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Old 12-04-2012, 11:16 AM
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Default Activity in Cleveland Ohio??

I just got my radio yesterday and programmed in all the repeaters and other than one discussion last night on the Lake County NET, that was it. Am I monitoring the wrong channels? Is there some other freq's I should be checking out? I keep hearing about all these people talking but when I go to check it out I hear nothing.

I don't have my ticket yet, so I can't call out a CQ, but I would think I am not monitoring the right freq's, but the problem is which are the ones I should be looking at. I'm on the East Side of CLE, so I don't know if that has any issues to it.

Any help would be appreciated,

Thanks,

John
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Old 12-04-2012, 1:49 PM
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I wouldn't call CQ on a 2m repeater, that was a mistake when I did it.. Some people are asses and will ***** about it.

Normally just my call followed by "anyone monitoring?" gets me a conversation, I save CQ for the HF bands.

Check and see what clubs are in the area, they probably have a website that will tell you when they have a Net (like a conference over the repeater) and you can tune in when its going on.

From what I've seen in my area there are plenty of hams monitoring 2 meters but unless someone has a question or something the air is clear, shout out your callsign (once you get it) and the thing lights up!

They are out there but chances are they're just listening/monitoring too.
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Old 12-04-2012, 2:01 PM
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I have checked the clubs site and have a list of the Nets, but once the net is over it's crickets... nada.

I wish there was something that would tell me a range of freq's I should just monitor to possibly hear some action, but I haven't found that yet.

Ok... thanks for the info, and thanks for the warning about the CQ on 2m.
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Old 12-04-2012, 4:07 PM
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I know what you mean about the airwaves being dead after a net...
Same thing happens out here, the good thing is I think once you get your license and join a club that'll change.

Once I joined I started getting on the air, and chiming in with my thoughts and the repeater was used more and more often...

I kept bringing up ideas for the area like an ARES paging system, or an amateur controlled recon quad copter, etc... There is a lot going on now..

Worst case scenario work on your General and get on HF, then you'll always have someone to talk to.
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Old 12-04-2012, 4:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KR0SIV View Post
I wouldn't call CQ on a 2m repeater, that was a mistake when I did it.. Some people are asses and will ***** about it.

Normally just my call followed by "anyone monitoring?" gets me a conversation, I save CQ for the HF bands.

Check and see what clubs are in the area, they probably have a website that will tell you when they have a Net (like a conference over the repeater) and you can tune in when its going on.

From what I've seen in my area there are plenty of hams monitoring 2 meters but unless someone has a question or something the air is clear, shout out your callsign (once you get it) and the thing lights up!

They are out there but chances are they're just listening/monitoring too.
I agree. The best way is to just give your call sign and ask for a radio check! I find that this works great if you are looking to make contacts.
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Old 12-04-2012, 8:08 PM
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Once you getbyour technician's ticket you say..."this is (your call sign) listening.....you should get a response!! Good rule of thumb.....listen to the frequency for a few seconds and makecsurebyou don't jump in somebody's else convo....when they break most stations will let you jump in! Last weekend I was in a five way conversation....hardest part was writing down everybody's call signs!! Perry on this site you can do a search for amateur repeaters or frequencies for your area!!!
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Old 12-05-2012, 9:28 AM
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Thanks all. I think the hard part for me is going to be memorizing the call signs as I will mostly be conversing in my vehicle. I didn't have the cash for a base unit and because of HOA laws, an antennae is not allowed, so the car is going to be my base with my HT. I guess in time though, I;ll learn who the people are and the call signs will get ingrained in my skull.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:37 AM
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I highly recommend that you buy a proper mobile unit, an HT is very low power and a rubber duck antenna performs very poorly inside of a car
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by TheSpaceMan View Post
The best way is to just give your call sign and ask for a radio check!
Seriously Asking for a radio check will get you laughed off of a repeater The "this is KX8XXX listening" will work a bunch better, and you won't sound like you just hopped off of the chicken band.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perrybucsdad View Post
I didn't have the cash for a base unit and because of HOA laws, an antennae is not allowed, so the car is going to be my base with my HT. I guess in time though, I;ll learn who the people are and the call signs will get ingrained in my skull.
This a big part of why nobody's on the air.
People go on to forums asking what's a good first radio to get and someone says "get an HT" and they end up with an HT thinking that's a good first radio even though they are utterly useless in many areas unless you're real close to the repeater. Then they go get a mobile radio but where do they put it??? They put it in their car where they may spend all of an hour a day.

That's why I'm always the crazy one who says if funds are limited, don't waste your money on an HT. Save up and make your first radio a base station.

