Repeater Basics

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by KF7EIF, Aug 25, 2009.

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  1. KF7EIF

    KF7EIF Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK, I had lunch with a friend today to try and learn more about HAM and how to use my radio. I did learn some (like saving repeaters in memory and making sure the shift is right and setting the tone frequency and mode), but I think there is still a piece missing since I have not gotten a reply to my callsign when there is a break in the conversation on a clear repeater.

    Hoping someone will recognize the newbie mistake I am surely overlooking and give me a nudge in the right direction to figure it out.

    I have a Yaesu VX-7R and a local (Arizona) repeater list. I have a few entries saved and I think have everything set right (but would love to verify that).

    For example listening to 146.820, when I PTT, it changes to 146.220. SQL TYPE is set to TONE and TONE SET is 162.2 which matches the repeater list I have. What, if anything, am I missing?

    Stephen, KF7EIF, Arizona
  2. K0CJR

    K0CJR Ham Member QRZ Page

    What is your distance from the nearest receive site for the repeater? The first time that I keyed up, also with a VX-7R, I didn't get any reply either. I later learned that I was not quite audible from my location with only 5 watts and an HT indoors. It could be as simple as that.
  3. KF7EIF

    KF7EIF Ham Member QRZ Page

    From home indoors that would make sense, esp since I am about 20 miles from Phoenix, but when I get closer to work and am hooked up to the mag antenna, I would be less likely to think that is the case. Is power less important to listen than transmit? I hear people very strong and clear on several repeaters as I drive to/from work.

    Thanks for the ideas.
  4. KF7EFG

    KF7EFG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Also, most repeaters keep the line open for a second or two and possibly have a courtesy tone after sending. Often you can tell if you are getting through if you hear the delay and/or the courtesy tone after you release your PTT. This doesn't mean you are going across clear and readable, but at least you know you are reaching the repeater in some fashion.
  5. W7MRN

    W7MRN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hmm. Twenty miles is a decent distance from some of the local repeaters, but there should be something to hit when you key up. And yes, I can always hear folks on repeaters that I would not be able to hit myself... so that might account for some of the folks that you hear but cannot contact.

    I'm in Tempe, and many times can't hit the Superstition Springs ARC, but I can trigger White Tanks, Scottsdale, Phoenix area, and places like Pinal Peak and Mt. Ord with a bit of luck (my radio is a well-used IC-25H picked up at a hamfest, and has a tone kit installed, so I'm pretty much limited to the 162.2 repeaters, and am pretty inactive on VHF).

    I know that it sounds silly, but if you're giving your callsign, make sure that you don't speak and un-key too quickly, or the repeater may not capture you.

    I will point out that during the limited amount of times I've had the 2m on that the local 'regulars' seem few in number and more quiet than not. Could be that they just aren't paying attention to anyone other than who they're already are familiar with. :(
  6. W6ONV

    W6ONV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Where I am the repeaters are rather "clique-ish" and callsigns can be tossed out with no answer, yet another ham shows up on the repeater and a conversation starts and the odd ham out continues to call with no replies.
  7. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Where are you traveling, and what time of day? If you try the Mt. Lemmon 147.16 or Pinal 145.41 repeaters I will listen for you, if I am around. Both have 141.3 PL tone access, and are on the same linked network. One or both should work from your area if you have an external antenna.

  8. KJ4LXW

    KJ4LXW Ham Member QRZ Page

    When you key up, give your call and ask for a signal check. Many times people don't answer calls becuase they don't know you, but there is always someone willing to answer a call for a signal check to let you know if you are making it or not.

    Display will change on the HT to shoew the offset you are actually tx-ing on then back to the freq that you rx on.
  9. KF7EIF

    KF7EIF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I live in Maricopa (city, not county) and I usually head to work between 7 - 9a and home between 5 - 7p (veeeery flexible schedule :)). This morning, after getting PL set for the Superstition ARC programmed last night, I heard the end of the drive-time net and I announced my call sign and got a response. Several actually at the same time, so I guess I have been a part of a small pile-up. Bil (with one L) and I chatted for a few minutes, but I was driving so I couldn't note his callsign, but I will try to catch him again tomorrow on the same net.

    I programmed both of those repeaters in and will give a shout while I am on my lunch break around 11:30 to see if I can touch base.

    Thanks for the leads.

    Stephen, KF7EIF, Arizona
  10. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Bil with one ell" is probably K1ATV. He lives over in Mesa and likes to talk about amateur TV.
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