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I can’t access my local repeater!

Not being able to access a repeater is likely to be for one of several reasons. Here are a few things to check:

  1. Settings incorrect? Double-check the input and output frequencies (or offsets) and also check that the correct CTCSS tone is set. You can check a repeater’s status here:
  2. Out of range? Try moving closer to the repeater, using an antenna with more height, an antenna with more gain, or increase the transmitter power
  3. Radio set correctly? The correct memory preset has to be recalled (memory mode, not VFO mode). In some cases, you can use another radio to check that your signal is being transmitted on the correct frequency
  4. Repeater active? Sometimes repeaters are down, offline or you’re looking at an old listing for a defunct repeater. Occasionally repeater frequencies change. You can check a repeater’s status here:

Other things to check:

Are you sure you can’t access the repeater? If you put out a call and don’t get a reply, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not accessing it correctly – it could mean there is no one listening or willing to reply!

It’s also worth checking whether you can hear the repeater – listen when it’s busy (perhaps during a local club’s net), or get a fellow amateur to put out a test call. If you can’t hear the repeater or the received signal is low, chances are you won’t be able to transmit into it.

Check in with some local amateurs to see if there is a known problem with a repeater

Note too that some voice repeaters are analogue, some are digital and some are multi-mode. If a repeater is using a different mode to the one you’re trying to use, then you won’t connect. You can check a repeater’s settings and mode information here:

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