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Author Topic: 2 meter repeater use  (Read 6970 times)

Posts: 8


« on: December 12, 2002, 05:54:08 PM »

I was wondering if anyone else notices that when someone new on a repeater tries to make a QSO with someone, by saying something like "KC7VWQ listening" and then they get absolutely no response. But if someone who is a regular on the repeater makes their presence known talks to someone right away. Is this just a problem here in the Eugene/Springfield area?


Posts: 10248


« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2002, 06:21:34 PM »

No, it isn't just your location unfortunately, it's all over just about every repeater and associated groups. Personally, I think it is rude to ignore newcomers to the fold, regardless of calling convention or not. You are after all a possible new member. Rather, I think it reeks of egotism. But please, don't let the adverse lack of politeness scare you away. This is a great hobby, but like all hobbies, there are always a few stupid folks into it.

Alan, KØBG


Posts: 102

« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2002, 08:01:43 PM »


I have had my licence for four weeks and i'm 14. i live need morgantown west virginia. most of the repeaters he have nice people on them. BUT for some reason no one will answer me on the hamtalk link system. i know people are on there because they call listening ect.? on the other repeaters i have got coplymented on my operating habits. kind of wierd 'ain't it'? well all i can say is stick in there. some one will get tired of us and answer!!


Posts: 22

« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2002, 10:36:53 PM »

Here is some hints:
First, Listen.
Second,Write down the Users Call Signs.
Third, Listen again.
Forth, Familiarize with the operators that has more to your comon interests.
Fifth, Call that operator "By his call sign" and ask him something he knows about, or he likes to talk about, even if you know the answer.
Try to not ask personal questions like "Where is your location, what is your equipment..... Just wait and he will ask.  You just go along. And last. Leave a small pause between operator changes to see if someone else wants to join in.
There are many Hams that don't talk to stranger period.
But most do love to chat and specially entertain others.
If your around Orlando Fl. anytime give me a call.  I'm manytimes @ 145.290 or 145.450 they are open repeaters and we love to chat.

Posts: 3746

« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2002, 11:16:39 PM »

It is the same on many repeaters in many places.  Most are open and friendly.

One time a traveler needed frequency for a repeater but could not remember the town the repeater was located in.  I asked him if he had any landmarks or other way to help locate it and he gave me the name of a company that had corporate hq there.  Well before I could answer him, over ten guys came back with the towns name and then took over with a long ragchew with eachother.  I just waited a while when the control op put the stops on these guys.  They did not mean any harm just got caught up in their little world.

Also if we are new, no one knows us so they won't talk to us.  Or the repeater could be low activity at that time of day.


Posts: 3354


« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2002, 05:33:44 PM »

Enroute on a recent trip from Charleston, SC to Northeastern OH, a total of 1500 miles roundtrip, I made a concerted effort to use the available 2M repeaters.  I programmed all repeaters within 30 miles of my route into my Yaesu FT-1500M.  As the trip progressed, I would alternately listen and call on the repeaters that were within range.  This resulted in a TOTAL of SIX contacts!  Calls on 146.520 simplex netted a SINGLE contact.  

I usually stop midpoint each way when making this trip.  On the return trip, I heard a recorded announcement for a meeeting of the local club at my stopping point. I began calling for directions, on that repeater and the other local repeaters, as I approached the town.  I continued calling on my HT after I checked into the hotel and up to the time of the meeting.  NO ONE answered any of my calls!  I was unable to attend the meeting!  

Talk about indifference or lack of usage (I can't determine which was the case).  How will we justify our allocation of spectrum in the future with a record like this?  All in all, it is very discouraging.

Dennis - KG4RUL

Posts: 21837

« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2002, 01:56:53 PM »

As a two meter operator (37 years) and long-time repeater owner (25 years), having lived, operated and owned repeaters on both coasts, I can assure you that a good part of the problem is that VHF/UHF-FM activity is spiraling *downwards,* and has been for years.

This is no excuse for ignorant operators who won't answer a newcomer; however, it is a sad fact that VHF/UHF-FM activity is nothing like it once was, and very likely won't ever again be as popular as it was in its heyday of the late 1960's through the mid-1980's.  That was then, and this is now, and working FM repeaters or simplex just isn't the new toy it was 25 or 30 years ago.

I've noted a substantial decline in FM/repeater activity everywhere I've gone in the past five years or so.  There are "buddy chit chats" going on for sure, but not the wildly enthusiastic groups who spend every week tweaking their repeater systems for peak performance and then promote their systems all over the place, inviting everyone to please take part and use them.  

