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SJC1 - 147.210 + 114.8 Stockton (Stockton Pri)
SJC2 - 146.655 - 100.0 Tracy (County Pri)
SJC3 - 145.210 - 100.0 Tracy (County B/up)
SJC4 - 147.090 + 114.8 Lodi (North Pri)
SJC5 - 146.985 - 100.0 Manteca
SJC6 - 147.165 + 107.2 SDARC
SJC7 - 147.015 + 114.8 Copperopolis
SJC8 - 147.105 + 94.8 Stockton
SJC9 - 146.895 - 114.8 Mt. Oso - Disabled
SJC10 - 444.400 + 114.8 Copperopolis
SJC11 - 444.325 + 94.8 Stockton (Stockton Pri)
SJC12 - 443.825 + 107.2 Mt. Oso
SJC13 - 444.575 + 107.2 Stockton
SJC14 - 444.850 + 114.8 127.3 Tracy 
SJC15 - 444.500 + 114.8 Stockton
LLNL - 146.775 - 100.0 Livermore

TAC1 - 146.550

TAC3 - 146.535
TAC4 - 146.430
TAC6 - 156.565
TAC7 - 146.595
TAC8 - 146.445
All simplex

Opinions expressed are my own. I hope they are useful, but policies and procedures vary widely from one location and group to another.

What I describe may not work for you and may even be unsafe. Always follow your local policies and procedures!

Also, unless specifically mentioned, this site is about VHF/UHF operations and not HF, which is very often different for very good reasons.

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N5FDL/CEVOL Repeaters

Stockton: 147.210 + N5FDL and 444.500 + K6TRK Both PL 114.8 (linked)

Copperopolis/Gopher Ridge: 147.015 + and 444.400 + N5FDL UHF is Yaesu System Fusion analog and digital — tone on analog only

Mt. Oso: 146.895 - N5FDL and 443.825 + PL 107.2 (not linked)

Tracy: 444.850 + KB6EMK PL 127.3

Affiliated Repeaters

Bear Mtn.: 146.090 + and 444.250 + WB6ASU Both PL 114.8 (linked)

Mt. Delux: 145.210 - PL 100.0 WA6SEK (10mi S of Tracy)

All repeaters are open to all users.

Entries in PL tone (2)


Choosing a PL tone for your repeater

I was recently asked how a new repeater operator should choose a PL tone for a new machine. My comments are specific to Northern California, your local situation may vary.

  1. No assigned tones — We do not assign PL tones here in Northern California. Some places, however, may coordinate both frequency and tone.
  2. Pick a tone that isn’t being used. A good way to test for conflicts is to connect a radio to the repeater antenna and transmit on the frequency you are seeking, changing the PL tone every time you transmit. This ought to find repeaters on your frequency as well as the tones used to access them.
  3. Do the same for the repeater pairs one above and one below your desired pair. Why risk interference when it can be avoided?
  4. Check with your coordinator to make sure you haven’t missed repeaters. In Northern California, you can do this online at the website. I don’t trust the RF Finder database and app for any purpose. Just too inaccurate.
  5. Yes, you should transmit a tone and your users should use it — Sometimes VHF and even UHF signals propagate over long distances. When this happens, users will unexpectedly hear another repeater on “your” frequency. Transmitting a PL tone (the same as the tone used to access your repeater) goes a long way to solving this on-channel interference issue.

There is probably more to this than I have talked about. So leave questions or comments and I will answer them and then change this post to reflect the new information.


Should PL Tones Be Ditched During Emergencies?

“I would have reported this sooner, but I didn’t know the PL tone for your repeater!”This is a guest post by David Gillespie W4LHQ, the first of what I hope will be many. If you would like to write for this blog, you are certainly welcome. Send me an e-mail about what you have in mind — de N5FDL

During emergencies should local repeaters be set so a PL (aka CTCSS) tone is no longer required to “open” the repeater for retransmission of the user’s signal?

This would open the repeater, perhaps, to more users—especially casual users who don’t already have the PL programmed into their radios—but also potentially opens the repeater to more interference for operators who don’t intend to use that particular repeater, intermod, etc.

And do you really want these casual users just showing up during an emergency? Maybe not, but what if they have an emergency to report?

The benefit of getting rid of tones during an emergency is that it opens the repeater to more users, such as those from out-of-the-area who many not have access to a repeater directory that would tell them what tone is required to access a particular repeater.

When I am in an area outside my normal stomping grounds and there happens to be an emergency, such as severe weather, I might try to raise the local repeater with a storm report. Only when the repeater doesn’t come back to me do I realize it requires a PL tone.

But, which tone is required?

I have a few choices: I can listen to the repeater and hope to catch an operator announcing the PL tone, or the recorded repeater ID that indicates the PL tone. Of coursing, during emergencies, many repeaters are reset so voice IDs are replaced by short CW IDs only.

I might dig into my repeater directory and find the tone there, if my copy is both in the car and not too badly outdated. Or I might call a friend to see what info they have, assuming cell coverage is available. Maybe I can try the Internet and see if this repeater has a web page, assuming I have my laptop and a broadband connection.

Of course, by this time my lowering of the rain-free base has gone through its rotating wall cloud phase and has begun producing a debris swirl at ground level. So much for the warning before the tornado roars through.

If repeater operators were to drop the PL tone requirement during emergencies, it would allow folks with an “emergent need” to access their machines. 

The more I think about this, the more I think we need a standard way to bypass the tone requirement altogether or perhaps build repeaters that use both a machine-specific tone and a standard reqional or national tone that could be easily remembered.

I understand that PL tones provide some measure of “protection” from other repeaters with strong signals on the same frequency pair, our local repeater had to add a tone just this year to clean up the airwaves.  But I wonder if a little interference and the occasional dimwitted outsider might not be a good trade for making hams and the community just a little bit safer.

Please use the comment feature and tell me what you think? What happens where you live?