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Subelement T2
Operating Procedures
Section T2B
VHF/UHF operating practices: SSB phone; FM repeater; simplex; splits and shifts; CTCSS; DTMF; tone squelch; carrier squelch; phonetics; operational problem resolution; Q signals
What is the most common use of the “reverse split” function of a VHF/UHF transceiver?
  • Reduce power output
  • Increase power output
  • Correct Answer
    Listen on a repeater's input frequency
  • Listen on a repeater's output frequency

Quick way to remember: normally you listen to repeater output. Listening to the input of a repeater is the reverse of normal!

Long Explanation

UHF/VHF repeaters receive on one frequency (input frequency) and then re-transmit on another frequency (output frequency), usually with this "split" in input/output (also called RX/TX) frequencies being 600kHz apart (for 2m) either + or -. This is called operating Duplex (vs Simplex where only one frequency is used for both TX and RX). Radios must be configured properly for duplex communication to use a repeater.

"Reverse Split" means operating duplex on a reverse frequency split compared to what is considered "normal" for the situation. (Source) In other words, the usual RX and TX frequencies are swapped (reversed).

Normally everyone using a repeater transmits on the repeater's input (RX) frequency, and receives on the repeater's output (TX) frequency, so when configured correctly your radio will only be listening to the repeater's output (TX) frequency and not listening to other radios' transmissions directly since they will be transmitting on the repeater's input (RX) frequency.

But what if you do want to listen to their transmissions directly? In this case you'll want to listen on the repeater's input (RX) frequency like the repeater does. This might help you determine if a signal is strong enough for both of you to switch to a simplex frequency without using the repeater, or tell you if you can receive a weak signal from where you are even if the repeater can't because it's too far away.

Another situation is if you think someone will be trying to call you on a repeater that you know is broken, powered down, or otherwise not operating, you may wish to reverse the transmit/receive frequencies on your radio so that you are now receiving and transmitting on the frequencies the repeater would if it were working. This would allow you to hear someone who is trying to transmit to a repeater, as well as allowing you to respond on the frequency they will most likely be listening to (the repeater output frequency).

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Tags: arrl chapter 6 arrl module 14

What term describes the use of a sub-audible tone transmitted along with normal voice audio to open the squelch of a receiver?
  • Carrier squelch
  • Tone burst
  • DTMF
  • Correct Answer
    CTCSS

CTCSS - Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System

Originally invented by Motorola and called Private Line (PL), the repeater access tones 'open' the squelch of the receiver. This allows different users to share a repeater without hearing other conversations, as the other tones will not 'open' their receiver. This technique is also known as subaudible and privacy codes/tones.

The use of CTCSS tones also prevents people from accidentally using a repeater unless they've properly programmed their radio specifically for a particular repeater. Yes, it makes the programming a little more complex, but it also ensures that repeaters remain as quiet as possible, since common radio noise and interference can't activate the repeater (remember, the repeater won't activate unless that CTCSS tone is present). This makes life much easier for all who might be monitoring a repeater, since it will remain quiet unless a human really does want to use it.

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Tags: sub-audible tone radio operation arrl chapter 6 arrl module 15

If a station is not strong enough to keep a repeater's receiver squelch open, which of the following might allow you to receive the station's signal?
  • Open the squelch on your radio
  • Correct Answer
    Listen on the repeater input frequency
  • Listen on the repeater output frequency
  • Increase your transmit power

This is where the "reverse split" feature of a radio comes in handy.

Normally everyone using a repeater transmits on the repeater's input (RX) frequency, and receives on the repeater's output (TX) frequency, so when configured correctly your radio will only be listening to the repeater's output (TX) frequency and not listening to other radios' transmissions directly since, like you, they will be transmitting on the repeater's input (RX) frequency.

But what if you do want to listen to their transmissions directly because something is not working such as the other station's signal being too weak at the repeater? In this case you'll want to listen on the repeater's input (RX) frequency like the repeater does. This might help you determine if a signal is strong enough for both of you to switch to a simplex frequency without using the repeater, or tell you if you can receive a weak signal from where you are even if the repeater can't because it's too far away from the other station trying to transmit.

