The club has connected our 444.050 MHz repeater to the Yaesu Wires-X system.
It allows our repeater to connect with other repeaters and stations around the block or around the world. The terminology they use is nodes and rooms. But they really are repeaters and stations.
So how do you know where and what to connect to? You need to bookmark the following website:
There you will see a list of thousands of “rooms” or stations that are currently connected and available. Here is a sample of what the list looks like…
On the far left is some information about the room choices. The next column is the most important. This 5 digit number is your key to connecting to that station (or room).
But equally important is the next column that’s called ACT. That is the activity or how many people are currently connected or using the room. If it is all zeros, nobody is listening and it would make no sense to try to connect to that room. But look at the bottom two rooms, lots of people are active there. That would be your best bet to find someone to talk to.
You must remember you are on ham radio when using this system so you must use your call and be courteous and allow other people to talk too. You may connect to a room and hear nothing or a conversation underway. Listen for a moment to make sure you are not cutting in on an existing contact. This system replaces short-wave skip with an Internet connection.
So now you have checked the list and have a room you want to connect to. First, listen to our repeater and then put out your call and ask is anyone using the repeater? There may be a lull in a conversation and some club member may already be connected to a room. So you must listen before trying to connect. The simplest method is to monitor the repeater a while before you want to use it.
If all is clear, have that 5 digit room number ready, announce your call and keep the push-to-talk button pushed and tap on your keypad the pound sign followed by the 5 digit room number. That’s it. Do not let up on the push-to-talk while doing this sequence.
It would look like: (your call) #12345
Do it smoothly, maybe practice off the air so you can do it confidently.
When you connect you might hear nothing or a conversation underway. There is no confirmation from the system that you have successfully connected to the room. So listen before putting out your call.
HOW DO I DISCONNECT? This is most important, announce your call and on your keypad press the asterisk or the star sign once. You will hear a series of beeps that confirm you have disconnected and the repeater is back to local operation.
This system is NOT available on Sunday mornings, Thursdays at 7 PM or any time emergency communications are needed.
All this is a work in progress so please understand some things might change. For now limit your session on the Wires-X system to one half hour at a time and then standby to let other people use it.
Remember you are representing yourself, our area and our club to the world.
Of course the primary use of the repeater remains the same, for local communications.
But at other times…have fun and talk to the world!