Way back when I was first licensed in 1993 to use a HAM Radio, the first thing I wanted to do was to get on the 2m band and hop on a local repeater. How did I find them back then? Well I went to the local radio store and bought the latest edition of the ARRL Repeater Book. In fact, the ARRL still publishes this book, and it’s only $10.95. Once I got the book, I had to dig through it to find my county and city; then I had to plug in all the repeaters into my radio. A few years later I used the Internet, as I was then able to find lists for just about every place I’d been, and radio clubs were listing their repeaters on the net, too. And now, I will no longer need to buy that book every year or rely on Google. Why? Well there is now an app for that. RepeaterBook is an application for both Android and iOS; this review will mainly be concerned with the Android version of this app.
The RepeaterBook for Android app is incredibly easy to use. Upon first launch, it picks up your GPS coordinates and presents you with a list of repeaters; it’s THAT easy. You can change the sort to sort it by distance (the default), frequency, Band, PL,Call, Service or Compass Heading. You can also chose which bands that you’ll list as well as the functions of the repeater. Want a repeater nearby that is on Echolink? Select Echolink, and you can find one. Dstar? Same thing. No more leafing through books or searching the web.
You still might have to punch the repeater into your radio, but that too may be a thing of the past if you have either the Yaesu FT-857 or the Yaesu FT-817 and the optional BlueCat module plugged into your radio. The BlueCat is a Bluetooth module that attaches to the accessory port on the back of these two radios. Once it’s set up, you tap the repeater in the list, and it will instantly tune up your radio to the frequency and any access tones that you’d need. This makes tuning to a repeater simple if you are in an area that is new to you, and you haven’t had a chance to program your radio. One thing worth noting is that the BlueCat itself will also work with Android and PCs as well, but it will not work on the iOS version of RepeaterBook due to restrictions Apple has placed on Bluetooth usage.
The best part of RepeaterBook is that it is totally free, and it’s in the app store. When I travel, I will never again have to leave through a tiny book; this app will always remain on my phone.
What I like: Simple to use. Much easier than using a manual book.
What Needs Improvement: I actually would PAY for this app — there should be a donation version as I don’t ever want to be without it