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Ham question (not the bacon kind)
Old 03-11-2015, 06:24 PM   #1
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Ham question (not the bacon kind)

I know this is not a ham forum but I figure there have to be a few on here.

I just obtained my tech and general license and bought a really expensive 2m/70c handheld by Baofeng ($35 model UV-82).

After contacting my wife (barely) at 3 miles, I ditched the rubber ducky and built us both 2m quarter wave ground plane antennas with four quarter wave radials bent down at 45 degrees. Using these we were able to make simplex contact at 25 miles even with a few mountains and hills between us.

Now I want to try and open a repeater but I have not had much luck. I know we are in the boonies and in a low spot, but I do hear conversation very clearly on a few repeaters (50 miles, 25 miles, and 20 miles away). I programmed them in and put in the correct tone and checked that the offset was correct (and plus or minus). I have not had any luck getting a contact on them...I actually don't even know if the repeater is getting my tone or acknowledging me.

So that is my do you know if you are being heard by a repeater if there is nobody else on that repeater freq? Will it beep at you or something?


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Old 03-11-2015, 06:57 PM   #2
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Figures that 10 minutes after asking I would open up my first repeater.

Very clear reception and the other ham heard me clearly as well. Distance to the repeater was about 15 miles.

Possibly I was hitting one or more of the other repeaters but nobody was on air? Maybe they had to do that *ork thing we try to avoid here.

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Old 03-11-2015, 07:45 PM   #3
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Many repeaters require a PL tone to open their squelch. You can google for repaters or HAM clubs they will list the frequencies and the split. Some have +600 some -600. Not many open repeaters nowadays, mostly to minimize interference and to keep out "mike clickers"

Keep your squelch open, if you key your mike, the noise will quiet, if you hit the reperater. Make your call with call sign, usually someone will reply.
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Old 03-11-2015, 09:14 PM   #4
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I see from your original post that you already know about using the correct repeater offset and PL tone.

My first experience with them (on 2M) was in the UK in the late 70's when the radio landscape was very different. 2M FM was very populated - both the simplex frequencies and repeaters. My local repeater, GB3MH, was continually busy for a few hours during morning and evening rush hours. In the hours in between, when it was less busy, there was almost always someone who would talk to you. I was away from 2M FM for something like 25 years, but I find it to be much less populated now. I didn't spend much time on the repeaters this time around, as I am now an HF guy, but my experience was that it was harder to find someone to talk to, if you didn't already know them. I would often call on repeaters (in my populated urban area) and receive no reply, so I'm going to have to disagree with Is99 on that one.

Some repeaters will drop carrier as soon as you do, while others will let their carrier hang for a short while after you release the PTT (if you have successfully accessed them). However, just because you can access the repeater doesn't mean you are putting a strong signal into it, so you should try to get signal reports. You can even send some machines a DTMF command, to which they will automatically reply with a single number indicating your signal strength into the repeater. You'll have to do a bit of research to figure out what each different machine can do. In the "old days", repeaters would often beep after a successful access attempt, but I don't think that behavior is very common anymore.

Anyway, for someone who rarely uses repeaters these days, I have rambled on for far too long. I know someone will correct me if I am talking out of my behind. Enjoy that Baofeng. They're so cheap, they might as well almost be giving them away with boxes of cornflakes!

OK, back to the front panel layout for my new regen receiver, which is going to use a lovely old National HRO dial and gear drive. It takes me ages to build this stuff, but it keeps me off the streets

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