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First Time Blocked

First Block

We often speak of our node getting blocked from the reflectors but you never get so see what we receive when we do get blocked.  This is not a serious problem but I post it so that everyone can see that we have to answer these blocks when they happen.  This is why we like to keep a control operator available when the node is connected to a reflector.  Prior to actual blocking us, they will call our node 4122 over the radio repeatedly to tell us that something is going wrong so that we can correct it before getting blocked.  In this case, I was not paying attention but left the node connected.

Take note of the reason we were blocked in this instance.  “Your station has a very noisy carrier, blowing squelch”.

This really doesn’t mean much to most people but because it has happened to us so many times, I know exactly what this is and so it is an easy fix.  What they are hearing on the other end is someone here in the Oklahoma City area, with an extremely weak signal, trying to speak to someone on the reflector.  We have already identified that the 443.3 has a weak receive and so if you get more than three miles away from the repeater with a mobile, you are not likely to be able to carry on a conversation.  This poor soul that was probably trying to communicate over the node, had no idea how weak their signal was.  The repeater is transmitting with a pretty good signal for a good distance but the receive is not.  This person most likely heard a good signal coming back to them and thought their signal going back out would be similar.

This would be the case under normal circumstances but unfortunately the repeater is having some receive issues and the poor person had no idea they were coming in much much weaker than the signal they were hearing.  I knew this before but I took a risk and left the node connected because I wanted to give the new node a good workout over the weekend.

My irresponsible act of leaving the radio to fold and put away laundry for 10 minutes resulted in our being blocked.  That is okay and if you are the person this happened to, don’t worry about it.  I am considering opening up the Echo reflector so that people can 1. Check the status of the repeater and 2. Check their signal coming back over the Echo reflector before connecting to a real reflector where people are carrying on a conversation.

This post is not to chew anyone out but to help educate on some of the pit falls of dealing with a node when connected to reflectors.  Until we determine what is causing the weak signal, we don’t want to leave the node unattended while connected to a reflector.  Actually, we should never leave it unattended even when things are going smooth.  Without fail, the moment you leave it unattended, someone will start misbehaving over the node on purpose. It is just the nature of having a node. It is nothing unique to our area. Anywhere you have a system like this, there is bound to be someone that cannot behave and so control operators are necessary.

For the record, I am very pleased with the performance of this node. The repeater receive issues are one thing but this node has been connected nearly 24 hours a day since Friday and has not had any issues so far.  We are well on our way to being back in service.  I believe this receive issue can be handled and fixed so I wouldn’t be too concerned. Thank you for stopping by.

Paul, K5GLH

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