Wondering what to do with your new amateur radio license?
This email provides you with articles and advice from experienced hams to help you get active and on the air.
Repeaters — Your Friends in High Places
If you’re a new licensee looking for someone to talk to on your new handheld, you need to know about “Repeaters — Your Friends in High Places.” These stations (which are often positioned on mountaintops, hills, or tall buildings) can “repeat” your handheld’s relatively small signal, giving it a boost up to tens or even thousands of miles away from your location. Read the article to learn how repeaters do what they do, as well as how to find repeaters near you.
It’s possible to communicate even farther than the range of your local repeater by using linked repeaters. On the Air’s article, “Linked Repeaters” explains the types of links that can be used, and goes into the uses of linked repeater networks (think emergency communications).
CTCSS tones (sometimes called PL tones) are inaudible to human ears, but you won’t be able to transmit on your local repeater unless your radio is programmed to send the specific tone that grants you access. Read “Tones: The Keys that Unlock Repeaters” to find out how tones protect repeaters from interference, and where you can get the tones for repeaters in your area.
Reaching Out on the Repeaters — And Getting Responses
For many new hams, a handheld is their first radio, and the local repeater is where they make their first on-air contact. But what’s a new ham to do when they get on the repeater and there doesn’t seem to be anybody to talk to? “Reaching Out on the Repeaters — And Getting Responses” offers tips on when to listen, what to say, how to get other hams to respond, and more.
D-STAR (Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio) — Digital voice and data protocol specification developed as the result of research by the Japan Amateur Radio League. D-STAR provides communication via digitized voice and data. Special VHF/UHF repeaters are used to relay signals and can provide interconnection to the internet and other communications facilities.
The best way to find repeaters in your area or when you’re on the move is to pick up a copy of The ARRL Repeater Directory®. Look up local repeaters and see their input and output frequencies, plus find out whether they are analog FM repeaters or one of the digital machines.
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