Getting Started (with an FT-60R)
So, you’ve just got your ham license and you want to get started working local radio repeaters on the island.
First, you’ll need a radio. The club suggests the Yaesu FT-60R. We’ve provided videos below that are specific to this radio. If you have a different radio, you can search on YouTube for your radio and a topic (e.g. “UV-5R programming tutorial”) to find similar videos specific to your radio.
Then you’ll need to program it. There are two ways to program your radio, manually and cloned. In order to understand what you’re doing when you program your radio for repeaters, you’ll need some basic knowledge.
A repeater is a system of radios and a controller that takes in a signal and re-transmits that signal on a nearby frequency. This allows small handheld radios that transmit with low power, to cover much wider areas because the repeater has a much better transmitting position and transmits at higher power.
Two essential concepts to brush up on for repeater operation are:
- Repeater Concepts in General (Part 1, Part 2)
- Privacy Tones
- Repeater Edicate – Found in a lot of “first contact” videos like this.
- Repeater Offsets or Splits found in the videos above
- How to Find Repeaters – Repeater Book for Kitsap County
You can program it manually, one station at a time from the front panel of the radio. To see an example of how to do this manually, there are YouTube Tutorials (here is one). If you become good at this, you can use the Repeater Finder smartphone app to find the stations near you.
To see how to clone your radio, you will need computer software and a cable. For a number of reasons, a lot of us in the club use free open source software (CHIRP).
There is another video tutorial for the FT-60R and CHIRP programming. While this video shows you how to use CHIRP for this particular radio, it does not show you how to download repeaters from the internet and put them into CHIRP, so that you can put them into your radio. This video does show you how to do that. If you want the channels that we have as standard for our radios.
Also, the ARRL made a video about CHIRP. It’s about an hour long. If you’re really interested in CHIRP, you may find it interesting.