eHam

eHam Forums => APRS => Topic started by: KG4ADQ on July 11, 2012, 06:31:52 AM



Title: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: KG4ADQ on July 11, 2012, 06:31:52 AM
After taking a long trip to the New England area, (2700 miles) last May...  I found there are very few HAMS communicating on 2 meter simplex.  During my trip while using the Kenwood D710, I had the A side set up for APRS and I had the B side set up for Simplex.  For all those 2700 miles, I had made only 3 contacts... and those were the ones that answered MY call.  ( I heard NO other activity on 2 meter simplex ) All 3 gave great signal reports, so I knew everything on my end was working fine. The 3 contacts were all around New Hampshire.
I was greatly surpised that simplex was so vacant.  I announced my call sign every 50 miles or so. 
I am going on another trip to Miami and the Keys in a couple of weeks... do I assume simplex will be vacant again?  Do I sit and program my D710 for every repeater freq on my path?

What do most of you folks do on long trips?  "Simplex" or "program" repeaters into your radios or do you "scan" the frequencies hoping to find activity?

Thanks
Ralph KG4ADQ


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: NA4IT on July 11, 2012, 10:23:21 AM
I agree simplex is way underused. However, programming a radio for a trip can be problematic, as so many repeaters at "paper" repeaters only...


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: KG4ADQ on July 11, 2012, 10:34:36 AM
I agree simplex is way underused. However, programming a radio for a trip can be problematic, as so many repeaters at "paper" repeaters only...

Thank you for your reply... I am not wanting to talk to everyone on my trips...  but for the radio to be nearly silent is dissapointing!  I guess the best thing to do is scan the 2 meter freqs or the 70 cm freqs and see where that goes.  (on the B side)
Ralph KG4ADQ


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: N9GGG on July 11, 2012, 12:45:32 PM
I agree that putting in a lot of repeaters for a trip can be unless when I travel I use the simplex and a few of hopfully active ones also I try some echolink seems to work


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: KG4ADQ on July 11, 2012, 12:53:58 PM
I agree that putting in a lot of repeaters for a trip can be unless when I travel I use the simplex and a few of hopfully active ones also I try some echolink seems to work

Thanks for your reply...   I appreciate your input!

I had thought of calling CQ CQ CQ on the simplex frequency... but I thought somewhere I had read that it was not well accepted in the Ham community except for HF.  I only announced my call sign and stated either monitoring or mobile.
What are your thoughts on that?

Ralph KG4ADQ


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: K1YZ on July 11, 2012, 08:50:55 PM
Set up scan ranges for:

145.100 - 145.495
146.400 - 147.495
440.000 - 449.975

You can also program in one or more simplex channels like 146.520. Not that it makes a difference, but I've always used my call plus "listening" (i.e. "KG4ADQ listening") to solicit a QSO when using FM. Finally, try using the "Voice Alert" and "QSY" features of APRS if your radio supports them.

Steve


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: KG4ADQ on July 12, 2012, 05:32:40 AM
Set up scan ranges for:

145.100 - 145.495
146.400 - 147.495
440.000 - 449.975

You can also program in one or more simplex channels like 146.520. Not that it makes a difference, but I've always used my call plus "listening" (i.e. "KG4ADQ listening") to solicit a QSO when using FM. Finally, try using the "Voice Alert" and "QSY" features of APRS if your radio supports them.

Steve

Thanks for your reply Steve...  great info! 
I should be programming my D710 either today or tomorrow with that info and will look up some repeaters on the route and put them in memory channels.
Ralph KG4ADQ



Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: K7RBW on July 12, 2012, 07:11:41 AM
Over-the-road use of 2-m Simplex is somewhat problematic in most places due to terrain. But even in wide-open spaces, it's mobile-to-mobile use is limited. If you figure that the practical range is 10 miles, at freeway speeds, passing cars would be in range for only 5-minutes (at best), making it pretty rare that you would happen to call CQ in the 5-min that another ham happens to be passing by. The odds are a little better of hitting a base station, but unless the station is on a hill that overlooks your route, you still have only a 5 to 10 minute window of being in range (at best).

I share your frustration/disappointment. On a 3,000-mile excursion around the western states a couple of years ago, I made only 1 2-m simplex QSO with a ham who saw my APRS beacon status message that said I was monitoring 146.52. The CB was a lot more useful and busy.


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: KG4ADQ on July 12, 2012, 07:38:26 AM
Over-the-road use of 2-m Simplex is somewhat problematic in most places due to terrain. But even in wide-open spaces, it's mobile-to-mobile use is limited. If you figure that the practical range is 10 miles, at freeway speeds, passing cars would be in range for only 5-minutes (at best), making it pretty rare that you would happen to call CQ in the 5-min that another ham happens to be passing by. The odds are a little better of hitting a base station, but unless the station is on a hill that overlooks your route, you still have only a 5 to 10 minute window of being in range (at best).

