Presentation on theme: "I Got My License, Now What?! Saratoga Amateur Radio Association"— Presentation transcript:
1 I Got My License, Now What?! Saratoga Amateur Radio Association Two-Way Radio Basics 101I Got My License, Now What?!How the pieces fit together.How to communicate effectively.How to program your radio.Presented by theSaratoga Amateur Radio AssociationHT OrientationRev_4C 2/24/2011Don Steinbach – AE6PM
2 Presentation Topics Why amateur radio Radio equipment choices RepeatersCommunication tipsNetsProblems & solutionsHT overviewProgramming the HT
3 Why Amateur Radio? More capability than FRS, GMRS, MURS or CB Many more frequencies and operating modes available.Better antennas are possible.Higher power is possible.High-quality equipment.Disciplined/professional operators (usually).Repeaters in place to provide improved coverage.
4 Radio Equipment Choices Fixed or mobile unitsIntended for home or car installationHigh power output – to 50 watts or moreEfficient antenna (can be)Not suited for carrying aroundHandheld transceiver (HT)Designed to be carried aroundLow power output – to 5 wattsRelatively inefficient antennaMany models and choicesAll compatible with each other
5 REPEATERSMost of our VHF (2-meter) & UHF (70 cm) communication is via repeaters.Repeaters are owned and maintained by clubs or individuals.Repeaters are licensed, have their own call letters, comply with FCC regulations, and are the responsibility of a designated trustee.The expected effective range of a 500 milliwatt FRS radio on the UHF band in typical urban terrain is less than a mile, or six vertical floors.Licensed GMRS portables are authorized up to 5 watts of transmitter output, ten times the power of an FRS radio. This enables reliable communication for several miles and more than ten vertical floors.Licensed GMRS mobile radios may not exceed 5 watts transmitter power on the seven simplex channels which are shared with the FRS, but they may use more efficient external antennas. When used on designated “split” repeater frequencies, GMRS mobile radios are authorized up to 50 watts, 100 times the power of an FRS radio, enabling wide-area coverage by using established repeater networks.
6 Repeater Basics A Repeater is a special type of transceiver. “Repeats” signals to extend the range of handheld and mobile units.Receives on one frequency while simultaneously re-transmitting on another.Usually located in favorable locations with efficient antennas.Transmits at many (10-100) times the power of a handheld radio.Coverage depends upon the local “radio horizon,” perhaps 10 to 60 miles operating radius.The expected effective range of a 500 milliwatt FRS radio on the UHF band in typical urban terrain is less than a mile, or six vertical floors.Licensed GMRS portables are authorized up to 5 watts of transmitter output, ten times the power of an FRS radio. This enables reliable communication for several miles and more than ten vertical floors.Licensed GMRS mobile radios may not exceed 5 watts transmitter power on the seven simplex channels which are shared with the FRS, but they may use more efficient external antennas. When used on designated “split” repeater frequencies, GMRS mobile radios are authorized up to 50 watts, 100 times the power of an FRS radio, enabling wide-area coverage by using established repeater networks.
7 FM Repeater (Line of Sight) A repeater consists of a radio receiver, an amplifier, a transmitter, an isolator, and either one or two antennas. The repeater transmitter produces a radio signal on a frequency that is different from that of the received signal.This so-called frequency offset is necessary to prevent the strong transmitted signal from disabling the receiver. The isolator provides additional protection. A repeater located on a hill top, high building or tower, can greatly enhance the performance of low power portable or mobile radio equipment by allowing communications over distances much greater than would be possible without it.
