Well, you've got this shiny new Amateur Radio License with an F-call and you're all excited to start talking, but you're not sure what to do, who to start with and what to say. If this is you, then this is the place where you can meet others with the same background.
Every week we'll host a group talk on-air (a net) where you're welcome to tune in and shoot the breeze. We have only one rule, there's no such thing as a silly question, so if you've got it, then ask it and we'll see what we can do.
At the moment the F-troop host in VK6 is VK6FLAB, Onno, though don't be surprised if someone else seems to be hosting. We've been experimenting with a rotating host, so everyone gets the chance to try it and learn from their experience.
The net is held at 8:00 (0:00 UTC) on Saturday on the Rolystone repeater, VK6RLM, on 146.750 MHz FM - with an input frequency of 146.150 MHz. There is also access via Echolink, IRLP and AllStarLink. Also note that there are several repeaters on-air, since we've linked several together, which may mean that your repeater has a different set of frequencies.
We understand that you may not yet know how to configure your radio for repeater operation, so over time - this was started on Sunday June 12, 2011 - we expect to have instructions here for radios that are being used on how to configure it for repeater use. If you've already figured it out, or had help, send us an email with instructions for your radio.
How do I participate?
If you've got yourself set-up to use the repeater, just keep a few things in mind.
- You can only successfully participate if you are within range of the repeater. The repeater does not cover all of the metro area, so it's possible that you have your gear configured correctly, but we still cannot hear you. Don't despair, you might be in range of another amateur. During F-troop I'll give some instructions on how to participate.
- While you're talking on the repeater, you're not going to hear others, so bear in mind that sometimes you'll get an unexpected result if others haven't heard you and appear to be ignoring you. Normally someone will hear the conflict and call you back. (See Example)
- Wait until the repeater beeps after a transmission stops, then wait 1 second to allow others to announce themselves. If someone announces a call-sign just before you're due to talk, leave a little gap, then start your planned transmission, just acknowledge the call-sign you just heard. Hand control back to the host who will deal with the new caller. (See Example)
- If you want to announce yourself, use the 1 second gap between beep and the next person to announce your call-sign. If you were heard, your call-sign should be acknowledged by the next person. (See Example)
- F-troop is run as a hosted net, that is, it's not a "normal group", in which there is a group of people talking in a circle, handing over the the next person in line. To keep it simple, F-troop is managed by a single person who will answer all calls. So, if it's your turn, the controller will announce your call-sign and invite you to contribute. When you're done, hand it back to the controller by announcing their call-sign, followed by yours. (See Example) The current controller is VK6FLAB, Onno.
- If you get confused, don't worry, breathe, take a moment, compose yourself and start again. Yes, there are rules on how you must legally conduct yourself on-air, but during F-troop, we're trying to help you get confident, not tell you off.
- We encourage you to use phonetics to announce call-signs and spelling your name. Even if reception on the repeater is generally excellent, if you practice it now, it will stand you in good stead when you're barely being heard across a noisy band.
Here are some files that may be useful for others in setting up their transceivers.
- The ICOM files are directly usable for the models indicated.
- The CSV file is a good starting point for others and may be manipulated and imported directly into the personality programmer for the users transceiver.