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Etiquette for communication using GMRS


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Please advise: What is the proper procedure for one licensed GMRS user to call another when both have licenses? In other words, I am new, what is the proper way to call another licensed user? Do I say xxxx123 to xxxx321, Michael to John, or radio check? What is the proper procedure to call a known person, or an unknown person, i.e. "Hey, is anyone using this frequency?"


Please don't respond with jargon or abbreviations, I am new and have no idea what a "travel tone, PL, off-set," or any of the other terms bantered about are on this site... hopefully, I'll learn them shortly, but for example, I'm trying to connect up to the Ft Lauderdale, FL Repeater... I can hear it (sometimes), sometimes I hear morse, but can't seem to activate it as I can't hear it back on another HT (I just learned that term!) So, what's the way I should "call" to see if anyone can hear me? 

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So the first step is to look at your radio's user manual and look for setup for repeater operations.  If the manual does not have repeater operations setup your radio may not  be repeater capable.  Also, when asking questions about a specific setup it is important to tell us what radio model you have so we can help you with specifics. 


When calling another station always use the call sign of the station you are calling first and your station call sign last.  If you just want to talk to anybody simply say your call sign once or twice then say you are "listening" or "listening for any station." 

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If you're calling another station directly, always start with their call sign first, then yours - ex " WYYY345, WZZZ123."  A good way to remember this is to insert "this is" between the call sign and you'll never forget the order - ex  "WYYY345 this is WZZZ123."  If you're not calling another station directly, the usual procedure is to announce your call sign and "listening"  or "monitoring" - ex "WZZZ123 monitoring."  If you're just monitoring simplex you might add "WZZZ123 monitoring GMRS channel 20."  If you're monitoring a repeater, you might say "WZZZ123 monitoring [repeater station name or frequency here]."  If you're looking for a CB-style radio check, people generally ask for a "signal report."  For example you may identify on a repeater like this: "This is WZZZ123 monitoring CityRepeater1, are any stations available for a signal report?"  A listening station may respond indicating the strength and quality of your signal and/or initiate a conversation.  If you receive no response, you could wait a few minutes, identify with your call sign again and request a signal report.  If you are not receiving any replies after one or two attempts, you should clear the frequency with something like "No contact, this is WZZZ123 clear, monitoring."  Also - you should avoid just keying up the repeater and not saying anything (a.k.a. "kerchunking" the repeater) .  If you just want to test if you're in range or have the radio properly set up, still identify - ex: "WZZZ123 testing."  Here is a link with some good info about amateur repeater etiquette, but a lot of it still applies to GMRS as well.  Radio involves a lot of listening, so keep yours on often and see what you can hear - hope this helps!

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Also to answer you other question, here is some good info for reading about frequency tones:

Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System

Digital Code Squelch (DCS)

CTCSS and DCS Tones -- What's the difference?


btw - The "travel tone" is 141.3 Hz. Here is some good info about repeaters and offsets:

Repeaters - RadioReferecne Wiki

Offset - RadioReference Wiki

For GMRS, the offset is always +5 MHz. A GMRS repeater operating on 462.675 MHz will have an input frequency 5 MHz higher at 467.675 MHz (which is also listed as a GMRS frequency).  Glad you're interested in the hobby - feel free to ask any questions!

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  • 2 years later...

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