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New to radio, and a stupid question


Guest Ed K
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Hello everyone, I just bought my first GMRS radio (a BTech GMRS-V1).  I'm planning to get my GMRS license soon but for the time being I'm playing around with the radio and seeing what I can receive.  One of the reasons I bought this radio is to monitor VHF frequencies for NOAA and (I thought) local emergency frequencies.  Seems like that's not the case as many systems appear to be "trunked" and/or have gone away from VHF.  I'm kinda bummed about this, but looking forward to getting into repeaters etc once I get my license and start transmitting.

 

Stupid Question - for the systems that may still use VHF, I see "PL Code" on many (most) frequencies.  If I use software to program a channel and add the appropriate PL Code, I should be able to hear traffic if there is any, correct? Especially if they are Base Mode (BM) not Repeater Mode (RM)?

 

On the positive side I used software to program the local NOAA channel, renamed it "NOAA" and cloned it back to the phone. That was very cool!!

 

Looking forward to getting to know radios more and maybe some of you too in the future, thanks!!

 

P.S. Location is Concord, NC

 

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Not a stupid question. I believe you can also receive UHF signals in the 400 - 480 MHz range on that radio also. GMRS-V1 is a BaoFeng UV-82 with the transmission locked down to the FRS/GMRS frequencies.

 

It may be possible that you’re programming based on obsolete and outdated information. A number of public services may still retain the same frequency/frequencies, but many have transitioned to digital instead of analog, such as NXDN or Project 25.

 

Try those frequencies with no PL tone. Realistically, a frequency allocation for public services should be a regional one which they have exclusivity on. They should be the only traffic you hear, and you’ll hear them if you just use CSQ (no PL tone) on receive (if they’re running analog).

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...Stupid Question - for the systems that may still use VHF, I see "PL Code" on many (most) frequencies.  If I use software to program a channel and add the appropriate PL Code, I should be able to hear traffic if there is any, correct? Especially if they are Base Mode (BM) not Repeater Mode (RM)?...

 

Not at all a stupid question. First,  VHF is still very much in use. I suspect you may be thinking of the switch from simple VHF analog systems to trunked and digital systems. VHF just refers to the band of frequencies. VHF is broadly considered to be from 30 to 300mHz, with a lot of mobile activity in the middle of the band.

 

Then, PL/DCS/etc. work the same regardless of frequency or band.  For listening purposes (I.e. stations you receive and listen to) the PL/DCS/etc. setting acts as a filter, preventing you from hearing signals that do not contain the specified code. Conversely, turning off PL, etc. on that frequency allows you to hear everything being transmitted, regardless of the presence or absence of PL, etc. So, for simple listening purposes you probably do not want to set PL on receive.  However, for an example of where you might use PL consider a situation where there are two repeaters on the same frequency, and you only wish to listen to one of them. In this case you would set the receive PL for the frequency to the PL being transmitted by the desired repeater. Note also that on many radios you can program the same frequency into different memory locations (often improperly called channels). So Memory location 1 could be 462.550 with a PL of 69.5 and location 2 could be 462.550 with a PL of 131.8.

 

Now, you didn't't ask yet, but you probably will soon, about transmitting PL. In this case, it is the receiving station, usually, but not always, a repeater, that has set its receiver to require a PL tone (I.e. filter out any signals without that PL). It is just the reverse of what you have done on your receive settings.  So, in order to be "heard" by the remote repeater, you need to include the proper PL/CDS/etc. tone in your transmitted signal.

 

That's it.

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Not at all a stupid question. First,  VHF is still very much in use. I suspect you may be thinking of the switch from simple VHF analog systems to trunked and digital systems. VHF just refers to the band of frequencies. VHF is broadly considered to be from 30 to 300mHz, with a lot of mobile activity in the middle of the band.

 

Then, PL/DCS/etc. work the same regardless of frequency or band.  For listening purposes (I.e. stations you receive and listen to) the PL/DCS/etc. setting acts as a filter, preventing you from hearing signals that do not contain the specified code. Conversely, turning off PL, etc. on that frequency allows you to hear everything being transmitted, regardless of the presence or absence of PL, etc. So, for simple listening purposes you probably do not want to set PL on receive.  However, for an example of where you might use PL consider a situation where there are two repeaters on the same frequency, and you only wish to listen to one of them. In this case you would set the receive PL for the frequency to the PL being transmitted by the desired repeater. Note also that on many radios you can program the same frequency into different memory locations (often improperly called channels). So Memory location 1 could be 462.550 with a PL of 69.5 and location 2 could be 462.550 with a PL of 131.8.

 

Now, you didn't't ask yet, but you probably will soon, about transmitting PL. In this case, it is the receiving station, usually, but not always, a repeater, that has set its receiver to require a PL tone (I.e. filter out any signals without that PL). It is just the reverse of what you have done on your receive settings.  So, in order to be "heard" by the remote repeater, you need to include the proper PL/CDS/etc. tone in your transmitted signal.

 

That's it.

Thanks very much for the info. As you guessed, I have a question about transmitting PL.  There is a repeater pretty close to me that has PL code xxx.x, in and out.  I set up the code for the repeater with the R and T code as CTCS, and the offset is preset in my radio (+5). I can't hear anything from the repeater.  Should I have set R and T code as DCS instead?  As an aside, on a GMRS channel the other night I heard some guys talking about repeaters, and one of the guys was in Tuscon! That made me wonder why I can't hear anything from my local repeater. Maybe the repeater is just quiet and I caught some weird radio inversion or something that allowed me to hear AZ from NC (haven't heard much since).  Thanks!

