Friday, March 11, 2016

TMRS: Too Many Radios Syndrome

Have you ever found yourself involved in an ongoing QSO for an extended period of time  on a repeater only to find out later that you were inadvertently cross-band the whole time?

If so you may be suffering from TMRS­—Too Many Radios Syndrome.

Sure, it all started innocently enough with the purchase of your fist dual VFO rig for the car.  You thought to yourself, hey, this is great!  I can monitor more than one frequency or band at the same time!  I can even scan multiple bands at the same time—neat!  Then one day it happened... You were driving along and heard someone throw their call out into the ether.  You picked up your microphone without looking down and replied with your callsign and soon you were having a nice QSO with a fellow ham.

What you and the other ham didn’t realize, however, was you were talking on a 440 repeater and the ham you were talking to was replying on a 2 meter machine.  How can this happen?  It’s simple really, you were both probably monitoring 2 of the club’s repeaters on dual VFO rigs.  You had your transmit selection set for the 440 side and the other ham had theirs set on 2 meters when they threw their call looking for a QSO.  When you answered the call you were  transmitting on the 440 side, which the other ham was also listening to, and he, assuming you were answering his call on 2 meters, replied to you on the other repeater which you were also listening to.

We have dual-band, tri-band and quad-band rigs to choose from.  We have mixed mode rigs (FM analog/D-Star for example).  Now there’s talk of rigs that will combine even more modes!

No big deal for you guys, but to anyone listening in you probably both sounded like you were crazy people talking to yourselves!

Now add in some more complications like a D-Star radio, maybe a 900 Mhz transceiver, DMR, Fusion and maybe MotoTurbo for good measure.  Also, let’s not forget those of you out there with GMRS licenses too, and there’s probably no room for your XYL (or even a napkin) left in your vehicle.

Hams are nothing if not collectors of technology.  We love our toys—essential emergency communications infrastructure is the excuse we use to try to convince ourselves and others that we’re not suffering from something that can only be diagnosed by a visit to a professional and a deep search of  the DSM-V.

Oh, and don’t get me started on the emergency service fanatics!  Some of these hams are carrying so many HTs and spare batteries that they wouldn’t be allowed on a cruise ship for fear they may cause it to take on excess water or at the least cause it to ride dangerously low in the water and risk running aground on a reef or sandbar.

Just how many different modes do we need for FM repeaters? We’re approaching a tipping point where it will soon be possible for every ham on the planet to have their own individual personalized mode at which time they won’t have anyone else to talk to.

Don’t think it could happen?  Next time you go to a large event with ARES support look around at some of the people who are there to help.  I can guarantee you will see hams there with 4 or more radios operating with at least as many different modes.

We have to stop this insanity while we still can.