8 Repeater SurprisesThe repeater might spontaneously identify (it has its own call letters).Some use voice, some use Morse code.Some announce the time on the hour.Most repeaters have a timeout timer.Turns off the transmitter after three minutes (typical) continuous transmission – an FCC requirement.Longwinded talkersStuck microphone switchesMicrophones dropped down between the car seatsThe courtesy tone (beep) indicates that the timer has reset and the transmitter is back in service.The expected effective range of a 500 milliwatt FRS radio on the UHF band in typical urban terrain is less than a mile, or six vertical floors.Licensed GMRS portables are authorized up to 5 watts of transmitter output, ten times the power of an FRS radio. This enables reliable communication for several miles and more than ten vertical floors.Licensed GMRS mobile radios may not exceed 5 watts transmitter power on the seven simplex channels which are shared with the FRS, but they may use more efficient external antennas. When used on designated “split” repeater frequencies, GMRS mobile radios are authorized up to 50 watts, 100 times the power of an FRS radio, enabling wide-area coverage by using established repeater networks.
9 Repeater Etiquette Listen on the frequency before transmitting. Avoid interfering with a communication already taking place.To make it known that you are available for a contact, say “(your call), monitoring”.e.g., AE6PM …. monitoring.Identify yourself when experimenting with the repeater.Unidentified transmissions are illegal (and annoying).During a casual contact, pause occasionally to give someone else a chance to join in.To join a conversation, simply say your call letters during a pause.
10 How to sound like a professional. COMMUNICATION TIPSHow to sound like a professional.
11 Communication Tips Speak in plain language and use common terminology. Don’t use “10 codes” or “Q Signals” during emergencies.“Q Signals” are ok in normal communication.Avoid “10 codes” and TV show lingo.Speak in a normal tone of voice.Shouting only distorts the sound of your voice, it does nothing to increase the range.If consistently overmodulating, back away from the microphone.Only one person speaks at a time.
12 Communication TipsUse predetermined tactical call signs (emergency comm only).Amateur radio operators must identify with their FCC assigned call sign at the end of a transmission or series of transmissions and at least once every 10 minutes during a transmission.No need to say “for ID.” Why else would you identify yourself?If someone seems to be in charge (a net control station, for example) listen to them and do what they say.
13 Communication Tips Use common procedural words: THIS IS - Identifies who is calling.Say the other persons call sign first, and then your call sign.OVER - Means “I have finished speaking and it’s now your turn.”GO AHEAD - Means “I’m ready to copy.”COPY or ROGER - Means “I received and understand your communication.”OUT or CLEAR - Means “I am finished and expect no reply.”Always end with your callsign.The basic four prowords that everyone should know are:“This is,” “Over,” “Go Ahead” and “Out.”“THIS IS” - is always used when you identify. It makes it clear WHO is INITIATING the contact."OVER" - means that you are ready for the other person’s reply and it is their turn to speak“GO AHEAD” - you are ready for the other person to speak so you can copy their message.“OUT" - means that you are done and expect no further reply’The station who initiates the contact should end it.Next slide>>>
14 Communication TipsDo not speak immediately upon pressing the push-to-talk switch, because the first syllable will probably get “clipped.”Hesitate for a fraction of a second before speaking.System may need a fraction of a second to wake up.When transmitting a formal (i.e., written) message, say five words at a time and ask for an acknowledgement after each five-word group.
15 Communication TipsTest your radio before separating from your group or partner.Never say “we” when you mean “I”or “me.” Some hams do this, for whatever reason.Gives an incorrect impression of the number of people involved in an incident.Potential waste of rescue resources.Use universally accepted (ITU) phonetics whenever possible.When in doubt, use whatever phonetics come to mind.
16 International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Standard Phonetics A - AlphaJ - JulietS - SierraB - BravoK - KiloT - TangoC - CharlieL - LimaU - UniformD - DeltaM - MikeV - VictorE - EchoN - NovemberW - WhiskeyF - FoxtrotO - OscarX - XrayG - GolfP - PapaY - YankeeH - HotelQ - QuebecZ - ZuluI - IndiaR - RomeoThe standard phonetics of the International Telecommunication Union were carefully developed to be readily understood under noisy communication conditions when pronounced by non-English speakers, and to be distinct in any language.Improvised phonetics and common “TV cop show” APCO phonetics are less effective in noisy operating environments.Next slide>>>
17 NETS Organizing a group of communicators. Maintaining order in the face of chaos.
18 Nets Nets are a way of organizing a group of radio communicators. One station acts as Net Control.Other stations report or respond in turn as requested by Net Control.Nets are usually scheduled to occur on certain dates at certain times.Nets may occur spontaneously just because several people have converged on a frequency.Net Control could be anyone – even you!
