No, they are not, and that is worse. They are empty and disused now, nobody is even bothering to kerchunk them nowadays, you can go for hours hearing nothing but the CW identifiers! I live in a city of a million people, part of a conurbation twice the size, and the amount of repeater traffic is derisory. I never had much time for repeaters myself, but I am a little sad to see all the effort and technology that went into the repeater network going to waste. Still,. it is what it is, it would not make sense in my view to attempt to revitalise repeaters by sacrificing the principles of the SOTA program. Furthermore, it probably wouldn’t even work.
Repeaters have had their day, they have become obsolete.
There’s not a big difference between a repeater-based radio network using the internet as a backhaul and, say, using a mobile phone. I note my mobile phone has a tiny antenna, low transmit power and uses UHF. You D-STAR folk have it easy, right?
I don’t see any point in using repeaters for this kind of activity and I don’t understand the underlying reason for your request apart from the fact that it might be a nice challenge and offer room for experiments. I don’t want to speak for the other SOTA activators in OE but I don’t think it would receive much support. I also think it would be unfair to compare vhf repeater activations with hf activations.
For me SOTA is all about direct contacts, experimenting with mobile antennas, mobile rigs, propagation - that’s some nice playing field anyway. If we don’t succeed in making the contacts on 2m we try on one of the hf bands.
Repeater contacts wouldn’t be much of an achievement…
Tell that to our local radio club members who use the local 2m repeater for the weekly club net. The club attracts members from a wide area and using the repeater is the only way everyone can hear each other. Of course this is not the original purpose of the machine, but it could be argued as a valid one. Not as though there are many 2m mobiles in this area queuing up to use the machine…
Agreed, but if you take a dummy out of a baby’s mouth even though it isn’t sucking on it, then reap the consequences! I guess repeaters are here to stay.
Personally I have rarely used them, even when mobile. They just don’t feature in my psyche. Therefore you won’t find me trying to drum up some activity by calling for simplex contacts on a local repeater. The last time I used one was on Orkney in 2012 (while on a descent outside of the AZ) and the only person I spoke to was Stuart GM4WMM who I worked on simplex from a number of summits. The only other local I spoke to on simplex while we were up there was Rory GM4ODW/M. I see John GM4TQE/P is up there at present activating using 2m FM, so I hope there is more activity than 4 years ago.
But are they (terrestrial ones anyway)? This whole thread has, in one form or another, indicated that they are hardly used any more. Lots of possible reasons for that I guess; fewer people are comfortable operating while driving these days and those people who used to use repeaters in towns either don’t exist any more (TV repair men) or are far too busy to do anything but their job (delivery people).
Hmm, you are probably right there Richard. Even the local simplex net is “time limited” and rarely lasts much more than 45 minutes with 6 or 7 participants.Life is so busy nowadays - I rarely have long chat style QSOs.
Having just installed a rig into my car after many years without one, I have found it reasonably easy to operate while mobile despite the significant increase in traffic since I last operated mobile. It has always been a judgement call as to whether road conditions permit safe operation. No hand held mic now of course and the control is a convenient push on/off button with buttons for up and down whatever spacing I select before setting out. I decided from the outset that operating while driving had to adhere to KISS principles, so no repeater operation (CTCSS selection / time out limitations, etc). I take what contacts I can make on simplex - driving has to take priority and the operating has to be no more onerous than speaking to a passenger in the car. So no support for repeaters from me.
Repeaters provide a service that is semi professional in reliability and quality (with some exceptions). They represent a superb extension to the capabilities of hand held and mobile radios that rivals commercial networks. Indeed some repeater networks are set up by commercially experienced experts.
However that kind of service is not the reason most of us are attracted to amateur radio. We thrive on achieving difficult things, making contacts that the commercials dismiss as impossible without using intermediate stations.
I think one reason why repeaters have fallen in usage is that they make it too easy. The results are too predictable and the effort made can be minimal yet the contact distance huge. As stated earlier in this thread, a contact via a repeater is only a contact with the repeater.
However, if repeater contacts were permitted by SOTA and considered equal to direct contacts, I think that would depreciate the value of the achievements and awards in the SOTA programme. It would be similar to allowing signal reports to be relayed by others on HF. Completely against the rules of nearly all contests and awards.
It would be sad to see SOTA become so easy that it goes the way of the repeaters.
Well as we have discussed before, the use of 2m FM is patchy in the UK. I had just 2 contacts this last weekend over the 270 mile journey down to Cornwall and the 270 miles back. Had I been in or near the magic IO83 square, I would probably have been inundated with calls. To a lesser extent perhaps, this is true in the Glasgow area as I found out on a recent activation -
I suppose that there is an honourable compromise available, though whether the other members of the MT would consider it is an open question. Since it is undeniable that a repeater contact is a contact with a repeater rather than the other operators station, why not count a repeater as a station, one contact per repeater, contacts with four repeaters qualifying the summit? Simples!