Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Too many repeaters

Is there some law that requires ham radio sites to have atrocious web design? Some of the sites I've been at recently (and I won't name names, not right now) have just horrible web design. Blinky graphics, animated horizontal rules, busy background patterns... it's Geocities all over again!

One thing that I've been frustrated by recently is the lack of useful repeater listings for Chicagoland. Most of the listings I can find just list the city or town for the repeater. This is multiply frustrating for me where I am. First, there are just dozens of little suburbs around here, many of which the names of which I forget, and scanning a list of repeaters in Illinois sorted alphabetically for the ones near me is challenging and tedious. Second, a repeater in Chicago may or may not be close enough for me to use; Chicago is a big city and a repeater might not cover the entire city if it's not high enough or is on the wrong side of the Sears Tower or something. Third, many repeaters are listed with a city/town of the residence of the operator or the trustee, not the actual location of the transmitter (which may be miles away and several towns over). K5EHX's repeater list tries to rectify this somewhat, but this database suffers from the fact that most of the repeaters have only a default lat/long of the city center of the listed city (which, as noted, may be incorrect). (Not K5EHX's fault; he can't create data out of thin air anymore than anyone else can.)

I am therefore going through the list of repeaters for my location, trying to update the information as best I can, using the web and emailing operators to the extent possible, and going on air to try to get info when I can't find the info via the web. This is proving to be tedious, but at least it will hopefully help someone.

If you know a repeater that isn't listed in K5EHX, or is incorrect, please add it/fix it as appropriate! Chicagoland isn't the only place where this data needs work.