I share your frustration/disappointment. On a 3,000-mile excursion around the western states a couple of years ago, I made only 1 2-m simplex QSO with a ham who saw my APRS beacon status message that said I was monitoring 146.52. The CB was a lot more useful and busy.

Thanks for your reply and info...  I was thinking of ordering a sticker for my Jeep... maybe something like "146.520"  or maybe "Got Simplex?"    I do plan to put a note on my APRS beacon "146.520".   3,000 miles and only one simplex QSO...  disappointing indeed.  Very similar to my last 2700 mile trip with 3 contacts... in the New Hampshire area only.  I did not even hear any other Hams! 

Ralph KG4ADQ


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: K1YZ on July 12, 2012, 09:46:08 AM
If you really want to have some fun with voice, I'd recommend HF. It may sound like a lot of work but you'd be surprised how easy it is to set up a mobile HF station. I used an Icom 706 MK2G, and a few Ham Sticks.

When propagation is good 10 and 20 meters are great, and when it's not, 40 (day) and 80 (night) are just as much fun. Originally I thought HF mobile was a waste of time, but I was surprised just how good a signal I was able to radiate plus the fact that stating you're a mobile gets some attention. I don't ever remember not finding a QSO when I got bored with the driving. Just a thought,

Steve


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: KG4ADQ on July 12, 2012, 09:56:10 AM
If you really want to have some fun with voice, I'd recommend HF. It may sound like a lot of work but you'd be surprised how easy it is to set up a mobile HF station. I used an Icom 706 MK2G, and a few Ham Sticks.

When propagation is good 10 and 20 meters are great, and when it's not, 40 (day) and 80 (night) are just as much fun. Originally I thought HF mobile was a waste of time, but I was surprised just how good a signal I was able to radiate plus the fact that stating you're a mobile gets some attention. I don't ever remember not finding a QSO when I got bored with the driving. Just a thought,

Steve

Thanks for your info...  I wanted a mobile HF rig very early in my study in getting my General ticket.  But then I thought no... too much to fiddle with etc.  But come to think about it...  there is ALWAYS some activity on HF.    it turns out that I am fiddling with the UHF/VHF D710 anyhow!   :o  I have an FT 897 at the home shack... I might just look into an FT 857 and a atas 125 antenna someday!
Thanks for your input Steve!
Ralph KG4ADQ


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: N6DZR on July 12, 2012, 11:39:06 AM
I do plan to put a note on my APRS beacon "146.520".

The D710 has a feature where it will automatically put the frequency from the other band into your beacon message. That way your beacon will be correct no matter what you have tuned. For repeaters it would be nice if it also included the offset and PL. Right now it just shows the output freq.

-Jeff


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: KG4ADQ on July 12, 2012, 01:00:05 PM
I do plan to put a note on my APRS beacon "146.520".

The D710 has a feature where it will automatically put the frequency from the other band into your beacon message. That way your beacon will be correct no matter what you have tuned. For repeaters it would be nice if it also included the offset and PL. Right now it just shows the output freq.

-Jeff

Thank you Jeff...  I will look that up in the manual and see if I can do that.
Ralph KG4ADQ


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: KD5TXX on July 12, 2012, 06:46:25 PM
I traveled a LOT around the southeast this spring.  Ran APRS and simplex most of the time.  One time in Ft Walton beach I called and got 3 guys reply.  Other times I heard conversations and joined or called and was answered.  Most of the time I heard nothing though.  I guess it has pockets.


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: KG4ADQ on July 13, 2012, 06:06:55 AM
I traveled a LOT around the southeast this spring.  Ran APRS and simplex most of the time.  One time in Ft Walton beach I called and got 3 guys reply.  Other times I heard conversations and joined or called and was answered.  Most of the time I heard nothing though.  I guess it has pockets.
Thanks for your reply....
This sounds encouraging...  I heard that the Florida area is pretty active for HAM radio! 
Ralph KG4ADQ


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: KG4ADQ on July 16, 2012, 06:35:07 AM
I do plan to put a note on my APRS beacon "146.520".

The D710 has a feature where it will automatically put the frequency from the other band into your beacon message. That way your beacon will be correct no matter what you have tuned. For repeaters it would be nice if it also included the offset and PL. Right now it just shows the output freq.

-Jeff


Jeff... can you tell me what menu number that is or where to look for instructions to set that up?

ALSO... can you tell me where it is that I can program the 710 so that a simplex freq. can have priority and comes up if I am, at the moment scanning, or any other freq.?

