I really enjoy using the CARLA HAM Comm Network. It is primarily a platform for public events, like the Bay-to-Breakers, and an emergency and civil catastrophe communications channel.
Here is the way I use CARLA:
- I program all of the repeaters’ (AKA: Systems) frequencies, PL Link, and Local PL into my transceivers;
- CARLA labels its repeaters by the term System, and each System is located in a city; hence, I download and print a copy of CARLA’s Systems and their locations; and,
- When I talk to a HAM operator on CARLA, and I know my conversation might exceed two minutes; I verify the HAM operator’s System and ask him or her to check into that System’s Local PL to further our conversation.
So, it is important to know the System you are using on CARLA, and it it important to know the way to access the Local PL on the System you are using or other Systems on CARLA.
My naming convention is the system name and system name appended with the letter, B.
So, the way I would program CARLA’s System 2 repeater is as follows: SYS2 and SYS2B.
SYS2 has the PL Link, and SYS2B has the Local Link. I use this naming conventions for all 32 or 33 of CARLA’s Systems.
I use CARLA’s Systems’ card to determine the location of each System.
PL Link and Local PL: As stated on CARLA’s website, the PL Link to any individual CARLA System is mainly used for just a quick conversation. When transmitting on this PL Link, the transmission is sent out to all of CARLA’s 32 or 33 System repeaters, and it puts a lot of load on the system; hence, if your conversation is gonna go for over two minutes, you should match the System with the other person with whom you are conversing, then utilize that agreed upon System’s Local PL. By doing this, the conversation is restricted to only one repeater, and the conversation is not sent out to all of CARLA’s 32 or 33 repeaters; therefore, the conversation signal is not putting a strain on the CARLA network. For more information on this, visit this section of CARLA.
Mic Protocol: A slight lag time exists when keying up your mic and for CARLA to register your mic signal; so, you must first key up your mic and wait a several seconds, then speak. After you speak, keep the mic button pressed for several seconds then release. By doing this, your message will not get cut-off at the beginning nor end of your conversation. For more information on this, visit this section of CARLA.
Please visit the CARLA HAM Comm Network to learn about the system and its protocols before visiting and using CARLA.
/s/ Alfonso Faustino (K6ASF)