CHAPTER 1 SAMPLE - INTRODUCTION
Good Golly Miss Molly, what's
this all about?
One might hear “N4ZZZ this is K6XXX, Good morning OM, welcome to San Diego. Handle here is Jack, -- Juliet Alpha Charlie Kilo, QTH is El Cajon. You’re not quite full quieting into the machine, about 20% path noise. Your deviation is fine. This repeater W6NWG Whiskey Six Nothing Works Good is located on Mount Palomar. The repeater gets very busy during commute hours so let’s QSY to 146.075, plus offset with a PL of 107.2, QSL”. This is followed by a beep, a quiet period, then the repeater drops off the air. Good Golly Miss Molly, what's this all about? We will cover all this jargon and terminology throughout the book, but here are quick answers so you don’t have to flip through the Chapters.
CHAPTER 2 SAMPLE - YOUR FIRST VHF/UHF Radio
Typically the new licensee purchases a Handi-Talkie (HT) for VHF/UHF, but later find they are using their first radio mostly in a mobile or at a home base station. A mobile rig can be easily switched back and forth between the vehicle and a base location and offers considerable advantages over an HT. Keep in mind that the VHF/UHF radios are for the most part line of sight transmission and reception; however, repeaters can extend the range considerably. HF is the spectrum for long-range skip communications.
This is not to
bad-mouth the HTs, they are great for carrying in your shirt pocket or belt clip
for pedestrian use, public relations activities, and traveling light. Just
be aware of their limitations and intended use. They certainly can be used for
base and mobile applications, but better antennas and DC power sources are
definitely something to consider when you settle in on an HT.
CHAPTER 3 SAMPLE - OPERATING SIMPLEX
The communication range between Amateur VHF/UHF FM mobile and hand held radios at ground level, operating simplex (direct) is about five to fifteen miles for mobiles, and just a couple of miles for hand held transceivers. The range depends on the band of operation, transmitter powers, antenna heights, obstructions, antenna gains and receiver sensitivity or noise figures. Essentially it is line of sight.
CHAPTER 4 SAMPLE - HOW REPEATERS WORK
Half duplex (Semi Duplex) - a communications mode in which a radio transmits and receives on two different frequencies but performs only one of these operations at any given time. In half duplex, only one station can talk at a time. Your VHF or UHF radio is operating half duplex when set up for standard repeater use. Example you transmit on 146.13 MHz (can't hear the other station while transmitting). Then you listen on 146.73 as the other station transmits. Your radio automatically transmits on 146.13 MHz when you press the PTT switch and reverts back to 146.73 MHz to listen when you release the PTT.
Continuously Tone Coded Squelch System, also known as Subaudible Tone and
"PL" (Private-Line, a Motorola trade name). Commonly used for repeater
access. These are specific frequencies between 67 and 254.1 Hz. Hereafter
referred to as PL for shortness and common use. PL has encode and decode
functions. Encode sends PL to the repeater. Decode is set in your receiver to
detect the PL from the repeater - see Tone Squelch below. PL frequencies and
corresponding ICOM and Motorola numbers are given at the end of this chapter.
In Amateur Radio, many repeaters require users to
send the correct PL tone continuously to use the repeater. In fact, some
coordinating groups insist on Pled repeaters. This may mean the repeater is
"closed," for use only by members, or it may simply be used to avoid
being keyed up by users of another repeater on the same frequency pair.
Usually PL is required for phone patching.
CHAPTER 5 SAMPLE - PROGRAMMING
Four ways to program an HT, Base, or Mobile Rig:
1. Using the manual -- usually the sequence is scattered throughout the manual. Have fun. Boggles many a mind. But programming some rigs are more intuitive than others.
2. Read the manual thoroughly and make up your own cheat sheet. Step by step instructions made by you to be used by you.
3. Get a programming cable and software for your rig. Now you can easily enter all functions in your computer then upload to the rig. This really simplifies the process.