19 Net EtiquetteThe Net Control station maintains control of the communication situation at all times, until the net is closed and the frequency is returned to normal use.The Net Control station assumes that all who have “checked into” the net are available.Do not check someone into the net in their absence unless you have them in sight and they are ready to respond with their radios.
20 Net Etiquette Respond only to Net Control. Get permission before contacting anyone else on the same frequency.Answer promptly.Monitor the radio continuously.Answer immediately if you are called.Don’t leave the net without notifying Net Control, or else until the net is closed.In a formal net you should respond only to Control and follow instructions exactly.Answer promptly when called. Do not leave the net without checking out. If you will be out of contact, hand off the radio to someone else, or check out, during a lull in activity, and explaining the situation.“Supply 1, turning off radio to refuel vehicle, will report when back in service, over.”Next slide>>>
21 PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS “Stuff” happens.InterferenceWeak signalsDesenseRepeater failure
22 InterferenceAll radio communication is susceptible to interference from various sources, natural or man made.Interference may be accidental or intentional.You can be the recipient or the interferor.It’s probably possible to avoid an interferor by changing frequency.Try moving to a slightly different location.Try “body shielding”.
23 Interference Wait for the interferor to “go away.” Listening to the conversation may give a clue as to how long the contact will last.Contact the interferor and ask to use the frequency for a moment.Most likely they are using CTCSS or DCS and therefore can’t hear your audio.Using CTCSS or DCS does not eliminate interference between units on the same frequency.It simply masks it and creates the illusion of non-interference.
24 Weak Signal Move to a slightly different location (a few feet). Raise the antenna (and you).Make sure the antenna is vertical (assuming repeater and other antennas are vertical).Turn around – your body may be in the signal path.Replace the “rubber ducky” antenna with something better.Move to a completely different location.
25 Desense Shorthand for “De-sensitize”. Your radio, in the presence of a strong signal on a nearby frequency, may seem to go deaf.Even though you don’t hear the other signal, it overloads some of the circuitry in your radio, such that it can’t properly process the desired signal.The solution is to move away (physically) from the other signal source.2525
26 Repeater FailureIf the repeater fails, then communication can only be in simplex mode directly from HT-to-HT.Change from duplex (repeater) to simplex (no repeater) operationLevel 1: Leave HT on , Hz PL, NO OFFSET.Level 2: Change frequency to MHz, no PL tone, no offset.Level 3: Change frequency to MHz, no PL tone, no offset.
27 What are all the knobs and buttons are for? HT OVERVIEWWhat are all the knobs and buttons are for?How do you program it?
28 HT User Interface DIFFERENT MAKES and models of radios vary, so… READ the INSTRUCTIONSBECOME FAMILIAR with the controls on YOUR radio!While most 2-way radios have similar features, different makes and models of radio vary in their controls and method of operation.FRS portables like the one you received in your CERT kit are simple and their controls are for the most part, intuitive.Public safety, business, GMRS and amateur or “ham” radios have more and different functions which can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with them.So you need to READ THE MANUAL and become familiar with the features on YOUR radio. Next slide>
29 HT User Interface Power On-Off Switch Combined with the volume control on some modelsSeparate push-button on some modelsPortable radios should be turned off before removing the battery pack. Disconnecting the battery from a radio without turning it off first on many models will causes it to lose its memory or “personality.”The power on switch on some radios may be a push-button, on others it is combined with the volume control.To use the radio you must first ensure it has batteries or a battery pack installed and turn the radio “on.”Next slide>
30 HT User Interface Volume Control Adjust the volume control until you can hear the other users.Adjust the volume control until you can hear other users. If no one is on the air, you can open the “squelch” control until you hear “white noise” and adjust the volume from that.Next slide>
31 HT User Interface Squelch Control Either a concentric ring under the Volume controlOr a separate knob of its own“Open” until you hear hissing noise“Close” just until noise just disappearsWhen the squelch is wide open you will hear a loud, hissing white noise. On some radios the squelch control is a separate knob. On others it may be a concentric ring under the volume control. After you have adjusted the speaker volume to a level which you can hear, close the squelch control gradually until the noise just disappears.Next slide>
32 Frequency or Channel Selector HT User InterfaceFrequency or Channel SelectorSelect desired receiver frequency“Up-Down” arrowsOr a rotating “knob”Or keypadThe channel selector on some radios is a set of “up-down” arrows, whereas on others it is a rotary knob with numeric indicators. In order to talk to others on your team, or to the command post, you need to know which radio frequency or “channel” they are on. It’s helpful to have a pre-established plan of suggested channel allocations. We will talk about that.Your team will be assigned a “primary” working channel for operations. Select the channel which you are assigned in the incident communication plan.Next slide>
33 HT User Interface Push-To-Talk (PTT) Switch Push or press to talk Release to listen (normalposition)The two-way radios we use for CERT all use a Push To Talk or PPT switch.You Push to TalkRelease the PTT to listen.Please LISTEN more than you talk.If somebody seems to be in control of things, listen to and follow their instructions.
