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smalpierre's Achievements


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  1. Turn the RX pl tone off. Most repeaters I've used don't retransmit PL tones sent, and don't transmit one themselves either. If that's the case, you could be getting in just fine, but you can't hear it. With no RX pl tone, you'll hear everything on that frequency whether it's got a PL tone or not.
  2. But what if I want to listen to the radio from the other side of the galaxy?
  3. Yeah man - I love the nanoVNA, and I got the cheaper one. Pretty sure I got the 4.3" screen, but it'll only sweep up to 1.5ghz - there's a 3ghz one thats a little more expensive, still under 100 bucks though. Definitely not nearly as good as a lab grade instrument, but it's also not 10 grand. You can also connect to a computer and do everything from there - I'm looking to get that going at some point. Ohms vs SWR - yeah, if you're tuning for a single frequency or very tight range and you tune for 50 ohm impedance - you're going to have a low SWR just by default. The opposite doesn't hold true. You cah measure a low SWR and still have an impedance mismatch. I forget exactly how that works but I seem to remember that bieng the case?
  4. Yeah, I use an app on mobile or a computer the vast majority of the time, but it doesn't help out of range of internet - which sometimes I am. Not often, but it's good to have something. There's also other data that's kind of hard to get online - I know where to get it now - but NOAA was my go-to for wave data / predictions for a LONG time. 12 foot waves on 7 second intervals? I don't think I'll be going out that day! I'm working on a repeater project too - I'd like to know if you have any feedline issues. I was thinking about getting some rg-214 but its super expensive - maybe I can find some used hardline somewhere, mine isn't going to be mobile. I got LMR-400 and I now hear its not the thing for duplex - intermod, noise, desense ... something like that? Excellent for a base, supposedly not so much for repeaters.
  5. Kid is getting things DONE! I sat for tech, went for general and didn't quite make it. Been meaning to study up and go back! And for this episode of "are you smarter than a 5th grader" the result is "Not even close"
  6. For my mobiles I use a moderate gain 2m / 70cm dual band antenna. I've seen that lower gain antennas also aren't as "tight" on the bands - they give you lower SWR just outside their designed for bands. Higher gain antennas seem to get low SWR only really close to their intended frequencies. So there's another +1 for a lower gain antenna if you're going to use a dual band instead of one tuned for GMRS frequencies.
  7. NOAA weather is super cool, I've been using it for about 30 years from when I started sailing and was on a marine VHF. I haven't tried inland much, but everywhere I've been pretty much has a NOAA station broadcasting on one or more of the 7 channels. Where I'm at I can pick up like 4 of them, one in spanish For the RV, Im not sure what your goals are - but if you can avoid a repeater, you'll have a lot less headaches. There isn't really a good "plug and play" option. You can get close though! Get something like one of those 1225's people use so much, turn the power down so you don't burn out the finals, buy it already tuned and programmed for a repeater pair with PL tones and the duplexer tuned - and make SURE you keep in mind that even REALLY good cable isn't necessarily suitable for repeater use. The "good stuff" as far as coax has silver plated conductor / shield, and you want to use silver plated connectors. Getting the programming cables / software, and the gear to tune a duplexer is expensive, and there is a fairly steep learning curve. If possible, I'd opt for a nice mobile rig, and use simplex, but if the range isn't enough, it might be repeater time. If its a fiberglass RV the antenna will need some kind of ground plane. If it's a truck towing a trailer, you can mag mount an antenna to the truck. A repeater you're probably not going to be using while in motion (I can't think of a reason to), and a mobile rig will get you a little further than a walkie in the cab. If you do opt for a repeater setup when you set up camp, think about a setup with like a pushup pole or something to get that antenna as far up as you can. Height = range more or less.
  8. Real Times LMR-400 is probably the ticket for that application. If you can solder coax connections and the radio side is a UHF connector (pl-259/so-239 I forget which is which) you might consider cutting the N connector off and putting the right one on to not have any adapters. N is the way for exterior for sure. Depending on how hilly it is, yes, less gain could perform better since it's not as focused on the horizon - but unity might be a wee bit excessive. Gain is good if you can stay in the radiation pattern of the antenna. Its so flat where i'm at, a machinist might not be able to get it any flatter so I want as high of a gain as I can get. If you want to do some horse trading or whatnot I might be interested in a 6db uhf antenna, then you could get something else.
  9. I got my nanoVNA v2 for 50 bucks. I should have got the later version that's closer to 100, but the one I got goes to 1.5ghz (the newer one goes to 3ghz I think?) It's "better" than an SWR meter, but it's not as user friendly either. There is a learning curve for sure, and it takes longer - have to set up a frequency range, calibrate, turn the traces you want on / off (there's an SWR trace if that's all you're doing) - and if you want to read impedance the smith chart isn't the most straight forward thing to read - but once you get it, it's super fire! The one thing that it does not do though - is measure your transmitter power, because you're hooking it straight to the antenna without a transmitter attached. Not sure if you can do that or not with the VNA but I doubt it. So there's another advantage to that surecom SWR meter maybe?
  10. Found them! I feel dumb - it's on this site I really thought I checked that! They're not id'ing, using ani and a roger beep - and it sounded like commercial traffic, but it's not. I heard them today and it's definitely not commercial use. They did link at least two repeaters in the same area, so I can hear them on 4 channels at once. Kind of irritating and inconsiderate, but whatever! Sounds like they're going for something in the 800mhz range soon anyway.
  11. True, but impedance mismatch causes higher swr, so you're ... kinda doing that in a roundabout way?
  12. I downloaded the software from Radioddity. Mine came with not only "non ham band Tx" locked, but they locked me out from RX on everything else too - so no weather channels, no listening to airband, no listening on AM stuff ... so I had to get the OEM software to unlock it. Then I used Chirp to program the channels, and changed some settings (channel step, turned beep off, etc) ... then went to change something or add a channel with Chirp and it set it right back to the defaults - really frustrating. I don't blame you for not wanting to use Chirp. If I had a windows machine I woudln't use Chirp for that radio either! No sense buying programming kits if you already have the cable right?
  13. One thing about the repeater - I'm not 100% sure how bad it'll be, but I'm setting one up now, and got LMR400 feedline for it. It's good coax - but for duplex operations (repeater) it can cause a lot of intermod, receive desense, and noise. It's supposedly beacuse of the braid / foil shield, dissimilar metals, or something? For repeaters real RG-214 is supposedly ok but you have to use silver plated connectors (no chrome or nickel) and it's 5 bucks / foot. I'm looking now to see if somebodys got some hardline laying around from an upgrade of an installation or something. I think hardline is actually cheaper than the 214 ...
  14. https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchGeographic.jsp Here? I don't see where to input license type. Also not sure which frequency to enter - the frequency the radios listen to, the repeater input, or what? I'd assume what the repeater is transmitting on so 462.700 ,, Anyway - I came up with nothing there - checked the box for "mobile area of operations" and the "nationwide" and "continental" boxes. Nothing whatsoever. Even checked adjacent counties just to be sure. I don't really want to file an interference complaint right off the bat - I'm gonna try to get their PL and see what that turns up. If it's just a couple of guys using a repeater with permission and everything it's not really interfering with me. If they're using someones repeater without permission, it's the repeater owners call. If they've just set up a repeater on top of a high rise they're working on and it's unlicensed commercial, AND they act like jerks about it ... well then I'll get with the FCC. I really do want to be nice, until it's time not to be nice!
  15. Blister pack radios - you mean FRS radios? Don't need a license for those. Need a license for anything with a detachable antenna, over 2w, wideband, repeaters, etc - but not for blister pack radios.
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