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Old 07-13-2017, 08:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Ham reception

I was up on the 2nd of July and diddnt hear much on the Ham, 1 convo and twice I herd a call sent out to family explaining of delays due to break downs.
Is this normal? Or am I not picking up everything on the FT-60? I was tuned to the repeater at Spider.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm sure John will chime in but I thought we were urged to use the 805 simplex. Is Rubi Simplex the best frequency to be on?
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Old 07-13-2017, 10:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If your not needing to transmit out off the trail, use simplex. simplex is line of sight and won't transmit out so everyone can hear your conversations and use the repeater when not needed. Ill use the 805 when trying to get a hold of someone on the trail or or Rubi+(spider to 805) if I need to contact someone off the trail. Other than that, our group doesn't even use the 805 simplex. We have a set of frequencies we use so we don't clutter up with our communications.

It short, use simplex unless you need to transmit out off the trail. And if you need to transmit on the trail and can reach on simplex, use the Rubi or JJ frequency to use the repeater and transmit only within the trail. If you're hearing conversations carried on between trail users on the repeater, they should probably be using simplex. Just my .02.

Hope that helps.

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Old 07-13-2017, 10:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mousejockey View Post
I was up on the 2nd of July and diddnt hear much on the Ham, 1 convo and twice I herd a call sent out to family explaining of delays due to break downs.
Is this normal? Or am I not picking up everything on the FT-60? I was tuned to the repeater at Spider.
If you're just gabbing in convoy, Simplex is preferred. Here's the breakdown of repeater options if you need to get out.

Ham Radio Frequencies commonly used in the Rubicon

146.805 -.600 PL123.0
The KA6GWY repeater, covers the west slope of El Dorado County and the Sacramento area.

145.350 (repeater transmitter), odd split to 146.205 (repeater receiver), PL123.0
The Tahoe Basin KA6GWY repeater, linked 24/7 to the 805 ELD repeater, coverage in the Tahoe Basin.

146.805 simplex, no PL
This is the repeater output frequency of the KA6GWY repeater. Nice to have so that you can talk to
your friends right in front of you, still listen to the repeater, but not tie it up when simplex will work just fine.

444.9875 +5.00 PL156.7
The Rubicon repeater located near Spider Lake, coverage on all of the Rubicon Trail except east of Barker
Meadows OHV trail.

444.9875 +5.00 PL 107.2
Same as RUBI except that when using this PL it links to 805ELD and 805 TAH.

444.9875 simplex, PL107.2
This is the repeater output frequency of the Spider repeater. Nice to have so that you can talk to your
friends right in front of you, still listen to the repeater, but not tie it up when simplex will work just fine.
Note, PL is used because some users decode PL on their handheld radios.


source: http://www.rubicontrail.org/rtf-hamradios.htm
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Old 07-13-2017, 10:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Great info above Dave! That information should be a sticky on this forum.
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Old 07-13-2017, 02:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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FWIW there is a high level wide-area repeater on Mt. Rose, NE corner of Tahoe. It is linked to a very large area: Sac area to far north end of black rock desert,(the linked machine up there even has a 911 auto patch feature) east to winnemucca, central nevada and south to topaz, walker, ca area. Easily hit from Buck and all along the springs and past OP. shadow zone on caddy.

there is a noon net every day at 12 noon. Easily reaches into western nevada should you need to look that way.

147.150+ pl 123


check out coverage map here

Repeaters - Sierra Nevada Amateur Radio Society, Inc
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Old 07-13-2017, 02:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My question was more along the lines of it being the normal amount of chatter, and from what I've seen above it is.
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Old 07-13-2017, 02:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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if you limit reception to the repeater you may not hear much. as noted, the good ham operator will dial off to a simplex frequency for car to car chatter. Use the repeater to make contact then roll to a simplex you like. Try scanning the 2M and 70cm ham sections and you may likely hear a lot more traffic.


This Sept we will be setting up a temporary a high freq station in the springs, using a dipole antenna because, why not. offer up some 6m contacts or? maybe 75M NVIS for west coast QSOs.
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Old 07-13-2017, 03:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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As noted in above post,, if you only monitor the Rubicon (Spider) repeater, the only action you're likely to get is from folks on the trail - inter-trail traffic.

