses at us FM ops as something less than 'real hams.' So in retaliation we eschewed their cherished practice of calling CQ. That's my theory. 10-4?

    I would have left it there, but then someone replied on Reddit that they tried my advice, and it worked! That warranted a short show (if 24 minutes counts as short, and for HamRadioNow, it does).

    AUDIO AUDIENCE: This is a talking-head show, and the only one talking is mine. I show the magazine and the Reddit text on screen, but I read it all to you. So this is that rare show where I'm thinking directly about the audio-audience. And if I'm doing that, I must award this show a Radio Rating of A-. The 'minus' is because I'm still really proud of that Repeater Journal cover spoof. That was a couple of hours of Photoshop, if I recall, but you get to see it here on the Zed. Meanwhile, you can LISTEN/DOWNLOAD the audio. And if you do podcasts on your phone, you can add HamRadioNow to the list.

    BTW, I mis-speak the era that I was the RJ editor. I say 'early 70's', but it's really 'early 2000's'.

    KN4AQ is 10-10 and 10-7.
    KK5R, KG4KAH, KK6JKC and 1 other person like this.
  2. K5JM

    K5JM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Gary, your short summary here made me immediately think about a conversation a fellow ham and I had where we were discussing area repeater activity. Granted, I haven't watched the video yet but my short answer to people who are asking where is everyone going....I think a lot of people are switching to digital...whether its DMR, fusion, or other modes. I love analog as much as anyone...but I do find myself taking advantage more of digital as of lately. Curious to hear if you discuss that philosophy when I watch this segment.
    KD2ANN and W5KV like this.
  3. AB3TQ

    AB3TQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    I watched. It held my interest. I like HF. Repeaters are an occasional afterthought. There are far to many of them. And trust me on this, on the rare occasion that I find myself on a repeater, I am NOT going to call CQ. Thanks for the reminder. Sort of.
    W9FTV likes this.
  4. KN4AQ

    KN4AQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    As you'll see when you watch the show, I don't make that point. My experience isn't universal, but every place I've been, there are only a handful of digital repeaters. And there's not much local activity on any of them. If they have a network connection, they may seem to have a lot of activity. But it's all coming in bits and pieces around the region, or around the world.
    KK5R and K5JM like this.
  5. K2HAT

    K2HAT QRZ Volunteer Volunteer DX Helper QRZ Page

    70+ frequencies in my 2m radio memory in the shack, including 5 simplex ones.

    Sometimes while chasing HF I will have the radio on scan, it may go 3 hours and only hear an occasional repeater ID.
    During commute time one of the local repeaters gets a lot of use, while a handful of folks yack, on the drive, especially in the morning.

    Sometimes I will join in with a few other old timers on another repeater from 8:30 to maybe 10am, to complain about everything. ;)

    I don't have HF in the vehicle, so I often use the busy local repeater from there.

    Best 73 K2HAT
  6. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was on repeaters starting in 1971. I stopped using repeaters in 2010.

    'CQ' is a general call. Repeaters were not designed for that,as they are a single TX/RX channel pair. That makes them focused, whereas 'bands' are shots in the dark and hunt and pounce. That's why. Why don't you know and say that? End of story. Not news.

    Repeaters (2M FM )are a disaster these days--either filled with anonymous defamation and profanity, or dead usage-- and I avoid them. The new DMR ones maybe a different story whih I intend to explore.
    NH6RF likes this.
  7. WF4W

    WF4W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I use local repeaters on my commute. I like to talk to my local acquaintances about stuff. Sometimes I'll switch over to the DSTAR repeater and see who's on the reflector and chat with new people who usually only want to talk about openSpots, dvaps, and hotspots :)
  8. KI8W

    KI8W Ham Member QRZ Page

    The repeaters in my area are like this....

    in 15 minutes you will here...this is (callsign inserted here), listening...at least a dozen times and no one, I mean no one, will be talking to anyone during that 15 minutes.

    Maybe calling CQ might give a response.

    Something else might get a response. Tone generated CW.
  9. K8MHZ

    K8MHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I call 'Seek You' instead.
    AD5KO, KK5R, KE8FHH and 1 other person like this.
  10. W5JCK

    W5JCK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Repeaters in north Texas are numerous and quiet. Just as well, most of those redneck, no-code technician, bozos are not worth talking to anyway. Other than political BS or the ever growing number of kerchunkers, there is hardly any activity, with the exception of DMR. The only time I tune in is during RACES nets, and even those are often a joke. Average RACES member: "Well, ummmm......., I have three drops of rain per hour here and a gentle breeze blowing." Net Controller: "Again, we are only taking severe weather reports at this time!" Morons a plenty on the repeaters. I hoped that DMR would be better, but after a few days of hearing the same guys calling CG, and they do that on DMR, you get tired of hearing them. You have a gillion guys with cheap Chinese DMR HTs trying to talk on DMR but unable to consistently hold the repeater located 25 miles away. So why do I avoid FM repeaters? Simply put, I find that the rubber-ducky antennas on most of those guys HTs are more intelligent than the new class of hams operating them. If I want to talk to someone on VHF/UHF, it will likely be via simplex and digital so that we don't have to listen to all the idiots. Personally I think that anyone who is too stupid to program their HT should never have been given a license, and a large number of new hams in NTX cannot even program their HTs.
    NH6RF, KA4TLC, N2TGH and 4 others like this.

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