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WRFP399

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Everything posted by WRFP399

  1. This here is important. Sometimes just letting the kids have a radio while they drive their power wheels around gives them some good familization. My wife learned basic radio use while back country hiking. Cell service drops quick here so radios allow simplex use between hiking party members and some popular areas are covered by repeaters so that gives some duplex familization.
  2. My plan involves nothing more than Cellular Voice for primary communication with Wifi/Cellular Data for Alternate Use. GMRS for Contingency and 2M/70CM HAM for Emergency Use to supplement my GMRS as the 2M mountain top repeaters were are **WIDE** coverage and have backup power. We are talking 4000+ plus feet AGL. My plan involves communication for the "local" area which is around 30 miles. This is easily accomplished with my solar recharged Retevis RT97 on a mountainside. Now family and friends just pick up and turn on a HT. Due to geography here it works well. . Most of this was fueled by the Cellular net becoming overloaded during our Earthquake in 2018. That illustrated a real world need for local comms between family and friends. I don't really care about extreme long range comms through HF as we are so cut off here it doesn't really matter to me. If the world got to a point where our comms were down for so long that the only way to reach outside of Alaska is HF I have so many other more important things to deal with than speaking with the lower 48. Push come to shove, there are enough HAM's here that I could just find one. Solar is what I obviously chose for these low power needs.
  3. That high ground you're looking at will give you great coverage. Basically if you can see it, you can hit it with your radio. I have an RT97 on a mountainside here in Alaska. Its putting out around 5 watts. It's about 2000 AGL and so far I have talked into it from 31 miles away with no issues, but that was with good line of site. I also just was using it at 17.5 miles with no line of sight when hiking last month. Heavy obstructions, 5 watts from my Vertex VX-231. Height really is king.
  4. Why make this hard on yourself? Just get an RT97 GMRS repeater, place it up high somewhere. If you want cheap and simple radios to hand out, use Retevis RT-22 radios. Done.
  5. Even if the RG8x was cutting him down to 25 watts that's still a fair amount of power and should push out further....unless we are talking really bad topography.
  6. I found that an HT in a car without an external antenna suffers greatly. That same HT with a simple 1/4 wave mag mount pulls in far more signals and pushes out much further. I have been scanning the FRS channels, 1-14 here in Anchorage Alaska and hear a fair amount. Just today in my 30 min ride home I heard car to car communication, flaggers, kids in apartment buildings talking about a class and school mates, construction crews working on large buildings, a business warning it's employees about a bear near the porta-johns...
  7. I see this is a bit old but in case the OP checks back: I would second the RT97. I have one running on a mountain side here in Alaska and get 25-30 miles of coverage to HT. An RT97 setup at your centrally located house with an antenna put up above roof level would work wonders for you. If simplex is working from one side to the other at ground level, having the repeater in the middle sounds like it would give you exactly what you are looking. There doesn't appear to be a need to place a repeater antenna 6 million miles in the air. A few feet above the roof of your home sounds like it would be more than enough to accomplish the goal you're trying to accomplish. I would be willing to bet that the RT97 set on low power and some HTs set on low power would set you up nice. Advantage to low power use is much extended battery life on the HTs and having the option to push to high power if you find an area with spotty coverage. The RT97 is weather sealed and small so you can place it very close to the antenna and not worry about loss from long coax runs. Something as simple as the RT97 feeding a mobile antenna with a ground plane kit via some RG400 would work just fine. Are their better setups out there...for sure...but this works well for what it is. There is no need to over complicate the system for some cases. RT97 https://www.retevis.com/rt97-portable-repeater-power-amplifier-uhf/#A9150A Ground Plane Kit https://www.amazon.com/TRAM-1465-Mobile-Ground-Plane/dp/B004PGMFGM/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=tram+ground+plane+kit&qid=1627330792&sr=8-1 Simple Antenna (I have one and works well, the cutting guide that comes with is accurate) https://www.amazon.com/Browning-450MHz-470MHz-3dBd-Mobile-Antenna/dp/B00IDTJ2EA/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=browning+uhf&qid=1627330865&sr=8-2 RG400 Cable in various lengths https://www.ebay.com/itm/132890965676?hash=item1ef0eb36ac:g:QWgAAOSwaPNcFyCP
  8. He is asking does the BE stop working all together after it shuts down indicating that it could be the fuse that is blown....but if I understand what you are saying is that the BE works just fine unless you put it under a heavy load, at which point it "stops working" and you can only listen, indicating that the BE still is supplying power, but maybe just not enough.
