We have decided to disable transmit on both W0EQO and W0ZSW on the 10 meter band above 29 MHz. This action was taken to prevent users from transmitting in FM mode on 10 meters.
We discovered a way for users to get themselves into trouble in FM mode. What happens when you change the mode to FM is that the radio’s squelch is enabled, which silences the background noise from the receiver. While this is a good thing if you are working repeaters or even simplex FM on 10 when the band is wide open, it does make it impossible for our blind users to know when the radio is in transmit or receive – both will sound exactly the same (silence) – when there are no received signals present. This can lead to embarrassing accidental transmissions when the space bar toggles transmit mode, which on FM sounds like receive mode.
Another issue is the 100% duty cycle of FM, which would require us to limit transmit power across the band on 10 meters. Since most users will appreciate having higher power levels available on the modes that are actually useful, such as CW and SSB, we do not feel that limiting transmit power across the board just to keep FM mode available is a good idea. The fact of the matter is that FM is seldom used on 10 meters anyway, and we do not feel that it is worth supporting at this time, given the potential problems and tech support that it can generate.
Users may still select FM mode to listen, but please be aware that once you do this the radio goes silent because of the squelch setting. Unless you already know that the band is open and that FM simplex or a specific repeater is in use, you will not benefit by just tuning around in FM mode. If you get into FM mode accidentally, you can get out by pressing the letter “U” to return the receiver to USB. There are no 10m FM repeaters within ground wave reach of either station. Unfortunately, operating in the AM sub-band between 29 and 29.2 MHz will also not be possible. This is another mode and band segment that is seldom used, so we do not feel that it is a big loss. Remember that you can still receive across the entire band – it is only transmit that is disabled above 29 MHz.
An alternative to working 10 meter (and 6 meter) repeater systems is to instead use Echolink and search for repeaters operating on those bands. We do not recommend FM operation on either W0ZSW or W0EQO since even experienced operators may find setting the split operation and tones to be difficult. We do not offer any tech support for FM operation.
Here are some helpful resources for you: