I just bought a 2m/70cm handheld. I programmed in the local repeaters and have been scanning them for a couple of days. Only about twice have I heard one of the repeaters come up and identify itself. From reading, my understanding is that the repeaters are supposed to identify themselves periodically, more often than every hour. I am confused about why I am not hearing them more often.

I did see a conversation on Reddit that suggested that a reason one may not hear the repeaters in cases like this might be because they can be configured to transmit CTCSS tone only when someone keys up the repeater. However, I have the R-CTCSS turned off on my radio, so I wouldn't expect this to be the cause (but maybe I'm mistaken on this).

Am I mistaken in my reasoning somewhere?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site :-) $\endgroup$
    – webmarc
    Jul 22 '21 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I appreciate it! 73 $\endgroup$
    – plafratt
    Jul 22 '21 at 21:32

(written assuming you and the repeater are in the USA)

Also, repeaters (indeed, any station aside from telemetry) are only required to identify every 10 minutes during communication and at the end of communication. If a repeater hasn't had any usage in the past 10 minutes, it has no need to identify (though many are programmed to periodically do anyway).

You mentioned scanning several repeaters, it's also possible that you missed the bulk (or even all) of a repeater's ID while zooming thru other frequencies, depending on how many you have programmed.

Regardless, when a repeater transmits a tone, it will NOT prevent you from receiving the tone UNLESS you've programmed the radio to require the tone.

Assuming you are licensed, you can do a simple test of transmit your call sign (you may even have a conversation with another ham!) and wait for no more than 10 min for the ID. And as @rclocher3 points out, the polite way to test a repeater is to announce what you're doing, like "W7ABC testing".

Hope this is helpful!

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    $\begingroup$ Ah, I see... it's only every 10 minutes while in use. I guess the times I heard one was when someone keyed up the repeater without identifying (whoops!). Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – plafratt
    Jul 22 '21 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ Yep, a typical repeater in the US will ID ten minutes or so after being "kerchunked". By the way, the polite way to test a repeater is to announce what you're doing, like "W7ABC testing". $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Jul 23 '21 at 0:42
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    $\begingroup$ Our local VHF repeater will transmit its ID in FM Morse after the first incoming "wakeup" transmission drops CTCSS, and then every 10 minutes under the conversation. $\endgroup$ Jul 23 '21 at 2:37
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    $\begingroup$ @rclocher3 such an important piece of etiquette that I neglected! Incorporated it into the answer. $\endgroup$
    – webmarc
    Jul 23 '21 at 12:08

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