4. Buy a Programming guide - a cheat sheet pre-made for your model rig. See N6FN Nifty Accessories - URL: http://niftyaccessories.com/
Maybe best to walk before you run. First
tackle the easy one, program a simplex channel. Then try programming a non-Pled
repeater. Next, program in a Pled repeater. Then a Pled repeater with tone
squelch. For a simplex channel, first determine how to access the VFO
and put in the desired frequency. Next, find the information for offset. Check
that the offset is neither plus or minus, i.e., it is in simplex, then memory
For a Pled Repeater, invoke the VFO mode and enter the repeater output frequency, set the offset value (e.g., 600 kHz) plus or minus as required. Next enter the tone frequency, tone activation, then memory write all. Many beginners enter the tone frequency, but forget to activate the tone. See Chapter 4 for definitions of VFO, offset, PL, etc. Here is HT programming for a popular model, the ICOM IC-T2H.
CHAPTER 6 SAMPLE -ANTENNAS, POWER SOURCES, VSWR, AND DECIBELS
ANTENNAS: Tests show the rubber duck has about minus 5db gain (see decibels below) compared to a quarter wave antenna held at shoulder height. In terms of effective radiated power (ERP), a 5-Watt HT with a rubber duck antenna, held at shoulder height radiates an effective power of about 1.5 watts. Placing the HT on your belt could attenuate the signal another 20db, reducing ERP to only 15 milliwatts! UHF results were even worse.
VSWR: Modern solid state radios hate high VSWRs and you must check the VSWR when installing antennas. VSWR is an indication of forward and reflected power. Reflected power is undesirable and results from a mismatch in impedance between the transmitter and the antenna. If the antenna is too long, it will resonate at a lower frequency than desired, conversely if the antenna is too short, it will resonate at a higher frequency than desired, analogy - like short and long guitar strings.
Lead Acid (SLA). These batteries use the same technology as your car battery.
They are relatively inexpensive, and provide 200-500 recharge cycles depending
on usage. SLA battery packs give high capacity but are fairly heavy, and are
more sensitive to temperature and deep discharge/overcharge than other
batteries. SLA batteries should be stored in their charged state as leaving them
uncharged for long periods can cause permanent damage. Some very high capacity
battery packs are available and can be easily adapted to Amateur transceivers -
such as a 6 amp-hour battery used for car models.
POWER SUPPLIES: A mobile or an HT can be operated in a base situation by using a DC power
supply to convert 117VAC to the level required by the radio. Many are available
with a 12VDC output to directly power a mobile radio. Powering an HT from a
12-Volt supply will require building a regulator circuit to achieve the proper
voltage. Be sure and check your manual for the maximum voltage input and current
CHAPTER 7 SAMPLE - USING REPEATERS
If the repeater is quiet, key your
transmitter and announce "AC6V listening", this is short hand for
"AC6V listening for any call". Or “AC6V listening - anyone on
frequency?" Some just announce simply "AC6V". Others give an idea
of their situation - "AC6V Mobile", "AC6V Maritime Mobile".
Although not as common today, "AC6V monitoring" was at one time used
by control operators and in some areas may still be the case, but this seems to
have given way to where monitoring and listening are now synonymous.
Don't call CQ on repeaters (HF Band Stuff) -- many VHFers don't savvy it and just isn't used on FM repeaters (on VHF SSB OR CW - Yes). If you insist on calling CQ on a repeater, it is not against the rules – but 16 old time VHF hams will come back to you with the lecture “We don’t use CQ on repeaters”.
CHAPTER 8 SAMPLE - PHONETICS, Q-SIGNALS, CALLSIGNS
PHONETICS: The recommended phonetics for Amateur Radio use is the ITU phonetic alphabet. These are generally understood by hams in all countries on all bands of operation. See Table of ITU Phonetics. These are a must for emergency use and should be used for routine communications as well.
Some folks use DXing phonetics -- such as King Six Japan Norway instead of Kilo Six Juliet November. This is common on HF but not on VHF/UHF. Others use police phonetics, King Six Adam Mary, but both DX and police phonetics best not be used on VHF/UHF as many are not familiar with them. And still others use cutie phonetics, Karl Six Always Killing Time; these make a person's callsign easy to remember and are often used.
