One of the first things that many new radio amateurs do is to purchase a handheld radio, like the BTECH UV-5X3 (right), to talk with their friends on a local repeater. After programming the radio, they’re often able to hear the repeater, but not access it. When this happens, the first question out of their mouths is, “Why can’t I hit the repeater?”
This is such a frequent problem, that there’s even a question (T2B04) on the Technician Class exam that addresses this issue:
Which of the following could be the reason you are unable to access a repeater whose output you can hear? (T2B04)
- 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 ?
- All of these choices are correct
The correct answer is D) All of these choices are correct.
If you can hear a repeater, but your signal is not accessing the repeater, the first thing to check is to make sure that your offset is set properly. The offset is the difference between the repeater’s receive frequency and the transmit frequency. On the 2-meter band, the standard offset is 600 kHz. On the 70-cm band, the standard offset is 5 MHz. In addition to getting the offset correct, keep in mind that the transmit frequency may be higher or lower than the receive frequency.