FM and Repeaters
One of the most popular modes enjoyed by amateur operators, FM and repeater operation takes place on the 29, 53, 146, 432 and 1296 megahertz amateur bands, with two metres (146 megahertz) being the most used. The FM mode enables good speech clarity, and the use of repeater stations (usually erected on hilltops) permits effective local-area communication, even from low-powered, handheld or mobile stations. Where a good direct path exists between stations, simplex (direct) communication becomes possible, without the need for a repeater.
Most repeaters only use a pair of frequencies in a single band. However in some areas several repeaters have been linked to allow extended range communication. While a single repeater normally permits communication over a 50 to 150 kilometre radius, the linking of repeaters can allow distances of several times this to be spanned. Other repeaters may have inputs and outputs on more than one band. An example is one that links allows stations on VHF/UHF to transmit and receive on 29 MHz FM. The idea is that long-distance contacts become possible via just a VHF or UHF handheld transceiver if conditions on 29 MHz are favourable.
Repeaters are built and maintained by volunteers, and are paid for by local radio clubs, repeater groups, and/or WIA Divisions. It would be courteous to join one or more of these bodies if you intend using the repeater much. Apart from the equipment outlay, there is always a licence fee to be paid each year and a power bill. Many repeaters are co-located with commercial or government services at elevated locations and are often charged substantial fees for the use of the sites.
A full list of Amateur & UHF CB repeaters in Australia, in order of band within state, is maintained by Allan VK2CA and can be found at http://www.vkham.com/
A mailing list is also available for those interested in repeaters. Check Yahoo Groups and contact others in your area for details.