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#11353 You just got your GMRS license, now you want your own repeater?

Posted by Corey on 18 March 2019 - 10:29 AM

Why does every new license holder want to setup a repeater? I would like to shed a little light on some of the important things to consider if you recently got your GMRS license and now want your own repeater.

 

First thing to consider, are there any open well placed repeaters in your area that you are able to use? I can assure you most repeater owners want people to use there repeater. Owning several repeaters I can assure you all are welcome and encouraged to use my machines.

 

Do you have access to a location to host your repeater? If your answer is your garage roof you should reconsider. Your garage roof will give you about the same coverage as simplex. Unless you’re on top of a mountain and all your users are at the bottom you will never be happy with this setup.

 

GMRS is not as popular as one would like to think, unless your repeater covers 20 miles or more you may find you only have 1 or 2 users in the area. Unless you already have a group of friends together you may want to consider this before spending money on a decent well positioned site to install your repeater.

 

So you found a nice high site and the price is right, all you need to do is get the repeater installed, sounds simple right? Some thigs to consider first and foremost are the costs because they can add up quickly. Are you on a commercial tower that requires a license and bonded climber? If so this could be by far your largest expense depending on your area. I have spent $600 to $1200 on a climber; I have had quotes as high as $2500 depending on the amount of work and heights involved.  Keep in mind commercial sites require certified mounts, hard line cable, cable clamps, engineered grounding solutions and commercial grade antennas. No tower owner is going to let you install a comet antenna and 200’ of braided shield coax.

 

This brings me to my next point, the antenna. Because of the costs involved with climbers you will want to expend your budget on the antenna. Remember a $2000 repeater on a $200 antenna is going to work about as good as a $200 repeater.  Whereas a $200 repeater on a $2000 antenna is going to work like a $2000 repeater. On my first repeater I was gifted use of a 150’ tower, I installed a DB-420 on the top and 160’ of 7/8 hardline. Total cost of equipment for the antenna install was $2500, with the climbers labor coming in at an additional $800. This left me with enough to purchase an old Motorola R100 repeater running at 25W. To my surprise it had 30 miles of coverage, all due to the cash spent on the antenna and waiting for a decent spot.

 

Things happen, more so if you have an antenna 200’ in the air with a conductive cable connected to sensitive electronics. Antenna issues, feedline issues, repeater issues all cost money and I promise at some point you will have issues that need repair and require your money!

 

It is my opinion that the GMRS community does not need another 2 to 5 miles repeater as it just becomes background noise. What use is a public listed repeater if somebody in a mobile can’t use it 5 miles away while moving or the portable coverage is only a mile? If after reading this you are still going to build a repeater for your garage more power to you, just don’t expect 20 people to show up if it only reaches a mile.

 

As the owner of several GMRS and Commercial repeaters I can attest to the amount of money and effort go into my repeaters. I have only touched on the basics, if you add in any kind of testing services, duplexer tuning, addition of a combiner channel to an existing tower system, RF engineering, rent and insurance your costs can sky rocket. The best advice I can give any new licensee is to try and use the available systems in the area. Take the time to learn a little about what you’re doing and to assess the usability of the service before investing in a repeater for the sole reason of saying you own one.


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#12329 MyGMRS repeaters list needs updating?

Posted by WQEJ577 on 01 June 2019 - 11:21 PM

I've been working on a new map replacement which will hide old and offline repeaters by default, but still gives you the option of showing them all.

 

https://mygmrs.com/map-new/

 

I still have a lot of things to add to make it ready to replace the current map, but I wanted to share the progress now and get feedback from the community here. Some outstanding issues are:

  1. The label below each icon needs to be styled, so it stands out against a dark background. I'm having trouble getting this to work with the library I've chosen to use on this version of the map, but I'm sure I'll be able to find a way without scrapping anything.
     
