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How many people really use the VHF radio MURS service?


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I use it on the regular, and I hear some telemetry on MURS3 near the Wedgefield GMRS repeater.  It's about a fourteen minute loop, with a bit of CWID at the end.  Still no joy on figuring out the data protocol, but I've really never actually tried very hard; if I cared, I'd get a SDR for $25 and run the usual SDR tools instead of recording it with a HT and a digital voice recorder as an MP3.

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I monitor it frequently but almost never hear anything.

With only 5 channels you get a few more ding-dongs running telemetry and the available channels are all gone. That user might even be grandfathered in and thus has priority use. You might figure that out by looking up the license info on the FCC database, you hear the CW ID, that's where you start your search. Just because you hear the CW ID doesn't mean the license is active.

The shopping mall by me, for example, the house cleaning staff uses GMRS channel 16 with a repeater. I found their license info on the FCC database. It expired in 10/2015 and was canceled a couple months later because it was never renewed. They have been using their radios and the repeater illegally for the past almost 7 years. Oh, nobody ID's and neither does the repeater.

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1 hour ago, MichaelLAX said:

How did you find it on the FCC database?

The first problem was positively identifying the source of the transmissions. I was hearing them on the same channel as a local GMRS repeater I use. I heard references to cleaning, food court etc. With all of the local strip malls, hotels and more within a few miles, many using FRS radios I couldn't ID them. Then one day I heard a reference to a hand cleaning station, then a few seconds later I heard the mall security on the same frequency then on their own frequency. That nailed it. I had the call sign for the mall security frequency.

Next stop was the FCC database. I looked up the call sign for the mall's security. Got the FRN number. I was lucky the mall security frequency was registered to the mall and not the mall security company, which is an outside service.  Then did a search for ALL licenses under that FRN for the mall.

0002748242

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakeside_Mall

I guessed the house cleaning would be registered to the mall. Bingo, there it was.

KAB1523

https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/license.jsp?licKey=194751

Under the "Admin" tab scroll down to the section "Special Conditions". The exact frequencies are listed there, the pair for the GMRS repeater channel 16, which is where I heard them.

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Probably Mr. JOHN SHAMLEY was no longer working for the company and his replacement didn't know that their license had to be renewed. Even if they wanted to get a new license, they cannot since the FCC no longer grants business licenses...

Find out what tone is used and hijack their repeater. Who are they going to complain to?  🤪

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53 minutes ago, n4gix said:

Probably Mr. JOHN SHAMLEY was no longer working for the company and his replacement didn't know that their license had to be renewed. Even if they wanted to get a new license, they cannot since the FCC no longer grants business licenses...

Find out what tone is used and hijack their repeater. Who are they going to complain to?  🤪

That's what I figured. I have the tone. Tested it and it works. And yes I had exactly the same though too.

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3 hours ago, pcradio said:

That's shameful. In a world where jobs, money, and common sense are in short supply, let these people alone. They are not willfully harming our hobby.

Aren't you the same guy who openly is asking for an "all-service" radio in spite of FCC Rules?!?

Looking for the ultimate Hiking Radio with support for 2m,70cm,GMRS,MURS

Have a little patience for the rest of us! 😉

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3 hours ago, pcradio said:

That's shameful. In a world where jobs, money, and common sense are in short supply, let these people alone. They are not willfully harming our hobby.

That's true. Besides if I ratted them out and the FCC shut them down I would have one less thing to amuse me while monitoring. More to the point they're not on their repeater hardly at all. Only occasionally.

Since they share the same repeater channel at the legitimate one, which has a tad over 100 people who have requested access so far, there is some interference.

I've been at the mall walking around monitoring the security frequency, house keeping and several of the stores. A few times a conversation was in progress on the legal GMRS repeater when one of the house keeping staff keyed up and jammed the legal GMRS repeater. Apparently the house keeping staff has a tone set for both TX and RX on their radios, which is not the same as the other repeater, and the BCL, busy channel lockout which apparently is not programmed into their radios either. They have no idea that the frequency is in use and just use the PTT and start talking. I heard the guys on the legal GMRS repeater complain about some transient audio issue thinking it was the repeater screwing up. No, it was being inadvertently jammed by the mall's repeater.

