I’ve been listening to the local repeater more over the last week than I have in years. Each morning, from about 6am until 8am a small group operates the Wet Net – a precipitation report from around the county that is collected and transmitted to someone up the chain at the conclusion of each net. Since it runs for a couple of hours and there is typically only about fifteen check-ins, it provides time for friendly early morning chats about everything. I’d hazard a guess that morning time-slot accounts for about 80 percent of all the daily traffic on the repeater.

My renewed interest is mostly because I haven’t installed any antennas at the new place and I’m just listening on a handheld transceiver with an attached antenna. That seems to work well enough though there is a little “fry” on the received signal with just the handy scratchy. I need to get busy installing a few antennas…

There was a point in my early radio history when I was pretty smitten with FM and repeaters. The technology wasn’t brand new when I got a license, but it was evolving quickly and I felt it was the cutting edge of the hobby and a proper place for a young guy like me to hang out. Fast-forward ten years or so and I had migrated completely to HF and other facets that had little to do with FM or repeaters. For some reason I held a fairly dim view of repeater activity and avoided it altogether for decades.

That was an incredibly short-sighted attitude that caused me to lose touch with almost all the local hams and that was my loss, not theirs. I don’t know what I was thinking?

This morning is the first Tuesday of the month and from the chatter, I gather this is the day many of the hams gather for breakfast at some local eatery. As it turns out, I couldn’t participate today even if I was one of the gang, but it’s something I look forward to joining one of these days.

A good first step is probably to get back on the repeater on a regular basis and get to know everyone. Again. Some of the names are familiar, but for the most part, this is a small group of hams who should be my friends instead of just random “contacts” on the local repeater.

It’s another lesson learned and golly they are stacking up on me.