  2. Clicking on the repeater icon should modify the URL to point to the repeater ID that is selected.
     
  3. Repeater details (the description field) aren't visible yet.
     
  4. Several repeaters do not have GPS coordinates and show up at 0, 0 which is off the coast of Africa. This is mainly a problem with the database that needs to be fixed, but the map should hide them since it's obviously wrong.

At least the performance of loading that many repeaters and toggling the switches on and off seems to be quite good. Let me know if it's slower for you than the current map.

 

I have big plans for a complete site redesign to make it more modern. I've headed down this path several times but got bogged down between work and my personal life, so I never got a complete redesign done. I've been making small changes here and there to support this big effort, so I'm hoping we can get a better site off the ground which will solve some of the pain points like the stale repeaters.


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#12168 GMRS-50X1 Features Review

Posted by marcspaz on 17 May 2019 - 10:56 PM

Hey folks!  I know I said I was going to wait a few days... possibly a week... before my GMRS-50X1 features review, but I spent hours using this radio today and I had a great time.  I figured I would just go ahead and get it out there.

 

For the features review, I am going to start with the Cons this time.  Since the quasi-tech review ended with the focus on the negatives, I would like to end this review with a positive vibe.  Please keep in mind, this is purely opinion based after using the radio.

 

There are tons of features... I am only going to cover what I believe would be the most common/popular to use among most people.

 

 

Cons -

1.) While talking simplex to a station that is closer than 2 miles, I had to use low power, NFM and turn the mic gain down to 1.  If not, the person I was talking to complained about audio clipping and audible popping sounds.  After 2 miles, I could turn the mic gain back up and use WB FM.

 

2.) The display is going to be both in the Pros and Cons section.  As some are aware, I daily drive a Jeep Wrangler.  For at least 50% of the year, my Jeep has no roof and no doors.  That fact brought out a big drawback for me.

 

The display has no means of adjusting the brightness.  Regardless of what I did, while the sun was out and the roof and doors were off, the display was 100% washed out.  I literally could not tell the radio was on by looking at the display.  At first, I put the soft top on, and the display was still heavily washed out, but was usable.  I had to put on my top and my doors with 20% light transmission tint on the windows, before the display was good to use.

 

Another drawback for the display is, there is a lot of very useful information in a tiny little spot.  It takes a bit of focus to look at the display and get a feel for exactly what is going on.  This is not good if you are driving and want to make a quick change.  I found that I had to pull over to be safe while making minor adjustments.

 

2.) They advertise that it has NOAA radio built-in, but it really doesn't.  The VFO covers a frequency spectrum that includes those frequencies.  Not a big deal, but it is up to you to manually tune to those channels and save them to memory. 

 

3.) You can't add new GMRS saved channels that are capable of transmitting.  On my iCom, I have multiple saved channels for channel 15, for example.  One with no DPL, one with tone coding and one with digital coding.  Depending on who I am with or the group I am talking with, I need to use different values.  With the BTech radio, I will have to manually change it every time.  I am assuming this is so they could get FCC type approval.

 

4.) You can't transmit in VFO mode, at all, not even on GMRS frequencies.  This was probably needed for FCC type approval.  Still a drag that you can't manually dial to a GMRS frequency and use it.

 

5.) There are a lot of unneeded features and unusable functions that are locked out.  Seems pointless to even have them because they will likely add a lot of confusion to new operators.  Examples are Remote Stun which remotely disables transmitting and Remote Kill remotely disables transmit and receive.  These are typically repeater management features that a typical GMRS mobile user just doesn't need. 

 

While the aforementioned features are present and function, there are a ton of other repeater related functions that are still in the menu, but you can't change them.  It almost seems like they took a shortcut and used UV-50Xx software and just tweaked it for this radio. 

 

 

Pros -

1.) Range....  My son and I ran a field test today; both simplex and repeater use.  Anyone who has read my quasi-technical opinion review, knows I was less than impress with what I saw.  That said, going from my BTech mobile to my son's HT inside his car, we easily talked 5.5 miles in rough terrain and while I was on the blind side of a hill, 100 feet+ below the top of a hill and there were lots of trees, buildings, etc. between us.

