How to Use the Autopatch on the 145.29 MHz Machine

What is the Autopatch?

The autopatch is a special feature of the repeater system that allows licensed club members to make telephone calls by ham radio. It's primarily intended for emergency use, though limited use for personal purposes is acceptable. No business use of the autopatch is permitted.

Facts about the Autopatch

  • Calls have a time limit of three (3) minutes.  The autopatch is designed primarily for short duration communications. Lengthy phone calls could tie up the repeater, preventing its access in an emergency. The repeater controller will warn you when only thirty (30) seconds are left; when you get this message, it's time to finish the conversation.
  • Local calls only.  The autopatch cannot be used to call 800 numbers, long distance numbers, or any numbers out of our area (816 and 913 area codes).
  • Default area code is <913>  If you don't prefix your dialed number with an area code, the controller assumes 913. This is because the machine is located in the 913 area code itself. To dial a Missouri number, you must include the area code 816 in front of the number.
  • Autopatch calls are anonymous.  The repeater system blocks display of its telephone number to the party you are calling, as our controller's telephone number is confidential information. Therefore, if the number you're calling is blocking anonymous calls, you won't be able to call them through the machine.
  • Control codes are confidential.  When you join the Johnson County Radio Amateurs Club as a licensed member, you pay for the privilege of using the autopatch. The control codes issued to you are not to be divulged to anyone, even other club members. Club members needing assistance with access codes should contact a club officer for assistance.

How to Use the Autopatch -- Step by Step

1) Check to see if the repeater is in use.

  • If you have a real emergency, use the phrase "break" to break into a conversation.  Use this only if you need the autopatch in an emergency. An emergency is a situation where the safety of life or property is in immediate danger.

2) Clearly announce your intention to use the autopatch. For example, you might say:

     "This is < yourcall > requesting the autopatch."

3) Wait a few seconds to see if anyone else needs the machine.

     Someone else may have an emergency.

4) Dial the number. Use the access code provided by the club. For example, supposed that the access code is 6969 and that you want to call your friend Jay at telephone number 816-844-1212. You would key your transmitter and enter the following sequence to dial this number:

     6969 8168441212 *

  • Please note that you must end the command with a STAR (*) character, or the repeater controller will ignore your request!

5) Unkey your transmitter. You should hear the repeater controller confirm by voice that you're making an autopatch, and you should also hear the called party's phone ring.

  • To talk to the party when they answer, transmit and speak normally.
  • Tell the person you're calling by amateur radio, and that they're "on the air." This will avoid any potential embarassment.
  • Don't forget that you can't hear the other party unless you are not transmitting! Keep your transmissions brief and to the point.
  • You can prevent the other person's speech from going over the air by simply keying your transmitter. You can therefore block any undesirable material from being transmitted.

6) Finish your call. When it's time to hang up, you need to tell the controller to terminate the autopatch.

  • To do this, key your transmitter and enter the CLEAR code shown on your club membership card.keying your transmitter. This code ends with a star (*) character.
  • After entering the CLEAR code, unkey your transmitter. You'll hear the controller say the word identify, which is a reminder that you should identify your station. For example, you could say "< yourcall > clear of the autopatch."

Need More Help?

If you can't get it to work on the air, don't despair! Try contacting one of our club officers for help. You can also make a general call on the repeater for assistance; for example: This is (your call), can anyone provide assistance with the autopatch? Normally there will be someone there who can help.

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