Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Scouting and Advice


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 SplinterFL

SplinterFL

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WRBM807
  • Ham Callsign:KN4MDJ

Posted 04 April 2019 - 02:05 PM

I have a project (volunteer) of setting up a new HAM shack in one of the largest scout camps in FL, 1500 acres moderately dense forest. So I had the bright idea, if we already have to put up an antenna for 2M and HF would it be worthwhile to offer a GMRS repeater.
At least 1000 people (cubs w/families, scouts, others) are at the camp 30 weekends a year, and large events are about 2000 people once a month (and every week during summer)....what you call a captive audience, lol.

The site is 10-15 miles from the nearest GMRS repeaters (about 8 of them), and 20 miles from the nearest vhf HAM repeaters. I contacted all the repeaters in a circle around it, tallest is 200'  40 miles away, rest are all below 50' so not a chance with dense forest. Everyone agrees it's doubtful anything is in range, though I'll get a chance to try to reach them all next weekend at an event...

So the big question, is GMRS really used much to make it worth doing a repeater.
One plus is cell service is very poor in the area. I figure cell phones are what killed most radio.
I've noticed several families do have FRS radios but range is limited as you'd expect at 1/2 watt.

We're moving forward with setting up 2M (radio merit badge w/tech lic. course),
but was just thinking it might be a nice amenity to offer families that camp.

We'll prob do a survey later to see if there would be any interest.
Just worry that GMRS is dying, ham is cheaper to get and more powerful.

Advice?
Ken


  • Ian and Downs like this

#2 Durake

Durake

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 115 posts
  • LocationRowlett, Texas.
  • GMRS Callsign:WQXR714
  • Ham Callsign:K5DUR

Posted 04 April 2019 - 02:15 PM

I wouldn't even bother. UHF vs VHF in a dense wooded area? You'll see a huge difference if you take 2 HT's and have them both with identical specs and do a range test on both bands.
 
At all the BSA camps I've been to they've used VHF repeaters, for very good reasoning that UHF sucks in the woods. 

 

Here at the Summit for some reason we use UHF, I think it was the sales part on Motorola of how to get the most money out of us, UHF requires waaay more infrastructure to function just as well as VHF would in the woods.

 

Not to discourage you from doing it, but in my opinion, I'd say don't bother. If it's not going to be that great of a system then don't put the money or resources into it.


  • SplinterFL likes this

Drake Robinson | "Motoballa"

EMS Dispatcher @ Mount Hope, WV

Dallas County REACT183

 

 

 

#3 SplinterFL

SplinterFL

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WRBM807
  • Ham Callsign:KN4MDJ

Posted 04 April 2019 - 02:37 PM

Thanks, that does bring up a good point..

We are doing 2M because we want them to earn the Ham Tech lic during summer camp and be able to use the shack radio.
What better way to encourage them and just keep them on the ham band. Maybe later do a small 2M repeater, I know we can reach one club repeater with mobile 25w units, though I doubt a 5w HT can reach it, so maybe that might be a better repeater option for the scouts. (and they can call each other across camp)
Radios as prizes are also cheaper on that band, lol.

Ken

 

I wouldn't even bother. UHF vs VHF in a dense wooded area? You'll see a huge difference if you take 2 HT's and have them both with identical specs and do a range test on both bands.
 
At all the BSA camps I've been to they've used VHF repeaters, for very good reasoning that UHF sucks in the woods. 

 

Here at the Summit for some reason we use UHF, I think it was the sales part on Motorola of how to get the most money out of us, UHF requires waaay more infrastructure to function just as well as VHF would in the woods.

 

Not to discourage you from doing it, but in my opinion, I'd say don't bother. If it's not going to be that great of a system then don't put the money or resources into it.



#4 Durake

Durake

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 115 posts
  • LocationRowlett, Texas.
  • GMRS Callsign:WQXR714
  • Ham Callsign:K5DUR

Posted 04 April 2019 - 02:45 PM

Haha for sure. Let us know what you end up doing!


Drake Robinson | "Motoballa"

EMS Dispatcher @ Mount Hope, WV

Dallas County REACT183

 

 

 

#5 haneysa

haneysa

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 17 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WQXU640

Posted 04 April 2019 - 06:15 PM

Ken, I believe that GMRS could be a valuable and useful asset at the scout camp. 1500 acres is not a very large area for UHF HTs to reach across, even with thick vegetation. Since you said the camp is in Florida, that rules out mountainous terrain,which could pose a problem. Maybe a site survey could let you know what to expect from HTs. Have you ever used RadioMobile Online? It may help you predict coverage for the camp. Having a base station at the HQ with a 30' tall antenna would most likely allow HQ to have clear comms with everyone on site. 20 years ago, I was a scoutmaster and we had a jamboree at Camp Farragut, Idaho. We used bubble pack Motorolas and could communicate for at least two miles (one end of the camp to the other). I live near Spokane, and we have mountains and trees. I get 3-8 miles HT to my house (30' tall antenna), and 10-30 miles mobile to house.



