What is the difference between Frequency Mode and Channel Mode?
The important difference for those of us using handy talkies to remember is that whatever is loaded in a channel is basically unchangeable. To change something loaded in a channel, you must delete that channel and reload it with the changes you want.
Now at first blush, this seems overly cumbersome, but wait, there is a benefit to this. Let’s say we have our SVLARC repeater properly programmed into a channel, but we want to talk to someone on that frequency in simplex mode. In other words, we want to use the frequency without an offsett or tone. We certainly would not want to change our correctly programmed channel to do this.
There are basically two ways to achieve the desired result. First, we could create a new channel entry either by manual entry or programmed entry through a computer interface that would have the frequency we want to use in simplex. In other words, the frequency would be stored in an available channel without the offset and tone. For example, if my channel 112 contained the frequency, offset and tone data to reach the repeater, one might set up channel 012 (just an example) with the same frequency with no offset or tone for simplex operation. By using a one hundred series number for the regular operation through the repeater and the zero starting channel number it would be fairly easy to remember which channel to switch to for simplex operation. Another good way is to assign channels in a consequtive fashion. For example, you might have the frequency with offset and tone assigned to channel 112, while the simplex frequency with no offset or tone could be assigned to channel 113. That way you could simply move up or down one channel to achieve the desired result. When using this method, you would probably want to use a slightly different name that would allow you to easily see whether this was simplex or duplex.
So we discussed two options above for having two channels for the same frequency that would allow us to use both simplex and duplex. What if you do not want to take up a second channel, or maybe your channels are full? Well, let’s talk about that little button (usually orange or yellow) that is labeled V/M). It stands for VFO or Memory mode, or more commonly Frequency or Channel mode. Press that little button to put your radio in Frequency mode. Select the desired frequency, then using your menu button, you can set the offset and tone settings to off. In frequency mode, these new settings will be remembered by your radio while all the original settings will be retained in the channel mode. At some future time, if you are talking over the repeater in channel mode, but you want to go to that frequency and talk using simplex, you would simply select Frequency mode. Enter the frequency and you are ready to talk in simplex.
Come back for my next article where I will discuss the basic procedure for maually changing settings in your handheld radios.