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Which of the following could be the reason you are unable to access a repeater whose output you can hear?
  • Improper transceiver offset
  • The repeater may require a proper CTCSS tone from your transceiver
  • The repeater may require a proper DCS tone from your transceiver
  • Correct Answer
    All of these choices are correct

Many repeaters experience problems with picking up RF "noise" from nearby powerlines, buildings, other transmitters, etc. In order to avoid having the repeater retransmit this noise, various methods are used to be certain that only intentional and/or authorized signals are retransmitted.

  1. The first method is to have the repeater only open its squelch and retransmit a signal that begins with a tone burst. This is also called Selective Calling, and is much more common in Europe than it is in America. SelCall tone bursts usually consist of 5 in-band DTMF audio tones at the beginning of the transmission.
  2. The second method is to have the repeater use DCS (Digital Code Squelch). With DCS enabled the repeater will only open up if the signal contains specific DCS tone sequence, which most modern radios can be configured to output.
  3. The third, and probably most common, method is to use a CTCSS (Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System) subaudible tone; if the tone is not present, the repeater will not retransmit the signal.

If any of these features are in use on the repeater and you do not have your radio correctly configured, the repeater will simply ignore you.

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Tags: repeater radio operation sub-audible tone arrl chapter 6 arrl module 15

What might be the problem if a repeater user says your transmissions are breaking up on voice peaks?
  • You have the incorrect offset
  • You need to talk louder
  • Correct Answer
    You are talking too loudly
  • Your transmit power is too high

If transmissions are breaking up on voice peaks then of the given options it is most likely that you are talking too loudly. The key thing to notice here is that the question says it only happens on voice peaks and not all the time, so it is probably not overall transmit power. The other options are associated with other problems.

(Your mouth could also be too close to the microphone, but that's not one of the options given.)

High audio levels can overload one or more stages of the transmitter and result in distortion such as Clipping or Gain Compression. Only the time periods where the overload occurs are affected which would correspond to the voice peaks of the transmission.

If a receiver were overloaded by excessive received power, it would most likely affect the whole signal and not just the voice peaks.

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What type of tones are used to control repeaters linked by the Internet Relay Linking Project (IRLP) protocol?
  • Correct Answer
    DTMF
  • CTCSS
  • EchoLink
  • Sub-audible

The Internet Relay Linking Project repeaters are controlled with DTMF (Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency) tones which are the same sort you hear when you dial a touch-tone telephone.

From the IRLP FAQ:

All links are activated and de-activated by using DTMF tones received by the IRLP radio/computer. You must contact your local mode operator for access details. IRLP has no control over which pre-access code some nodes may choose to use to connect and disconnect.

Many HTs (handheld radios) have a keypad that can be used to transmit DTMF tones when the PTT (Push-to-Talk) button is held down. This DTMF feature exists for a variety of signaling and control purposes, and IRLP just happens to use it also.

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How can you join a digital repeater's “talk group”?
  • Register your radio with the local FCC office
  • Join the repeater owner's club
  • Correct Answer
    Program your radio with the group's ID or code
  • Sign your call after the courtesy tone

A number of different digital radio standards exist such as DMR, D-Star, and Fusion. They usually implement something called a "talk group" which is described by the DMR-MARC FAQ as follows:

Q. What are Talk Groups?

A. Talk Groups are like different work groups that you communicate with. They are programmed as “channels”. Several can share a Time Slot on a repeater like multiple PL codes can share a community repeater. Each talk group can be isolated from the other, but may get a busy tone if the same time slot is in use by another. Greater efficiency can be achieved by bridge routing and trunking techniques. Each radio can have more than one talk group and may scan or roam based on talk group.

Once a radio has been configured to operate with a particular digital repeater, joining a talk group is just a matter of programing your radio with the group's ID or code so you can tell it to listen to or transmit to that group.

Digital repeaters can be operated stand-alone but often they are linked to other repeaters using the same standard in a network. See the bottom of this DMR-MARC FAQ for a list of networks, of which DMR-MARC is one.

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Which of the following applies when two stations transmitting on the same frequency interfere with each other?
  • Correct Answer
    Common courtesy should prevail, but no one has absolute right to an amateur frequency
  • Whoever has the strongest signal has priority on the frequency
  • Whoever has been on the frequency the longest has priority on the frequency
  • The station that has the weakest signal has priority on the frequency

No amateur radio operator has an absolute right to any amateur frequency. When you sign your license application, you're reminded of that and agree to it.

