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Author Topic: New 2meter ham needs info on etiquette and repeate  (Read 1940 times)

Posts: 21

« on: June 08, 2002, 08:28:58 PM »

I just puchased a new 2m/440 handheld.  No other ham that I am friends with uses the lower bands.  I need some information on etiquette on 2m and the use of 2m repeaters.  I also welcome any redirections to helpfu websites.  Tnx!

Posts: 36

« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2002, 09:09:14 PM »

I'd invest in the "ARRL 2002 Repeater Directory" put out by the ARRL. It's available at many ham stores or from the ARRL itself ( This gives you virtually every repeater in your area on a variety of frequencies.  Then I would pick out one repeater nearby(or one that has a strong signal in your location) and listen. Then listen some more. There are business-like nets which might be hard to poke into but there are usually a lot of laid back times.  Listening will let you know the pattern and the operators and how they work.  When there is a reasonable pause and you are not intruding in business or an intense conversation, then stick in your call and when you get a call-back explain your situation.  Folks will be generally delighted to help you out.  I would also strongly urge you to make every effort to visit the local Radio Club meeting because once you meet folks (human nature being what it is) then you will be a known face and you will find a lot of friends to talk to!  Good Luck and Have Fun!  It is always daunting at first but do not let "first contact" jitters get the best of you.

Posts: 1435

« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2002, 11:27:12 PM »

Congrats on your accomplishment, getting your first ham ticket.


Posts: 8

« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2002, 03:04:25 AM »

Congratulations on getting your ticket!!!!  You are on your way. Ok, you can try an ARRL Handbook for the info that you wanted.Another source is..if you used it to get your ticket..the look who's talking books from Radio Shack. Most of what you want to know is in ARRL reapeter directory has alot of that stuff in it too.   Try to rember to be curteous,ID when required,try not to use qsl too often,and you should be all right.  You can look up the phonetic alphabet on the web.  One last thing..try:    They have a repeater listing there that should get you started.  Good luck with the hobby..73's  KD5JZN

Posts: 10

« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2002, 09:17:45 AM »

The best advice I can give you is to just listen for a bit. You'll find that most people will be courteous & understanding to a newcomer. There will be those few that can't seem to remember that they were a newcomer also & might not want to be bothered. As you listen, try to pick up the GOOD habits & avoid the idiots. Best of luck !!  73's  Bruce W4MCQ

Posts: 3585

« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2002, 11:27:51 AM »

Hi and congratulations Mark. Generally speaking, the ARRL's Operating Manual gives you all the basic information you need. But...

You live in a mighty pretty part of the world - and when I went through the Superior/Duluth area a few years ago I noticed a definite "local flavor" to repeater usage. So do get the book - but listen to your local repeaters as well.

After all, when you are in Rome you do not shoot off Roman candles. You wear a toga and keep your eyes and ears open until you have grown accustomed to the local manners and mores!

73 and hope to see you on the air
   Pete Allen  AC5E

Posts: 1

« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2002, 01:37:32 PM »

I would not necessarily "do as the Romans did" when listening to a repeater.   If you do, pretty soon you may pick up some bad habits.

Unfortunately, I think what goes on some repeaters in some areas is not what is accepted readily on others.  Regardless, here is my ideas.

Please think about what you say.   I hear a LOT of hams, and many who should know better, using slang that sounds just plain idiotic.

There is no such word as "destinated."

"Do ya gotta copy on me" or "Yeah I got a good copy on ya" sounds just plain silly, and is not even correct grammer.

My "personal" is none of anyone's business.

Try to avoid the over use of "roger, roger"  and "ok on that" and "qsl on this and that."   On a repeater, especially, people assume that you heard what is said except in the case of noisy conditions.   If I am talking to you to your face, you don't have to verify everything I've said, do you?   Then why do we do this on ham radio?

One guy in this area just HAS to say "that is affirmative" after EVERY transmission the other party makes.  Silly.

In other words, just plain normal conversation goes a long way.  

"I have arrived at my destination, and it was nice talking with you.  You have a good, solid signal into the repeater.  How do you hear this station?  My name (or handle) is Del."

Phoney Phonetics:   At least learn "one" of the "official" Phonetic lists, mostly for HF.   There is SELDOM a need to use them on repeaters, but when you do need to, again, learn one of the "official" lists.

Try not to try up the repeater(s) with ragchewing, when you could be on a less used repeater, or simplex.  In my area, there is a system with 3 or 4 repeaters which constantly remain linked, and there are about 4 people who constanly get on the system with idle chatter for a length of time.   Do you REALLY think any of these repeaters are in the scan list of my radio?