 

I was pretty impressed that we got that range with my son's radio "inside" his car, while driving, and he was using an HT that has a maximum power of 8 watts.  That was more than twice as far as the results we had with another brand mobile I own... using the same HT.

 

Once we were out of simplex range, we switched to a local repeater.  I am 22 miles from the repeater as the crow flies.  I was using low power (2.5w) WB FM.  My son was 19 miles away from the repeater using the HT, on full power and WB FM.  My son gave me the the same signal report as others.  He said there was some noise on low power, but when I switched to medium power (18w) I was full quite and great audio quality.  Given the RF signal quality I observed with analyzing tools, I am seriously shocked.

 

2.) While the display washed out very easily by the sun light, the display colors are extremely flexible, allowing the user to adjust the color contrast, making it easier to read as well as using font color to further segment the many items displayed on the screen.

 

3.) The owners manual states that the device has a 50% duty cycle.  There is no power level specified, but I assume in low power.  My son and I talked for more than 30 minutes, with most of my transmit time being at medium power and at about 35-40% duty cycle.  During our conversation my son reported that there was no noticeable deviation of carrier or modulation.  My receive quality stayed great the whole time as well.

 

4.) The radio only draws 3.5 amps while using the radio at full power, with the cooling fan running.  The radio came with large gauge power wires.  They are not labeled, but they measure about 2mm.  They are likely 14 gauge, rated for 15 amps.  That's a plus, as you are less likely to have voltage drop over the length of the wire and the fuse will pop long before the wires become a fire risk.

 

5.) While its not very useful for most cars/trucks, it does receive commercial FM Radio.  This is great feature for vehicles that don't have a radio, such as ATV's, older work trucks, construction equipment, etc.

 

6.) You are able to monitor up to 4 frequencies and/or channels at once.  The ability to mix monitoring VFO and Memory channels can be pretty handy.

 

7.) A cool feature that this radio has is, you can sync the displays in pairs of two.  This can be a pretty neat feature.  I set display A (top left) and display B (bottom left) to be in sync.  This means when I change the channel on Channel A, channel B changes as well.  The inverse also occurs.  This allows a user to do things like have the channel Name displayed and the frequency displayed at the same time. You don't have to guess where you are if you are using channel names.

 

8.) This unit displays the DPL code and method on the screen.  This is awesome, because you don't have to guess if your DPL is set or to what value.  Its right there to read.

 

9.) This unit has a feature that is getting more popular; DPL scanning.  If there is a group that is using DPL and you want to be part of the conversation, you can have the radio scan tone squelch and DCS values while the other station is transmitting and the radio will detect the value that the group is using.

 

 

Indifferent -

Something that is not really a pro or con... since we can only transmit on the hard-coded GMRS channels, 225 additional memory channels does not make a lot of sense to me.  I'm sure some will love it.  With the exception of programming the WX channels, I likely wont use any more than that.

 

 

Summary -

Quasi-tech review aside, if you are willing to tolerate some of the technology shortcomings I noticed in my radio (noted in another thread), for a low cost radio, this can be a lot of fun to play with.  Sadly, the display washout is a deal-breaker for me, personally.  However, I think I am in the minority there.

 

In short, I am not going to recommend or condemn the radio.  It's not for me, even with all the cool features.  That said, I leave it to you to use my two threads as a tool to make an informed decision.  I'm just 1 guy with one radio... but there it is.

 

Thanks,

Spaz


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#6658 Boafeng GMRS-V1

Posted by WQYA707 on 19 November 2016 - 10:04 AM

I have two of these radios and have done some preliminary testing. I am a ham operator, and a member of our local ARES/RACES and NET/CERT organizations.

