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Author Topic: Dead (quiet) South Florida Repeaters?  (Read 30242 times)
KN4ABF
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Posts: 2




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« on: January 11, 2017, 08:44:11 PM »

Hello everyone, been listening to 2m and 70cm for a couple of years now on and off, just got my ticket this morning for the technicians license. Ive Setup some new repeaters, checked to make sure they were active and in range and all was good.
The thing is, I have been monitoring the repeaters in Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Boca Raton area pretty much all day and haven't heard any radio traffic on any of the local repeaters. Are things really this quiet now? I do hear the repeaters give out the hour call and my HT will activate it but never hear any traffic.

Its been about a year since ive last used the radio to listen and it seems like a big change, could just be me...


KN4ABF
Sergio S.
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SOFAR
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Posts: 986




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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2017, 10:13:43 PM »

Last time I listened to repeater traffic (over a year ago), they were talking about how great DMR is.

Maybe they migrated to DMR.

I preferred operating simplex, I'm more likely to receive a reply on 146.520.
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ONAIR
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Posts: 3526




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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2017, 10:45:49 PM »

Build a small ground plane antenna, and put it on the roof to greatly increase your range!  Also, join Echolink and use it to check (and talk on) other repeaters in your area, or worldwide!!  Smiley
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KN4ABF
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2017, 06:41:26 AM »

Last time I listened to repeater traffic (over a year ago), they were talking about how great DMR is.

Maybe they migrated to DMR.

I preferred operating simplex, I'm more likely to receive a reply on 146.520.

You know what, I remember hearing the same thing back then. Was hoping it wouldn't kill the traffic though.

Quote from:  link=topic=113053.msg973605#msg973605 date=1484203549
Build a small ground plane antenna, and put it on the roof to greatly increase your range!  Also, join Echolink and use it to check (and talk on) other repeaters in your area, or worldwide!!  Smiley

That is one of my plans for next month. Want to have a nice decent setup at home. Right now I am mostly running mobile with a Nagoya UT-72 anywhere from Boynton Beach down to Hollywood Fort Lauderdale.
To join into Echolink, it would just require programming in one of the echolink repeaters and that's all correct? I am still adding repeaters into my radio
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W1VT
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Posts: 2494




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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2017, 12:42:34 PM »

I've been told that the flat lands of Florida make it difficult to install effective repeaters.  Typically, one puts a repeater on a tall building or mountaintop to cover a large area.  The threat of hurricanes removes the tall building option.  Migrating to a distributed digital repeater system makes a lot of sense technically, but it can be hard to put together a hardware intensive infrastructure with volunteers and limited funding.

Zack W1VT
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ONAIR
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Posts: 3526




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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2017, 07:11:04 PM »

Last time I listened to repeater traffic (over a year ago), they were talking about how great DMR is.

Maybe they migrated to DMR.

I preferred operating simplex, I'm more likely to receive a reply on 146.520.

You know what, I remember hearing the same thing back then. Was hoping it wouldn't kill the traffic though.

Quote from:  link=topic=113053.msg973605#msg973605 date=1484203549
Build a small ground plane antenna, and put it on the roof to greatly increase your range!  Also, join Echolink and use it to check (and talk on) other repeaters in your area, or worldwide!!  Smiley

That is one of my plans for next month. Want to have a nice decent setup at home. Right now I am mostly running mobile with a Nagoya UT-72 anywhere from Boynton Beach down to Hollywood Fort Lauderdale.
To join into Echolink, it would just require programming in one of the echolink repeaters and that's all correct? I am still adding repeaters into my radio
   Just go to  www.EchoLink.org  and follow the instructions to get validated!  You can use your computer (or even your smartphone) to connect!!   Smiley
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K4JJL
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Posts: 820




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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2017, 09:29:23 AM »

If you like routine, the SE FL Traffic Net is on 146.61 -110.9 at 6PM daily.  Too boring for my taste.

All my friends hang out on the NE Broward Club repeater and the Coral Springs machines.

NE Broward 444.425 +110.9
Coral Springs 145.110 -110.9 (also P25), 443.850 +110.9 (also P25) and 927.075 -110.9 (also P25)
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WB8VLC
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Posts: 420




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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2017, 10:42:32 AM »

I drove from the pacific northwest and spent 12 days between Flagstaff, Tuba City, Prescott(2nd home) and Phoenix Az over xmas and the only repeaters that had any activity were 1 UHF P25 REPEATER SOUTH OF STOCKTON CAL. and a VHF/UHF linked P25 network in the Phoenix east valley.

The analog, d-star and DMR listed repeaters along I-5 TO I-40 and throughout Arizona and then on my return trip along I-10 to  I-5 were dead, next time I'm only bringing my P25/ combo analog radios in addition to my 40/20meter qrp equipment which also got a lot of use.

« Last Edit: January 14, 2017, 10:45:58 AM by WB8VLC » Logged
ONAIR
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Posts: 3526




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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2017, 02:37:01 PM »

I drove from the pacific northwest and spent 12 days between Flagstaff, Tuba City, Prescott(2nd home) and Phoenix Az over xmas and the only repeaters that had any activity were 1 UHF P25 REPEATER SOUTH OF STOCKTON CAL. and a VHF/UHF linked P25 network in the Phoenix east valley.

The analog, d-star and DMR listed repeaters along I-5 TO I-40 and throughout Arizona and then on my return trip along I-10 to  I-5 were dead, next time I'm only bringing my P25/ combo analog radios in addition to my 40/20meter qrp equipment which also got a lot of use.


