Probably now you are ready for your first call from Ham radio. At this stage you need to switch your radio on. Just after a bit tuning you can hear some sound like “CQ” “CQ” or “AC6V” and so on. You may hear such expression repeatedly three times. These are all operators’ call sign.
It is noted that an operator cannot say A,B, C, D on air but they say Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and so on. So if we say those expression in detail it comes for “CQ” as Charlie Quebec and “AC6V” as Alpha Charlie six Victor. In this way whatever call sign we hear some specific combination of English words.
Ham Radio Phonetic Alphabet: It is very essential to know all the English alphabets are spoken in the air by the ham radio operators. On air they will speak Alpha for A, Bravo for B, Charlie for C and so on. The following letters should be memorized by the ham operators.
A – Alpha, N – November
B – Bravo, O – Oscar
C – Charlie, P – Papa
D – Delta, Q – Quebec
E – Echo, R – Romeo
F – Foxtrot, S – Sierra
G – Golf, T – Tango
H – Hotel, U – Uniform
I – India, V – Victor
J – Juliet, W – Whiskey
K – Kilo, X – X-Ray
L – Lima, Y – Yankee
M – Mike, Z – Zulu
Now that if you hear “CQ” message you should respond by saying “Alpha Charlie Six Victor, this is Delta Foxtrot Two Alpha…this is Delta Foxtrot Two Alpha… this is Delta Foxtrot Two Alpha, over.”
AC6V, DF2A “means Alpha Charlie six Victor, Delta Foxtrot two Alpha, Over” which literally means thanks for your call. When you respond you must press your microphone button and then respond. It is reminded that when you are replying somebody you should repeat your call sign at least 3 times in order make understand the other hams.
However the connection is clear you can repeat two times also. It is important to know that some of the ham is using repeaters and some are not using. Those who are not using repeaters they should call by “CQ” and those who are using repeaters they will use call sign as “AC6V” and the reply for repeaters will be “AC6V, this is DF2A” but only once not 3 times in this case.
Morse Code Call: The process of Morse code calling is almost similar to above call only difference they use the code “DE” and “K” DE means from and K means end of transmission. So when you hear the expression from Morse code “CQ CQ CQ DE AC6V AC6V AC6V K”.
Now you are respond in Morse code by saying “AC6V DE DF2A DF2A DF2A K” thus this is the pattern of calling and the pattern of reply in Morse Code. You can also hear like this as reply “DF2A DE AC6V TKS” for this call. TKS means thanks.
Failing to Contact: If you try to contact with someone and get no response don’t be hopeless. Your radio signal might be too weak to hear by others. In such case choose another ham radio station to call. It is possible to hear you by some other stations though not all stations due to weak signal. If your signal is strong enough you think in other ways.
- The other operators might be calling at the same time you are calling which is known as overlapping. Just wait for some time to call again.
- It is possible that someone hear you but cannot understand you clearly what you are saying. In this case you might hear “AC6V calling—please come again” or you can hear “QRZed” or “QRZ” means who is calling me? Then you go for calling again.
- Sometime the calling station misstates your call sign by a single letter or a small error. So wait for some time and then repeat calling.
- If, however repeated attempts fail then try with to contact someone you know via telephone and request him for calling you. Still you are not getting any signal be sure that there problem in your radio equipment.
Set Up Your Radio: Before you are going to call by simplex or repeater you the should follow the user’s manual and ensure the following procedures.
- First you should know how to switch over from simplex to duplex (repeater) and vice versa.
- You should also know how to access tone and set tone.
- Then you should know how to use DCS digital code squelch and how to change codes.
- You should know how to store your radio settings.
Using FM and Repeaters: when a ham operator gets a technician license he is eligible to access the entire amateur VHF and UHF bands. FM repeater is the most common mode of communication within these bands. We have learned that a repeater will listen some signal in certain frequency and then repeat in other frequency.
This operation is called as duplex operation as these are done simultaneously. Repeaters generally use FM transmission as this is simpler. This simpler case is conducive in protecting equipment and offers clearer contacts. If, however the repeater is set on the top of a high raised building it can easily catch a very weak signal even from a portable handheld radio.
Repeaters are maintained by professional ham radio organization or by a n expert ham operator who provides service to the community. A repeater uses 2 frequencies one is input and other is output frequency. The input frequency that a receiver receives signal should be transmitted to the same frequency. The distane between input and output frequency is called its separation or offset and pairing of both the frequencies is called repeater pair.
Tone Access and DCS: All radios and repeaters are immune to interference. So the use of tone access has come to play as to reduce the interference made by other repeaters and other surrounding strong signals. Tone access will essentially block all output frequencies of a repeater except for some specified frequencies.
DCS digital coded squelch will also help to reduce interference from nearby strong signals. DCS can block all signals digitally. It should be noted that all repeaters do not use tone access of DCS.