You may already use the Repeaterbook app when you travel and it's a great program for that. As an offline app, it is incredibly fast at displaying repeaters around you regardless of the availability of a cellular or WiFi signal. It works anywhere, anytime. It's a truly indispensable feature when working in true emergency situations or anywhere the Internet is not available.
But the app is limited in its feature-set because it is offline. If you have Internet service and would like to take advantage of a few additional features, you can try Repeaterbook Mobile Web. This site also provides some outstanding features for the traveler!
Repeaterbook Web Mobile can provide you with up-to-the-minute updated information right from the live database. It can also use your smart phone's GPS capability to locate you and display repeaters in your area, just like the app. But it adds a little more data and features not currently available in the app. For example:
- Comments & Reviews
- Off-air repeaters
- Propagation Reports
Th feature we would like to share with you today is called "Near Me." Here is how you get to it:
First, navigate to Repeaterbook.com on your mobile device and log in with your account. You must have an account to submit data to Repeaterbook.com through Repeaterbook Web Mobile. Once you are logged in, select "Mobile (North America)" from the menu on the left.
From the Search Type Menu, choose "Near Me."
The "Near Me" feature will activate your mobile device's GPS features to acquire your current location. You may receive a prompt to request permission. When you grant it, the page should show your current location. If it is off, simply refresh the page to allow the GPS some more time to zero in on your location.
Enter the search criteria below the map in the form. Once you have entered the radius (as a minimum) and any other parameters you desire such as frequency band, features, and repeater operational status, click Search and you repeater list will appear on the screen:
You can then click on any of the repeaters to view additional details about the repeater. So far, just like the app, huh?
Since the author is an admin, there is an admin button to directly edit the repeater's details. Any Repeaterbook.com admin can do this if they have the right to edit that particular repeater. If not, the button changes to "Report Update", which is the same button given to all logged-in users to submit a request to update the repeater. You will be taken to a separate page where you can submit the update. As soon as an admin processes the update, the data is available instantly on the Web site, including Repeaterbook Mobile Web, and will be used to feed the app on the next update. In appreciation for your efforts, we will give you credit right on the page.
A map of the repeater's location is also available. You can use drag and pinch-zoom to manipulate the map. Notice on the map below there are two red squares? These are propagation reports. On your mobile device, you can click the squares and an info window will appear with the details of the report.
Then scroll to the bottom of the screen to see any credit and a special button:
Notice the Propagation Report button (circled). We want you to click this button often as it helps other users, and the repeater owner, know the approximate propagation of the repeater and that the repeater is actually on the air.
If the repeater is listed as off-air or unknown when you complete a Propagation Report, it will automatically indicate the repeater is "On-Air" instantly (no waiting for an admin to approve it!).
Adding a propagation report is easy, again, using you log on information you previously entered and your device's GPS capability.
Verify that the map shows your current location in the center (if not, refresh the page and give the GPS another opportunity to locate), choose your antenna type, and select your S-Meter reading. Click "Add Report" and you are done.
Please understand that this is very unscientific, but yet real world. Not all antennas and receivers are created equal, we get it, but the information provided is still valuable. The more propagation reports provided by the community, the more we can learn about repeaters to help sysops tune the repeaters and users find the best repeater for the location they are currently at. It also helps to update the current operational status of the repeaters.
So, whenever and wherever you travel, use Repeaterbook Mobile Web to quickly help keep Repeaterbook the most accurate and up-to-date repeater directory in the world.
Utah is home to two repeater systems that should give you coverage of the entire state. While traveling across Utah, we will try to keep you on one of these two systems.
The first system is the Intermountain Intertie. This is the preferred system to be on as it essentially covers where everything west of the Wasatch front, from St George to Tremonton. It will also travel with you to the northwest up to Boise, Idaho and to the northeast up to Rock Springs, Wyoming. The Intertite reaches into parts of Wyoming and Arizona, too. Unfortunately, there are no Intermountain Intertie repeaters headed east from I-15 on I-70, but this is where the Sinbad Desert Amatuer Radio Club System reigns supreme.
I-84/I-15 from Idaho to I-80 (Salt Lake City)
Traveling from western or central Idaho on eastbound I-84 towards Salt Lake City is problematic when first crossing the Idaho-Utah border due to terrain. When entering the state from Idaho on I-84, you should have already been on the Intermountain Intertie's Burley, Mt Harrison repeater on 147.270. The far southern edge of this repeater is about milepost 7. There are no Idaho or Utah repeaters that cover the next 27 miles, but tune to the Salt Lake City's Farnsworth Peak repeater on 147.120. This repeater is also on the Intermountain Intertie and will cover the entire Wasatch Front and I-80 west to the Nevada state line.
- Mt Harrison 147.270+ (100.0) from Idaho border to milepost 7.
- DEAD ZONE from milepost 7 to Milepost 34.
- Farnsworth Peak 147.120+ (100.0) I-15 milepost 34 into the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys.
I-15 from I-80 (Salt Lake City) to Nevada
You should start this segment on Farnsworth Peak (147.120). On I-15 from Salt Lake City, just south of Payson, you will want to switch to the Levan Peak repeater on 145.270. This repeater will keep you company until you come within the coverage area of the Frisco Peak repeater (146.960) near Holden, Utah. Stay on this repeater down past Cedar City. When the repeater gets rough, you can switch to the Utah Hill repeater on 146.820. This repeater will accompany you in to Nevada.