Back in the mid-to-late 1970's, some of the largest and most rapidly growing amateur radio clubs anywhere were purely "FM repeater" clubs with hundreds (and sometimes thousands!) of members.  I recall the Metroplex ARA in New York City having over one thousand active members who used their multiband, and linked repeater systems 24 hours a day.  It's just not like that anymore.

I think the "newness" of FM and repeater operation, which had its roots back in the late 1950's and early 1960's, simply wore off.  It's not new, anymore.  There's not much challenge to it.  Buy a little HT, and push the button.  Big deal.

Back "in the day," all the repeaters were largely homebrewed, and most of the rigs were converted commercial "taxicab" radios, crystal controlled on one or two channels.  Everyone knew each other, and would frequently get together to discuss how they modified their rigs or got them working.  It was great fun, and a technical challenge.

You don't see people doing this in 2002, and that's part of the problem.  The challenge, the newness, and the neatness of FM/repeater work is completely gone and those who used to do 99% of the development work have moved onto other things.  Without those leaders at the helm, in many cases nobody's running the show.

The "neat and new" thing that has caught on like wildfire is HF-mobile and HF-portable operation.  A lot of this is likely because of CC&Rs prohibiting hams from installing reasonable home antenna systems -- so they take their whole station with them!  (Not a bad idea, and certainly better than being off the air.)  HF-mobiling has been around for 60 years, but never before has it been quite so popular; and now, with little rigs like the FT-817, FT-897, K2 and many others, operating from parks, picnic grounds, beaches, mountaintops, ski cabins and all over the place has become extremely popular.  This seems to be taking over the "operating space" once occupied by VHF-FM, and maybe it's a good thing.


Posts: 3746

« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2002, 10:48:38 PM »

I recall spending lot of time on 2m local repeaters just after I got my ticket.  Learned many things from lot of good hams, just like on Eham.

Many upgraded to General and now enjoy the HF bands so 2M may get busy again once the cycle changes.

Our local club had several repeaters vhf/uhf/6M
and they were getting old and to repair them takes time and only a few have the expertise to do this.
The club purchased several new commercial repeaters and controllers.  

Sad part is many clubs are not able to get tower space or climb on the tower if the space is donated or rented.

73 james

Posts: 16

« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2002, 09:51:44 AM »

I don't know about anywhere else in the country, but here in Mid-Michigan, I often think there is too much activity on the local repeaters.  There are several high-profile repeaters in the Lansing area, where I live, and they are in near-constant use.  I am a big advocate of simplex operation, especially when at home at a base station, and I try to encourage others to utilize simplex more.  But the activity on our local two meter and 440 machines only seems to increase every few months.  There is one two meter repeater in town, and one on 440 south of town, that is busy nearly all day and all night long.

Posts: 136


« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2002, 02:53:10 AM »

 All repeaters are different. They have  many different "personalities".

 Some are very clickish, some are open and welcoming, some are rowdy, some are constantly jammed, some are filled with endless ragchewing while others remain deathly silent most of the time. Others are only busy during commute time while others have night owls listening.

 The fact is, there are as many variations in repeater activities as there are differences in people. So don't judge all the by the actions of a few.

 I suggest spending alot of time listening before you start transmitting. Find your favorite repeaters that you enjoy listening to and then you can begin to slowly intergrate yourself by joining in.

 Sometimes when I hear a person just throw out his call sign and nothing else, I am thinking that he is announcing himself to his other repeater friends who may be listening. So I am sometimes hesitant to call him. But if he says "this is N6---, is anyone monitoring?" (or something similar) then I will answer back.

 Another technique is to call a specific station by his call sign when he is done talking.

 Lastly, you can interject a comment or question regarding the current conversation but you must use proper ettiquette. I usually hear someone say  "comment" in between transmissions. When one of the stations acknowledges you (if they do) then give your call sign and go ahead with your comment or whatever.

 Don't be discouraged. This is a wonderful hobby that I just got back into after ten years off and it is still as enjoyable as ever. You will have fun. Pursue it!


