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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-10-2017, 4:03 PM
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Default Why can't I pick up any repeaters in my area?

I have tried to pick up repeaters in my area with an SDRPlay (all bands to 1ghz)and my chinese boefung radios (2 meter and 70cm).

I have an antenna I made that seems to be a really good performer: its a four element (total 4 horizontal wires) Which has a ~1 meter dipole on the 2nd element a reflector and two directors. The math and length was scaled to within a few mm of tolerance. I know this antenna works well because when pointed at a source I can count 8 lobes where the signal comes in. It can pick up really distant ADS-b signals 40 miles away with the antenna just pointed up.

I live just outside (<10 miles) of downtown baltimore kind of in the middle of the HAM repeaters. But on this antenna and other smaller antennas I have to pick anything up. Not even weak traces of a signal just noise. Are the repeaters just not active? That seems strange. I really want to make my first contact on one of these beofungs.

Also I have no idea what forum this thread goes in as this site has like 783468 subforums which seems like it dilutes the topics.
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Old 10-10-2017, 4:39 PM
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What time of day are you listening for repeaters?
It's possible that the repeaters in your area are dead most of the time.
Do you know for a fact that the repeaters you are trying to listen to actually exist or did you just get a list of them from a web site?
Do you have a scanner or anything else besides the SDR and Baofeng?
Are you using an external antenna on the Baofeng?
Baofengs have terrible receivers. It's possible that there is activity but you can't hear it due to overload/desense especially if you are using an aftermarket or external antenna.
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Old 10-10-2017, 5:00 PM
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Most likely the repeaters have been switched to DMR or Fusion.
I had similar experience and discovered that the world of Ham in a bigger market have made the switch. I now have a DMR radio and have made hundreds of contacts world wide.
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Old 10-10-2017, 5:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beamin View Post
I have tried to pick up repeaters in my area with an SDRPlay (all bands to 1ghz)and my chinese boefung radios (2 meter and 70cm).

I have an antenna I made that seems to be a really good performer: its a four element (total 4 horizontal wires) Which has a ~1 meter dipole on the 2nd element a reflector and two directors. The math and length was scaled to within a few mm of tolerance. I know this antenna works well because when pointed at a source I can count 8 lobes where the signal comes in. It can pick up really distant ADS-b signals 40 miles away with the antenna just pointed up.

I live just outside (<10 miles) of downtown baltimore kind of in the middle of the HAM repeaters. But on this antenna and other smaller antennas I have to pick anything up. Not even weak traces of a signal just noise. Are the repeaters just not active? That seems strange. I really want to make my first contact on one of these beofungs.

Also I have no idea what forum this thread goes in as this site has like 783468 subforums which seems like it dilutes the topics.
This could be why. FM repeaters are vertically polarized. A horizontal antenna will be 30db down.
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Old 10-10-2017, 5:32 PM
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Unsure of your location in the Baltimore area. You should be able to receive the repeater on 147.075. This and it's linked Repeaters have transmissions during the drivetime and Evening ones. It starts around 4 am and is off and on until the end of rush hours. Afternoon transmissions start around 3pm. Also an Wednesday evening net at 8 pm on it.

145.330 has a net 7 days a week at 6:30 pm. Also have a net in the morning at 9am.

In Eastern Baltimore County in Essex the Aero Club's repeater has many QSOs on 147.240 and a Fourth Wednesday night net at 8 pm.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:11 PM
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Default Repeaters

Hello beamin. First, check your coax connections for any short as well as continuity. As mentioned before, 145.330 has more activity than other repeaters. Since you are close to the city, I think 147.030 is active and it has a PL tone.
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Old 10-11-2017, 5:44 AM
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I should be able to hear something or see something on the waterfall. I'm in ellicott city on top of one of those big hills so I shouldn't have much obstruction. What polarization are the repeaters? I have tried twisting the antenna at all different angles and found when all else fails point the antenna up or take off the front two directors. The list I was going off of shows what repeaters are active and online off ARRL or some credible site.

Also where can I get an adapter to the beofung to BNC? I don't even know what type of weird connectors are on the beofung.

I usually set the SDR to AM when I am just trying to find signals.

Does anyone know of specific frequencies times and location I should listen to? Worst case is I can point my antenna at where the antenna is on a map and just leave the SDR on for an hour or so and see if anything pops up around "driving home from work time". I didn't think mobile HAMs would be that popular..
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Old 10-11-2017, 9:43 AM
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Amateur radio repeaters are all vertically polarized, so your antenna should match that polarization. The best times to look for activity is during the morning and evening drive times, and then later in the evenings, after 8:00pm locally. Some repeaters can go days with little to no activity, and then be a hot bed of activity on a rainy weekend afternoon.

All amateur repeaters operating above 54 MHz are just about universally FM. You might find one or two AM 6m (50-54 MHz) repeaters, but really nothing in that mode in the higher bands. Like another poster mentioned, many of the repeaters have moved to digital modes, DSTAR has been around a long time, but is being pushed out by the likes of DMR, and Yaesu's Fusion. You may find a P25 mode repeater hear and there, and the NXDN mode is starting to show up on the amateur bands as well.

