The local “Repeater Ecosystem” is a dynamic, ever-changing living thing. Repeaters can, and do, abruptly break and fall silent, only to be repaired and rise again, sometimes in days, sometimes in years. Users of Repeaters pop up from nowhere. Sometimes they fade away into silence in days, others stick around for years. Some Repeater users establish the Repeater’s personality, while other users “go along for the ride”.
This is an article designed to describe some of the more interesting Repeaters available in the Metropolitan area. It is far from exhaustive but is meant as a highlight of what’s available. Hopefully, others will add their favorite Repeaters to this list.
If you are looking for a simple table of Repeaters registered in the Metropolitan area, I would suggest you take a look at www.nyrepeaters.com/nyc2m.htm for 2 meters, www.nyrepeaters.com/nyc222.htm for 220 MHz, and www.nyrepeaters.com/nyc440.htm for 70 cm. Some Repeaters on the list are totally silent and not operational, many others are very rarely in use by anyone. The list that follows below should be a much more lively selection.
It is my hope that this will be of value to both new members of the Amateur Radio world as well as Amateurs that haven’t visited the VHF/UHF bands for years. It’s time to rediscover the local Repeater scene, maybe even reestablish a new active Repeater community!
The following information will include the Repeater’s Call Sign, followed by its output frequency. Listen for a while, get accustomed to the personalities of the Repeater users and the type of language and content as a guide on how to fit into the culture that already exists. With the input frequency and the PL sub-audible tone, you’ll be able to communicate with others on a given Repeater. Your transceiver’s manual has complete instructions on how to set all this up.
The output frequency is 146.730 MHz, its input frequency is 146.130, and its PL is 88.5 Hz. This open Repeater is owned and operated by the members of The Kings County Radio Club. This repeater now operates on a Yaesu DR-1X, which is a Digital/Analog Repeater. It is set in a mode that allows for both analog FM and Yaesu’s proprietary C4FM Fusion digital mode. Analog transmissions will be repeated as analog signals and Fusion signals will be repeated as digital signals. If your radio is not capable of decoding Fusion signals it will sound like a loud run of noise on the frequency. If your radio is capable of using a PL squelch gate, simply set it to receive this repeater’s 88.5 Hz sub-audible tone and when it is transmitting in Fusion digital mode the lack of a PL tone will squelch your reception of the unintelligible digital noise. Kings County Radio Club holds their weekly Club Net meeting here, on Tuesday at 9 PM. In addition, the KCRC offers an informal technical question and answer session on the second Wednesday of every month at 9 PM (no question is foolish)! Everyone is welcome (to the net meetings AND our monthly meeting)! Club members regularly monitor this repeater, and a friendlier bunch you would have a hard time finding—drop your call and chat for a while!
The output frequency is 146.430 MHz, its input frequency is 147.430, its PL is 136.5 Hz. This is the open Repeater of the Kings County Repeater Association. They are listed as having their club net meeting every Monday at 9:00 PM, but I have never heard them there. Indeed, for a Club based Repeater Association, I’ve never heard any Club based activities going on there. On the odd times that I have monitored this Repeater you can almost make out the sounds of crickets chirping in the silence.
The output frequency is 146.850, its input frequency is 146.250, and its PL 136.5 is Hz. This is one of the most active Repeaters in the Metropolitan area. It hosts an extremely informative TechNet on Sunday from 8:00 PM until midnight, where all topics from Antenna Theory, to Space Technology to Theoretical Physics are entertained by some very smart fellow Hams (I’ve been known to pass by and offer some comments, myself). The Repeater also hosts their club net meeting every Monday at 8:30 PM, a Computer Net on the 3rd and 4th Wednesday of the month at 8:30 PM, and an Astronomy Net on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays at 8:30 PM. The rest of the time it can be quite active with informal conversations. Sometimes it is Hams running errands in their car, interested in some lively conversation to vanquish the boredom, other times it is Hams asking for transmission checks, discussing their Ham setups and asking advice from others. Some late nights there are impromptu discussions of Radar Technology, Space Science, and esoteric aspects of Physics. Although it has been listed as a closed Repeater for club members, members of the club are very friendly and welcoming to nonmembers. Occasional QSO’s by nonmembers are fine, but if you decide to camp out on the site for the long haul the executive board urges people to invest in a club membership. This is one of my personal favorites. It has remained the most consistent Repeater with regard to remaining operational and the users not sinking to near the level of the anonymous jammers that frequent many popular sites.
