Originally Posted by Bruce Miller
Smart beaconing? Periodic beaconing? Decay to on? Once you've got it all dialed in, do you actually talk to someone on the air? Like the HKØ dxpedition to Malpelo Island last month?
I heard a few brief pileups from the DXpedition, but summers are much more enjoyable working in the basement without the furnace constantly running (it's a menace both audibly and RF-wise). Plus having to go low key hidden wire has tremendously wrecked my effectiveness at home. :-(
But to the point, you can voice alert on your beacon. This is essentially a 100Hz tone/squelch that when your radio transmits a packet it will momentarily open the squelch of any radio set to listen for CTCSS-encoded signals. So it will stop muting and the operator hears the TX.
You know the sound, like you remember from years ago, the sounds of a modem connecting. When you hear this you can do one of a couple of things. QSS on 144.390 using phone with your call sign. This is just a notification, "AC0VH on 146.520" and that's it. The other station(s) will NOT reply on 144.390 but will QSY to the frequency you announced.
Alternatively, you can check your station list to see if anyone's last position report included something like "VA 146.520", "Voice Alert 146.520" or "Listening to 146.520". No one says anything on 144.390 but does CQ on the frequency listed in the position report. I have my radio beacon (on the secondary side) on every packet in the first optional data field post-pend the other side (main side) frequency the offset and tone. This happens regardless on every packet.
Most commutes I just ragchew and so I do not set the voice alert (e.g. 144.390 with DCS 023 set only on RX so that I never hear anything open the squelch) if I'm chatting, but potentially anyone who checks my packets will see what repeater I'm talking on at that time. Other times when the regular crew is not on or I don't feel like talking about the current subject, I dial up the memory location for APRS with the TX/RX CTCSS tone. I set my primary side to 146.520 most of the time when I do this and I've made a couple of contacts that way.
It would be a great way to let you know if there are other hams you would like to talk to in the area. For example, if more RS hams had APRS beacons running they could set their radio voice side to 146.460 and set a different (than the WB4APR suggested 100) tone on the beacon, say 103.5Hz, which would open the squelch only for any other RS ham within simplex range. If you hear a APRS packet, you then know to call out on 146.460. Think of it as APRS radar in a way.
I have made a few 'contacts' from the YL, but that's via the POTS when she notices I'm moving and near King Soopers. That may not be a selling point, though.