I'm not being critical. I'm just pointing some stuff out.

Dead quiet bands and "crickets" after the nets and "commuter-only hams" have been a complaint of mine for the past several years.
Are the ham repeaters this dead everywhere now?

We got a formerly busy local repeater that has been around for a hundred years, that over the past several years activity outside of the weekly net had dwindled down to practicly zero. There used to be someone around any pretty much any hour of the day. Then the repeater was quiet except for at commute times then it became quiet except for the weekly net. The net gets a lot of checkins but just as soon as its over it goes back to dead silence. One time I checked in to the net and pointed this out and said wouldn't it be nice if some people stuck around after the net for a conversation like old times. And quite a few people did.

There are still lots of new hams getting licensed. But they run out and get a Baofeng and then don't hear squat and can't hit squat and either lose interest in the local bands and move on to HF or they lose interest altogether. Also people are living farther and farther out (farther away from repeaters located in downtown buildings). They are increasingly living in communities that don't allow external antennas so they don't even bother with anything but an HT.

There are work-arounds for HOA antenna challenges, even if you're in a condo and can't even put anything outside.

If people stopped trying to work a repeater 40 miles away on an HT and managed to find time outside of their busy schedule to get on the air at times where they aren't stuck in traffic, then there would be more activity on the air.

When you get your ticket, if all you're getting is crickets locally, pm me, I'll give you an echolink node you can connect to if you want to talk to some hams down here in the atlanta area on a couple of wide area repeaters. No radio required.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by rapidcharger View Post
When you get your ticket, if all you're getting is crickets locally, pm me, I'll give you an echolink node you can connect to if you want to talk to some hams down here in the atlanta area on a couple of wide area repeaters. No radio required.
No radio required? How the heck does that work? Is it just VOIP?
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
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No radio required? How the heck does that work? Is it just VOIP?
Echolink uses VOIP, but it is different than, e.g. Skype, in that:

1. Only licensed hams can use it. Part of the installation procedure of the software is that they check that you have a legal ham license or certificate. Well, you might be able to find your way past that, but if they discover you they will take your account away and in theory you might receive legal penalties.

2. Many repeaters are connected to it. This means you can call a remote repeater and talk to anyone who might be monitoring that repeater. They can then contact you using their own VHV/UHF transceiver to connect to the repeater.

So the experience is much like that of using regular VHF or UHF radio on the amateur bands. The software will give you a list of ALL connected nodes as well.

It is available on smart phones via wireless so in theory once you have obtained your license you don't have to purchase a Ham band radio to make Ham band connections with other Hams. A smartphone is just a fancy radio, after all.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:01 PM
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Thanks Ed... very cool. So you would talk through your PC then? I take it you can't just DX if you are not licensed?

We have quite a few repeaters in my area (I think I have found over 40) and a good chunk of those are in the surrounding counties near where I live. I was listening last night, and did pick up some signals and some came in nice an clear. Actually, it had me thinking as the one side of the conversation was crystal clear, and the other had a bit more static. I'm assuming that is because the one was further from the repeater.

In studying today, I came across some of the information on repeaters and how many use a PL code to gain access. In reviewing my manual though (for the Yaesu VX-6R), it appears that you have to set this code every time you want to talk on that repeater, and can't store it for that freq. Is that right? Seems like a lot of memorization if that's the case, but how does that work if you are traveling and come across one you wish to transmit on (and don' know the PL code)? Out of luck I guess.

Thanks all...hopefully within a month or so I will have my ticket.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:43 PM
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Thanks Ed... very cool. So you would talk through your PC then? I take it you can't just DX if you are not licensed?
Correct. Actually most Hams I've talked to don't think of Echolink contacts as "DX" since we cheat and use the internet. The feeling is that "real" DX involves radio to radio contacts, usually on the High Frequency bands. But still, I can sit here at my computer and call Hams in Australia over a repeater system there, which if it isn't "real" DX is still kinda fun.

Quote:
We have quite a few repeaters in my area (I think I have found over 40) and a good chunk of those are in the surrounding counties near where I live. I was listening last night, and did pick up some signals and some came in nice an clear. Actually, it had me thinking as the one side of the conversation was crystal clear, and the other had a bit more static. I'm assuming that is because the one was further from the repeater.
With a decent antenna outside and well up in the air you can make contacts at quite a distance even on two meters, and the other ham you contact might be equally far from the repeater in the opposite direction. With my antenna and a handheld I can hit one repeater 35 kilometers away on Saltspring Island with a half watt output, and that lets me talk to Hams in Vancouver and as far away as Hope from my home in Victoria British Columbia, a distance of over 150 kilometers.