 

Baofeng has taken their UV82 radio and repurposed it for GMRS use. UV82 accessories, including the high capacity battery and AA battery pack, all work with the GMRS-V1. The radios are pre-programmed for the GMRS/FRS and GMRS repeater frequencies, with the repeater offset already set.  The radio will also scan the ham VHF/UHF bands (there are approximately 100 channels available), has a FM radio, dual watch and the rest of the UV82 and UV82HP features. Advertised power is 1W/5W.  The radio is programmable through the keypad and CHIRP; I highly recommend the latter. 

 

Before testing the radios, I cloned one using CHIRP, and made some modifications, including adding the VHF/UHF emergency communications channels for my area. Note that the pre-programmed GMRS frequencies/offsets can not be changed and the radio cannot be programmed to transmit on any other channels.  The GRMS PL tones, channel names, power level, and scanner inclusion can be programmed. Programming is straightforward, as is cloning a CHIRP image from radio to radio.

 

In my test rig, I used an inline power and SWR meter and tested the units with both the stock antenna and a J Pole that that I with my VHF/UHF rig. 

 

VHF power: 2W/5.4W,  SWR (with J pole): 1.1 to 1.5 across the band

UHF power 1.75W/5W, SWR (with J pole)  1.1 to 1.7 across the band

 

Using the stock antenna, low power performance in an treed, hilly urban environment is, as expected, less than a mile. High power performance was between one and two miles. I need to do more testing, with a j pole and a whip antenna to get better numbers. I don't have a local repeater to test against. YMMV.

 

The audio is clear and undistorted. Features like dual-watch, two line display, transmit timer and scanning are handy to have, especially if you are used to using them on a ham HT.  If you have UV82 equipment, the ability to swap batteries, antennas and the like is terrific.  Scanning, like on all Baofengs, is usable but not fast and when scanning, the two line display does not stay synchronized.

 

What I really like about these radios, other than 5W, interoperability with the UV82 and FCC compliance, is they can be set up, the keypad locked so the unit can't be accidentally reprogrammed, and handed to someone without a lot of experience.  I am looking at them for NET/CERT team use and they will certainly become part of my family go bag.  And for less than sixty bucks, including charger, microphone and battery, they are a real deal.

 

 


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#65 A Word of Caution - Posting Personal Info.

Posted by PastorGary on 04 April 2013 - 09:06 AM

We have seen that the Google, Bing, Ask and other search engine spybots are camped out here reading new posts. Just a word to the wise... use your discretion in posting personal or sensative information that could possibly compromise your personal safety, security, lead to identity theft, or give non-licensed individuals a way to access your radio systems.


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#13746 Why "More Power" Isn't The Answer

Posted by marcspaz on 05 December 2019 - 12:37 AM

I have seen a few posts talking about getting more distance out of UHF gear, such as the GMRS equipment we use. It looks like the common theme is, many immediately want to go for more power, assuming they can brute-force their way through issues. I am hoping myself and some of the other people who have some training and practical experience can use this thread to help new users understand how to make life better without more power.

I want to start with handheld transceivers. HT antennas use your body as a counterpoise. Depending on how you are dressed, how tall you are, how you are holding the radio, the radio position, the distance of the radio from your body, what direction you are facing, all impact performance. Even how much fat, salt and water your body is retaining at the moment impacts how an HT antenna works, because those things vary the conductivity of the human body. In all seriousness, forget about more power... or even more range from a typical HT.

If you want more range out of your HT, your best bet is to find higher ground, figure out where the best place to stand is, and what general direction to be facing when compared to the receiving station provides the best communications path.


Mobile antennas are often several wavelengths+ in overall height and the body of the vehicle is typically a much better reflective counterpoise. There is a lot that can be done in the mobile and base antenna world that can help, but for now, lets continue to focus on why 'more power' likely isn't the right answer.



There is a standard in radio communications about intelligibility of radio communications. It is called the 5/9 scale. 0 to 5 for voice clarity and 0 to 9+ for signal strength in s-units. It is said that while a 2/1 signal provides partially usable comms, the lowest "reliable" communications happens at a 2/3 (or 23) and the best is a 5/9+ (often called 599, 59+20, 59+40).