The Strongest or weakest signal or length of time on a frequency does not give you a greater claim to that frequency.

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What is a “talk group” on a DMR digital repeater?
  • A group of operators sharing common interests
  • Correct Answer
    A way for groups of users to share a channel at different times without being heard by other users on the channel
  • A protocol that increases the signal-to-noise ratio when multiple repeaters are linked together
  • A net that meets at a particular time

A number of different digital voice radio standards exist including DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) which implements talk groups defined for purposes of the exam as a way for groups of users to share a channel at different times without being heard by other users on the channel. None of the distractors make any sense.

That's all you need to know for this question, but Talk Groups can also be described as the DMR-MARC FAQ does here:

Q. What are Talk Groups?

A. Talk Groups are like different work groups that you communicate with. They are programmed as “channels”. Several can share a Time Slot on a repeater like multiple PL codes can share a community repeater. Each talk group can be isolated from the other, but may get a busy tone if the same time slot is in use by another. Greater efficiency can be achieved by bridge routing and trunking techniques. Each radio can have more than one talk group and may scan or roam based on talk group.

Digital repeaters can be operated stand-alone but often they are linked to other repeaters using the same standard in a network. See the bottom of this DMR-MARC FAQ for a list of networks, of which DMR-MARC is one.

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Which Q signal indicates that you are receiving interference from other stations?
  • Correct Answer
    QRM
  • QRN
  • QTH
  • QSB

Hams use all sorts of Q codes to convey quick messages. QRM means interference from other stations, QTH means location, QSL means 'a conversation', QSY means changing frequency or channel, etc.

In practical use, if you hear another ham say "I'm hearing a little QRM on your signal", it means there's interference from other station transmissions. They might also say "I hear some Q-R-Mary", which means the same thing.

The "M" in QRM means man-made interference, as opposed to the "N" in QRN, which means natural, or atmospheric, interference.

Q - Radio Messy

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Which Q signal indicates that you are changing frequency?
  • QRU
  • Correct Answer
    QSY
  • QSL
  • QRZ

This is one of the most commonly used Q Codes. QSY means to change frequency. For example:

"Please QSY to 147.34."
"Copy that, this is KD7BBC, QSY to 147.34"

Or

"Shall we QSY to 146.52 simplex?"

Here is a memory aid:

If you got Q uea SY about a frequency, you would change to a different one.

Or, (S)ee (Y)ou at a different frequency.

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Tags: q signals operating procedures arrl chapter 6 arrl module 14

Why are simplex channels designated in the VHF/UHF band plans?
  • Correct Answer
    So that stations within mutual communications range can communicate without tying up a repeater
  • For contest operation
  • For working DX only
  • So that stations with simple transmitters can access the repeater without automated offset

Simplex channels exist in the UHF/VHF band plans so that stations within mutual communications range can communicate without tying up a repeater. That is the best option of those given.

Really they exist for any purpose where you want to communicate without using a repeater, such as when one isn't available, and will use the same frequency for both receiving and transmitting (known as simplex).

They have nothing to do with repeaters or accessing repeaters.

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Where may SSB phone be used in amateur bands above 50 MHz?
  • Only in sub-bands allocated to General class or higher licensees
  • Only on repeaters
  • Correct Answer
    In at least some portion of all these bands
  • On any band as long as power is limited to 25 watts

Amateur radio operators have some portion of all amateur bands above 50 MHz where they are permitted to use SSB.

SSB is an abbreviation for Single Side Band, a type of amplitude modulation.

"Phone" means "voice."

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Which of the following describes a linked repeater network?
  • Correct Answer
    A network of repeaters where signals received by one repeater are repeated by all the repeaters
  • A repeater with more than one receiver
  • Multiple repeaters with the same owner
  • A system of repeaters linked by APRS

A linked repeater network is a general term for a network of repeaters where signals received by one repeater are repeated by all the repeaters in the network.

Digital repeaters in particular are often linked together in a network, though they may not always repeat all signals received by one repeater because they tend to be smart enough to do so only as needed. But they are capable of repeating all signals as required such that to the user it will appear as though this is what's happening.

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