   Next time perhaps you may want to bring along an 11 meter radio.  There are several towns along those routes that have quite a bit of activity, especially on 27.385 Mhz LSB.
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N8EKT
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Posts: 588




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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2017, 08:27:49 PM »

This seems to be the story everywhere.

Repeaters everywhere that nobody uses yet every newbie wants to put their OWN repeater on the air!

So what we have are a bunch of half baked repeaters nobody uses instead of one or two that have great coverage

Hams USED to be friendly to outsiders and would gladly answer someone passing through the area but those days are long gone!

Now all you hear are few CBers that talk to other CBers just to hear themselves on the air!

I quit using repeaters myself because there are no intelligent hams to talk to anymore.

You can literally feel yourself losing IQ points just listening to most of them

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NA4IT
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Posts: 44


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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2017, 04:51:19 AM »

There are several reasons repeaters are quiet:

1) Techs get their license and get on repeaters only. After a week or two of talking to the same people over and over, they get bored.

2) Repeaters are going dark... a lot of high level repeaters are going by the wayside because owners and clubs can't afford tower lease fees.

3) Little use of repeaters... generally the most use will be at morning and evening drive time, and net time.


There is a lot more to a tech license. Currently Techs get everything there is on 6M and above. There is digital, packet, APRS, SSB, DX, simplex, etc. Don't rely just on repeaters. Get up a good homemade antenna and try something.

Techs get CW on about every HF band, but they also get voice on 10M (28.300 - 28.500). When 10M is open, it can be loads of fun. I used to run a 10M mobile on a power supply into a rotatable dipole and worked tons of DX when I was a Tech.

If you save up, you can get something like a Yaesu FT-857D that is all mode all bands and work some of the other stuff mentioned above, and listen to the other bands on HF and do some SWL. That will encourage you to go higher and get the General and Extra.

And one important thing that almost no one does... as soon as you pass the Tech exam, start studying for the General. When you pass it, start on the Extra.
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ONAIR
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Posts: 3526




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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2017, 02:32:19 PM »

There are several reasons repeaters are quiet:

1) Techs get their license and get on repeaters only. After a week or two of talking to the same people over and over, they get bored.

2) Repeaters are going dark... a lot of high level repeaters are going by the wayside because owners and clubs can't afford tower lease fees.

3) Little use of repeaters... generally the most use will be at morning and evening drive time, and net time.


There is a lot more to a tech license. Currently Techs get everything there is on 6M and above. There is digital, packet, APRS, SSB, DX, simplex, etc. Don't rely just on repeaters. Get up a good homemade antenna and try something.

Techs get CW on about every HF band, but they also get voice on 10M (28.300 - 28.500). When 10M is open, it can be loads of fun. I used to run a 10M mobile on a power supply into a rotatable dipole and worked tons of DX when I was a Tech.

If you save up, you can get something like a Yaesu FT-857D that is all mode all bands and work some of the other stuff mentioned above, and listen to the other bands on HF and do some SWL. That will encourage you to go higher and get the General and Extra.

And one important thing that almost no one does... as soon as you pass the Tech exam, start studying for the General. When you pass it, start on the Extra.
   Yes, 10 meters can be AMAZING when the band is open!  I have used a mobile 10 meter rig (HR-2510) with a CB antenna INDOORS when I travel, and have talked skip all over the country with it.  If they put up a decent outdoor antenna, Techs can also use 10 meters to make lots of local contacts even when the band is quiet.
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K4JJL
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Posts: 820




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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2017, 12:24:00 PM »

Repeaters everywhere that nobody uses yet every newbie wants to put their OWN repeater on the air!

So what we have are a bunch of half baked repeaters nobody uses instead of one or two that have great coverage

I used to sell old Motorola repeaters to local hams all the time.  They'd put it on the air at their house with a cheap antenna on a pushup pole and then complain about the coverage.  I'd say maybe 10% of my sales went to people who actually owned a service monitor.

I still get calls from people asking for help with their repeater, whether it's tuning duplexers or setting audio levels.  All of these problems could be fixed on their own if they only owned a service monitor.  Spend some damn money on test equipment, folks!
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KK5JY
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Posts: 81




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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2017, 07:06:20 PM »

Are things really this quiet now?

Well, yes and no.  Around here, you can call out on a frequency all day long and not get an answer, but there are plenty of people listening.  Not sure why they are so shy.

One way I have found to get people on the air is to schedule a QSO with somebody on a nearby repeater.  You agree to both meet up for a few minutes and test out your gear.  When I have done that in the past, it causes other people to get interested and join you on the air.  I don't know why, but I guess some folks are just shy, and if they hear other people chatting, the figure it can't be so hard to have a conversation, and then they want to join in.

For what it's worth...
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ONAIR
Member

Posts: 3526




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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2017, 08:38:57 PM »

Are things really this quiet now?

Well, yes and no.  Around here, you can call out on a frequency all day long and not get an answer, but there are plenty of people listening.  Not sure why they are so shy.

One way I have found to get people on the air is to schedule a QSO with somebody on a nearby repeater.  You agree to both meet up for a few minutes and test out your gear.  When I have done that in the past, it causes other people to get interested and join you on the air.  I don't know why, but I guess some folks are just shy, and if they hear other people chatting, the figure it can't be so hard to have a conversation, and then they want to join in.

For what it's worth...
   I think a lot of it is just psychological.  When you go on a repeater and say "listening", it just doesn't seem to motivate many people to answer.  However, I did some experimenting.  I decided to go on repeaters and ask for a radio check instead.  I was surprised to see that I had a great increase in the number of people who came back to me!  It seems that when one asks for a "radio check", it may motivate some hams (who always like to help out others) to reply, because they may feel that they are doing a good deed by doing so!  Try it, and let us know if you get the same results!
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