Q-SIGNALS: Expert Ham CW ops use upwards of 50 Q signals, but only 9 of them
are common on VHF/UHF FM repeaters. Other Q-Signals are discouraged only
because many repeater users have no idea what they mean. QTR -- What ?? (Just
ask for the time!) What's your 10-84 --- huh? (Just
ask for their phone number!). And 10 codes smack of CB lingo.
you communicate with ... direct or by relay?
can communicate with ... direct (or by relay through ...)
CALLSIGNS: There was a time when you could tell where a Ham was residing by their district number. But this was changed to allow Hams to keep their callsign when they relocated. In the USA, the time is long past that you can tell where a USA ham resides. You can have a W2 call (NY & NJ) and live in California (W6). Following are the USA District numbers and states.
CHAPTER 9 SAMPLE - FUNNY NOISES ON THE REPEATER. MYTHS
CAPTURING: If two stations are transmitting at the same time (doubling) on the same frequency – it creates problems. If the two stations are about equal in strength to the repeater, both may be heard, typically with a heterodyne or beat note. When one of the stations is stronger than the other, the stronger station "captures" the weaker one and the strong guy wins. This is in contrast to AM or SSB where both may be heard. So if you have a weak signal and double with a strong station, you will not be heard!
DEVIATION: Often heard is “I'll raise power so I'll be louder”. Since repeaters are frequency modulation not AM or SSB, as long as your signal has engaged the repeater limiters (full quieting), an increase in power will not make you louder, since the audio is proportional to the FM deviation (swing) and not amplitude. It may help get rid of path noise. Another is “I’m near the repeater, so that’s why I am so loud”. Nope – as long as you are full quieting – distance doesn’t affect volume.
CHAPTER 10 SAMPLE - COPS AND JAMMERS
If a jammer appears or some one not identifying, swearing, throwing carriers, etc --- DON'T acknowledge them, they are looking for attention -- don't give it to them. IGNORE IGNORE is the drill. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen -- it's a big world out there, and there are some nuts. Some of them find a Ham Radio now and then, and discover the delight of offending an audience and the power of holding down the PTT key. The key word here is audience, they are seeking to disrupt and get into a bru-ha ha.
CHAPTER 11 SAMPLE - INSIDE A REPEATER
A key factor in keeping the transmit energy out of the receiver is a duplexer which allows the repeater to operate on a common antenna and transmit and receive simultaneously on fairly close frequencies. Several types are in use, but a typically one is a notch duplexer. Notch duplexers are large cavity type filters with very high Q and narrow bandwidth to the two frequencies involved and use tunable notches.
This deviation is proportional to the AMPLITUDE of the modulating signal. Note that this does not affect the AMPLITUDE of the transmitted FM signal – only its frequency. When you speak softly the deviation is low, conversely shouting will increase deviation. If the radio is misadjusted or you shout too loud – the system deviation limits are exceeded and may result in distortion. In Amateur Radio FM radios, the maximum deviation is typically +/- 4.5 kHz. Deviation limits for CTCSS tones are typically +/- 500 Hz.
CHAPTER 12 SAMPLE - CROSS BAND REPEATING, IRLP, ECHOLINK
base loading - A loading coil at the bottom of an antenna to achieve a
lower resonant frequency.
beam - an antenna that gives a directional beam pattern. See Yagi. Page 6-1.
bleed over- Interference caused by a station operating on an adjacent
BNC - Coax connector commonly used with VHF/UHF equipment -- Bayonet
Niell-Concelman (standard connector type used on COAX cable, named for its
boat anchor - antique ham equipment -- So named because of weight and
bootlegger - Someone, usually not a Ham but a wannabe, making up a
callsign, one usually not in the callbook, and getting on the air. Sometimes it
is someone who already bought a radio, took the test and flunked, and then gets
on the air anyway.
break - (Repeater Term) used to interrupt a conversation on a
repeater to indicate that there is an emergency or urgent message. If
non-urgent, simply interject your callsign. Page 7-8.
break break (Repeater Term) used to intercede in an existing conversation
with emergency communications. Page
brick, a power amplifier used for VHF/UHF systems. Page 6-4.
Last Updated January 18, 2010