With that in mind, you have to quadruple your power to impact a receiver 1 s-unit. So, if the other party is receiving a signal at 1/2 s-unit while you are using 4 watts, you need 16 watts to go to 1 s-unit. You then need to jump to 64 watts for 2 s-units. Finally a third jump in power of 256 watts to get to 3 s-units and possibly getting a reliable communications signal (a 2/3 or 23). Depending on the modulation of the carrier signal and bandwidth, you may need to jump to 4 s-units, requiring well over 1,000 watts.

Now, lets say the same receive condition exists, but now you are already using 20 watts for that 1/2 s-unit. Now your power jumps are 80 watts, 320 watts, 1,280 watts for 3 s-units and possibly needing 5,120 watts for 4 s-units. Well, the first bump you made already seriously violates power restrictions in GMRS.

AND, this is under hypothetical perfect conditions, assuming nothing else changed in the environment. Which almost never exists.

Chasing better performance by boosting power typically doesn't give you any truly desirable results. The top 3 items that will help improve comms in almost every band is elevation, elevation, and elevation. From there its antenna tuning (and beams) filters to reduce interference and lowering the noise floor, as some examples.



So, for our technically skill folks... Would anyone like to contribute some general advice for new users to benefit from?

General advice on what to do or not to do?
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#11312 Duty Cycle Explained

Posted by Corey on 14 March 2019 - 06:10 PM

What does “duty cycle” mean?

 

I bring up duty cycle every time I hear somebody talking about making a repeater out of cheap Chinese mobiles and worse any type of handhelds. Duty cycle is the maximum time an amplifier may transmit within a five minute interval, expressed as a percentage, to avoid overheating. Suppose a mobile amplifier is rated at 30% duty cycle. This means that it may transmit for no longer than 1.5 minutes and must remain off for not less than 3.5 minutes. Some people forget that a repeater is transmitting for 2 or more people, duty cycle will be reached quickly if you get into conversation. More people in the conversation just amplifies the issue.

 

Once a radio reaches it's thermal design limits it will no longer be able to adequately cool the output transistors. Even if a radio is not hot to the touch the transistors are, in part because of the inefficient transfer of heat to the units housing or internal heat sink. The longer you exceed the duty cycle the more heat builds on the transistors, surrounding electronics and heat sink effecting it's ability to remain on frequency without spurious emissions. Exceed duty cycle long enough and you will need a new transmitter or radio.

 

I have tested a few Baofang and TYT radios on my service monitor without great results. All of the radios started deviating outside of the allotted channel bandwidth after simulated conversation at 50% duty cycle, the longer I allowed this the worse if got. Testing was done using an Aeroflex 2975 IFR recently back from the calibration lab. 

 

GMRS is a tiny sliver of spectrum surrounded by the commercial land mobile part 90 service. It is important that any repeaters that are built or re-purposed are held to the highest standards and operated as to not cause any interference inside or outside of our allocated spectrum. I wont get into the part 90/95 debate but i do stand firm that non certified import equipment has no place on GMRS. 


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#9477 Finally ditched the mag mount and drilled some holes!

Posted by WRAA720 on 17 April 2018 - 08:50 PM

Being one of the last cool Saturdays left before summer hits here in Phoenix, I finally got around to drilling and mounting some antennas on the roof of my 2013 crew cab F-150 4x4, 3.5 EcoBoost.  The truck has a sun roof which significantly limits antenna placement. With the sun roof fully open, I was able to place both antennas 12" from the rear of the roof to clear everything. Not ideal, but it works MUCH better than the mag mount I had been using.  Stretches of highway on my commute that were completely deaf to our local repeater when using the mag mount antenna I can now hit easily.

 

Here's the final result:

 

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I picked up a Laird X-ACT hole saw from a local radio shop and it worked great.

 

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Holes marked and masked - measure twice, cut once!