Thanks
Ralph KG4ADQ
Thank you Jeff...  I will look that up in the manual and see if I can do that.
Ralph KG4ADQ



Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: N6DZR on July 16, 2012, 12:57:25 PM
Jeff... can you tell me what menu number that is or where to look for instructions to set that up?

ALSO... can you tell me where it is that I can program the 710 so that a simplex freq. can have priority and comes up if I am, at the moment scanning, or any other freq.?

Well, it's been a while since I set mine up, but I found something in the "In-Depth Manual APRS EchoLink.pdf" you can download from their website. It won't let me copy & paste the text, so you can look at page 25, section 6.1.6.1 "Transmitting QSY Information". It essentially says you can put [Freq MHz] in status message #5. You would then select that message to be used for your beacon and you should be good to go.

I have not used any of the scanning functions, so not sure I can help there. I would recommend checking out the various downloadable PDF files they have as they usually have more info that what's in the printed version that came in the box.

-Jeff


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: N0FPE on July 17, 2012, 03:47:19 PM
Yes 2 meter simplex is a wasteland most of the time. But these days so are the 1000's of repeaters!! Many repeaters sit for days and weeks with no activity. everyone is Skyping, or texting, or who knows what. And if you do find a repeater that has activity it is IRLP, echolink, or Allstar and the audio is so bad you cant understand it or it clips like crazy.
HF would yield a good crop of conversations!

IMHO

Dan/NØFPE


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: KJ4I on August 22, 2012, 08:19:39 AM
I would just go HF unless you are just wanting to talk to the locals along your route. 2 meter activity has seriously declined in the last 10-12 years, at least around here in Northern Alabama. As a repeater owner/trustee on and off for the past 12 plus years I have noticed it first hand. My repeater might sit for a week and not hear any activity. The occasional traveler might come through but that's about it. Sometimes a few locals might get a sudden urge and talk on the repeater for a day or two then all goes quiet for the next month. Years ago one could get on 2 meters just about any time of the day and find someone to talk to but that just isn't the case anymore. I probably spend 97% of my radio time on HF these days.

I don't think I would bother to program all repeaters along my path. That could be a daunting task to say the least and no telling how many of those repeaters aren't even on the air. At least on HF there is always someone around.


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: KG4ADQ on August 22, 2012, 08:36:05 AM
I would just go HF unless you are just wanting to talk to the locals along your route. 2 meter activity has seriously declined in the last 10-12 years, at least around here in Northern Alabama. As a repeater owner/trustee on and off for the past 12 plus years I have noticed it first hand. My repeater might sit for a week and not hear any activity. The occasional traveler might come through but that's about it. Sometimes a few locals might get a sudden urge and talk on the repeater for a day or two then all goes quiet for the next month. Years ago one could get on 2 meters just about any time of the day and find someone to talk to but that just isn't the case anymore. I probably spend 97% of my radio time on HF these days.

I don't think I would bother to program all repeaters along my path. That could be a daunting task to say the least and no telling how many of those repeaters aren't even on the air. At least on HF there is always someone around.

Thanks for your reply... I am indeed finding this out!  After two long distance trips, the first to New England for 2700 miles and having very little activity on 2mtrs, the other trip to Miami/Key West.  This time I had stickers made for the back window of the Jeep... one read APRS with my call sign... the other just had the 146.520 on it.  Not one single contact from the use of those  stickers.  I did have a nice conversation with "Mike" out of Port St. Lucy for a few miles.  I heard him talk and I keyed up.  That was it for 2500 miles that trip. 
Not that I want to talk all the time... but I don't even hear any other conversations... no activity!
I may go HF...  maybe.
Or I may go back to CB just for road info etc.
Thanks again for your input...
Ralph  KG4ADQ


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: WG8Z on August 23, 2012, 06:24:22 PM
HF   On my last trip from Ohio to Florida working 80m and 40m I had as many QSO's as my voice would permit.
Worked 40+ states and around 10 countries.... Had my 2m monitoring .520 and only heard 2 QSO's that whole time..... 73 Greg


Title: RE: Repeaters? Simplex? Scan?
Post by: KG4ADQ on August 24, 2012, 04:31:46 AM
HF   On my last trip from Ohio to Florida working 80m and 40m I had as many QSO's as my voice would permit.
Worked 40+ states and around 10 countries.... Had my 2m monitoring .520 and only heard 2 QSO's that whole time..... 73 Greg

Greg thanks for your reply!
Hate to think of having two radios going... the D710 and an HF rig.  But I am indeed begining to realize that 2m is darned near useless on long trips.  The APRS seems to work well, although it is quite scarce in a few places in Georgia. Surprisingly great APRS coverage out on the Florida Keys!!!!  I might have to rethink the usefulness of APRS and the D710 on long trips and consider HF.
Ralph KG4ADQ