For those of you interested in VHF Century Club. Most of the VHF spectrum has been decently skipping off the atmosphere over the last few weeks. While this is great for those grid square chasers it is not good for our repeaters.
The last couple of weeks especially has seen a rise to the 2m skip season which is a little earlier than expected. What this means is that signals on our repeater frequencies from further than normal VHF range can be heard by our repeater. This may be seen as a large amount of static or hash on the repeater, even though the repeater is operating as expected. The repeater works by listening for a specific access or PL tone before beginning to transmit the received signal. Signals present on our input frequencies but lacking the access tone are ignored, but they are still present. When a user of our repeater system keys up, the repeater starts transmitting, and depending on the signal levels the noise floor (skipped signals) may drowned out the user.
This effect is not limited to our 2M repeaters or the Amateur service. All repeaters regardless of service type including non-Amateur assets operating in the VHF range will likely have degradation in service. We are not the only club experiencing this problem. I have been using the 70cm machine 444.400 which is less likely to be affected by VHF skip (because it is UHF) to access our linked repeater system. The 444.400 antenna is co-located with the 147.105 antenna on the Davidsonville tower. If you are experiencing issues accessing the 147.105 repeater try the 444.400 Machine it may operate better at that moment depending on conditions and your location.
Information on all of our repeaters and nets can be found on the Repeaters and Nets page of this website.
For information regarding the band conditions and VHF skip possibilities please see HamQSL.com
Jonathan Graefe EIT AE3JG