The output frequency is 441.100 MHz, its input frequency is 446.100, its PL is 136.5 Hz. It is an open Repeater located in the downtown Brooklyn. They are a lively bunch – one of the livelier Repeaters on the UHF Band, that haven’t gone digital.
The output frequency is 145.230 MHz, its input frequency is 144.630, its PL is 114.8 Hz. In some repeater lists the call sign given is WA2JNF (its owner’s), in others, it’s listed as W2CMA.This repeater has a history of erratic activity—busy use for a while, and then long stretches of silence.
The output frequency is 446.675 MHz, its input frequency is 441.675, its PL is 114.8 Hz. In some repeater lists, the call sign given is WA2JNF (its owner’s), in others, it’s listed as W2CMA. Its Morse Code identifier is WA2JNF/R. It hosts the Brooklyn Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) Net Sundays at 8:00 PM.
The output frequency is 147.300 MHz, its input frequency is 147.900, its PL is 146.2 Hz. This can be the most active party line in radio. When it’s working, it is linked via IRLP and Echolink to Repeaters all over the world. It is not unusual to talk with a Ham from a Repeater based in England. Unfortunately, these links are subject to completely breaking down, reducing this Repeater to prolonged episodes of silence that can last for months until the connections are finally re-established. It’s a crapshoot – it may be frantically active or it might be… dead.
The output frequency is 440.600 MHz, its input frequency is 445.600, its PL is 141.3 Hz. It hosts the Bronx Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) Net Sundays at 7:00 PM.
The output frequency is 145.410 MHz, its input frequency is 144.810, its PL is 114.8 Hz.
The output frequency is 447.375 MHz, its input frequency is 442.375, its PL is 156.7 Hz. It hosts the Staten Island Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) Net Wednesdays at 8:30 PM.
The output frequency is 147.270 MHz, its input frequency is 147.870, its PL is 141.3 Hz. The New York City District ARES Net is held every Monday at 8:30 PM. The Manhattan and Bronx ARES Net is held on this Repeater every Tuesday at 8:30 PM.
The output frequency is 147.360 MHz, its input frequency is 147.960, its PL is 107.2 Hz. It hosts the New York City Amateur Radio Emergency Corp (AREC) Net Mondays at 8:30 PM.
The output frequency is 447.825 MHz, its input frequency is 442.825, its PL is 107.2 Hz. It is the 70cm Repeater owned by the same Ham that operates the 2-meter WAZLB. It is located above Rockefeller Center, with good coverage, but limited activity.
The output frequency is 447.175 MHz, its input frequency is 442.175, its PL is 141.3 Hz. It is an open Repeater, located in Midtown and has great coverage favoring the northern part of the City. It’s not very active when I listen, but it is fully operational. Maybe it is can be fertile ground for a new community?
The output frequency is 449.625 MHz, its input frequency is 444.625, its PL is 136.5Hz. It is located near Times Square and I’m told it has great coverage. Not much activity when I listen.
The output frequency is 440.550 MHz, its input frequency is 445.550, its PL is 141.3 Hz. It is located in Staten Island. The Queens County ARES Net is held every Wednesday at 8:30 PM.
The output frequency is 147.315 MHz, its input frequency is 147.915, its PL is 118.8 Hz. It is located in Staten Island and has been used more by Staten Island-based Hams, than Hams from the rest of the area, but it is an open Repeater and everyone is invited to use it.
The output frequency is 147.285 MHz, its input frequency is 147.885, its PL is 141.3 Hz. This seems to be a New Jersey-based Repeater that attracts Echolink users from New Jersey as well as many other states.
The output frequency is 146.955 MHz, its input frequency is 146.355, its PL is 141.3 Hz. This is another New Jersey-based Repeater with a significant number of Echolink users.
