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Repeater usage

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#1 wqrz502



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Posted 24 August 2013 - 11:32 PM

Greetings, all.
New to radio. Really new, I've been toying with the idea of getting into it for a couple of years, and finally broke down and ordered a bunch of Baofeng 888S's (I'm on a tight budget). While my usage will partially be communication between my wife and I while camping, I also intend to use them on the road (with mag mount antennas as mobile devices), and what I'd really like to get away from is using cellphones for the usual "I'm on my way home, do I need to stop at the store and pick up whiskey?" (Like I don't know if we have whiskey at home or not). Researched the hell out of GMRS online, got licensed, have seen all the verbal battles about 90 or 95 compliance, blister packs, blah, blah, I get all that. I'm going fully legal and fully courteous. Also probably going to take the ham Technician test next month.
So all that aside, to communicate the way I want to, I'm probably going to need to use a repeater, and there is one here locally that is open, and I WILL ask permission first.
I don't know how. I simply don't get it, as far as how to set up the radios as far as programming, how you actually transmit and receive with a repeater, really bonehead stuff that should probably be easy. Most discussions that get close to discussing this on forums degenerate into the legalities or illegalities of equipment, whether GMRS is viable for the future, etc.. I'm just looking for some simple procedural and mechanical basics.
Oh, and I'm aware the 888's are programmed illegally with a bunch of frequencies I'm not even interested in, so I'm re- programming them straight GMRS.
Thanks for your help,
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#2 PastorGary


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Posted 25 August 2013 - 04:07 AM

Hi, Dave... Thanks for stopping by to say hello and to post here at the Forum.


There are several repeaters near Sacramento as listed in our own GMRS directory...


CLICK >>> http://www.mygmrs.com/browse


Log in there the same way that you log in here and enter "Sacramento" and "California" in the advanced search blocks.


In general terms, once you have permission to operate on an established repeater, the owner will provide you with CTCSS or Digital access and output codes. The repeater RECEIVES its activation signals exactly 5 mhz above it's transmit output frequency.  Example - If a repeater is transmitting on 462.575, it's receiver will be tuned to 467.575.   Your radio would transmit on 467.575 with the proper tone or digital code and receive on 462.575


To eliminate congestion from other systems or individuals in your radio, the repeater output tone or digital code should be programmed into your radio for that repeater as well.  This will allow your radio to hear only that repeater without having to listen to simplex or unlicensed chatter.


I am not at all familiar with the model of radio that you mentioned. But if you have any setup questions for your equipment, other's here who own that brand will be able to assist.



#3 Logan5


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Posted 25 August 2013 - 08:22 AM

I use a BF888 with my repeater, The BF888 is a little lower power output, than like a UV5R. but works quite well with repeater offset's. I saw an e-bay listing that get's you 10 BF888's for 169 bucks shipped. They must be programed via USB cable only. They are super cheap and work quite well.

#4 wqrz502



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Posted 25 August 2013 - 10:30 PM

Thanks, guys. Those Chinese radios have gotten popular and shipping is pretty slow, I've got four coming (the plan is 1 handheld and one set up as mobile each for my wife and I) and while I haven't seen them, the cable or the software yet, I hear the owner's manual is a nightmare and it's best to use.....CHIRP?.....for programming. That'll be another can o' worms I'll probably be complaining about, eventually. PastorGary, thanks for the procedural stuff, that makes it clearer. I guess the deal is to have a given repeater for a given area and it's tone programmed in, assuming it's not way out of range, and hitting that to transmit. I'll check out the Sac info, that's only about 60 or so miles away.
I'm looking forward to getting in and working with this. I keep a cheap CB in my truck, never transmit into that cesspool, and just keep it around for emergency use when I'm dragging the trailer somewhere. Have also used some business radio. Other than that, complete novice. I understand GMRS isn't really active except on a regional basis, but it seems to have some real possibilities beyond just husband- wife simplex "I'm on my way home" stuff.

#5 wqrz502



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Posted 26 August 2013 - 12:32 AM

Oh, and Logan, my thinking is that somewhere down the line, I'll probably look at building a cheap as possible repeater for family use, and it's interesting that you use the BF 888 for that. Or two of them, from what I gather from what I'm reading? At only about 25 bucks a whack new on Amazon, they seem like a pretty good deal. I know there's other stuff involved, but that's down the road a bit. We're looking at vacating CA within a year or two, living in a a RV park until we settle in permanently, preferably in the SE, and that might be a possibility for our own communications. Too much to learn, and not a long enough lifespan.
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