Now that I am no longer involved with Skywarn (I'll still watch for tornados), what should I program into my 2 meter radios? I don't want to involve myself in repeater cliques. I once sent a donation to an repeater operator not listed here and never even got the courtesy of a thank you. That's the last time I'll make that mistake: only send your hard earned money to a reputable, established, verifiable repeater operator.
To avoid most of the "personalities" and drama, I think simplex is the way to go. Therefore - 146.52 Mhz gets entered into the "Call" memory. According to the Minnesota Repeater Council, there are a number of reserved simplex channels, though I am aware there is a group using 147.50 Mhz for their net.
146.415, 146.430, 146.445, 146.460, 146.475, 146.490, 146.505, 146.520, 146.535, 146.550, 146.565, 146.580, 146.595, 147.420, 147.435, 147.450, 147.465, 147.480, 147.495, 147.510, 147.525, 147.540, 147.555, 147.570, 147.585
146.700 Mhz is the Hennepin County RACES repeater. It's a good one to have, since any emergencies will be noted there, as well as being the primary Skywarn repeater for the Metro. It is for calling and emergency traffic only and not for general QSOs, according to the WC0HC website.
There are two other Hennepin County related frequencies, 145.43 and 146.82 Mhz (127.3 hz), RACES and the Sheriff respectively. 145.43 can be used for general use. 146.82 is closed to Amateur Radio use as reported by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via Todd, KD0TLS, on his blog. I would think they wouldn't mind if you used the repeater to call for police, fire, or EMS assistance.
So far, so good. I have now three frequencies to program into my three 2 meter rigs (TM-271A, TM-281A, TH-K20): 146.52, 146.70, 145.43. I guess I can throw in the other 24 simplex channels and put 'em on scan. I figure there's got to be some more repeaters that I can find that aren't clogged with...er...nonsense. There are 30 repeaters I counted on the Minnesota Repeater Council's list in the Metro that are for FM traffic.
The classes of repeater operators are, as far as I know, Clubs, hobbyists, and independents. Club repeaters are the property of an established amateur radio club and if not closed (iow, only members allowed) - permit general use. The independents are not a club but a collective or a consortium of operators - the MAGIC repeaters are one such group. The hobbyists are those who set up repeaters on an ad-hoc basis that may or may not have the ability of communicating over a reasonable area or have emergency power. There are any number of almost unused 2 meter repeaters around, most have sporadic or no traffic. Examples the latter two categories are 145.17 (St. Paul; 100 hz input; emergency power) and 147.27 (MSP Airport, I think; 114.8 hz input; no emergency power). Update 1/24/18: 147.27 has malfunctioned. It is not usable at this time.
On a Kenwood TM-281A, with the input tones in Hz listed after the output frequencies in MHz:
- Call channel: 146.520
- Channel 0: 146.520
- Channel 1: 146.700 (127.3)
- Channel 2: 145.430 (127.3)
- Channel 3: 145.170 (100.0)
What about 1.25 meters? 6 meter FM? Good question - I'll address these two when I get the chance.