Programmed My Handheld with West L.A. Repeaters

Mar 25, 2021

I finally got around to using the RT Systems software and cable to program the West L.A. repeaters into my Yaesu FT-70D handheld.

I used the RepeaterBook Search to load the repeaters within 25 miles of me here in Venice, and then wrote them out to the radio. It was easy.

With the frequencies loaded, I'm listening as the radio scans all the local repeaters. I picked up several conversations at my desk inside, with just the rubber ducky antenna. Now I'm monitoring the closer Culver City repeater K6CCR, but not hearing anything yet.

And I can more easily monitor the Thursday WARC/LAERA Net on the Mount Wilson repeater N6CIZ. I don't know whether I'll hear it down here near the beach. I'll try going outside and try several of my antennas.

There's also the Wednesday WARC UHF Net on K6CCR. I expect that'll be easier to hear.

Update after the Thursday net: I had no trouble receiving the net on my handheld, even at my desk inside. A little less static when I went out in the front yard. I listened using all three of the handheld antennas I have: the rubber ducky that came with the handheld, a Diamond SRJ77CA, and even the little Diamond SRH805 I have for the PicoAPRS. They all worked equally well, so N6CIZ is more powerful than I thought. I didn't try to check in, maybe next week!

I have the full RepeaterBook database installed on my Android phones, too. (Apps: Android or iOS.) In an emergency outside of the Venice area, I might use that to look up a local repeater and key in the details to the radio. But when I'm here, the radio's memory is way easier. Of course, the radio's computer is powerful enough to search RepeaterBook directly, but it doesn't have enough memory to hold the whole database. When I travel in my VW camper through remote areas, I'd sure like to have a mobile rig that knows the local repeaters from just the GPS location!

It still bugs me that there seems to be no open source alternative to the RT Systems software. I haven't yet looked into whether Yaesu documents the hardware and software interface to do the programming. I don't know what the hardware in the RT Systems USB cable does to interface to the FT-70D's mic/phone jack, but it wouldn't be hard to put together with DIY parts.

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