What information do I actually ''program'' into my radio, and why?
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So, you have your first radio. Congratulations! But now, how to get on the air?
Most likely you'll be starting with repeaters. Here are 4 the basic things you need to program into your radio in order to get on a repeater:
- The frequency the repeater actually transmits on (Example: 146.96 MHz). This is also called the repeater's output frequency.
- The offset from that frequency, that your radio adds or subtracts to the repeater's output frequency, that your radio will transmit on, so that the repeater will "hear" it (Ex: -0.600 MHz for 2M and 5 MHz for 440)
- The sub-audible tone that the repeater needs to accept on your signal (Ex: 103.5 Hz). This is often referred to as a PL tone (technically a Motorola trademark), though your radio's manual probably calls it "CTCSS" (the generic name).
- The output power setting you want your radio to use (usually Low Power is best). This setting is not, strictly speaking, a repeater requirement. You need enough power to be heard clearly, but you should keep it as low as practical.