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Just tuned into National Net--intrigued, and have some questions!

Guest David

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Guest David

Hi all,


This is all very new to me, so please forgive any lack of knowledge on my part--eager to learn from you!


I recently came across an older set of what I believe to be FRS radios (15 channel-- Cobra Microtalk) that I had as a kid. After cleaning the battery contacts and getting them up and running, I scanned the channels, and tonight, on my radio's channel 9, heard what was eventually announced as the mygmrs National Net-- which brought me here. 


Intrigued and happy to hear so many people from all different states...I actually tried to speak when the host asked if anyone else was on from New Mexico or New Jersey (I'm in Newark, NJ). Not sure if anyone was able to hear me, and I know I likely didn't follow the proper protocol. 


Wanted to ask-- how is everyone able to hear each other from such long distances, when even GMRS devices seem to have a relatively short range? And how was I able to pick up on the net? And I gather that the letters/numbers being read out were people's call numbers/licenses?


Sorry to be so naive, but this has peaked my curiosity, and I appreciate the community that can happen over radio...it carries a simplicity and humanity that you usually don't encounter with newer technologies. 

Would greatly appreciate any resources that you could recommend so I can learn more. And for the time being, what's an acceptable way to explore using my FRS radios?


Many thanks--wishing you all the best



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Hey David,




You were most likely hearing the Bronx Zoo repeater in NYC. We run a network of repeaters which use Internet for linking them together. Every Sunday we hold a National GMRS Net with a given topic, and everyone who is checked-in is welcome to briefly have the floor in a round-table discussion. 


We stream our nets live on YouTube, and we also have most of our previous nets available on YouTube. The net grew to be pretty popular and it was taking over two hours most nights to get to everyone. Starting last week, we changed up how the net works so check-ins are handled in advance and we can jump right into discussion to shorten the length of the net considerably.


Anyone with a valid GMRS license is allowed to participate, there are no membership requirements. You will need a repeater-capable radio (which the FRS radios you were listening on are not capable of), and a GMRS license. A license costs $70 and covers you and your immediate family for 10 years, making it a great option for backup emergency communications.


If you're not familiar, a repeater is typically placed on a tower, building, or other tall place and contains a transmitter and receiver to boost the signals from handheld and mobile radios to increase the coverage range. By linking them together, you can get even further range which is how you're hearing people from across the country.


To get a GMRS license if you're interested, you can follow the instructions posted here: https://beta.mygmrs.com/help/get-gmrs-license


We also sell repeater-capable radios through our shop:  https://shop.mygmrs.com/collections/repeater-capable

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Guest Guest_David_*

Thank you very much, Rich, for the helpful info and the good summary of how this all works. The system of repeaters is very interesting...

Sounds like a nice format for the weekly net. And I'll definitely take a look at the radio possibilities in the shop. 



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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest louie2037

Must be nice.  I live on the NY/PA line sounth of Buffalo, NY.  I've played around with my GMRS off and on for a couple of years and, I'm beginning to think I'm lucky to hear myself talk on it!  Just got a mobile rig, and am going to try it when camping this weekend.


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