Minnesota is lucky to have an active ham radio community, including many ham radio repeaters. Minnesota has 11,769 licensed ham radio operators as of January of 2022. This is the highest of any state in the Midwest with the exception of Illinois.
Here are some Twin Cities metro ham radio repeaters and simplex frequencies you should have programmed. The Twin Cities has a ton of repeaters, many of which have limited coverage or usage by licensed hams. However, there are a few frequencies you’ll want to be sure you have programmed into your radio that rank towards the top of our list.
444.425+ (114.8 PL Tone) – Minneapolis, MN
The 444.425 KA0KMJ repeater is affectionally known as “The Blowtorch”. The widest coverage UHF repeater in the state of Minnesota it covers from St. Cloud and Hutchinson to the west and all the way to Knapp Hill in Wisconsin. It’s a blowtorch, and one repeater every ham radio operator should have programmed in their radio.
146.850- (No PL Tone) – Oakdale, MN
The 146.850 WD0HWT repeater has long been known as the VHF rag chew repeater in the Twin Cities. It’s the widest coverage 2M repeater in the Twin Cities. Featuring a 450-watt transmitter on the Oakdale water tower and seven remote receive sites around the metro...it talks. Whether the operators listening want to talk is another matter. Though the conversations you’ll hear can be wild at times, this is a great machine to have in your scan bank.
147.210+ (100.0 PL Tones) – Burnsville, MN
The 147.210 W0BU repeater is one of the better coverage machines on VHF in the south metro. Located in Burnsville, it is the primary repeater during SKYWARN activations when severe weather is threatening the south Twin Cities metro.
145.450- (114.8 PL Tone) – Minnetonka, MN
The N0BVE repeater in Minnetonka is a great backyard machine. Located in one of the highest areas of Hennepin county, it features an Echolink node (N0BVE-R) that is linked to the HANDIHAM conference server. The N0BVE 145.45 is also a great repeater if you have to make the morning commute. It primarily covers the west metro area, but it is also linked to 444.650+ (114.8) which has metro-wide coverage or through that Echolink noce mentioned above. (N0BVE-R) You’ll find a great morning rag chew roundtable most weekday mornings that is happy to hear new callsigns. (note: Due to timeout differences between the repeaters sometimes the longwindedness of participants can timeout the 444.650 machine.)
Minnesota Ham Radio Simplex Frequencies
Simplex isn’t dead in the Twin Cities area. While it may not be as active as Colorado (thanks, Rocky Mountains), there is actually a lot of chatter you’ll never hear if you’re only scanning repeaters. Here are the Minnesota simplex frequencies you should have programmed.
146.520 – National 2M Calling
Everyone should have the national calling frequency for 2M programmed. This is a no-brainer.
446.000 – National 70cm Calling
Everyone should have the national calling frequency for 70cm programmed. It’s not as active as 2M, but I still hear stations operating on 446.000 on occasion.
146.580 – Adventure Calling Frequency
This frequency has gained popularity as the primary calling frequency for SOTA (Summits On The Air), POTA (Parks On The Air), overlanding hobbyists etc. This frequency may be more quiet than others, but worth having on scan.
147.555 – North Metro Simplex
This frequency is a common hangout for many hams in the north Twin Cities metro area. You’ll hear activity on a daily basis.
147.495 – South Metro Simplex
We couldn’t leave out the south metro, right? You’ll find many hams ragchewing on this frequency.
Other notable repeaters outside the Twin Cities metro
146.790- (100.0 PL Tone) – Fairbault, MN
The KD0ZSA repeater in Fairbault is a monster repeater in southern Minnesota. It offers excellent coverage and has a great group of friendly ham radio operators. They also have a great Sunday evening net at 8:30 p.m. that’s worth checking out that includes having some fun on HF bands as a part of the net.
146.820- (100.0 PL Tone) – Rochester, MN
The 146.820 W0MXW is a wide coverage repeater located just east of Rochester, MN and covers Olmsted county and a good chunk of surrounding counties. This is the primary rag chew machine for Southeast Minnesota in and around Rochester.
146.940- (103.5 PL Tone) – Duluth, MN
The W0GKP 146.940 repeater is the primary machine in Duluth and has many different sites that all feed in. Check out this page to learn what PL tone might be best for you on the great system they have in Duluth.
147.015+ (100.0 PL Tone) – St. Cloud, MN
The W0SV 147.015 repeater is the primary wide coverage repeater in St. Cloud. You’ll hear it busy during times of severe weather and other local emergencies. It’s a great machine run by the St. Cloud Amateur Radio Club.
This list is not meant to be comprehensive. So many repeaters in the Twin Cities area are quiet, but this is meant to give you some recommendations on active machines with good coverage that are worth monitoring.