 

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I got a great tip from a fellow AGRC member which was to put down a protective layer above the headliner when it was dropped down in order to catch all the mess from drilling and sanding; I laid down an old towel on top of the headliner before I got started. I used gorilla tape to keep the coax from flopping around, and ran both cables behind the rear passenger side airbag (super important!), down the rear pillar and under the door trim up to the center console.

 

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Antennas installed - in the photo is a Laird QWD144 1/4 wave 2m on the right and a Larid BB4502N 1/2 wave UHF for GMRS on the left:

 

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I also have a Larsen 150/450/800 on the front fender for my scanner:

 

pzUnslw.png

 

I currently have a Uniden BCD996P2 and a Motorla CDM1250 installed in the truck; an Kenwood 2M rig will be in there soon:

 

FMQElXD.jpg

 

Action shot!

 

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#9069 If someone was to ask you what it meant to be a...

Posted by n4gix on 17 February 2018 - 11:49 AM

Having an alternate means of longer range communications in times of duress or when commercial communications have failed for whatever reason.

I like that viewpoint. I also like your call sign, as it simply rolls off the tongue...

...unlike mine that's decidedly a tongue-twister! WQWU626

Folks are all the time asking me how I got a call sign with only three letters, 'cause all they hear is "WQW626. The last "U" is elided into the preceding "W" unless I enunciate the letters s l o w l y. :)
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#5570 Weekend tower work.

Posted by Corey on 10 April 2016 - 09:52 AM

Not GMRS but still UHF radio related and I know several other members own or service licensed part 90 systems. So I thought I would share a few photos from this weekends tower site repair on my business system. Last year I added this site to my Mototrbo IP site connect system, because of costs I cut a few corners and paid the price with an under preforming site. Today's project included installing the new repeater system, replacing the antenna, upgrading from 1/2 to 7/8 feed line and swapping out the 2' standoff for a 4'. Big thanks to my climber, he braved the 29 degree temps and completed the entire project in 4 hours. Yes that's him sitting out on the end of the 4' side arm installing the new antenna. I guess the side arm is now climber tested and approved! Not even with his 50 lbs of safety gear would you catch me sitting out there at 150'. I did some testing on the 50 mile ride home and the site is no longer under preforming. It has exceeded my predictions with15 miles of portable coverage, up from 2 miles.

 

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#13659 New Online Store

Posted by WQEJ577 on 28 November 2019 - 09:25 PM

Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully everyone's bellies are full and you're spending time with your friends and family.

 

Now that we're heading straight into the holiday season, I wanted to mention that we have launched a new store. Previously we had a Spreadshirt shop which only sold t-shirts and similar apparel. Now, we're expanding into other categories such as radios and radio accessories. Many of our Spreadshirt items are available on this new Shopify store.

 

We're still working on dealer arrangements with some GMRS radio manufacturers, but in the meantime we have a great Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal: 20% Off your order of $50 or more! Just use the discount code BLACKFRIDAY19 at checkout.

 

If you have ideas for products or designs we should carry, please let me know! 

 

https://shop.mygmrs.com/


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#13231 So I heard something that sounded like Motobro or DMR.

Posted by quarterwave on 19 October 2019 - 08:02 AM

GMRS requires a user license, FRS does not. FRS "Rules" are generally non enforceable.

 

 'FRS is licensed by rule. This means an individual license is not required to operate an FRS radio provide you comply with the rules. You may operate an FRS radio regardless of your age, and for personal or for business use if you are not a representative of a foreign government.'

 

And you are right...businesses need to be on MURS if they want cheap comms. 

 

Maybe the good thing is that most of the cheap radios that people buy from a "store" are good for 2 watts at best. Really what was done with the rules was to make what people were (uneducated about radio) doing illegally with store bought radios that did GMRS and FRS in being legal. The fcc should have never allowed combo radios to begin with. 
 


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#12336 New Apparel Shop

Posted by WQEJ577 on 02 June 2019 - 09:25 PM

We have a new t-shirt and accessories shop open. At the moment, everything has the RepeaterFinder logo but we'll be adding a new myGMRS logo soon (just waiting on the artwork to be complete). We get a portion of the proceeds of any sales which in turn helps to support this site. Orders will be custom printed and shipped direct to you. Secure checkout is handled directly by Spreadshirt, so you can shop with confidence.

