What are User Activated Talk Groups
These talk groups can not be heard under normal circumstances. They require the user to press the PTT in order to activate them thus they are considered as alternatives for wide area talk groups as they are only active on the repeaters of each user. The only way you will hear conversations on of these talk groups is if someone else has activated it on the repeater you are listening to.
How do you use them
Select the User Activated talk group as you would any other talk group. Now the chances are you will hear nothing unless the group has already been activated on your local repeater. Briefly press the PTT and then listen. Because of the way the linking works, the audio is only relayed to you once there has been a gap in transmission on an occupied link, so you may have to wait before you hear anything if the talk group is busy. If after a short while, you hear nothing, put out a check-call to see if anyone is on the talk group. If no response then it’s usually clear to use. A channel busy message/tone will only occur once full connection has been established.
To help prevent others “taking over the slot”, this timer has been put into place. Every time you transmit, a 10 minute timer starts on your repeater preventing other talk groups from taking over your slot. This should enable a typical ’round robin’ style group conversation to be held without the need to constantly re-access the talk group. The timer is reset to 10 minutes on your repeater when you begin your next over. Now this does not mean that when you finish your qso that no-one else can use the time slot. Pressing the PTT on another talk group on the same slot releases the hold timer. Unfortunately there is a possible downside to this action. For instance you may be on TG80 and another user opens up TG235 on the same repeater as you whilst you are not transmitting. This will effectively disconnect you from TG80 and you may not be able to regain your contact immediately.