Last night, Jon and I finally got around to trying out a nearby repeater system, that is the C.A.R.L.A. (California Amateur Radio Linking Association) system.
As you can see on the aforementioned link, there are a number of repeaters in the California/Nevada area that allow easy communication between the Bay Area (where Jon is) and Tahoe (where John is). If you use the Interactive Coverage Map, you can see the various paths, and repeaters, even see how the coverage works.
One interesting thing we noticed was Jon was able to hear me much better on the South Lake repeater (#8) versus the North Lake repeater (#23), however he came in slightly scratchier on #8. When we turned on the Paths on the interactive coverage map, I realized that the path the signal took might have been a strong contributor.
To reach Jon at station 11, we either go 8 —> 16 —> 11 or 8 —> 18 —> 11, whereas with 23, we have to go 23 —> 18—> 8 —> 16 —> 11 or 23 —> 18 —> 11.
Regardless, it worked and worked well. I was very impressed with the signal from INSIDE my office, specifically, from my desk via handheld.
Last but not least, this was my first Ham radio transmission. Didn’t hear anyone else on the line, so hopefully no one else had to put up with our idiocy.