RE: [WestMichiganHams] how to
Operation of the autopatch is rather simple and I'd suggest:
First, ask permission to use the autopatch. Just drop your call and say you would like to use the autopatch. There is infrequently any opposition but you will be tying up the repeater for a bit and it is a courtesy to ask permission of those monitoring.
Punch the autopatch access code, the * on your keypad, and the phone number. You should not ask the autopatch to make a long distance toll call and the repeater may not offer you the autopatch should you make such a request. However, on this subject, my local phone service has just implemented a "local" call policy in all of the 231 area code.
The repeater will announce and dial the number you requested. You work the phone the same way as you do at home, but you take turns transmitting since the repeater is not full duplex like your home phone. Be brief because I don't remember the time out timer being suspended for an autopatch call. You might find out!
After your call you push the # key to end the autopatch. The machine announces "autopatch complete" and the time and returns to regular mode. You acknowledge that you are ending your autopatch call and give a brief thank you for the privilege. Simple?
Check the repeaters for the autopatch feature. Autopatch is getting less likely to be implemented. I was "caught" trying to access an autopatch on a machine not supporting this feature. The repeater trustee said, "Wow, I have not heard anyone trying to use the autopatch in over ten years." Not so widely supported as you might have hoped.
Trivia tidbit: The Muskegon repeater, the '94, has autopatch because there is an alarm inside the building. The radio club maintains the alarm and the phone line for the alarm to dial in exchange for tower space. A nice arrangement.
Hope this helps.