34 HT User Interface Speaker & Microphone Unlike most FRS radios, the speaker and microphone on the HT are two separate units.Both face forwardSpeaker is behind the large grillMicrophone is behind small holeIt doesn’t work if it’s covered up by your handMost radios we use for CERT have a microphone co-located with the speaker.To speak press the PTT, then speak in a normal tone of voice.To Listen release the PTT.It’s that simple.Next slide>
35 HT User Interface Antenna It’s NOT a handle!! Keep it vertical, never horizontalUsually flexible (to avoid injury)Can be removed and replacedwith better performing unitsIt’s NOT a handle!!If your radio has a folding or telescoping antenna, ensure it is rotated vertical and fully extended. Hold your radio vertically at face level.When you use a detachable speaker-mike with the radio on your belt your body reduces the effectiveness of the signal. This is especially true with low powered FRS radios.A dangling microphone cord is liable to snag in debris and can be a hazard, so we generally don’t recommend their use during search operations, but it can be handy when you are in a safe, stationary location.Next slide>
36 HT User Interface Batteries The HT comes with a rechargeable battery packKeep it chargedUse individual batteries (e.g., AA) in a special holder as a backupALWAYS carry spare batteries!To have reliable communications you must have fresh batteries in the radio. If the batteries are old or depleted you may be able to listen, but you won’t be able to talk, because it takes more current for the radio to transmit.It’s a good idea when storing your CERT gear to first turn off your radio, then remove and either replace or recharge the batteries.Always carry fresh batteries for your radio and at least one set of spares or an extra battery pack.
37 HT Accessories (Optional) BatteriesSpare rechargeable battery packAA battery holderSpeaker/microphoneClips on to lapel or collarPower sourcesCar chargerCigarette lighter adapterAntennasReplacement for “rubber ducky”
38 PROGRAMMING THE HT Many buttons, many functions, many menu items. Intimidating User’s Manual.
39 Programming the HT The three basic steps: Enter the receive frequencyCheck the offsetEnter the PL toneOnly step 1 is required to just listen.
40 That’s as complicated as it gets! Programming the HTThe complete procedure:Unlock the keypadEnter the receive frequencyCheck the frequency offsetFor repeater operation (duplex) onlyMost HTs take care of this automaticallyEnter the PL toneCheck the transmit power level (optional)Lower power for longer battery lifeDisable the YAESU WIRES function (Yaesu users only)Store the settings into memory (optional)Lock the keypadThat’s as complicated as it gets!
41 Cheat SheetsProgramming instructions for your HT that you can stick in your pocket or Go-Kit.“We” all use them.Not a reflection on your ability.Enhances your capability to react in a stress situation.Make your own or use one that’s available.Readily shared among users.There are several available for this class.Some are commercially available (Nifty Mini-Manuals).
