Black Rock Amateur Radio Frequencies

Planning a trip to the Black Rock desert? Here are three key frequencies that you should have programmed in to your radio. These are the repeaters and frequencies that are most likely to work anywhere in the Black Rock desert -- and that are most likely to be monitored by others so you can get help in an emergency.

Frequency PL Notes
440.175 (+) 100.0 Best Black Rock UHF repeater. You should be able to hit this with an HT over most of the playa, from Double Hot hot springs to Gerlach. Includes a phone patch for 911 or personal telephone calls and is also EchoLink node 7238 (W7BRD-R) and IRLP node 7249. Dial *911 to activate phone patch and then follow voice prompts; *73 hangs up. Located in the mountains along the east side of the playa and operated by the Black Rock Amateur Radio Association.
145.23 (-) 123.0 Best Black Rock VHF repeater. You should be able to hit this with an HT over most of the playa and, with a mobile rig, as far south as Nixon on Highway 447. It is located on Granite Ridge above Highway 34 on the west side of the playa and operated by Friends of Black Rock.
146.52 simplex None National VHF simplex calling frequency, often used by hams in the Black Rock.

Emergencies during Burning Man: If you are visiting the playa during Burning Man, the Burning Man Emergency Services Department monitors MURS channel 5 (154.6 MHz), PL 97.4 during the event. This is likely the fastest way to summon help to your camp in an emergency. Note that this is not an Amateur Radio frequency.

APRS users: BRARA maintains two digipeaters and igates, GERLCH and RAZOR, on 144.39 MHz. To reduce channel congestion, please set your path to "WIDE2-1". You do not need to use "WIDE1-1,WIDE2-1", nor should you use "WIDE2-2".

Other frequencies of interest: Here are some additional frequencies that may be useful. The machines on these frequencies have spottier coverage of the Black Rock than those listed above and may be less likely to work, depending on where you are on playa, but some may be useful during your drive in.

Frequency PL Notes
146.700 simplex 100.0 VHF simplex IRLP node 3075 in Gerlach. Note that this is not a repeater but is a simplex IRLP node. Most modern radios will automatically select a transmit offset when you enter this frequency into them; you will need to manually override this to select simplex (i.e., no offset). Since this node is located in Gerlach, NV, you will need an external antenna and a mobile rig to hit this reliably from the playa. Operated by the Black Rock Amateur Radio Association.
147.030 (+) 123.0 VHF repeater on Virginia Peak near Nixon. Covers much of the playa to about Double Hot hot springs. Linked to repeaters on Mt. Rose and Peavine near Reno. This machine has very wide coverage; out of consideration for other users, please limit your use of it. In particular, don't use it for casual "car to car" chit chat. Operated by Wide Area Data Group.
147.180 (+) 107.2 Another VHF repeater on Virginia Peak near Nixon; coverage not as good as the 147.03 repeater.
146.925 (-) 123.0 VHF repeater in Toulon, near Lovelock on I-80. Some coverage in the Black Rock but spotty. Linked into Reno via a repeater on Ophir Hill near Virginia City.

If you find you can't hit any of the above repeaters, move around -- coverage can change significantly by moving just a few feet. And of course, be sure to check that you are transmitting the correct PL tone, and that you have the offset (+/-) programmed correctly.

Thanks to David Book, KD7YIM, for compiling much of the above.