  9. So I have an RT97 setup that is running Solar. It's hooked up to a 50 and 30 watt panel. The 50 watt panel is a Renogy. I forget what the 30 watt is (Zamp?). I have a cheap PWM solar controller feeding into a 35 amp hour SLA battery and also acting as the battery protection circuit. Here is a link to the controller. https://www.huinetech.com/products/10a-20a-huine-pwm-waterproof-solar-charge-controller-12v-24v-compatible-for-solar-system I have had zero CONFIRMED issued with noise from this setup but today, around 10:00am I had something pushing RFI in on the input frequency of 467.625. The repeater would push it back out everytime you would key up a radio and send the DCS codes. It appeard the RFI would then keep the repeater open for a few seconds to several minutes at a time. I checked with others in the repeater service area and they had the same experience. I monitored the input frequency from my home but heard no RFI. Granted the repeater is in a much better location for reception than I. If you were close enough or had enough power you could take over the RFI and it would just be heard in the background of your transmission. About a half hour later, gone. Everything working just fine. Here is a small video clip. Note how it doesn't start until I key the radio. It faded away and stopped about 10 seconds later. Edit: it's 8 PM and it's back to doing it again. 20210722_101150_2.mp4
  10. Anyone have tips for getting the online audio for the net working? I can't hear the feed.
  11. Man, I wish I could get away with such a small panel....up here I had a 28 watt panel on mine but during the winter it was unable to keep up. I just added a 50 watt panel in parallel and tripled the battery size. Here is a photo in it's "beta 2.0" phase. The 50 watt panel faces due south, the 28 watt panel faces SW to catch the setting sun, which often drops below the cloud cover. The RT 97 is strapped the back of the panel via some alum angle.
  12. Honestly I found my export versions on CE I use for my VX-261 and VX-231s online...I don't even remember where. It did take a lot of google searching though.
  13. Anyone have an experience with the front end on the Retevis RT97? Does anyone make a GMRS Bandpass filter with SMA connectors. Right now I have a high pass filter added in after the duplexer that starts attenuation in the low 400mhz range. I would love to try a bandpass for the heck of it. While the unit works fine when set to "high power" I can always hear it further than I can get into it unless I am pushing significantly more power from my PM400 mobile radio. When set to "low power" it about matches a 5 watt HT. A 5 watt HT can get back to the RT97 with about the same signal clarity that the RT97 can get to the HT. No idea what actual power the RT97 puts out on High and Low power. Just wondering if I am getting some desense from strong RF in the area. I have multiple FM radio and TV broadcast stations with in a few miles. Would be nice to get further improvement if possible...or should I leave well enough alone?
  14. I have it posted here in our repeater listings. I will gladly grant access to other GMRS users here in ANC. My hope is to expand the user base but I don't want it abused either as it's all paid for out of my own pocket. I think the real HD communication will be done by the HAMS on their VHF repeaters at Flat Top Mountain, Mt. Gordon Lyon, and Grubstake Mountain....granted I don't know what their power systems are like but my understanding is Grubstake is so "remote" its self-contained using Solar and Diesel.
  15. So...if I dumb this all down, the FCC essentially said use your Part 90 gear, we don't care as long as you don't cause problems? Honestly, people using Part 90 gear are far less likely to cause problems than our Blister Pack friends.
