Guide – Ham Radio Operating Dos and Don’ts

It’s been suggested that Essex Ham produces a guide to help with addressing some of the more common Dos and Don’ts. Help us to collate a list by adding your suggestions below…

 

Repeaters

Timeouts: Typically a repeater has a “timeout”. If you exceed the timeout, you’ll be cut off and people won’t be able to hear you. Find out how long your local repeater’s timeout is, and try not to exceed it.  The GB3DA repeater has a timeout of 2 minutes

Calling: You don’t call CQ on a repeater. Typically, you say “This is {callsign} listening through {repeater name}”, for example… “This is M6QQQ listening through GB3DA for any contacts”

If no-one responds after a few calls, take a break for a few minutes, in case others want to put out a call on the repeater.

Hints – Joining a Net: If you’re on a net, expect to have to wait your turn. Also, be respectful of others and keep your turn short if the net is busy. Repeatedly taking a “k” (resetting the timeout to get another few minutes) can be annoying for others waiting patiently for their go. Butting in out of sequence, or ‘breaking’ in when it’s not your turn can be seen on some nets as rude and disruptive.
The key is to listen before joining, to get a feel for a net’s etiquette and style.

For more on using repeaters, see our Using Amateur Radio Repeaters Guide

 

 

2m and 70cm Calling Channel

The 2m FM voice calling channel is 145.500MHz and the 70cm FM voice calling channel is 433.500MHz. Here’s how to use them:

  • Tune to the calling channel, and listen to make sure it’s not in use
  • Call CQ, making sure you give your callsign clearly and concisely
  • Leave a decent length pause for people to respond, before calling CQ again
  • If no-one responds after a few calls, take a break for a few minutes, in case others want to put out a call.
  • When you’ve made contact, move away from the calling channel, so that others can use it. This involves finding a free frequency and checking it’s not in use

For more, and examples, see our video and sample script – On-Air QSO example

SSB calling? The frequencies are 144.300MHz and 432.200MHz. These are labelled in the band plan as “SSB Centre of Activity”

 

Band Plans

Please use the band plans and make sure you only transmit where you should be transmitting. The band plans are there to divide up each band fairly, and so people know where to operate voice, Morse, data without conflicting.

It’s worth printing out a copy of the appropriate band plan from here: RSGB Band Plan

 

Calling CQ

  • First, find a frequency – Check the band plan to make sure you’re calling in the right part of the band
  • Listen to make sure the frequency isn’t in use
  • Call CQ, making sure you give your callsign clearly and concisely.
  • On HF, you’ll need to call CQ several times continuiously to allow people to find you, tune in to your signal and catchyour callsign. You’ll often need to give your callsign using the phonetic alphabet.
  • Leave a decent pause for people to respond, before calling CQ again

 

Member Tips:

  • Do label your antenna cables  (Submitted by Mitchell 2E0EMO via Twitter)
  • Make sure not to put the pl259 thread on the wrong way (Submitted by Mitchell 2E0EMO via Twitter)

 

Other Handy Pages:

 

Suggestions?

Any more suggestions? Please add them as a comment below, and we’ll update the main article

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