There is nothing wrong with announcing your presence or the fact that you are looking for a chat, and I personally see NOTHING wrong with the so called no no of "not calling CQ" on a repeater.   Why it is "forbidden" to call "CQ" once or twice is beyond me, on the other hand, it is ok to say "W7xyz  monitoring"  which to me conveys nothing.    Does this mean you want to talk, or just listen?  However, this term HAS seemingly become the status quo on two meters.      

Last, two meters is fun, but repeaters and hand held radios is NOT the depth of ham radio.   There is LOTS more you can do for not much or any more money than hang out on repeaters.

Posts: 413


« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2002, 11:55:08 AM »

Don't necessarily emulate what you hear others doing.

1. NEVER, ever say, "This is (callsign) for ID." There are some repeater groups that are cracking down on this stupid phrase. Just give your callsign once every 10 minutes, and at the end of your last transmission, and you're fine.

2. Avoid using words like "destinated" instead of "I've arrived", or "QSL" instead of "OK" or "I got it."

3. Use plain English. No need for a lot of buzzwords or Q-words. (Q signals were designed as shorthand for use on CW and aren't really needed for most voice work.)

4. Do listen to a repeater and its users for a while instead of jumping right in. You'll learn much about them before your first QSO with them.

5. For some reason, nobody calls CQ over a repeater. There's no law about it, it's just customary not to call CQ. Instead, you just give your callsign and say "listening" or "monitoring" and that works. For what it's worth, on many repeaters nobody will answer  anyway even though you KNOW they heard you. Don't be discouraged, this is a normal thing and it's not because you're a stranger or a new ham. It's just the way some hams are.

6. Avoid long winded transmissions. I try to be conversational, not a windbag. You hear these solid 10 minute broadcasts on HF a lot, but because most repeaters have a 2-3 minute timer, it forces some of these guys to keep it shorter.

I'll think of more later. Welcome to 2 meters!

Dave AD7DB

Posts: 413


« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2002, 12:22:56 PM »

Oh yeah, I can't believe I missed this one.

Don't say "Hi Hi" on the air. Just LAUGH instead. When I hear someone going to the trouble of saying "hi hi" instead of "ha ha", it means they're doing it on purpose.

Posts: 2193

« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2002, 03:15:48 PM »

A few things I've heard on the repeaters that make me cringe

1. "I'm out" - Out of what?
2. "I'm on the side" - Laying down or resting?
3. "I'm reading the mail" - What the heck does that even mean?

I always think it's funny when people say "Hi Hi" on voice.

As for calling CQ on a repeater, I don't know what to say. If you just say your call, or that you're monitoring, people won't usually reply unless they know your call. I wont, unless someone says it a few times over a few minutes, then I figure they want something or need info. Maybe we ought to discuss the proper way to initiate a random repeater call?

As far as ragchewing on the repeater, why not? I do it every morning on the way to work on a wide coverage, but seldom used 440 repeater. My opinion is if the repeaters don't get used, then if they break or have service issues, no one will know. Of course don't pick the busy machine for ragchewing and leave plenty of breaks.

I live in an area with a lot of tourist traffic, you'd be amazed at how many tourists hams will ask you questions about the area when they hear you're just rag chewing after getting no response on the popular machine in town.

K5DVW for ID Smiley

Posts: 17420

« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2002, 03:48:45 PM »

And, when you are chatting with someone on a repeater, leave a
break between transmissions so someone else can get a word in
edgewise.  It might turn out to be a new friend - or someone with
an emergency who needs help.

Posts: 3746

« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2002, 08:04:29 PM »


Here is a link to get you started:

As others have written, every repeater has
different rules and the above is only a guide.

Enjoy your new radio !

73 james

Posts: 3

« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2002, 09:58:43 AM »


I passed! Now what? You have about ten days before you can go on the air, which is a good time to learn the important traditions and protocols expected of you as a licensed radio operator. The best way to learn is to listen to the local hams, on the local repeaters. Repeaters are mini-radio stations that listen for a signal, then re-broadcast it at a higher power level. They are usually on mountain tops. You’ll find the ARRL Repeater Guide at the local ham equipment stores. Importantly, the staff there can put you in touch with the ham radio club in your area. You should be able to locate a repeater in your area and enter the frequency in your radio. To transmit to the these repeaters you must program a tone into your radio. These are called PLL or CTCSS tones. WAIT for your license.

Most new hams start out with an “HT” or handheld VHF/UHF radio. These have become very sophisticated and now offer 3, and even 4 bands, which is a big bonus for a new ham. They are also receivers and scanners on the bands they receive, which means you can listen to police, fire, shortwave, AM-FM etc. They will only transmit on the ham frequencies. You may consider installing an outdoor antennae so you can operate your radio in the house. Try enlarging your radio manual on a Xerox machine for easier reading, and writing programming steps in your repeater book.

