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Found 6 results

  1. The more I learn about the FCC's General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), the more I am fascinated by RF in general. It touches everyone's lives every second of every day, yet few people pay much attention. How cool is it that after 42 years and 14 billion miles away, the 22-Watt radio on Voyager 1 is still sending data back to earth every day (how important is that antenna?). So why aren't more people interested in GMRS or RF in general? There's no test to get a license like amateur (ham) radio. It's $70 for a 10-year license, and is really easy to get started. So here are some theories. People don't know: GMRS exists Why GMRS exists Why they'd want to use GMRS How to envision themselves participating in GMRS What it takes to get started with GMRS What it takes to continue and improve with GMRS Technical information they should know about GMRS Etiquette when transmitting (TX) on GMRS What a GMRS "Net" is and why Most people within the GMRS community are helpful once you're in, but the community is very inviting in a go-figure-it-out-yourself way, and no one has assembled everything you need to know about GMRS all in one place. We GMRS people are putting the onus on outsiders to sift through thousands of painfully esoteric webpages with a winnowing fork, separating useful info from useless, poorly written, or incomplete info. When I first heard about GMRS on a 4x4 trip, I arrived home and Googled around and settled on a Midland MXT-275 because it seemed perfect for mounting on my truck dashboard. At the time, I had no idea that Midland doesn't manufacture a GMRS radio capable of operating on split-tone repeaters (Dear Midland, I know you're reading this: why do you squander so much potential?). Edit 6/28/2021: Midland heard our cry! They just updated the MXT-275 to include split-tone programming on repeater channels. So for example, now this radio is able to reach a repeater that receives (RX) incoming transmissions on 467.550 with a PL tone of 103.5 and repeats the transmission (TX) at 462.550 with a PL tone of 88.5. I didn't even know what "split tone" was or even what "tone" meant, or carrier or squelch or hundreds of other little things you all take for granted. Since then, I realized that if the big, bad manufacturers like Midland, Kenwood, Motorola, and iCom can't even invite the public to learn more and provide useful content for each stage of the customer journey—Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, and Loyalty—the 2-way radio industry has much deeper problems and aren't there to help guys like me. As we get involved deeper into GMRS, there's little-to-no hand-holding going on at each level of knowledge. I ending up relying on the Ham community here and there and a guy who is basically a saint at a little radio shop in Phoenix, Arizona (hope Tim over at Procomm and the others at the nonprofit AZGMRS.org don't mind me giving them a shout-out). Edit 4/14/2020: By the way, AZGMRS made this awesome list of FCC-approved GMRS radios that they recommend. If you live anywhere near Arizona and are reading this, now would be a great time to become a member. Their repeater network covers some 100 miles around Phoenix with more and more repeaters joining the network (check out their sweet coverage map). But it's still frustrating. I wish a GMRS expert—presumably a manufacturer—would just come out and say exactly what a total newbie needs at each stage of their involvement or level of need. Two-way radio manufacturers should stop wasting time trying to sell, and start marketing and branding, which means educating the public about the 5 W's (Who, What, Where, When, Why [+how, +how much]) without trying to sell to them. Most new users don't know what they need because they don't know what's possible. For example, I wish I knew that manufacturers don't typically include the best antenna on their radios right out of the box. It took me over a year to realize that the best bang for the buck for a portable base antenna to include in my go bag is N9TAX's Slimjim and that Smiley Antenna makes the best bang for the buck antennas for hand-held radios (which by the way, everyone just assumes newbies are supposed to know that hand-held walkie-talkie radios are called "HT" for "Handy-talkie" and what a "QSO" is). How would a newbie know that the cheap Nagoya 771 "upgrade" antenna for Baofengs that everyone talks about actually isn't the best bang for the buck for the GMRS frequency band of 462–467? How would a newbie know that antennas work best when tuned exactly to what they call a "center" frequency that accommodates 5 Megahertz in each direction (+5 and -5 Megahertz) at the expense of hearing other frequencies? I learned the hard way that in order to properly install an NMO antenna mount on the roof of my truck, I would need a drill bit specifically made for drilling NMO antenna mount holes, and that yes, it is worth the money to do it right the first time. I'm still in the middle of learning how a "quarter-wave" or "5/8 wave" antenna works, the difference between dB gain vs. dBi gain, mic gain, antenna gain, because again, everyone seems to just assume I already know what all this means. I still don't understand what antenna "tuning" means and why you have to "cut" an antenna to "tune" it. Can I make my own antenna right now in a pinch with a copper wire in my garage? Ok, show me! How do I measure it or test it? What is SWR? Can I measure it myself? What do I need in order to measure it? Is one SWR meter better than another for my level as a newbie? Is there something I should learn to make it worth buying the better meter that opens up a whole new world of capability? Is it worth learning all that? This graphic did a great job beginning to explain what dBd gain means for those of us who know next to nothing about it, but now I need to go find out on my own and sift through a thousand webpages to find out if dBd is something new I need to know. Speaking of dB, I know that "dB" is a decibel, but is it the same as my stereo volume? Why do I see manufacturers saying that the microphone and cable have a dB rating? What is going on here? This is madness! We can Google things all day, but which info is true and correct and the most helpful? I think that the entire industry is sitting on a Gold Mine of consumers sitting at home for weeks on end who would love to buy GMRS equipment and communicate via GMRS to friends, family, neighbors, and other GMRS users. Whoever provides the most useful, relevant, and engaging content that stops making assumptions about what people know or don't know will win. STOP ASSUMING. START EDUCATING.