Posts: 1490

« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2002, 04:31:11 PM »

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, we have also seen a downward trend in repeater activity over the past five to ten years.  This began at about the time when 2 meter repeaters in particular approached the saturation point in SE Lower Mich.  With 10 watts and a ringo I can probably reach at least 20 or 30 repeaters from AA.  A repeater 20 miles from my house is much more active than either of the 2 meter machines in Ann Arbor, and I can reach it from my basement with an HT.  440 repeaters work just as well though there are fewer of them, and the 10FM (29.64) repeater in town is mostly active with DX though there is some local activity.  The 220 repeater is extremely quiet, but I think that's because equipment is more scarce and hams are well served by the other local machines.  So maybe the decrease in activity is partly due to having so many great repeaters?
Keep surfing the aether and you'll find some good repeaters to frequent with good people on them.
Hope to C U on the bands.  73 es best rx de kt8k - Tim

Posts: 729


« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2002, 05:03:14 PM »

WB2WIK is completely correct. When I first got into repeaters in 1970, there was no saturation, and it   was something brand new to try. A lot of us who had worked 2 meter AM crystal controlled simplex, had     really been limited in range, even with beams, and a lot of us used either military surplus gear or Heath
Two-ers, or the Gonset Communicators, none of which were powerhouses. The repeaters gave us a new look at VHF, though we knew of commercial repeaters before that and had occasionally marveled at their coverage.

The "Repeater Boom" for me occurred in the mid seventies, in Denver, when major repeater systems like
the Squaw Mountain 146.34/94 machine, offered unheard-of coverage, and with a link to the Western
Slope as well. Living in an apartment, I had access to two meters and to 10 meters mobile (using a modified CB SSB rig) as my own ham operations.

But it got boring, and by the end of the seventies I gave up on two meters and concentrated on getting back
on HF.

Then there was the second "Repeater Boom." This came about with the code free Technician license.          Suddenly thousands and thousands of people who had wanted to become hams but had hated to study the
code (and I had taught such classes and I knew) could now get into ham radio, and the graph roared up the
chart. New types of 2-meter radios came on the market, with moderate power, covering all possible repeater combinations.

The dawning of the truth sent the graph on a slowly leveling, then descending, curve. For the reality
was the CF-Tech was really doing nothing he had not been doing on 27 MHZ. He was just doing it in a
different part of the spectrum. He had not realized that dream of "ham radio" with the big rigs, the
long-haul, the DX, the glamor of 20 meters SSB. It was as out of reach of him as it had been before the       CFTech came into being. He still was channelized, on limited range, talking to the same people, and in      fact, no longer could even work "skip." And he had rules to go by, too! So in many ways, he was worse
off. He was frowned upon by the "real" hams, not welcomed into the old boys network. Many of these CF
Techs returned to CB. Others simply gave up and took up stamp collecting. And some still worked to get
out of that limbo between CB and ham radio, the limbo called 2-meters, and advance some more.

In the late 90s, 2 meters became the stronghold for Family Service Radio types of communications.
Repeaters, usually with no control op ever monitoring, were used for business dispatch, ordering pizza,
and for the standard "Honey I'm home with the bread" calls. For many of the hams limited to VHF by nature of their licenses, this kind of "ham radio" had zero appeal - they could have far more fun on 27 MHZ, or Freebanding.  This was not "ham radio."

That is pretty much where we are today. What will happen after WRC2003 is still open, but there is at
least the chance Technicians (and Novices as well) will be granted all HF access, and that will make it        more exciting for those who have remained with the hobby and who finally realize that dream that stuck
just out of reach through the nineties. If that happens, there may be a far more dramatic shift away from VHF and UHF, to the HF bands, and one result of that could be - just a guess - a lot of repeaters will die a natural death. Or at the very least need years of bed rest.

And a result of that COULD be the FCC will sit up and say "Ah, ha! Hams are no longer using 145 and 440 MHZ. Let's sell them to business." Or they could say "Wow, hams are sure making a mess out of HF. Let's ban linears." Or:  "Let's move all ham radio to VHF/UHF."


Posts: 136


« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2002, 02:44:45 PM »

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I can say that there are hundreds of 2 meter repeaters and no shortage of activity.

440 is also quite active.

220 is a bit quiet with approx 50 repeaters.

Sometimes I like the "quiet" repeater because I know I can usually get on without having to wait for alot of traffic to clear and ragchewing is possible.

Posts: 2


« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2003, 11:14:02 AM »

Having just gotten back on 2 meter after a few years, I'm back being the newcomer on the repeaters, instead of one of the regulars.  The best way, IMHO, to make the transition back, is to keep putting my call out there on the repeaters I'm gonna be a regular on.

So, when you hear "KD4THS listening" on the central NC repeaters, you can bet it won't be the last time.

Posts: 3

« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2003, 05:43:28 PM »

Same problem in northeast wisconsin. Ive returned to the hobby after years of being away. We moved here from Illinois in 2000. Have been able to hit 5 different rurally-located rptrs on 2 meter but no one replies to strangers.
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