Keep listening, you'll find something, because there are still loads of FM repeaters on the air.
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Old 10-12-2017, 6:04 PM
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Beamin-

For the most part 2 meter repeaters will be vertically polarized. I would try a 'vertical dipole' or even a quarter wave with ground radials. The national weather service has two stations (one at 162.400 and one at 162.500 Mhz) that cover Baltimore. NWS broadcast continuously and are a great way to test and adjust antennae and receivers. The NWS stations put out steady strong signal (weather conditions and forecast) and therefore make good 'targets' to check things. NWS stations cover almost everywhere in the US on frequencies between 162.4 and 162.6. They are also vertically polarized. They are 'normal' FM (not narrow or wide(broadcast)). If you can hear the NWS you will be able to verify your SDR/antenna and start monitoring the two meter repeaters.


Good luck and have fun.
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Old 10-12-2017, 7:34 PM
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Beamn, I'm in Ellicott City also and you should be able to receive just about any repeater within about 10 miles of us using a coat-hanger.
Rush hours are the most active times, but there are plenty of hams in our area on various times.
I've used an HT in my basement and hit Columbia and Jessup. Must be something in the set-up.


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Old 10-12-2017, 8:06 PM
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Try to pick up NOAA. If not, you've got a problem,
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Old 10-13-2017, 7:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beamin View Post

Also where can I get an adapter to the beofung to BNC? I don't even know what type of weird connectors are on the beofung.
Most (if not all) baofeng HT's are SMA male (so you need SMA Female to screw into them).
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:51 AM
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Cool Adapters

I get all my adapters like that from US SELLERS on eBay
Quick and easy. Review the pics to be sure you get the right one.
Ham Radio Outlet is another option if there is one near you, they also sell online, but I have found better prices on eBay

You can also find the adapter you need with a short piece of light coax in between so that you don't have the pressure of the heavy coax on the radio itself
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Last edited by Station51; 10-13-2017 at 10:55 AM.. Reason: update
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Old 10-13-2017, 10:58 AM
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Default 4 element beam

All the repeaters are vertically polarized.Cross-polarized antennas on 2 meters have a 25 db loss. You need to mount your antenna vertical
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Old 10-13-2017, 1:13 PM
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Hi Beamin...
.
It sounds to me like you have a technical issue... you should be receiving Something... and the suggestions about the Weather broadcasts in the 162Mhz. range is a good place to start.
.
Do you have the PL tones, etc., turned on for Receive?.. If so, that's a game stopper right there. Turn them off.... !... (BaoFeng MENU, step 10 and 11)...
.
I was just in the DC/Baltimore "Arena" a few months ago and took along my little BaoFeng UV5-- there were plenty of repeaters I could "hit." Not the activity of years-gone-by (remembering the '76' repeater of yore, ) but there are plenty of machines all over the place. 146.805 sticks in my memory as one I briefly talked on from the around the area.
.
I'd double check all your settings- you are in a venerable RF caldron of activity to not hear anything..... Good luck Cowboy.....!
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Old 10-13-2017, 2:01 PM
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Bye-the-bye, Amazon has a plethora of SMA cable links, coax adapt'rs etc.
.
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_s...=2N3OV8D1PF5RB
.

.
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Old 10-20-2017, 1:06 PM
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So I can pick up both those weather station well with my ~1m 4 element yagi I made. 162.4 comes in strong and 162.5 comes in if I point the antenna I made so I know this antenna works very well. To pick up 145.3 and 147.03 is there a map so I can point my antenna at them? This antenna has lots of gain and is very directive. Also how do I set up the beofeng to transmit to them? The only instructions I have are in bad chinese english. Can you reomend a you tube video or good directions?
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Old 10-20-2017, 1:47 PM
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Oh Geez... you hardly want me to try and walk you thru the programming sequence.. I hardly know it myself. But I did a 15 second Google of "YouTube BaoFeng UV5" and came up with a plethora of videos. I'd start with those.
.
As far as a map of where the repeaters are for geo points, sorry again. I'd think if you have a listing of repeaters in your area- which I can imagine there are plenty-- if you program in the PL tones and start 'kerchunking" the various 'machines' you will bring up at least one of them....*
.
Good Luck !
.
..........................CF
.
.
* OMG ! I can hear the complaint chorus now about that practice.... be sure to use your callsign and some phraseology like ...."This is KZ#ZZZ ,testing !" ..... with each and every 'kerchunk."
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Old 10-20-2017, 2:12 PM
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Quote:
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Also how do I set up the beofeng to transmit to them? The only instructions I have are in bad chinese english. Can you reomend a you tube video or good directions?
Miklor Radio Information Site - Miklor
Click on the picture of your radio model and read everything.
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Old 10-20-2017, 3:07 PM
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Just as Tom posted, Miklor site has, (as CF says) a "plethora" info on the UV-5R. There's even a very will written manual that they compiled that's in good ol' English!
You need to do some searching and you'll find gobs of YouTube vids that'll help you with that UV-5R.
(And CF, I wasn't trying to be mean, I just like how you use words.....
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