- Farnsworth Peak - Salt Lake City 147.120+ (100.0) I-15 mile post 35 into the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys.
- Levan Peak 145.270+ (103.5) Payson to Holden.
- Frisco Peak 146.960- (100.0) Holden to Cedar City.
- Utah Hill 146.820- (100.0) Cedar City to Nevada.
I-80 from Nevada to Salt Lake City
When entering into Utah, use the Farnsworth Peak 147.120+ (PL 100.0) repeater located on the west side of Salt Lake City. This repeater will provide coverage for the entire route. This repeater covers the entire Wasatch Front so you can use it for quite awhile if headed north or south on I-15. However, if continuing eastbound on I-80, you will lose it when crossing over the Wasatch Mountains.
I-80 from Salt Lake City to Wyoming
Once you cross the Wasatch Mountains, tune to the Scott's Peak repeater on 147.020+ (100.0). This repeater covers the whole of northeast Utah and into southwest Wyoming.
US-6/US-191 from I-15 to I-70
The Intermountain Intertie is not an option once you get east of I-15 at Spanish Fork as there are no Intermountain Intertie repeaters out this way. The best repeaters to use are the Sinbad Desert Amateur Radio Club repeaters as they are a linked system which provides more opportunities to make a contact or get help.
You can actually access a Sinbad Desert System west of the Wasatch front, so you need to decide if you want to remain on the Intermountain Intertie or switch to the Sinbad Desert System. If coming from the north towards US-6, use Lake Mountain (147.080). If coming from the south, you can use Ford Ridge (145.31).These repeaters have wide coverage of the entire Wasatch front.
When you reach the US-191 junction north of Price, you should be able to work the Cedar Mountain repeater on 147.140. This repeater should get you all the way down to US-70 where you will switch to the Great Mesa Amateur Radio Club's Baxter Pass repeater on 447.000. This repeater is in a really good location to provide coverage as soon as the Horn Mountain repeater drops off and vice versa.
- Lake Mountain, Draper 147.080+ (77.0) on the Wasatch Front and through Spanish Fork (SB I-15 to EB US-6).
- Ford Ridge 145.310- (88.5) from Yuba State Park to the Price Valley (NB I-15 to EB US-6).
- Cedar Mountain 147.140+ (88.5) on US-191 from US-6 cut-off (north of Price) to I-70.
- Baxter Pass 447.000- (107.2) from Colorado border until US-191 junction.
US-89 North from Arizona
You should already be tuned to one of two Navajo Mountain repeaters on 146.960 or 448.600. The 146.960 repeater would be preferred due to the better propagation qualities of 2-meters, but by local option the repeater may not be linked to the Intermountain Intertie. Use the 70-cm repeater as an alternate as it is always connected. In any event, these repeaters will go away once you get in to the mountains headed west. Your next option is to tune to the St George repeater on 146.82. You should be able to work this repeater well before reaching Kanab, Utah.
- Page (AZ) - Navajo Mountain 146.960- ()
- Utah Hill, St George 146.820- (100.0)
When I would travel the western US by car or fly to areas of the east coast and central plains, I always brought along a radio...and still do. I love to get on local repeaters and talk to folks in those areas....you know, come by for a visit.
The hardest part of trying to get on repeaters in areas you don't know is locating them. There are a couple of nice paper-bound directories out there, but in my experience, only about 50% of the repeaters are actually on the air. Then, to further complicate it, you can listen to most of the repeaters that are actually operational and not hear a soul on them. You sort of have to get lucky when plugging in frequencies that you will come across and active QSO...then try to call one or both of the stations when they clear.
Before cell phones were available, HAM Radio was used a lot to call 9-1-1 when coming across vehicle collisions on the nation's highways. I recommend using your cell phone first to call 9-1-1 to take a middle-man or a point of failure out of the equation...but I recently traveled through the Siskiyou Mountains of Northern California and Southern Oregon and found several areas with no coverage on either AT&T or Verizon...and this was on Interstate 5. I have been in the backwoods mountains of Oregon far away from any major highways and have been completely without cell service for hours at a time. As nice as cellular is, it is not everywhere. We travel all the time to areas where there is no cell service, especially in the summer months when we take vacations. Accidents happen all the time, and with the conveniences and medical advances of modern times, there is no need for anyone to die because no one could call for help.
So, with the need for these repeaters established and the problem of finding these repeaters identified, what is the solution?
Repeaterbook.com asks site visitors with local knowledge to let us know which repeaters match the following criteria:
- Is on the air
- Has wide area coverage
- Covers a major roadway, like an Interstate
- Is a local hangout (meaning is well-used and someone is likely monitoring)
- Is friendly
When these repeaters are identified, we tag them with the highway's name. To find out which ones they are, use the Travel Search.
The Quick Search allows you to choose a highway or route and display all repeaters within that state and on all bands. The Travel Search gives you the added capability to ignore state and provincial lines and follow a route along its entire path. For instance, you can choose I-15 and view all the repeaters that cover I-15 in California, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho. Of course, after choosing a route, if you would like to limit to a single state or province, you can do that, too. You can also select a single band, so if you just want 2-meter repeaters you can select that.
I have found that I really enjoy wide-area repeaters while traveling because it lessens the risk of falling out of range during the middle of a QSO and then trying to locate another repeater along the route. The longest range repeaters are preferred, in my opinion. However, if you are staying in a metro area and only need some local information, maybe you don't need the long-range. Whatever you think is best for your situation, you can select it to filter your search accordingly.