Like so many other folks we needed to get away from our COVID-19 routines and go on a Memorial Day trip and I wanted to work in some radio time. Our simple trip consisted of a visit to my in-laws in Victoria, Alabama from home in Oxford, Mississippi. I loaded all of the 2-meter and 440 repeaters I thought I could contact and headed south but had limited luck. Making few contacts was not a complete surprise because it’s well known that repeaters are underused, maybe underappreciated is a better way to describe it. In Mississippi I didn’t expect much because we have about half as many repeaters as they do in Alabama and anyway I was using a handy-talky with a rubber duck antenna. Once in Alabama I kerchunked five or six repeaters and made two contacts: K0AUE and WC4FIG. Both were locals that just happened to be listening on their area’s repeaters in Montgomery and Troy, respectively. My QSO with WC4FIG was special because he said it was the first traffic he’d heard on that repeater in a couple of years and was interested in where I’d found out about the repeater. I told him about repeaterbook.com and he finished out our short QSO by telling me about the nearby repeaters I should be able to work.
Once settled-in I tried that local repeater WC4FIG told me about and was able to kerchunk it but couldn’t raise anyone. The day before coming home we drove by the repeater (or at least the antenna) about two miles away. It was on top of a water tower.
On the way back home I had no luck at all.