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Baltimore repeater users unite!

baltimore repeater REACT emcomm maryland

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#1 wqae694



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Posted 04 November 2019 - 12:18 AM

Hi folks,


I am a member of Howard County REACT, just outside of Baltimore. Our team has been trying to get a repeater on the air for a couple years now with no success. The issues isn't so much funds or equipment, but more so finding a site owner that is willing to donate or give a reduced rate for a site. Not to mention, just trying to make contact with other site owners. There are several repeaters widely spread around us, but they don't reach into the county very well, hence the need for one in our county.


I have run into a lot of people that have said they would like to see a repeater put up in our area, but it just seems we can't make the right connections to make it work. We've even approached the county considering the nature of what our REACT does and they were not interested (I'm paraphrasing here, but they said "they already have a ARES/RACES team, we don't need anther radio group" despite my best attempt to explain that the nature of GMRS is entirely different).


Is there any advice you guys could give or if you perhaps even know some site owners in the area, could you send them my way? And yes, our REACT team is a 501 c-3 charitable organization. This matters as it would allow for a tax write off.

#2 berkinet


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Posted 04 November 2019 - 03:36 AM

Perhaps you might put together a small presentation or document explaining the roles of ARES, RACES and REACT. By demonstrating what is unique about each group's organisation and functions you can make clear how REACT compliments, rather than competes with the two other organisations. I would also suggest not focusing on GMRS in relation to REACT.  REACT is pretty non-denominational (in a radio service sense) and GMRS being just one of the services it can use (Others being CB, HAM, MURS, and even licensed business bands/Part 90).  By pushing GMRS you run the risk of starting parochial wars, particularly with hams or people who work closely with hams.


As for finding a site. It seems you are looking for an official or commercial radio site. Have you tried other locations like office buildings, apartment houses, even private homes.  There are online tools for doing site surveys and they can help you find sites that may not be otherwise obvious. Have you tried Radio Mobile.  Should you be unable to find a non-commercial site that covers your entire service area, you might consider using two linked repeaters - though this would add complexity and cost.


However, I'd suggest even a less than perfect site may be better than none at all. It would give a focus to the group that would otherwise not be available. Also, while the goal would be for wide-area H/T coverage. I think you will find that base station installations, or even just external fixed antennas with an H/T will greatly increase the coverage footprint allowing greater participation, even if the system is a bit less than ideal.

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

-- Marcus Aurelius

#3 Jones


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Posted 04 November 2019 - 10:27 AM

FInd a tower in the middle of your desired coverage area, and contact the tower owner to ask.  Be sure to mention the 501c3 status, as small-business tower owners will use this to an advantage.  In a market like Baltimore, I doubt that vertical real-estate will be very cheap, but you might get lucky.


To find out who owns a tower, look for the antenna registration number, or ASR number on or around the base of the tower.  ASRs are usually 7 or 8 digits long.  ALL towers (and buildings) over 200 feet tall MUST have a registration number:


47 C.F.R. S 17.4(g): "The Antenna Structure Registration Number must be displayed in a conspicuous place so that it is readily visible near the base of the antenna structure. Materials used to display the Antenna Structure Registration number must be weather-resistant and of sufficient size to be easily seen at the base of the antenna structure."


Antenna Structure Registration Number must be displayed in a conspicuous place so that it is readily visible near the base of the antenna structure.  The ASR sign should be placed at base of the tower/structure.  If the tower base is not publicly visible, place an ASR sign on compound gate.


You can find out who owns a structure by searching for the ASR here:


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