The repeater at Spider serves several purposes. It takes care of holes in the 805 coverage and also reduces inter-trail load on 805.

I primarily monitor the 805 to have contact with friends on the trail, on the way to the trail, or folks from the valley (and beyond) trying to contact friends/family on the trail.

Best of both worlds is setting up your FT-60 to scan favorite frequencies.

Handy resource for FT-60, including scanning setup.
http://rick.sparber.org/bg60.pdf
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Old 07-13-2017, 05:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thats all so yesterday. APRS is where its at, Just send out a text message for more beverages or parts
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Lol. I still need to learn more about APRS. Sounds expensive.
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Thats all so yesterday. APRS is where its at, Just send out a text message for more beverages or parts
am using a tiny track 4 and have yet to figure how to do that...
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thats all so yesterday. APRS is where its at, Just send out a text message for more beverages or parts
APRS is very under rated and works great with the new digi's up on the trail.

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Lol. I still need to learn more about APRS. Sounds expensive.
It's not that expensive. Just need a radio that can do it. And then you can send text messages to cell phones, receive replays and also send and receive emails all over 2m for free with no cell service! It's a lot easier to get ahold of someone by txt than to rely on them having there radio on and being listening to it all the time. Especially when your trying to get a hold of them!
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Old 07-14-2017, 12:00 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Fuzzy. Please share. Using a stand alone 2900 into tiny track. Lays down a great trail but how send msgs?
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Old 07-14-2017, 07:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Fuzzy. Please share. Using a stand alone 2900 into tiny track. Lays down a great trail but how send msgs?
I use SMSGTE and the Email-2 system. Both have great info on the web. SMSGTE allows the receiving person (Text) to send reply back straight from phone. Works well, not 100% but well. We recently noticed that one of the digi's (K6CDF-5) our digi (GAPCON) has been using is now an igate, so the return message success rate has gone way up

As a side note GAPCON will be getting relocated in the coming months to a much higher/clearer location and we are hoping it will hit an igate directly without need for too many hops.

I'm running a FTM400 (In the Jeep) and a FT2DR for handheld. With the new digi's up on the trail I can send and receive messages at 5watts or lower while walking about. Cool stuff.

GAPCON, is running an Alinco Radio with an Argent Data Systems board internally. Great simple setup for the digi as no need for audio cables and all that nonsense. Just plug in power and antenna. 100watt solar panel and battery. X50 antenna.

GAPWX is also Argent Data systems. Running a Baofeng at 1watt hitting Gapcon and out to the world. The WX has been up for some time now and working very well. The reporting of voltage is very handy for us.

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Old 07-14-2017, 10:51 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Awesome info Tim.
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Old 07-14-2017, 11:36 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Fuzzy. Please share. Using a stand alone 2900 into tiny track. Lays down a great trail but how send msgs?
From my research the tinytrak's do not have the capability for messaging. They are mainly for position reporting. I have personally not had the chance to deal with one of those yet though.
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Old 07-24-2017, 12:46 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Lots of good info here, obviously APRS is starting to be a "thing" on the trail. With digi's at GAP and at Spider, the coverage is quite good. Both Digi's are one hop to an Igate now, so messaging works very well.

To answer the OP's question, 4th of July was super quiet on the trail. Can't explain why, but very few folks were out there...that makes for a quiet repeater. This weekend, on the other hand, was crowded and there were lots of folks on the repeater.

I would prefer that you use Rubicon simplex (444.9875) on the trail or devise your own simplex channel within the band plan to talk to nearby friends. Using 805 simplex is bad, since it gets into the link receiver and can desensitize that receiver if run without a PL, or be heard on the repeater output as interference if you run it with a PL.
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Old 07-24-2017, 09:40 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Both Digi's are one hop to an Igate now, so messaging works very well.
Sent out a message for a gas cap and coffee Received both Cool stuff with more in the works.
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Old 07-24-2017, 10:52 AM   #20 (permalink)
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From my research the tinytrak's do not have the capability for messaging. They are mainly for position reporting. I have personally not had the chance to deal with one of those yet though.
this appears to be my conclusion as well.
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Old 07-24-2017, 06:09 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Lots of good info here, obviously APRS is starting to be a "thing" on the trail. With digi's at GAP and at Spider, the coverage is quite good. Both Digi's are one hop to an Igate now, so messaging works very well.