42 Tone Squelch (PL Tone) CTCSS – Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System The transmitter superimposes (encodes) a low-frequency (subaudible) tone along with the voice or data.The receiver squelches the audio of any signal that does not include the tone (decode).When in doubt …..Transmit the encoded tone.Any receiver or repeater that expects the tone will hear you, as will any receiver or repeater not expecting the tone.Receive without expecting the tone.You will hear anyone that is transmitting on the frequency whether or not they have encoded the tone on their signal.
43 WIRES ™The Yaesu WIRES (Wide-coverage Internet Repeater Enhancement System) proprietary internet connection feature operates by transmitting a short (~ 0.1 second) DTMF (Dual Tone Multi Frequency) tone burst each time the Push-to-Talk button is pressed.Our repeaters are set up to mute DTMF tones. Each time the WIRES DTMF tone is transmitted, the repeater mutes for several seconds and the first few words of the user’s transmission are lost.Ref:Bottom Line … turn it off or disable it. Or, wait a couple of seconds before you speak after pressing PTT.
44 Think of it like a password to get into the system. DefinitionsCTCSS – Continuous Tone Coded Squelch SystemSuperimposes a very low frequency audio tone on the transmitted signal. This audio tone is frequently referred to as the PL Tone or the PL. There are 39 CTCSS tone frequencies.DCS – Digital Code SquelchSuperimposes a stream of digital data on the transmitted signal. There are 104 DCS codes.CTCSS and DCS are two different methods of accomplishing the same thing. They make it possible for the receiver to remain muted until the “right” audio tone (for CTCSS) or digital data (for DCS) is present on the received signal.Think of it like a password to get into the system.4444
45 Definitions DTMF – Dual Tone Multi-Frequency A system that uses eight different audio tones to create 16 tone-pairs representing the characters 0 thru 9, A thru D , * and #. Used for touchtone telephone dialing and other control functions.PL – Private LinePL is a Motorola trademark. CTCSS is a generic name for the same (or similar) implementation.PTT – Push to talk or Press to talk.The name of a switch on the HT that that changes the mode from receive to transmit.VFO – Variable Frequency OscillatorThe circuitry that controls the frequency on which the radio receives and transmits (e.g., MHz).4545
46 DefinitionsDuplex – An operating mode where a station receives and transmits simultaneously.Simplex – An operating mode where only one station transmits at a time.Doubling – A term used to describe the abnormal situation where two or more stations are transmitting at the same time. Usually, none are heard clearly.4646
47 Frequencies to Try K6SA Repeater (SARA) MHz, - offset, PL HzNet Sunday night at 9:00 p.m.W6UU Repeater (SCCARA)MHz, - offset, PL HzNet Monday night at 7:30 p.m.N6NFI Repeater (Palo Alto)MHz, - offset, PL HzTalk-net every weekday morningAA6BT Repeater (SVECS)MHz, + offset, PL100.0 HzNet Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m.
48 Things To Do Check into the SARA 2-meter net Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. MHz, minus offset, PL of HzMHz, positive offset, PL of HzAttend a SARA club meetingHere, in this roomFirst Wednesday of the month (except July and August)7:30 p.m.
49 Links www.k6sa.net (Saratoga Amateur Radio Association) Great “Resources” page(Silicon Valley Emergency Communications System)Major source of emergency communication informationSanta Clara County emergency frequenciesInstructions for disabling YAESU WIRESAssorted cheat sheets
50 References & Credits ARRL ARES Field Resources Manual Saratoga CERT Radio Communications PlanVirginia RACES, Inc.Slides 4, 5, 21 and 29 were originally from “Portable Radio Fundamentals Part 1 of 2” and “2-Way Radio Fundamentals Part II”.Most were modified in some way.
51 Programming Exercise Saratoga Command (K6SA Repeater) MHz, minus offset, PL HzSaratoga Command Alternate (K6SA Repeater dead)MHz, no offset (simplex), no PLSaratoga Tactical Alternate (Simplex)MHz, no offset, no PLSaratoga Tactical Alternate 2 (Simplex)MHz, no offset, no PL