RADIO CHECKS FOR AUTHORISED VKS-737 USERS

Authorised users are welcome to run a VOICE check of their HF hardware with a base station, during any of our daily skeds (see notes below) regardless of their location. The purpose of the common 'voice' radio check is for users to both practise their radio operation and to ascertain if the communications via their set are clear and effective.

SELCALL CHECKS
Selcalls to bases are not allowed during SKED TIME because they cause disruption to the working of the telephone interconnect in use. Even in OFF-SKED TIMES, a selcall will require a phone response from our volunteers, who are only on standby for users needing remote assistance, or for emergencies. There are also STD phone costs to the network.
If you want to selcall a base as a test during OFF-SKED TIMES, we suggest you make prior arrangements with the base staff to ascertain if the exercise will be practically effective. IN ALL CASES, Selcalling and Beacon calling should be preceeded by you identifying yourself and checking if the channel is clear.

BEACON CALL CHECKS
These are appropriate as a test during OFF-SKED TIMES because they don't require a response from staff at any stage BUT ensure you know the beacon routine.

BEST TIMING
Operators who are busily attending to log-ins and other business on a sked would appreciate radio checks being left until the sked traffic lightens (usually toward the end). If traffic is light (as is usually the case in summer) you can request a check earlier in the sked.

AN ALTERNATIVE
If you have independent contact with another authorised user, you could arrange a radio check with that user, in between sked sessions. In this case, a selcall to alert that user woud be appropriate, because it is in off-sked time.

UNSATISFACTORY CONTACT ?
If your radio check is ineffective, the operator may ask for a relay - in this case, other users who do hear you may offer to take the call and respond. If the whole exercise proves unworkable, it may be that your radio is working fine, but that prevailing conditions are not good. Try again, possibly at a different time, using a different base.

NON - AUTHORISED USERS
VKS737 staff are unable to provide radio checks for non-authorised users (an aspect of our ACMA licence).

TRAINING CALLS
Should users know that their radio is working well, BUT other family members need to learn to use it, then a call-in for that purpose is appropriate also. As is the case for for radio checks, pick an appropriate sked and time (when traffic volume is low). The caller should advise that its a training call - the operator can then take a little extra time for the call and assist the caller to the required extent. The main purpose of this exercise is to have the caller gain confidence in the use of their set.

GUIDE

To run a 'voice' radio check:

1. Check your sked timetable - choose a sked.
2. Listen in to the sked.
3. Wait until regular traffic lightens off.
4. Call in, with:

"Mobile xxxx for a radio check".
Following the base operator's response.....
"This is first name - calling from current location".

The operator will provide information in return, as:

"Your signal strength is x out of 5"
"Your clarity is x out of 5"

The 5 scale for strength being approximated as:
1 - Very low (we know you are there, but detail is poor)
2 - Low (just readable)
3 - Satisfactory
4 - Good
5 - Excellent (loud)

The 5 scale for clarity being approximated as:
1 - Poor (unreliable transfer of information)
2 - Low (readable - will need to confirm some detail)
3 - Satisfactory
4 - Good
5 - Excellent (nearly as clear as a telephone)


Both of these values will then be qualified by the operator, comparing them to the normally expected quality of communication factors for someone in your location, at this time (that is, a poor copy might be "normal" for your location, and the base in question). Users should note that "HF conditions" vary a lot across the nation due to various influences. An experienced operator can indicate what your expectations should be, for the distance covered, on the frequency chosen, from your current location, at that time, under the prevailing conditions.