To answer the OP's question, 4th of July was super quiet on the trail. Can't explain why, but very few folks were out there...that makes for a quiet repeater. This weekend, on the other hand, was crowded and there were lots of folks on the repeater.

I would prefer that you use Rubicon simplex (444.9875) on the trail or devise your own simplex channel within the band plan to talk to nearby friends. Using 805 simplex is bad, since it gets into the link receiver and can desensitize that receiver if run without a PL, or be heard on the repeater output as interference if you run it with a PL.
.
Used Rubicon direct the entire time this weekend and worked great throughout the trail even outside of of our group traveling together.

John please explain how you made a telephone call for the weldimg rod this weekend.
And did they get the message and the rod show up?
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Old 07-24-2017, 06:16 PM   #22 (permalink)
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John can better explain for the Rubicon system but an auto-patch feature is not uncommon for ham repeaters. It allows one to make a phone call. The access code is a guarded secret reserved for critical matters. Otherwise it would be clogged up.

In the wide expanses of the black rock desert, for example, there is a patch system set up anyone can use in an emergency by DTMF '911.' This links to a dispatch center. For a regular how's it going call, one must have the access code and chit chatting is discouraged.

learn more here:

How to Use Autopatch on Your Ham Radio Repeater - dummies
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Old 07-24-2017, 11:24 PM   #23 (permalink)
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John can better explain for the Rubicon system but an auto-patch feature is not uncommon for ham repeaters...

...In the wide expanses of the black rock desert, for example, there is a patch system set up anyone can use in an emergency by DTMF '911.' This links to a dispatch center. For a regular how's it going call, one must have the access code and chit chatting is discouraged.
The autopatch in the Rubicon is like any other. If you know the access code and dial it up using the DTMF keys on your radio while keying the mic, the controller (a computer usually located at the repeater site or a nearby hub site) accesses dial tone and connects the phone audio to the repeater and then dials the number. A different DTMF tone will drop the connection.

The Rubicon UHF system is connected via VHF link to the KA6GWY (805) repeater system on the west slope of El Dorado County. It also has "shortcut" to the 911 system that dials the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office PSAP. I generally give that info out in the RTF radio classes. If someone is a ham and wants the info, I'll give it to them. Contact me offline and I will do so.

John Arenz
530-651-3028

EDIT: The message was passed and the rod showed up. Tim makes a valid point...this is the kind of message that could easily go out via text from ANY ham (not just one that has the codes) via APRS. You could even use it for coffee or a gas cap
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Old 07-25-2017, 08:25 AM   #24 (permalink)
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EDIT: The message was passed and the rod showed up. Tim makes a valid point...this is the kind of message that could easily go out via text from ANY ham (not just one that has the codes) via APRS. You could even use it for coffee or a gas cap
For anyone thats interested, I mentioned them above but here are the links for the radios I am using. Not the only radios in the APRS game but Yaesu has done a great job of making the APRS system pretty user friendly. As John mentioned, the APRS coverage is actually pretty darn good on the trail now due to the added digis and hand held coverage at 5 watts (For APRS) works very well.

The FTM400 (Mobile) is way easier to use for messaging as it has a touch screen keyboard, where as the FT2DR (Hand Held) has a crappy 80's style pager (Touch Screen) input. Can be frustrating but not terrible once you get used to it.

YAESU FTM-400XDR Transceivers Mobile Dual Band 2m-70cm, FTM400XDR
YAESU FT-2DR Transceivers HT Dual Band 2m-70cm, FT2DR

To give you an idea of how APRS and better coverage is changing the game in the area. We have a friend in our group that has always had radio issues and is on the trail most every weekend. We were going to help out and get her a mobile unit for her rig but after the recent changes with APRS coverage and possible future improvements to RF for handhelds, we are now looking at the FT2DR for her. The ability to beacon position and message will be most beneficial for her and the group.

The digital side of these radios hasn't been tested very much by us but another added feature is when talking in digital mode the radios show call sign and position of the person you are talking with. This can be very useful.
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Old 07-25-2017, 03:40 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Thanks for the radio links....I figured there would be a financial commitment involved...I was right. But....great features.
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