After a few days you’ll learn how call signs are given and you’ll hear a pattern in conversation that will help you avoid the “motor mouth” mistake. Two-way radio is typified by mostly equal transmit/receive cycles. In other words talk a little, listen a little, and leave about a 1-2 beat pause before you transmit to allow another to join in. “Radio talk” (10-4, Roger, etc.) is not normally used in ham conversations. First name and call sign are obligatory, but last names are not used. If you are asked to repeat your callsign, use international phonetics, (Kilo, bravo, X-ray ). Attached.

Repeaters are usually built and operated by ham clubs or individuals. Most of them are open which means any licensed ham may use them.  If you use a repeater frequently you are expected to contribute to the repeater fund. Priority is given to anyone reporting traffic problems or other important information, and mobile users have priority over others. A tone is usually generated after each transmission so “over” is not used.

If you hear any radio traffic involving searches for missing persons or other emergency traffic do not transmit unless you are able to help. Government emergency agencies frequently request help from the ham community, via the repeaters, and they will indicate clearly when the repeater is available for normal traffic. Always listen before talking.

When your call sign issues, a good way to begin transmitting is to wait until mid-day when there isn’t much traffic on the repeater, key your mic and say “This is (callsign,) any one around?” These first conversations with just one, or two other hams will diminish anxiety. You might tape your callsign to your radio. You’ll find the ham community very receptive to new hams, and appreciative that you have taken the time to learn and respect the norms and courtesies the hobby is known for. Listen, think, talk. Listen, think, talk. Listen, think, talk.

A ham radio operator never has a radio. A ham radio operator has a radio station.
Your radio station will be licensed to transmit  radio signals on a large part of the radio spectrum. These pathways have been very carefully organized and allotted for specific uses, and at specific times.   No one wants to enter a new endeavor, with new equipment and inadvertently cause problems, which is fairly easy to do.

I was surprised how little emphasis was placed on informing the new ham of band plans. These tell you which radio activities are where, and most importantly where you should and shouldn’t transmit. They are listed in the Repeater Directory, and in the ARRL Operating Manual.  Attached are the bandplans for the 2 meter and 430 Mz. Simplex means radio to radio without a repeater, and the calling frequencies are, well, calling frequencies. If you want to reach someone via simplex on that band you call on that frequency, then move your traffic to an ascribed frequency, similar to marine radio.

The fastest way to absorb information is through magazines. By reading several back issues and the current issue of QST or CQ magazine you’ll get a good overview of equipment, trends, jargon, debates, and most importantly stories about how other hams use their radio operator skills. You may consider joining the ARRL, as you receive a subscription to QST and optional insurance for your radio equipment. The ARRL is an exemplary organization and is largely credited with maintaining the amateur band allotments in the face of relentless pressure from the wireless industry.

BOOKS: The ARRL Repeater Directory ($8)  The ARRL Operating Manual.($25) This book is very comprehensive and well written, with a great description of activities on the various bands, translation of jargon, do’s and don’ts, and thumbnail histories throughout.

EQUIPMENT STORES: HRO Sunnyvale 408-736-9496 HRO Oakland 510-534-5757.

WEBSITES: Scan links on these sites for others.

The bands you are allowed to operate on with a technician license preclude the bands where most long distance radio traffic is conducted. For these bands you need a General class license, which requires slightly more technical knowledge and morse code. The morse code element has been hypothetically elevated in difficulty somewhere between the bar exam and judgment day. Firstly, morse code is not a language, it’s an audio-visual  alphabet set of 43 characters, four, or ten percent of which you’ll know by the end of the page. We all know SOS. Most of us know there are three dots or dashs for each letter. S is … O is ---. Tap it out with your finger. Three close together, three taps farther apart. There had to be two letters with only one dot or dash. E is one dot, T is one dash. Try sending the word TOES. That’s ten percent of the morse code! Inch by inch it’s a cinch, yard by yard it’s hard. A computer program that uses sound-alike’s and pictures has gained wide acceptance and helped many hams over the code hurdle. It’s available at . Make sure you learn to copy the QSO part of the course, as that is how the code test is given. Be sure to enter an underline if you miss a letter, so you know a letter goes there. You are allowed to fill in your blanks on the code test, and this can make the difference between passing and not passing. It’s a fun little skill to have, and  a General class license is required to participate in important parts of the emergency service. Many hams love the DX or distance contacts available on these bands. Talking to people in Japan and Australia, South Africa and on yachts at sea is a lot of fun.

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