Operating on VHF/UHF FM repeaters is one of the most popular activities in amateur radio. For the new ham, FM repeater ops are often the first and most common on-air experiences, but accessing repeaters also represents a significant initial vexation for the new ham to overcome. Mastering the integrated concepts of frequency pairs, tones or other squelch methods, transceiver channel programming, and repeater on-air protocols is the first significant operational challenge that many hams will encounter in their new hobby.
This article introduces fundamental concepts of FM repeater operations for the new ham and depicts a high level view of typical FM phone repeater anatomy and functioning. The goal is to demystify repeaters and help the newly licensed Technician overcome any initial bewilderment about repeaters. Let’s get off to a great start in ham radio with solid footing in repeaters!