Basic Radio Settings Descriptions

Realize that the programmer for your radio reflects your radio. The RT Systems programmer takes all the options of a particular model out of the "black box" and puts them on the computer screen where they are easier to consider and experiment with.

There are no tricks here. If your radio has an option, it will be in the program (with a few limitations). If your radio does not have a certain feature, that option will not be in the program (again, with a very few exceptions). The programming process is to set the options for the features of the radio just as you would from the radio's face. No programmer can make your radio do what it is not designed to do. If you find software that will make your radio do "extra things", it threatens to damage the internal electronics of the unit and possibly render the radio useless.

Presented in this article is a list of the more important radio settings that you will find in the RT Systems programmers along with a brief description. Please note that this is a general list: some radios may not have all of these settings and some will have settings not described here. If you are uncertain about what a setting does on your partcular radio, check the manual for the radio. You will find details specific to your particular model there.

For the absolute beginner, the most important settings are Receive Frequency, Offset Direction, Tone Mode, and CTCSS. In the programmer, select Edit | Simple mode to hide other settings that you don't need to consider... yet. You can come back to those later when you understand your radio and it's functionality.

  1. Receive frequency - This is the most important column. The memory channel cannot be programmed without it.
    • It is the frequency your radio listens on.
    • It is the frequency published for a repeater.

    Once you type in the Receive frequency and press enter, the program may automatically set the transmit frequency, offset frequency and offset direction based on standards for the band.

  2. Transmit frequency - The frequency you use to transmit to the repeater or to another radio.
    • This is the frequency the radio transmits on.
    • Usually this value is not published for a repeater. If it is, enter what you see in the publication exactly as you see it.
    • The transmit frequency is controled by the Offset Frequency and the Offset Direction. See those sections for more explanation. If you are given a specific frequency, enter it in place of any value that appears in this field automatically.

    This seems really complicated, but it is not. Just let the program take care of this entry. You'll be right many, many more times than not.

  3. Offset Frequency - This is the difference between the Receive and Transmit frequencies..
    • There are standards for the 2M, 440MHz and 6M bands that are already in the program.
    • The program will complete this field automatically based on the band of the Receive Frequency
    • Standards: 2M Band = 600 kHz / 440Mhz Band = 5.0 MHz / 6M Band = 500 kHz.
    • If ever what you need is different from what the programmer uses, change the value manually by typing in the value you want for this channel

    Yes, this is real math... but you don't have to do it. If you're curious, just subtract the receive and transmit frequencies to check the value of the offset frequency.

  4. Offset Direction - Is the transmit frequency greater than (+) or less than (-) the receive frequency?
    • Many publications show a + or - with the repeater frequency indicating the Offset Direction.
    • Usually the program will be right when it sets this column, just check for a Minus or -Dup for a - in a publication or a Plus or +Dup if the publication shows a +.
    • If you are talking radio to radio, set Offset Direction to Simplex so the Receive and Transmit frequencies will be the same.
    • Some radios have a No Transmit option that disables transmission on this channel. Note: If your radio does not offer No Transmit and you want to listen on a channel without the fear of interference through your transmission, set the Transmit frequency to one in the ham band that is not used in your area and set the power to low. Then if you do transmit, at least you will be in the part of the band where it's legal for you.

    Since these are set on a standard by the frequency coordinators, only very ocassionally will this be different from what the programmer sets. But double checking never hurts.