Preface: I just took elements 2 & 3 a week ago, and got the call sign Thursday. Will do element 4 on the next exam date. Bought an Icom V8 and a 1/4 lambda handy-talkie whip, plus a (temporary) magnetic mount dual band for the vehicle rooftop. I also have a Yaesu FT100D, but no HF antenna, yet. Started to try to make contacts on 3 of the local 2-meter repeaters, but have only been able to make one contact in the past three days. It seems like it is either radio silence, except today when I can't get a word in edgewise. What happened to the element 2 test question about pausing between the comments? I did make one contact, and when it is a negative contact I can hear either the courtesy tone or the squelch tail, so whatever I am doing wrong is probably something to do with the words I am speaking, yes, in English, or everyone is watching Three's Company or Gilligan's Island reruns. Any tips?