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Getting Started with GMRS

Handheld TERA TR-505

Best Answer pantherpaw9 , 07 December 2018 - 05:44 PM

I sent you a PM with the information.   Hope it helps.

 

Just made contact on the Sassafras Mountain repeater to a gentleman in Ellijay, GA so I would like to thank all of you for your assistance and patience with me in solving my startup issues.  I can't say enough positive things about this group and the organization.  I look forward to tuning in to the next NET meeting.

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#1 pantherpaw9

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:43 PM

Hi, I'm new to all this, and as you can imagine, I have lot's of questions. The first of which is this: How much power do I need to use GMRS over a repeater that is about 16 miles west of my house. I can't seem to hear any signals coming from the repeater, and I don't think my 4 watt handheld would be enough to reach out that far. Am I dreaming thinking I can use my TERA TR-505 handheld radio to communicate with anyone that is in range of the the repeater coverage area? I'm not sure what equipment I will need to get on the NET meeting and participate. I can hear traffic when I tune a different radio to the frequency. I was wondering why I can hear traffic on the one radio but not on the TERA GMRS radio that I just bought. Any tips for a beginner would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

The hardest thing I ever done is make 10 easy payments...and there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes Benz...


#2 GaDalek

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 09:33 PM

Hi Pantherpaw9, Welcome to the forums.  Your Tera should be able to reach the repeater as long the repeater antenna is high enough.  I can reach the local repeater where I am at from more than 20 miles away.   Mygmrs site list the area of coverage at 100 miles.   Not sure how far one can reach it with an hand held but I know some people are farther away from the repeater that me.  You probably don't have the pl tones set up correctly.   There are a lot of people here that know a lot more than I and they are very helpful and should be able to tell you what you need to know.   Let us know the area you are from and someone should be able to help.  Welcome to the wonderful world of GMRS



#3 pantherpaw9

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 10:34 PM

Hi Pantherpaw9, Welcome to the forums.  Your Tera should be able to reach the repeater as long the repeater antenna is high enough.  I can reach the local repeater where I am at from more than 20 miles away.   Mygmrs site list the area of coverage at 100 miles.   Not sure how far one can reach it with an hand held but I know some people are farther away from the repeater that me.  You probably don't have the pl tones set up correctly.   There are a lot of people here that know a lot more than I and they are very helpful and should be able to tell you what you need to know.   Let us know the area you are from and someone should be able to help.  Welcome to the wonderful world of GMRS

 

Thank you so much for the reply!  That is great information and I am glad to hear it.  The repeater that is closest to me is Sassafras Mt. and I can almost see it from my house as I live on the top of a moderately high ridge line.  I live in Dahlonega, Georgia which is Lumpkin County (yes we are mountain folk).  The radio has a channel 13 that is pre-programmed (according to the users manual) out of the box to the 462.675 MHz frequency with the 141.3 Hz tones already in it.  This is what the MyGMRS site listed as the specs for that repeater.  So I can't imagine what could be the problem.  It's probably something really simple and stupid that I'm doing wrong.  I will just have to keep digging and see if I can figure it out I suppose.


The hardest thing I ever done is make 10 easy payments...and there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes Benz...


#4 RCM

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 11:48 PM

Must be all that gold in the mountains, blocking your signal. :D  Just kidding!

 

Have you tried swapping the antennas on your radios?



#5 berkinet

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 12:57 AM

... So I can't imagine what could be the problem. It's probably something really simple and stupid that I'm doing wrong. I will just have to keep digging and see if I can figure it out I suppose.

How are you testing to see if you are hitting the repeater? Are you are expecting to hear a beep or squelch tail (a short period of carrier after you unkey your transmitter)? While those features are typical, they are not required and, in many cases, not present. Sometimes the only way to tell if you are activating the repeater is to listen on another radio -- one that is as far away from your transmitter as possible.

Other than that, there are several possibilities...
- Have you ever heard any traffic on the repeater? It may not even be working.
- The PL tone may have changed from that listed in MyGMRS.
- You may have set your radio to require a PL tone on receive, possibly a different tone than the repeater transmits or forwards - or the repeater may not have PL on the output at all.
- Your signal may not be reaching the repeater. Try driving to some location that is line-of-sight from the repeater and see what happens.
- And, finally, just as a test, you could give your Baofeng a try. You will not get arrested.