Quote:
In studying today, I came across some of the information on repeaters and how many use a PL code to gain access. In reviewing my manual though (for the Yaesu VX-6R), it appears that you have to set this code every time you want to talk on that repeater, and can't store it for that freq. Is that right? Seems like a lot of memorization if that's the case, but how does that work if you are traveling and come across one you wish to transmit on (and don' know the PL code)? Out of luck I guess.[
Any fairly new Ham radio will let you enter the PL codes easily and many will even tell you the frequency needed if you listen to it for awhile. Once entered the radio will remember it and you can forget about it unless they change. And there are lots of resources on the web to find this information about the vast majority of repeaters. As well there are usually a few around that still don't use the tone, although with increasing crowding and noise on the VHF bands they are getting fewer. It's not a big deal and if you can pass the course you can figure this out.

Most newish radios can be programmed from your computer, which I find much easier than entering things via the radio keyboard.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:58 PM
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perrybucsdad wrote above...:

"In studying today, I came across some of the information on repeaters and how many use a PL code to gain access. In reviewing my manual though (for the Yaesu VX-6R), it appears that you have to set this code every time you want to talk on that repeater, and can't store it for that freq. Is that right? "

No, that is not true. All the radios now can have a different PL programmed on each frequency in memory, as well as one in the VFO.
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Old 12-05-2012, 1:06 PM
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Thanks Ed and W2NJS... so I take it I would tune to my memory channel, and then setup the PL tone for that and it will remember it? I see in the VX-6 Commander software it has a tone freq field. so I assume that is where this is all done. Anyhow, it's not needed now as I don't have my ticket yet, but I always liked to take my toys apart when I was a kid and figure out how they all worked... so this is something I was looking at for future ref.

Thanks again...

jvn
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Old 12-05-2012, 1:28 PM
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Programming in the PL codes is a must once you get your license and GOTA (get on the air). Yes, your radio will remember the PL and offset once you have programmed them in. CQ will only highlight you as a newbie. Once you get your ticket, throw out your callsign followed by "listening" or "monitoring".Another good idea is to locate a local experienced ham to help you as an "elmer". Buying used transceivers, antenna construction, installation, or purchase is always a hassle for newbies just starting out. Thats the way many of us avoided the potential mis-steps during your learning period. Better yet, joint the local club who will proably be your closest testing (VE) group. Stick with it! You will quickly come up to speed with some help and growth experiences.
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Old 12-05-2012, 1:39 PM
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Thanks Elk... one of the local groups is having a free training program in January that I plan on attending. I hope to have learned all the stuff by then, but I'm sure I will learn more by going to going to the class, and make new friends and find people to help. I also ordered the EZ Guide for my radio, so hopefully it will spell some of this out.
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Old 12-05-2012, 2:04 PM
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Only hearing a regularly scheduled net is pretty common these days, repeaters aren't what they used to be. It's a case of the lights are on but nobody's home, the machines are there but very little used since interest has fallen WAY off. Your best bet is a multi mode rig that covers 6m, 2M, 70cM at least, that way you can do FM simplex and weak signal work as well as repeaters, there's a LOT more to VHF/UHF than meet's the new ham's eye. It used to be repeaters were a good stepping stone but times have changed, for the most part new hams find few to nobody to talk with and lose interest leaving the service without ever finding out how much more is at their fingertips.

Pardon my giggles over that radio check thing, I've heard replies giving 5 & 9 (loud and clear) reports that just crack me up. Of course, what else? The one giving the report is hearing the REPEATER and not the one asking. DOH! Calling CQ on a repeater is frowned upon so the procedure varies but here it's (callsign, then repeated phonetically) listening. If no one answers pause a minute and repeat, if again no one answers nobody is monitoring the repeater so more calls are futile.

BTW memorizing unfamiliar callsigns while concentrating on driving is difficult at best and really not necessary for proper ID. The FCC only cares that you ID your station either at the beginning or 10 minutes into the conversation, every 10 thereafter and at the conclusion.

One last thought, studying for the license will only give you what you need to know to pass the test, nothing more. For that more you need to associate with other hams who can "elmer" you on the finer points of ham radio. That's where clubs come in, you can find them in your area any number of ways (da boyz here can elaborate) and the best place to start is with one that administers the test.

On edit, looks like Bruce jumped in there while I was typing, pardon the duplication.
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Old 12-05-2012, 3:00 PM
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Thanks KB2vxa.. so what would be a good rig to look at to get into the other areas that won't break the bank? Something used I guess would be the way to go I'm thinking, but what?
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