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Everything posted by SteveH

  1. We have one planned for Spruce Head but it's not operational and no estimated date. It is listed in the repeater directory. Not aware of another one around here. 73, Steve
  2. A friend of mine (a licensed GMRS user) purchased out of curiosity an EASYTALK ET-M3, described as a Mini Walkie Talkie 16 channel FRS/GMRS two way radio. This, and a multitude of similar little radios, seem to be widely available. The ebay link is https://www.ebay.com/itm/172702266455 There is no FCC ID on or within the radio that we could find and the specs say 400-520 MHz, power less than/equal to 2.5 watts. Programming cable available as an extra. Something tells me this thing isn't quite legal. Anyone have any further knowledge of these devices? 73, Steve
  3. SteveC7010 - yes, poorly worded but maybe easy to understand for the average consumer. N4GIX - As for the digits after the decimal point, I guess that's how the testing companies get the big bucks. I'm sure radio to radio variations make that meaningless. I've been looking at some FCC test results for a few different radios. For example, my Midland GXT740 is 1.202 watts for the shared channels and a miserable 0.150 watts for FRS only. The Cobra CXT645 (now discontinued) is 2 watts and 1/2 watt (no useless digits!) Gee, that fits the new rules. The Uniden SX377 is 1.59 and 0.45 watts but there's a boost for the shared channels to 2.5 watts according to the manual. (FCC report doesn't seem to mention this.) The Uniden GMR 5095/5088/5098) is 1.92 and 0.44 watts. As with the previous radio, the report doesn't mention the boost feature.
  4. I'll bet it comes sooner rather than later. The rules were approved this past May but have been gestating since 2010. The Midland GXT1000 has a high power of about 3 watts, low at just under 1/2 watt and at mid power (per Midland), 2 watts. Seems like a FRS radio could be made with a firmware change and some testing. I'd have to think that the manufacturers have had a few product designs in their back pockets. I did find a listing of current FRS/GMRS radios that would be non-compliant with the new rules. See https://www.buytwowayradios.com/blog/2017/09/which_frs_gmrs_radios_are_license_free.aspx The only FRS/GMRS radios I have are a pair of GXT740s. That model is a bit over 1/10 watt for FRS and a bit over 1 watt for GMRS.
  5. Now that the new Part 95 rules are in place and combined FRS/GMRS radios will be phased out over the next 2 years, has anyone heard about any plans to provide dedicated FRS radios? Presumably these would have up to 2 watts on channels 1-7 and 15-22; 1/2 watt on 8-14.
  6. I renewed my license a couple of days ago. $70 for 10 years.
  7. 1 second packet bursts with an interval of at least 30 secs I believe. It was pushed by Garmin for their walkie talkie trackers. They wanted it for GMRS as well as FRS.
  8. In the summary is says: In addition to the comprehensive review and update of the rules to reflect modern practices, the Commission enhanced the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) to allow new digital applications, allot additional interstitial channels and extend the license term from five to ten years.
  9. Looks like the 90 days should have passed by now.
  10. Here's a link to an update on the program in my area. We're focusing on our little midcoast Maine peninsula that consists of a half dozen communities. http://ballyhac.com/Knox_Peninsula_Project_Final.pdf We reviewed it at our county ARES/RACES-CERT meeting yesterday and we're going to try to get non-ham Skywarn spotters engaged in using the radio to report during storms. Also included are the results of a test from the So. Thomaston EOC to the new warming shelter about 2.5 miles away using MURS and simple, slightly elevated antennas. Perfect solution and cheap.
  11. The state EOC (MEMA) is way behind the curve on communications other than public safety VHF, satellite and WebEOC. They do have an FNARS station and there's some ham gear there but it's not used much and the HF side of things is woefully lacking. So, the quick answer is no. The counties are where the action is.
  12. I probably made the mistake of trying to force GMRS as a solution as we're trying to promote that in our area. Then the goose chase for the fee waiver that really doesn't exist for individual licenses. Our default for warming shelters is FRS and several are close enough to the centers of activity that FRS works. In one town we replaced FRS with wifi mesh telephony and we'd like to see more of that. The warming shelters are staffed by volunteers from the community so the model is more of an informal CERT effort. Of possible interest, I stumbled on FEMA's CERT communications presentation. It's dated 2012 so it's mostly up to date. It covers everything from sneaker net to Part 90 to ham with landline, cell, satellite, computer network, FRS, GMRS, MURS and CB in between. The only service specifically not recommended under any circumstances is CB. There are a few errors like MURS being repeater capable and the equipment availability being a bit off. See https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1449695072664-f9e63377160573cd3050158874dc548c/cert_emergencycommunications_ppt_100615.pdf