Good luck, keep trying.
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Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

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#6 GaDalek

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 08:37 AM

I'm part of the North Ga GMRS group and that repeater is working.  Can you check to see if the radio has the correct PL tones entered?  You said the manual said it was pre-programmed with the correct ones but you never know.   I have a GMRS V1 that keeps turning off the transmit setting.  You may want to check on that.  Since you said you could reach the repeater with your Baofeng, listen for the weekly net and ask for help during that time.   Everyone is very helpful on the net.  If they don't know the answer, someone will find it for you.   I think it is now on Thursdays @ 8pm.   Good luck.


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#7 pantherpaw9

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 01:05 PM

Must be all that gold in the mountains, blocking your signal. :D  Just kidding!

 

Have you tried swapping the antennas on your radios?

 

I know there has got to be gold in my back yard somewhere down there!  I think you've got it figured out for sure...haha.  Actually that's interesting that you say that about the antenna, I am waiting on an order from a radio outfit in California for a hot rod ferrari lamborgini antenna.  They moved their offices so the order has been delayed.  But yes I did order a high gain antenna and hopefully that will help a bit.  I will update the post when I find out if that has any improvement on my problem.


The hardest thing I ever done is make 10 easy payments...and there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes Benz...


#8 pantherpaw9

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 01:14 PM

How are you testing to see if you are hitting the repeater? Are you are expecting to hear a beep or squelch tail (a short period of carrier after you unkey your transmitter)? While those features are typical, they are not required and, in many cases, not present. Sometimes the only way to tell if you are activating the repeater is to listen on another radio -- one that is as far away from your transmitter as possible.

Other than that, there are several possibilities...
- Have you ever heard any traffic on the repeater? It may not even be working.
- The PL tone may have changed from that listed in MyGMRS.
- You may have set your radio to require a PL tone on receive, possibly a different tone than the repeater transmits or forwards - or the repeater may not have PL on the output at all.
- Your signal may not be reaching the repeater. Try driving to some location that is line-of-sight from the repeater and see what happens.
- And, finally, just as a test, you could give your Baofeng a try. You will not get arrested.

Good luck, keep trying.


Actually, I have another radio, programmed with the frequency and tone code listed on MyGMRS and I can hear traffic. So I think MyGMRS has the correct data posted to the website. I posted earlier that I am waiting on some new antennas so that may help also. I also ordered a TR-505 programming software kit so I can double check what tone codes are programmed into the TERA radio. My guess is that the tone codes that are listed in the product user manual are not the actual tone codes programmed into the TR-505, since I am hearing the repeater on the other radio. As soon as the software kit arrives, I will check those tone codes and see if that solves the problem. That is a big disadvantage of having a cheaper TERA radio with no screen or keypad. It leaves you in doubt of what is actually programmed in there. This is all very good advice and I will check these items and report back on my results. Thank you all so much for your help.

The hardest thing I ever done is make 10 easy payments...and there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes Benz...


#9 pantherpaw9

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 02:01 PM

I'm part of the North Ga GMRS group and that repeater is working. Can you check to see if the radio has the correct PL tones entered? You said the manual said it was pre-programmed with the correct ones but you never know. I have a GMRS V1 that keeps turning off the transmit setting. You may want to check on that. Since you said you could reach the repeater with your Baofeng, listen for the weekly net and ask for help during that time. Everyone is very helpful on the net. If they don't know the answer, someone will find it for you. I think it is now on Thursdays @ 8pm. Good luck.


That is a great tip. I have ordered the programming cable and software to do just that. I suspect that you are right, and the TR-505 user manual has listed that the tones are pre-programmed, but in fact they are probably not. My guess is that they printed the user manual, then found out having the radios pre-programmed with the repeater codes was not a good idea, since that makes it very easy for a person to accidentally jump onto a repeater, without a GMRS license when they are thinking they have a simple walkie talkie. Regardless, I will know in 2 days when the software arrives. In the mean time, I plan to tune in tonight for the NET meeting and try to make a few quick contacts to see if transmission is possible from my house. Thanks for your continued assistance.

The hardest thing I ever done is make 10 easy payments...and there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes Benz...