 

There is a 15% off discount for the first couple of weeks, so be sure to click the "Redeem" link near the top of the page to claim the discount.

 

Shop Link: https://shop.spreads...repeaterfinder/

 

Let me know if you have any feedback. Thanks, everyone!

 

Note: For those that may be confused, RepeaterFinder, LLC is the company I formed to back myGMRS and similar endeavors. It was going to take over for myGMRS, but with the existence of RFinder of Ham radio, which we are not affiliated with, I decided it was best to keep everything branded as myGMRS.

 

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#12035 Neighborhood Fire Watch/GMRS Products/Need Information

Posted by berkinet on 11 May 2019 - 04:07 AM

...
I am looking at this: http://radio-relay.o...ATION-v2017.pdf and try and fit this into local and different communities.

Quite honestly, it would be easier if everyone had the minimum of a tech license, but reality is that only a very few would consider a GMRS license....

Thank you for sharing the link to the Emergency Preparedness series. However, after looking it over, I have to say it seems based on a number of unstated assumptions - many of which I believe are untrue. There also seems to be an implied prejudice towards a hierarchical communications model and the use of amateur radio.

The fundamental problem with any system that relies on ham radio is the requirement for licensed operators at every operating location. As you noted, getting people to get even the most basic Technicians license is a non-starter. There is also some assumption that Part 97 operations will offer a richer set of communications options. However, in practice. unless you live in some very isolated area, and particularly for the type of system you say you want to create, the only Part 97 options would be VHF (2M) and UHF (0.7M). When you add an uneven terrain, into the mix the difference between VHF and UHF is pretty much nil.

Because GMRS allows repeater operations, as far as practical operations go, it is pretty much the same as Part 97 UHF. The main differences lie in the options available for linking repeaters via radio. GMRS is limited to use of the assigned GMRS channels for radio links, amateur is not. However, in a semi-isolated area like the Sierra Foothills that should not be a problem.

If you use GMRS you can flatten the model shown in the Emcomm Doc you linked to and allow communications directly between the Community coordinators and the emergency service providers. Though, you may still need to provide staffing for the service provider sites as they will probably be unwilling to manage communications back to the community. At $7 per year ($70 for 10 years) cost is really not an issue. Or, looking at it from another view, if $7 a year is keeping people away from your system, you have some serious issues to deal with before you even think about radio.

What I have written above is not simply theoretical. Take a look at BeCERTAINN in Berkeley, CA. This organization which provides pretty much what you describe in your first post, but just within the city of Berkeley, now has over 40 GMRS licensed participants, most of whom got their license for the sole purpose of participating in BeCERTAINN.

Hams have a, rather unfortunate, predilection for making things more technically and organizationally complex than they need to be. For immediate response emergency systems that is the opposite of what you want. You want simple and easy with the least amount of equipment and the smallest number of operators and transactions necessary to make the system work. As shown in the emcomm doc, it takes 4 people, two of whom must be licensed hams, to pass a message from a home to a service provider. By basing a system onGMRS, that number drops to two or three and no ham licenses are needed.

I strongly suggest that GMRS + maybe one of the following, FRS/CB/MURS/Paper-notes/voice, is what you really need.
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#11783 Seeking logical rationale for Type 95

Posted by Corey on 17 April 2019 - 09:22 AM

GMRS is for families. No test, covers your whole family. No tinkering, grab a pre programmed radio and go.

The downside is that the FCC limits the equipment that can be used to prevent people from plugging numbers into a radio and causing interference.

There would be a lot more confusing regulations to follow if the FCC started putting all kinds of equipment exceptions for various other services, which then creates more problems than it was trying to solve for a family jist grabbing a set of radios and going.