The output frequency is 147.000 MHz, its input frequency is 146.400, its PL is 136.5 Hz. This is a great Repeater with good coverage and a fine signal, but very few people seem to be using it these days. People sometimes use it when LIMARC’s Repeater shuts down for maintenance, but otherwise, it seems mostly silent.
The output frequency is 440.700 MHz, its input frequency is 445.700, its PL is 114.8 Hz. It seems like Howard, WB2HWW is always there chatting with his regular Repeater users. Lots of entry-intermediate level technical conversations to be found there!
The output frequency is 146.865 MHz, its input frequency is 146.265, its PL is 110.9 Hz. This can be a lively Repeater at times. It doesn’t have a particular personality that I can perceive.
The output frequency is 147.060 MHz, its input frequency is 147.660, its PL is 114.8 Hz. This is based in Valhalla, NY (Westchester). It is owned and operated by The Westchester Emergency Communications Association. It is a very active repeater with friendly and knowledgeable Amateurs participating. It is definitely a repeater to give a good listen to.
…and now a short discourse/thoughts on Digital Voice Modes:
I am a self-admitted technophile. If something contains a bit of new technology I would like to try it. I hope that I never become averse to new technology, as some of my more curmudgeonly Ham friends have grown (“damn transistor rigs, where’s my tube rig”, “software-defined WHAT, where are the damn knobs and buttons!”). Some Digital modes have been developed as fully open standards (PSK, MSK, JT65, etc.) and they have extended the reach of many low power, compromise antenna wielding Hams. Digital Voice Modes appear different in this regard. They are not fully open standards, Motorola/Vertex gives you Mototrbo, Icom gives you D-Star, Yaesu gives you their new mode, Fusion – each of these modes are incompatible with the others.
They promote themselves as “open standards”, and perhaps their methods for transmitting and receiving binary streams might be (although they are all incompatible with each other). The problem is that an uncompressed digital audio stream would be too wide a signal to be tolerated. It needs to be shrunk – compressed just like the MP3 algorithm does for music. The Digital Voice Encoder-Decoder (Vocoder) selected invariably is a patented method going by some variation of the acronym AMBE. This algorithm is not fully documented and is only licensed with the purchase of the licensing company’s Digital Signal Processor chips, which work as a copyright protecting dongle. No chip = no digital voice, so where otherwise a simple firmware update would give everyone universal digital voice capability, we are now stuck with requiring a complete hardware redesign to have any access! These “open source modes”
effectively lock out the overwhelming majority of Hams until they pay up for the latest greatest mobile radios or HTs. What are the benefits of these modes other than Internet linking, which can also be done with analog signals? Transmission distance is not appreciably improved (there is some disagreement on this), some say clarity and intelligibility are improved, but I find that at times the voice codecs used with these modes alter voices in subtle ways and occasionally produce a weird robot-like voice in the
transmission. Less bandwidth is required, but anyone scanning the bands has noticed that the number of working Repeaters is growing smaller and smaller with huge gaps of frequencies unused, but are still tied up by people that once managed an active Repeater site. I think Digital Voice’s chief benefit, in this era of jammers, with way too much free time, is the ability to ID the transmission and lock out users, as well as the unfortunate limitation for all users, that they might have to buy another rig from a certain company to have access to that proprietary mode. Is this “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”? Only time will tell. One of the great things about Ham Radio, in my humble opinion, is its inclusiveness – y’all welcome! I see this generation of Digital Voice as more exclusionary in its implementation. I believe that the digital Voice implementation that will be a game changer has not yet arrived, and when it does, it will be like the days when Single Side Band (SSB) was a new idea!
There are rumors, or press releases for unsighted Unicorns—the transceiver that will bring all the Digital Voice Modes together! The imaginary CS7000 or Wireless Holdings, LLC’s less imaginary DV4Mobile (ETA “any day now…”)—time will tell if these products will break down the walls that are separating so many groups of digital voice mode enthusiasts.
Again, this is a work in progress. I hope that readers will offer their favorite Repeater sites and observations to extend this list. You can find my email address on QRZ.
I can be reached at TheEditor(at)KC2RC.com (replace the “at” with “@”)
(Thanks, to Nick AC2SE, that caught some typos.)