#10 pantherpaw9

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 02:08 PM

Hi Pantherpaw9, Welcome to the forums.  Your Tera should be able to reach the repeater as long the repeater antenna is high enough.  I can reach the local repeater where I am at from more than 20 miles away.   Mygmrs site list the area of coverage at 100 miles.   Not sure how far one can reach it with an hand held but I know some people are farther away from the repeater that me.  You probably don't have the pl tones set up correctly.   There are a lot of people here that know a lot more than I and they are very helpful and should be able to tell you what you need to know.   Let us know the area you are from and someone should be able to help.  Welcome to the wonderful world of GMRS

 

You mentioned you are reaching the repeater from about 20 miles away; may I ask what radio and power output you are running just to get an idea if I'm in the ballpark?  I'm assuming since you did say handheld you probably are around 4 watts like my TERA.  Thanks


The hardest thing I ever done is make 10 easy payments...and there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes Benz...


#11 Logan5

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 04:50 PM

I thought the Tera was only 2 watts? Either way the radios advertised as 4 are only really 2 watts anyway.



#12 pantherpaw9

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 05:56 PM

I thought the Tera was only 2 watts? Either way the radios advertised as 4 are only really 2 watts anyway.

 

Well that's not surprising, everything is a scam these days when they advertise, so who really knows what they are buying until they get it and test it with a meter.  I suppose I meant to say, "are you using a radio with an advertised rating of 4 watts (2 watts)"  haha...anyway, I really appreciate the info, I have learned so much from you folks on this site.  While I am envious of the knowledge around these parts; I am still having a blast geeking out on these radios!!


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The hardest thing I ever done is make 10 easy payments...and there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes Benz...


#13 RCM

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 06:16 PM

2w vs 4-5w makes very little difference anyway. The main thing the additional wattage does is heat up the radio and drain the battery. A good antenna is far more important.


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#14 GaDalek

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 06:26 PM

You mentioned you are reaching the repeater from about 20 miles away; may I ask what radio and power output you are running just to get an idea if I'm in the ballpark?  I'm assuming since you did say handheld you probably are around 4 watts like my TERA.  Thanks

The GMRS V-1 is listed as 5W.  Now if i am in my car trying to use it with the attached antenna then the sound quality is not too good but stick it out the window and it's good. I usually have it hooked up to my mag mount. 

 

If the net is not on Thursday the it might be on Friday.   I have not been on it in awhile.  My house is located in a radio signal void.  I have to go outside to get a good and consent signal.   That is with the radio and cell phones.   It's funny to see neighbors walking around outside trying to get a good cell signal.  That's with AT&T, Verizon, T-mobile, ect.   Some days are better than others.



#15 Hans

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 07:57 PM

http://www.northgeorgiagmrs.com/

We will continue the nightly net, Monday thru Friday at 8:00pm, on our network. Feel free to join in the fun and contribute to the conversation.


Edited by Hans, 06 December 2018 - 08:08 PM.

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#16 pantherpaw9

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 08:17 PM

Well, I checked into the NET meeting tonight 4 times on the radio and was not heard and with a Nagoya NA-771 antenna, so I definitely have a problem to solve...I can't imagine that I am not able to reach that repeater, I am on top of a hill and I can physically see the top of Sassafras mountain from my back porch. There has to be something wrong with the radio setup. I can hear everyone loud and clear on the other radio, but nothing is getting to the repeater, and on the TERA TR-505, I can neither listen nor transmit. Very frustrating.

The hardest thing I ever done is make 10 easy payments...and there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes Benz...


#17 GaDalek

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 09:30 AM

How did you program your Baofeng?  Did you use chirp or did you program it using the keypad?  If you are using chirp I can send you the file with the correct settings.  If you are using the keypad then I can send you those setting also.  Let me know which you prefer and I will PM them to you.



#18 pantherpaw9

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 09:45 AM

How did you program your Baofeng? Did you use chirp or did you program it using the keypad? If you are using chirp I can send you the file with the correct settings. If you are using the keypad then I can send you those setting also. Let me know which you prefer and I will PM them to you.


I used the keypad to program my other radio, as I do not have a programming cable yet. It seems that I may need to go ahead and order one. I suppose I should probably go with the keypad method and I would be very grateful to receive those settings from you. Thank you very much.

The hardest thing I ever done is make 10 easy payments...and there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes Benz...


#19 pantherpaw9

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 09:51 AM

BTW, my avatar image is borrowed humor from a post I saw on here in the General Forum (I think) and I saw a discussion on radio testing and the comment was "test...test..." and it had a link to a video on youtube that showed a Baofeng being set on fire as a "test" and I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair.  So I made an image of the burnt radio from a screen capture image.  So I wanted to make sure to not take credit for thinking up that joke.  I hope that user doesn't mind...haha...


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#20 GaDalek

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 10:14 AM

I sent you a PM with the information.   Hope it helps.






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