  2. I recently became GMRS licensed so that my family and myself could have some backup radio communications without everyone needing a HAM license. However I do hope it entices my brothers and some other family to try. Anyways, we all live very close by so it works out mostly well but we were disappointed to learn there are no GMRS repeaters in our area anymore. I lived in Clayton, NC with my family and recently moved to Raleigh, NC so now at least one family member could use a GMRS repeater. That is, unless every family member suddenly decides to become HAM licensed overnight. I've read about homemade repeaters and have most of the components to build one and sling in a tree somewhere nearby. Before I went to such measure I wanted to ask around about the process and costs of installing a proper GMRS repeater on a radio tower. I'm a new HAM as well so I know very little of the radio tower world. I am a 20 year IT professional and know about co-locating hosts. I wonder if radio towers do something similar? Do we lease space from them like you would lease a spot in a datacenter to put your own server? There was one HAM who had a GMRS repeater installed on a water tower at the State Fair grounds but when they took the water tower down the owner never bothered to re-install the GMRS repeater on another tower because it was rarely used. I asked him more through email regarding how one could go about getting space on a water tower or radio tower but i've never received a response yet. When I did speak with him on 2 meters, he explained that he was very busy maintaining radio tower equipment and has very little time so didn't want to push him. So i'm asking you all now. I've read other posts on repeaters, towers and relative costs in terms like "expensive" and "costly" but nothing actionable or relevant to my locale. If anyone out there in my area who knows a thing or two, is bored and willing to explain more about this I would greatly appreciate your efforts. I have a strong interest in having another GMRS repeater in the Raleigh area and if it is within my budget or I can get enough people to contribute I would like to install one. I simply don't know where to get started.
  3. Hello, I'm Derek, WQZP709 (the ink is still wet on that ticket). In an odd twist I was handed two UHF repeaters. One appears to be fully fictional and the other might be OK albeit it came with a report of a bad RF power supply (this is fixable), both need to be reprogramed. The obvious use for these two repeaters is GMRS and that opens the door for a whole bunch of learning curve. I'm hoping to tap into the vast amount of knowledge here on the forms and get a couple more repeats on the air for folks to use.
  4. Hi All - I am fairly new to GMRS. I've worked in a shop and have done minor tuning, programming, installs and surface mount repairs on portables and mobiles over the years. I have limited experience with repeaters. I am attempting to setup a home repeater in Dutchess County, New York. Equipment I have: 2 CDM1250 UHF Radios (40 Tx Watts / 25 Rx) 1 Dual power supply 1 ID O Matic 4 IV controller 1 Duplexer (properly tuned to Hi and Lo) Can somebody make recommendations on the remaining equipment? (10 foot coax run....type of cable...N connectors.....antenna). I can not get onto the roof, so I will be running a pole/pvc out of the highest window of the house....extending it to roof level. Thank you for your help! Brandon, WQYZ962
  5. Hi all. Randy in Washington Pennsylvania here. Just renewed my gmrs license and looking for a net to use while I try and get a repeater system up. Just looking to talk with like minded people interested in gmrs and maybe getting my amateur tech license.
  6. Hi Everyone, I am very new to GMRS. I received my FCC license (want to be compliant) and purchased a Wouxun KG-UVDP1 mobile handheld unit. The range is OK for a handheld and quality seems good. I like the ability to program several channels as well as the manual mode to dial in frequencies. Unfortunately, I live in a rural area and the nearest repeater is approximately 30 miles away. I am in Florida so the terrain is rather flat, but the foliage is heavy. Obstructions are definitely an issue here and I know there is no way I can link up with that repeater from my home (not in a million years with my handset). I want to build a repeater station of my own. I don't want to spend an arm and a leg on it, but I would like it to work fairly well. I am fairly good with electronics/computers and have a very basic understanding of RF properties. I don't mind buying a part here and a part there, but would like something I can operate inside my house (I understand the antenna will be outside). I would like to utilize the full 50W allowance I have under my license in order to maximize broadcast range. Again, I am in a rural area. I know this will not help me if someone is not capable of transmitting back. I have been looking at the GR300, GM300 Radius in repeater configuration, and the M120 in repeater configuration. One concern I have is the availability of replacement parts and future proofing. Since these units are no longer sold I am worried about "future proofing". I understand things change, products enter and leave the market, but should something break I would like replacement parts to be available. Ultimately I am looking to those of you who are more experienced than I. Can you recommend a path to take with this and/or equipment to use. I know there have been recommendations in other topics on this forum, but none of those scenarios matched mine. Hoping to get some good information! Thanks in advance!
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