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42 minutes ago, Lscott said:

Since they share the same repeater channel at the legitimate one, which has a tad over 100 people who have requested access so far, there is some interference.

I've been at the mall walking around monitoring the security frequency, house keeping and several of the stores. A few times a conversation was in progress on the legal GMRS repeater when one of the house keeping staff keyed up and jammed the legal GMRS repeater.

Well, that is kinda different. I might be inclined to notify them personally. Something similar is happening near me. A school is simplex on a GMRS repeater RX channel. However, the repeater is not frequently used. They mostly transmit from 3:15 to 3:30 to organize buses coming and going.

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I kept hearing similar "school" functions on the output frequency of a popular Repeater* channel that I use here in Los Angeles; and they were clearly a repeater using a digital tone.

I went "fox hunting" one day and traced it down to a major religious middle and high school located at the base of Griffith Park, which hills shield its signal to a large extent.

I parked on the hill above it and tuned into that repeater's input frequency and sure enough; eventually, I could hear personnel using their HTs to communicate through their repeater! 

*Nobody else on the repeater I use have reported hearing it.

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In my trips to Washington and Oregon, I seem to pick up many MURS radios in use near canneries on the Columbia River and Puget Sound. Audio sounds great, and some workers have been carry what looked like old "dot" red, green, etc type radios. These are areas where some volunteer firefighters still use Motorola HT750/1250 handhelds. Would not surprise me if there were some old school Maxtrac's and a former Radio Shack store in some of those towns.

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  • 1 month later...

Just bought a pair of HTs for outdoor recreation along with Smiley 5/8 Slim Duck 155 MHz 12".  We're usually in rolling hills and my guess these will destroy the performance my buddies are getting with their blister pack FRS's.  Not having to buy a license and go through the FCC hassle will hopefully smooth over what they'll have to pay outside of their normal Walmart.  Eager to field test them.

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nah... I doubt these CCRs will be much better range than blister pack FRS radios, they are about as crap as they come. CCR are radios where better antennas mean shorter range... why? b/c they desense and intermod like the good pieces of crap the are...

Personally?, If you have to have MURS, I would've purchased a pair of used Motorola CP100 VHF but IMO, if all you want is solid 2way comms, and while not MURS, I would've consider a pair of used Motorola DTR650 over the CCR garbage (if you have the cash, splurge for a pair of DTR700!!): These DTRs are 900MHz 1W FHSS radios, which offer real privacy and scannerproof and have far more "channels", along with performance that will roast the best Wouxun trash hast to offer... with DTR expect range measured in actual miles, as opposed to tenths of a mile with those CCR garbage bags.

G.

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  • 1 month later...

I use it pretty often actually. I hunt civil war relics and old coins with a metal detector. Sometimes we put on group hunts and in hilly and wodded terrain, the vhf band just gets better range. I have had really good results with murs, license free, good range and clear comms.  I like it. Wal marts across the country use the crap out of it too. 

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2 minutes ago, Radioactive said:

I use it pretty often actually. I hunt civil war relics and old coins with a metal detector. Sometimes we put on group hunts and in hilly and wodded terrain, the vhf band just gets better range. I have had really good results with murs, license free, good range and clear comms.  I like it. Wal marts across the country use the crap out of it too. 

Yup, some people like to screw with the local Walmart on MURS.

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I loaned a pair of KG805M's to a buddy who lives near where we hunt.  In the winter, he and his wife are out frequently to XC ski, snowshoe, etc.  My email back from him about 5 days after receiving my care package:  "We bought two MURS radios."  And, this was with the stock antennas, not the Smiley 5/8 155-tuned antennas I sent along as well.

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