Listening to Amateur Radio Communicatons

Amateur Radio Bands

US residents who have passed an exam and received an amateur radio license can communicate on up to 18 separate amateur radio bands. In rural, mountainous areas such as the Moshannon Valley, the 2-meter band (144 MHz) has proven to be very effective for regional communications. The 70-cm band (440 MHz) is especially good for short-range communications using handheld radios where a smaller antenna is desired.

No license is required to listen to amateur frequencies, and they can be a valuable source of information about local conditions.

IMPORTANT : In order to transmit on amateur frequencies, an amateur radio license is required. A GMRS license does NOT allow you to transmit on amateur frequencies, and an FCC-certified GMRS radio will not permit you to do so.

If you wish to become a licensed radio amateur, consider joining PARA or one of the other amateur radio clubs in our region. We can help you to understand radio concepts, and we can administer the test needed to get your Technician Class License.

Please note that an amateur license does not permit you to transmit on GMRS frequencies. You would need a GMRS license (no test required) to transmit on GMRS frequencies and an amateur license to transmit on amateur frequencies. Many PARA members hold both types of license.

Amateur Simplex Channels

During an emergency or at other times, amateur radio operators within a specific neighborhood or town may contact one another using one of the national calling frequencies. After a contact is established, they may continue their conversation on an adjacent talk channel in order to keep the calling frequency open.

Simplex communications do not involve a repeater, so their range is limited. They are generally used when people are close enough to one another that a repeater is not needed.

Channel Number
Channel Name
46VHF5202-meters146.520National 2-meter simplex calling frequency
47VHF5502-meters146.5502-meter simplex talk frequency
48VHF5802-meters146.5802-meter simplex talk frequency
49UHF00070-cm446.000National 70-cm simplex calling frequency

Amateur Repeater Channels

Listed below are amateur 2-meter and 70-cm repeater channels that can be received in and around the Moshannon Valley.

Channel Number
Channel Name
DescriptionSponsoring Club
or Individual
50ALT6102-meters146.610123.0Altoona 610 repeaterHARC
51ALT8202-meters146.820123.0Altoona 820 repeaterHARC
52BOA8502-meters146.850146.2Boalsburg 850 repeaterNARC
53HUN7002-meters146.700123.0Huntingdon 700 repeaterHCARC
54PHB6402-meters146.640173.8Philipsburg 640 repeaterPARA
55RAT42570-cm443.425Rattlesnake 425 repeaterK3HOT
56RAT4302-meters146.430173.8Rattlesnake 430 repeaterPARA
57RAT7602-meters146.760146.2Rattlesnake 760 repeaterNARC
58ROC2552-meters147.255173.8Rockton 255 repeaterCCARC

Weather Information

The Rattlesnake 425 (RAT425) repeater is linked to the W3ND SKYWARN repeater located at Ellendale Forge in Dauphin County, PA. Anything received by one repeater is instantly retransmitted by both repeaters. This linkage is intended to facilitate the exchange of information among weather spotters and National Weather Service personnel located at the State College and Harrisburg NWS offices.

Tip: During a severe weather event, this may be a good source of additional weather-related information. If you have two radios, you could use one to monitor an NOAA weather channel while using the other to monitor the Rattlesnake 425 repeater.

Amateur Radio Nets

A radio net is a group of three or more radio users communicating with each other on a common channel or frequency.

Radio nets provide a way for licensed radio operators to continually test their equipment and practice their skills in order to be better prepared for an emergency. Some nets also have a round of comments where each participant can share a few thoughts. Over time, this allows the participants to become better acquainted with one another.

In a free net, any participant may speak at any time. Most nets are directed nets in which a net control station (NCS) starts the net and calls on each participant when it is their turn to speak.

Listed below are some regularly-scheduled radio nets that you may be able to pick up from locations in and around the Moshannon Valley.