#6 JohnE

JohnE

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 571 posts
  • Locationthe Empire State

Posted 04 April 2019 - 06:57 PM

what are the plans for antenna structure, tower, guyed mast on building.

what types of tree and what height are they. you need to clear them.

just some things you'll have to figure out


Powered by Kenwood, Motorola, EF Johnson,Cresend  Milcom and Henry


#7 berkinet

berkinet

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 289 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WQYR510
  • Ham Callsign:WB6TAE

Posted 04 April 2019 - 07:32 PM

Do not overlook licensing issues. Since most people on site will not be from the same family, you are going to need a lot of licenses. $70 isn’t much to someone who is interested in GMRS as a long term service. But, some may consider that excessive for a week’s use. Amateur licensing is an issue as well. But, the cost (for testing) is much lower and each participant will also be taking a radio class, worth something on its own.
  • Elkhunter521 likes this

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

-- Marcus Aurelius


#8 SplinterFL

SplinterFL

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WRBM807
  • Ham Callsign:KN4MDJ

Posted 04 April 2019 - 08:19 PM

Scouts doing summer camp will get a week long radio class and earn a free tech lic.(after passing VE test) and merit badge. (They'd still have to get a radio, but following events/years they can use it at camp)

Gmrs, if added would be on each family to get a license and radio on their own.(camp would just provide the repeater but not push it, just an amenity)


Do not overlook licensing issues. Since most people on site will not be from the same family, you are going to need a lot of licenses. $70 isn’t much to someone who is interested in GMRS as a long term service. But, some may consider that excessive for a week’s use. Amateur licensing is an issue as well. But, the cost (for testing) is much lower and each participant will also be taking a radio class, worth something on its own.



#9 SplinterFL

SplinterFL

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WRBM807
  • Ham Callsign:KN4MDJ

Posted 04 April 2019 - 08:23 PM

They currently have a vhf antenna on a dedicated 40' telephone pole. With cleared area 200' around.
That is the starting point unless we find something better or donated.


what are the plans for antenna structure, tower, guyed mast on building.
what types of tree and what height are they. you need to clear them.
just some things you'll have to figure out



#10 Jones

Jones

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 199 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WQYM541
  • Ham Callsign:KB0HAW

Posted 05 April 2019 - 12:29 AM

One thing I might suggest...

 

Since (I assume) you will have a GMRS license holder at the central command office of the camp, why not set up a 5-watt, narrow band UHF base station on 462.6125 MHz, with no CTCSS tone.  Put a small UHF antenna on your 40 foot pole, (use low-loss coax like LMR-400) and you will be able to cover your whole forest on the frequency known as FRS Channel 3. 

 

Tell everyone with FRS radios to stay off from channel 3 unless they have any emergency or need to get in touch with the camp headquarters, then just call on channel 3 with no privacy code.  Even if those cheap bubble-pack radios can't talk to each other through the trees, they likely can be heard at the base station with the 40' high antenna, and with licensed 5 Watts at 40', they will hear you.  Forget about a UHF repeater. 

 

NOTE: I'm just using channel 3 as an example, but any channel 7 or below could be used at 5 Watts. You could use higher power (50 Watts) on channels 15-22, but remember, a lot of older FRS-only radios don't go past 14, and channel 8-14 are low-power only.  If there is any GMRS repeater within 50 miles, pick a channel 2 or 3 away from its output frequency, so its wide-band transmitter doesn't splatter on your narrow-band base receiver.


  • SplinterFL likes this

#11 Glider

Glider

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • LocationFlorida
  • GMRS Callsign:WQYV590

Posted 08 April 2019 - 09:59 AM

At Camp La-No-Che we used Motorola Mag One BPR40 4 watt UHF radios programed for GMRS channels. We were not able to talk to all locations from our camp sites. They were indeed usefull however and we were able to relay messages. We did not have a base station or antnenna tower. We did have a Dad who hooked up an antenna on top of his camper (think maybe he was using a ham radio) once and he was able to reach much farther than our handhelds. 

I am not knowledgeable about the technology but can attest to many families, troops and packs using FRS and GMRS at the camp. I think a system like you described would be a HUGE benefit, especially incases of emergency.



#12 SplinterFL

SplinterFL

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WRBM807
  • Ham Callsign:KN4MDJ

Posted 08 April 2019 - 11:31 AM

That's actually the camp in question. It's illegal to setup an FRS repeater but doing the 5watt GMRS base station would be a plus (FRS could hear it and they can hear the low power HT's...even if HT to HT won't reach).

 

At Camp La-No-Che we used Motorola Mag One BPR40 4 watt UHF radios programed for GMRS channels. We were not able to talk to all locations from our camp sites. They were indeed usefull however and we were able to relay messages. We did not have a base station or antnenna tower. We did have a Dad who hooked up an antenna on top of his camper (think maybe he was using a ham radio) once and he was able to reach much farther than our handhelds. 

I am not knowledgeable about the technology but can attest to many families, troops and packs using FRS and GMRS at the camp. I think a system like you described would be a HUGE benefit, especially incases of emergency.



#13 captdan

captdan

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 121 posts
  • LocationOcala, Florida

Posted 09 April 2019 - 01:43 AM

I think the idea of a GMRS/FRS radio "system" is great.  Even if you double down and have both a repeater for a GMRS "channel" and a simplex FRS "Channel". 

Then a sign posted on the entrance road notifying people entering the camp that a certain "channel" should be avoid and only used to contact the office, recommend a second "channel" every one use for calling and contacting each other while around the camp.

 

GMRS repeater capable radios would be great for any administrative type people, coordinators, group leaders etc that could communicate across the entire camp with a repeater if necessary. A camp that size could only benefit from a good communications system


  • Ian likes this

#14 Jones

Jones

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 199 posts
  • GMRS Callsign:WQYM541
  • Ham Callsign:KB0HAW

Posted 09 April 2019 - 09:58 AM

I think the GMRS-powered base (setup for narrow-band) on an FRS shared channel is a great idea, but I do not think running FRS and GMRS at the same site is a good idea. 

 

Keep in mind that true GMRS is a wide-band service, and the channels are interspersed with the FRS channels.

 

If you were to put a wide-band high powered GMRS repeater on .... let's say 462.700 (21R) - That would render FRS channels 6, 7, 13, and 14 all useless in the same area due to splatter-over.

 

Just follow the KISS principle.  Don't try to over-engineer something.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users