Frequently Asked Questions

What do all the columns on the 'DARN - System Status' page mean?

  • Name A designation of what the repeater is called.
  • Location Site in which the repeater is located. Click on this to see the site's coverage area.
  • Output Frequency the repeater transmits on.
  • Encode CTCSS (PL/Tone) frequency the repeater transmits.
  • Input Frequency the repeater receives on.
  • Decode CTCSS (PL/Tone) frequency the repeater receives.
  • RB Reverse Burst phase.
  • Status Is the repeater working properly? Click on this to see the site's detailed status and updates.
  • Notes Notes about the repeater's operation.

 

What are all the beeps and boops I hear on the repeater system?

All DARN sites use telemetry to indicate the configuration status of the radios at the site. Telemetry is NOT The same as "Courtesy Tones." Therefore, every member can know the configuration of the system when he or she starts to use it. The telemetry aids the operator in understanding the configuration of the system to ensure its use. Every tone the controller outputs, or the absence of particular tones, indicates the configuration of a particular site. 

  • Beep-Boop Interfaced - The Repeater is connected to at least one of the Links at the site. Two (2) tones are sent, a high frequency tone (Beep), meaning Interfaced, and a low frequency tone (Boop) meaning the Repeater to Link Carrier Delay is ON.
  • Beep-Boop-Boop Interfaced with Long Link Carrier Delay - Interfaced as above, but with Long Link Carrier Delay turned ON.
  • Beep Interfaced without Link Carrier Delay - Interfaced as above, but with Remote to Link Carrier Delay OFF
  • Bop Remote Monitors Link - Interfaced to Link but does not transmit on any of the Links. The Link receive audio is put into an Monitor Mute mode. Monitor Mute mode means that the Link audio will be transmitted on the Repeater until a signal is received on the Repeater receiver, at which time the Link audio will be Muted for the duration of the time the signal is present on the Repeater receiver. The Repeater must be interfaced to the Links before this function will work
  • DTMF "0" Remote Radio TX Enabled - A DTMF "0" indicating the Remote Base Radio Transmitter is enabled at the Remote Site.

 

Why do other members sometimes tell me to key my microphone first?

On a linked repeater system, quick keying is bad. This isn't simplex where you're taking directly to another station without going through any kind of relay. If you key up and don't wait for all the other sites to "wake up," users on the other end of the system may never hear you--or if they do hear you, your first second or so will be cut-off.

On DARN, repeaters down the link take a second or so to come online after an operator keys their radio.This isn't a built-in delay in the controllers, it's caused by transmitters and receivers coming up, as well as PL decoders decoding proper signals. (side note: in the early days when we didn't have to use PL on every link, things would come up a lot quicker. With all the ambient noise at commercial radio sites these days, PL is necessary on all receivers to keep out unwanted signals.)

When you key your radio on a DARN repeater, the site you're transmitting to does a lot of things all at once:

  1. Receives your signal
  2. Decodes your PL tone
  3. Brings up all interfaced [link] transmitters

Then the sites on the other end of the links have to do pretty much the same thing all over again, and again, and again, depending on how many links you are going through to get to the other end of the system. Sometimes this can take a second or so to happen.

For instance when you key down on Santa Ynez Peak, your signal has to travel from there through five (5) sites to get to San Pedro Hill (Santa Ynez Peak -> Mt. D -> PV Switch -> Verdugo -> San Pedro Hill).

We do employ long carrier delay on all sites, so when you key up for at least five seconds each transmission the link transmitter stays on for 45 seconds, and this helps a little bit.

However... Be patient! Get in the habit of keying up your microphone a second or so BEFORE you start to talk to ensure your complete transmission is being heard on the other end of the system.

 

Why do the repeaters sometimes stay keyed up for what seems like forever?

DARN uses LONG Link Carrier Delay. What this means is, when activated, a link will transmit for 45-seconds after an operator unkeys, allowing the user, within 45 seconds, to not have to wait for all the link transmitters on the path they're using to key up again.

LONG Link Carrier Delay is activated by an operator keying down continuously on an input (talking) for approximately 5 seconds. At this time, the unkey telemetry changes from a beep-boop to a beep-boop-boop, letting the operator know that the site they're on has changed configurations.

This typically allows for a fluid conversation where each operator on different remote sites can talk without waiting for link transmitters to engage each and every time they key up.