The SSRA repeater may already be in use in a conversation. So… Listen, Listen, Listen, to make sure the repeater is NOT in a room already, and that a QSO is not in progress. Better yet, after listening for a few moments, announce “is the repeater or Wires X in use”? Once you are confident that you are not interrupting a station or a QSO, you may proceed. IDENTIFY YOUR STATION and while still on the air, announce you are accessing Wires-X. In this same transmission, key the * symbol into the repeater, and UNKEY your radio. This is also know as “Hang-Up” or “Disconnect”, which will disconnect the repeater from any Wires-X room it’s in. The repeater will answer with those 4 rapid dits (Morse code “H” for hang-up), indicating it’s disconnected.
Now that you have your desired 5 digit room #, immediately transmit DTMF character #, and your room number into the repeater pressing PTT and pressing # followed by the 5 digit room number. The repeater will either announce to you it has connected, or that the connection has failed, using a series of 5 long tones.
You have just connected to your very first room! Congratulations! VERY IMPORTANT – When entering a room, a QSO might already be in progress, so follow steps 1, 2 and 3 again. Better yet, follow them a second time. No one wants to be interrupted by someone barging into a room hollering out their call sign. Once connected, either (1) Listen for other stations, (2) Respond to a calling station, or (3) Put out your call sign with the state (Washington or Oregon) that you are calling from, and simply ask for a Wires-X contact. You will likely get a response using this method. The room you are in likely has several users in it, so make sure to follow the rules and be mindful that your transmission might be carried by dozens of repeaters systems in the USA and OVERSEAS. Speak slowly and clearly.
Use your call sign PHONETICALLY! Phonetics help immensely with stations clearly hearing your call and responding to you! Your first contact might be in Europe or Japan!
When you are in a room and establish a contact, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you not “Tailgate” or “Quick-Key”. Once the other station is done transmitting, count to 3 or 4, and then begin your transmission. When you start your own transmission, please key up, wait a second or two, THEN begin speaking. Remember, you are likely bringing up several (sometimes up to 100!) connected repeaters, and they like a little time to start transmitting before you start talking. This allows the entire system to complete the previous step before picking up your transmission. Once you are done speaking, leave your mic keyed for about 1 second (dead air), and then Un-key. This encourages the station on the other end to do the same, keeping the system flowing smoothly. Please review these points to present yourself as well prepared station.
When you are done with the Wires-X system, feel free to stay connected, in case another station wants to initiate a QSO themselves. This is called “leaving the link up”, or “keeping it connected”. If you disconnect, (dropping the link), that’s fine as well. Just be sure to use your call sign, when you key the repeater to connect (#) or disconnect (*).
ALWAYS IDENTIFY your transmission, when connecting or disconnecting the Wires-X link.
Here is something else to listen for. Once you disconnect from a room, our node will “park” itself back in the SSRA room after about 13 – 18 seconds. If you do not key a new room into the system, our node will put itself back in our own room automatically. Feel free to test this out yourself. Disconnect from the current room, and then wait and listen. it will go back to its own room about 13 – 18 seconds later. The SSRA repeater is ALWAYS in a room, even if it is our own.
Here are 2 perfectly acceptable examples…
“This is (your call sign), accessing WIRES-X”, and then without un-keying, press # and your desired DTMF characters into your radio. Now UN-KEY. You should now be connected.
The same is true when disconnecting…
Press your PTT and transmit the * (astrisk) key to disconnect and Un-Key. Don’t forget to then transmit your call sign to make your transmission legal!