  16. So here is my real world experience with emergency communication during an emergency, or rather lack of communication. In 2018 we had a 7.1 quake here in Alaska. It didn't cause massive damage but we did have power outages for 4-12 hours, infrastructure damage closing a few roads and breaking a few water mains. A few buildings collapsed as well. Gas lines went undamaged as far as I know. It happened just as everyone was either getting to or was at work. I was at home with our 2 year old. My wife was in the "city" which is about 20 min from us. I did not have a second car at the time. It was November so not too cold but still below freezing. I have a small gen set able to power up a few basic circuits and the gas furnace. The cell grid became overloaded and useless almost immediately. Calls did not work and text messages took hours. The internet was slow but still running if you had power to keep your modem/router on. I was unable to check on family and friends. Luckily our old and failing sea port held up otherwise we would be talking about a much different story. That is when I started looking into a way to set up a radio network that would cover my whole area but was user friendly. Yeah there are HAM repeaters set up on the mountains around here with elevations of 4500 feet and super wide coverage but most of my family and friends aren't interested in tested licenses. So I got a Retevis RT97 repeater tuned for GMRS, a SLA battery, a charge controller, a solar panel and a simple N9TAX antenna. I hiked up a mountain and set it around 2000 feet overlooking the entire area I wanted to cover. I now can easily get my family and friends on board. Most have radios at this point. Most have simple HT radios and as long as they are not standing in a deep hole with heavy obstructions around they can reach into the small repeater just fine out to around 25 miles. Those with mobile radios and better antennas can reach into it from basically anywhere in the city regardless of obstructions. So a single GMRS repeater works well for us due to our geography. I am not trying to communicate with people hours or days away. It may not work for everyone but it works for us. I have also thought about the whole extended grid down resulting in supply shortages and safety concerns. In something like that you need to try and isolate yourself, physically but I also programmed in "emergency"/"SHTF" frequencies into the repeater which are just outside of the GMRS band and in the LMR business realm. Things like a 462.525 and 467.750 split. These frequencies are un-used locally. If the world ends, I can switch over to them and at least prevent all the FRS/GMRS crowd from listening in so easy.
  17. If you look for the international version of CE you will be allowed to open up to wideband.
  18. Here is a screen shot of the software for the RT97. It sounds like you have it all correct.
  19. GXT1000 way back when, replaced with a Vertex VX-231s. Used them when paintballing 10 years ago. About 3 years ago I got a Baofeng UV5R and replaced that with used Motorola PR400s and Vertex VX-231s again.
  20. This is your answer honestly. 1/4 wave performs very well as a general purpose antenna in GMRS. It is only about 6 inches tall and if you need a ground plane you only need to put a small area of metal under it to give it one. Heck you could go get a cheap chunk of thin alum sheet from Home Depot and done. I have been very impressed with my Tram 1126-B
  21. I too am curious about that RT97 version. Anyone know the duty cycle on one of them?
  22. Yeah. They are commercial radios. They are fairly customizable.
  23. I have one of these operating up on a remote mountain side here in Alaska. It uses a SLA battery that is solar re-charged. I get a range of around 25 miles or so when coupled with handhelds such as Vertex VX-231s and/or Motorola PR400s. It probably can go further but I run into the inlet and can't test it further. Out at 25 miles it starts to get a bit noisy in the signal but the message is readable. I attached a photo of looking in out from where it's located at.
  24. I know this is older but I just wanted to 2nd this. I picked up a lot of used Vertex Standard VX231 radios on eBay for about 20 bucks each. A programming cable was 20 bucks and I downloaded CE99 programming software for them. I was able to download the International Version of the software which removes any forced narrowbanding. I set up the radios to GMRS frequencies, including my repeater and sold them off at $35 each to family and friends in the area. Instant GMRS network for emergency use (Think Earthquakes as we are in Alaska). These radios are FAR better than the UV5R that most, including myself had. The RX sensitivity of the VX231 vs the UV5R nearly doubles the range the radios can hear. I found that the VX231 will run for 26 hours with the standard battery on RX only. I also found that parts for it are readily available still, both OEM and chinese knockoff parts such as PTT buttons, antennas, batteries, chargers and cases.
  25. Google N9TAX. It's small, well built, and cheap. If you are sticking to GMRS frequencies have him make you a single band version tuned to 465mhz. You can get the one with a 16 foot lead. They are only 30 dollars and usually arrive in a week. The work very well to help get the antenna clear of ground clutter. I found that it will help you get through when you are nearing the edge of reception.
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