A Beginners Guide.....
When you become a LICENSED Ham. Your first choice will probably be a 2-meter radio. No when you get your call. You will be more then excited to get on the air and talk away, but before we do that we must learn how, when, and where you find people on the radio, and how to use a repeater.
First when you turn your radio on. The first thing you will probably hear is static. Now don't get all disappointed. This is were you have to go searching.
Most of the people on the 2-meter band are usually on repeaters. This is were is helps to get a repeater guide book that can be picked up almost any where, where they sell radio equipment.
Once you have found your self a repeater guide we have to try to understand what all the numbers, and symbols are.
First you want to turn to the page that covers your province, or state. Once you get to that page. You want to look for your city, or the surrounding city. Once you have done this, you will be seeing numbers. Usually from the range of 144.000 to 148.000. This si when you will notice a number such as: 145.35- What this means is that the repeater is on 145.35Mhz with a negative offset. "What is a offset?" you may ask. Well every repeater you will use has a receiving frequency and a transmitting frequency. Each one of these frequencies is separated by 600Khz. This is to keep interference from bothering the repeater users. Now your radio should have a offset setting. Now before you go you also need to know what the + sign means. Now I am sure you know what is means right? Okey lets say this is what you see in a repeater guide: 147.25+ This means that the receiving frequency is 147.25 and the transmitting frequency 147.85. All repeaters above 147 will usually have a positive offset, and those below 147 a negative offset. It is very unusual to find this differ. Even though you will see it.
Using a Repeater.....
Now you have to know how to use a repeater. A good way to start is by saying, "KC8LNE Listening." or monitoring.( And please use your own call sign) If someone does not come back to you. Anther thing you might want to try is, "This is KC8LNE. Can someone please give me a radio check?" Now if no one comes back to you after that. The repeater is probably empty, or in other words no one is on. There is usually more then one repeater in the area. So try different ones, and when you find "Home" stay there and get to know those people, and have a great time!
One No, No is NEVER, NEVER say "Break, Break" or, "Breaker 19" You are allowed to say "break" but it is not advisable, unless it is urgent, not necessarily a emergency. "Break, Break" is known though as a dyer emergency. It is not usually polite to break into a persons conversation. So try to keep away from doing that. I now that I do that sometimes. So this is for both of us.
Now I know that this text does not answer every question. So feel free to e-mail me and I will try to answer your question.
Also REMEMBER to ID with you call sign every ten minutes for the U.S. and every thirty minutes in Canada. It does not hurt to ID sooner then the time periods given. Remember you worked hard for that call. So be proud of it and USE it OFTEN!
SO 73!! And good luck in this wonderful hobby. So get on that repeater, and ask questions, and do lots of listening also!!
Kevin Mills (KC8LNE)