  13. After a couple of email exchanges with Mark K6LED/WQXR567 at BetterSafeRadio.com I purchased one of the TERA TR-505 MURS/GMRS radios. They are on back order until sometime in the next week due to a revision to the 2 watt VHF output. (Sounds to me like a calibration adjustment issue that had to be addressed.) It will be interesting to compare it to my Dakota Alert base station radios.
  14. The killer for FRS only, even at 2 watts, would probably be the attached antenna. We'll find out in a few days. Another approach might be MURS. I've got a couple of Dakota Alert base station MURS radios and decent antennas to try.
  15. The next move is to look for shelter workers who are related to each other.
  16. The FCC's answer to the question was simple - no waivers on GMRS license fees. An individual is not an entity. Oh well, was worth trying.
  17. Huh...not on the shared channels?
  18. Radio Relay International's program is gaining momentum. The latest updates are on page 10 (Local Programs Committee Formed) and 11 (Community Outreach - National Communications Strategy) of the July QNI newsletter. See https://qninewsletterdotnet.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/qni-2017-7.pdf Also see http://radio-relay.org/emcomm/natcomstrat/
  19. Part 90 radios were discussed and dismissed. The county puts pretty tight reins on public safety radio usage and pretty much restricts use to those who are NIMS certified and operating under an incident commander. Also, in the county, we have multiple warming shelters so there's concern about control. If we can work something like GMRS at the town EOCs and FRS at the shelters, that makes the system quite flexible.
  20. Yes, time to ask the FCC. On a positive note, after looking at the terrain profile between the EOC and the new warming shelter, I'm willing to (almost) bet that a 5 watt GMRS radio with antenna on the tower can work a 2 watt FRS radio at the shelter. That would considerably simplify things as only a small set of people work at the EOC as opposed to a larger pool that would be working the shelter. Our EOC and shelter in the next town south has a much simpler situation. They are only about 200 yards apart and we use Part 15 wifi data/telephony devices (Village Telco Mesh Potatoes) between them. Our county EMA, like many, has a good stable of FRS/GMRS radios. I'll be there tomorrow and will turn a few on to see what channels and power settings were last used when they were deployed.
  21. The language is in the current instructions for the GMRS license. Correct, there are currently no new group licenses nor will there be. I'm assuming that the exemption is carried through in the new rules. The question is, given the fee waiver for government entities (I take that as individuals working for the government), can that be applied to individuals (not employees) who support the government agency. For example, could CERT team members get a waiver since they are registered with an agency? One place that this is mentioned is at http://wireless.fcc.gov/feesforms/feeguide/services/generalmobile.pdf
  22. We have a town EMA in our area that is using FRS bubble pack radios to communicate from the EOC to a warming shelter. Under this EMA's jurisdiction is another warming shelter that cannot be reached using FRS (or at all using this type of radio, regardless of the power setting). GMRS would be a great option. 5 watts should work with a decent antenna. The filing fees rules provides an exemption for "governmental entities:" PART 95 GMRS FEE EXEMPTIONS: Eligibles filing as Governmental Entities are exempt from fee payment. Additionally, there is no fee required for applications filed with purposes of Amendment (unless adding call signs, adding waivers, or changing Exemption for the Fee(s) to ‘No’), Administrative Update, Request to Cancel a License, or a Request for Withdrawal of a Pending Application. In this case, the licensees would have to be the director (a town employee) and several people who may or may not be in the employ of the town but would be working under the direction of the director. Would the exemption also be applicable to them? Or is there another way of working this for an agency? The same situation would arise in the case of SAR teams who use (knowingly or unknowingly) GMRS and other responders. 73, Steve
  23. SteveH

    Btech GMRS V1

    I got one a couple of weeks ago and am quite happy with it.
  24. 239 active licenses in Maine but only a half dozen in my general area. Working on recruiting a couple of others.
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