Sat9:00 pmPARA Weekly NetAmateur 2mPARARattlesnake 43056
Sun8:00 pmBlair County Weekly NetAmateur 2mHARCAltoona 82051
Sun8:30 pmHuntingdon County Weekly NetAmateur 2mHCARCHuntingdon 70053
Sun8:30 pmQuarter Century Wireless Assn Weekly NetAmateur 2mNARCBoalsburg 85052
Sun9:00 pmCentral Counties ARES/RACES/ACS Weekly NetAmateur 2mNARCBoalsburg 85052
Mon8:00 amAltoona Over-The-Hill NetAmateur 2mHARCAltoona 82051
Mon8:00 pmTreasure Lake Sportsmen’s Club Weekly NetAmateur 2mTLSCRockton 25558
Tue8:00 amAltoona Over-The-Hill NetAmateur 2mHARCAltoona 82051
Tue7:30 pmClearfield County ARES/RACES/ACS Weekly NetAmateur 2mCCARCRockton 25558
Wed8:00 amAltoona Over-The-Hill NetAmateur 2mHARCAltoona 82051
Wed8:00 pmNARC Friendship RoundtableAmateur 2mNARCBoalsburg 85052
Wed9:00 pmCentral PA SKYWARN Weather NetAmateur 70 cmHRACRattlesnake 42555
Thu8:00 amAltoona Over-The-Hill NetAmateur 2mHARCAltoona 82051
Fri8:00 amAltoona Over-The-Hill NetAmateur 2mHARCAltoona 82051

Amateur Radio Clubs

Listed below are radio clubs whose repeaters can be received in and around the Moshannon Valley.

Club AbbreviationClub NameCounty
CCARCClearfield County Amateur Radio ClubClearfield
HARCHorseshoe Amateur Radio ClubBlair
HCARCHuntingdon County Amateur Radio ClubHuntingdon
NARCNittany Amateur Radio ClubCentre
PARAPhilipsburg Amateur Radio AssociationCentre & Clearfield

Amateur Radio Terminology

73Amateur slang for “Best regards”. The term originated in the days of Morse code, and it is represented by this symmetrical pattern of dots and dashes: _ _ . . . . . . _ _
base stationA radio transceiver installed at a fixed location, typically at the operator’s home. A base station typically has an external antenna mounted at or above the roof line. Base stations typically have greater range than HT’s or mobile rigs.
canSlang term for a cavity filter, most of which are cylindrical in shape.
cavity filterA type of RF filter that operates on the principle of resonance.
doublingDoubling occurs when two radio operators transmit on the same frequency at the same time. Other people listening to the same frequency will typically hear an unpleasant growling sound and will be unable to hear what either person is saying.
duplexerA type of RF filter that permits a transmitter and a receiver to simultaneously use a single antenna.
full quietingDescribes a signal that is clear, free of static, and easily readable.
hi hiAmateur slang for laughter. Similar in meaning to LOL.
HTA handheld transceiver.
feed lineA cable that connects an antenna to a radio device.
mag-mountAn antenna with a magnetic base that is designed to be used on the roof of a vehicle.
mobile rigA radio transceiver designed to be installed in a vehicle. A mobile rig typically has greater power and greater range than an HT.
NCSNet control station.
net control operatorPerson who starts and runs a radio net.
offsetDescribes the difference between a repeater’s input and output frequencies.
omniAn omnidirectional antenna.
permission to secureRequested by someone who wishes to leave a radio net early and “secure” his station.
picket fencingA clicking noise that is sometimes heard when one or more people are communicating from mobile radios in moving vehicles.
QRMManmade noise caused by things like fluorescent lamps, LED lamps, LED billboards, computers, and AC power adapters.
QRNNaturally-occurring noise caused by lightning and other atmospheric conditions.
QSYMove to a different frequency.
QTHRefers to a radio operator’s location.
RFRadio frequency.
steamA hissing sound (white noise) heard when a weak signal is received.
YagiA type of directional antenna.