My wife and kids are not interested in Amateur radio. This allows us all to communicate with few issu

 

I might add that GMRS has tolerances as far as frequency that are far lower then most HAM gear. With GMRS being smack in the middle of the part 90 portion of the band it is important to maintain some type of standard as to not cause interference to the adjacent service. Requiring a type accepted and certified transmitter is the best way to do this.


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#10876 BRRRRRRR.......

Posted by PastorGary on 26 January 2019 - 05:47 AM

5 AM Central Time, Saturday, January 26 - 14 degrees below zero with wind chill at 27 below zero. Colder at my Midwest location than in Fort Yukon, Alaska.

Several years ago, the morning air temperature was 27 degrees below - a lady went out to her car to go to work, saw that one tire looked a little soft - kicked it and it 'broke'.


It is so cold here that Scotsmen in the area are starting to wear pants. I tried to take the garbage out, but it didn't want to go. Pet stores here are starting to sell Penguins. Police told a robber to freeze - and he did. Mail delivery persons are watching out for dogs AND Polar Bears. It is so cold here that hitchhikers are holding up pictures of thumbs...

 

Now, where did I put my golf clubs?


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#10760 Merry Christmas!

Posted by n4gix on 25 December 2018 - 06:26 PM

Merry Christmas, Festivus or whatever holiday you celebrate, along with my best wishes for a terrific New Year! :D


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#10406 Happy Thanksgiving from the volunteer staff at MyGMRS

Posted by PastorGary on 22 November 2018 - 05:52 AM

We hope that everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving holiday. Please use caution if you are traveling - especially in areas of the US that are seeing abnormally cold temperatures and freezing precipitation.

Have a good day and be safe.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

The MyGMRS Moderator Staff


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#13752 Why "More Power" Isn't The Answer

Posted by RCM on 05 December 2019 - 11:38 AM

... you have to quadruple your power to impact a receiver 1 s-unit. So, if the other party is receiving a signal at 1/2 s-unit while you are using 4 watts, you need 16 watts to go to 1 s-unit. You then need to jump to 64 watts for 2 s-units. Finally a third jump in power of 256 watts to get to 3 s-units and possibly getting a reliable communications signal (a 2/3 or 23). Depending on the modulation of the carrier signal and bandwidth, you may need to jump to 4 s-units, requiring well over 1,000 watts.

Now, lets say the same receive condition exists, but now you are already using 20 watts for that 1/2 s-unit. Now your power jumps are 80 watts, 320 watts, 1,280 watts for 3 s-units and possibly needing 5,120 watts for 4 s-units. Well, the first bump you made already seriously violates power restrictions in GMRS.

I would like to add that it generally takes 2 s-units to hear an appreciable difference in signal strength. So as long as your 1 watt is enough to be heard without dropouts, it will take 16 watts to make any real difference.

If your signal is readable at a 1 watt "low" setting, there is no reason to switch to "high" power as that will only drain your battery faster. The 4 or 5 watt setting only has any relevance in a case where the low setting is strong enough to be heard, but is dropping out.

 

In my experience, there is zero reason to seek out the 40-50 watt "H" version of a particular mobile radio. It really won't do anything noticeably better than the standard 25 watt radio. But it will use more battery power, get hot faster, and find any substandard connections in your wiring faster than the lower power radio. It will also subject you and any bystanders to more RF exposure. And it is more likely to negatively affect the computer and other electronics in your car or home. That's much more prevalent than you might think, too. The manufacturer of your vehicle or home computer couldn't care less about your 2-way radio activities.


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#11158 Programming your own radios, and front panel programming...

Posted by quarterwave on 26 February 2019 - 07:21 PM

Oh give them 20 years or so... 

 

If you are new to GMRS and radio all together.... keep in mind many who have been at this for years in all forms of radio have a "common sense" approach to things...goes with that "spirit" of the rule type deal. There are 20 guys a day that get into GMRS and think they have found some incredible new discovery in capability that no one else has thought of....but it isn't practical, isn't legal, and doesn't meet the common sense test. 


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