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Thanks very much for the info. As you guessed, I have a question about transmitting PL.  There is a repeater pretty close to me that has PL code xxx.x, in and out.  I set up the code for the repeater with the R and T code as CTCS, and the offset is preset in my radio (+5). I can't hear anything from the repeater.  Should I have set R and T code as DCS instead?  As an aside, on a GMRS channel the other night I heard some guys talking about repeaters, and one of the guys was in Tuscon! That made me wonder why I can't hear anything from my local repeater. Maybe the repeater is just quiet and I caught some weird radio inversion or something that allowed me to hear AZ from NC (haven't heard much since).  Thanks!

It may just have been quiet time on the repeater. that tone is definitely CTCSS though.

 

The Tucson thing is a giveaway that that repeater is linked to others, at least some of the time.  there are a number of repeaters linked via the internet, and a weekly nationwide net via those links. there's more information on the linking and the nets here.

 

 

on a side note, i almost slipped myself, and barely caught it before i clicked the post button, but a few of us are slipping on the not posting PL/CTCSS codes in the public forums. i edited it out of the quoted post. not sure if Ed can edit his guest post or if the mods will need to do it, though.

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Thanks very much for the info. As you guessed, I have a question about transmitting PL.  There is a repeater pretty close to me that has PL code 141.3, in and out.  I set up the code for the repeater with the R and T code as CTCS, and the offset is preset in my radio (+5). I can't hear anything from the repeater.  Should I have set R and T code as DCS instead?  As an aside, on a GMRS channel the other night I heard some guys talking about repeaters, and one of the guys was in Tuscon! That made me wonder why I can't hear anything from my local repeater. Maybe the repeater is just quiet and I caught some weird radio inversion or something that allowed me to hear AZ from NC (haven't heard much since).  Thanks!

Some repeater owners also have theirs linked to Zello, so they might be well beyond LOS and transmitting on that repeater because they’re using an app and cellular data or WiFi. Northwest Indiana GMRS does it, our 600 repeater in Denver also is, there’s a couple linked to the USRC Zello channel (including one in Hawaii), etc.

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  • 3 months later...

A newbie to GMRS radios myself.  I purchased the BTech GMRS-V1, here is my question.  I was trying to listen to a known repeater that has a weekly net. I was able to hear this station on a receiver but on my GMRS-V1 radio, I was not able to hear it unless I was holding down the MONI button.   I turned the squelch to Zero but still was unable to hear anyone talking again, unless I held down that button.  I reviewed the owners manual but to no help.  Is there some setting for this?  I don't have PL or CTCSS tones on my other radio and hear fine.  Does anyone know what's up?  

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unless I was holding down the MONI button

You have wrong PL/CTCSS tone for this specific repeater on your Btech V1. Your scanner does not have any PL/CTCSS/DPL tones set, and this is exactly why you can hear the conversation on your scanner. The MONI turns off carrier squelch and tone squelch - so you can hear when holding MONI down. You need to find out the correct tone for this repeater and program it into your BTech V1 (I do not own V1, and can't help here).

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Here's a little info specific to the gmrs v1 : https://www.miklor.com/BTGMRS/BTGMRS-FAQ.php#TransmitterReceiver

 

And the main info page: https://www.miklor.com/BTGMRS/

 

Looks like the menu item you want will be named r-ctcs...that either needs to match the repeater's output tone, or be set to none/off to hear the repeater (the tones are effectively a filter; the MONI button bypasses that filter).

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You have wrong PL/CTCSS tone for this specific repeater on your Btech V1. Your scanner does not have any PL/CTCSS/DPL tones set, and this is exactly why you can hear the conversation on your scanner. The MONI turns off carrier squelch and tone squelch - so you can hear when holding MONI down. You need to find out the correct tone for this repeater and program it into your BTech V1 (I do not own V1, and can't help here).

 

Ahh, Alex, thanks that makes sense now.   Love this learning but pulling some hair out trying to figure it out on my own.  Glad you guys are out here.  Thx. 

Jaycee

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Here's a little info specific to the gmrs v1 : https://www.miklor.com/BTGMRS/BTGMRS-FAQ.php#TransmitterReceiver

 

And the main info page: https://www.miklor.com/BTGMRS/

 

Looks like the menu item you want will be named r-ctcs...that either needs to match the repeater's output tone, or be set to none/off to hear the repeater (the tones are effectively a filter; the MONI button bypasses that filter).

 

Thank you sir.   Those are great sites to keep as reference.  Yes, the r-ctcs is what is used in this radio compared to others.  I have the manual but sometimes those are still hard to figure out.  

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Thank you sir. Those are great sites to keep as reference. Yes, the r-ctcs is what is used in this radio compared to others. I have the manual but sometimes those are still hard to figure out.

Glad to help. It's definitely been a learning curve for me too.

 

there's a ton of useful info here to digest (and helpful people) that's applicable to more than just gmrs, if the interest takes you that direction.

 

One thing I will give btech credit for is at least getting instructions translated (or wholly rewritten) to reasonable English compared to what you get with the average baofeng stuff.

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Glad to help. It's definitely been a learning curve for me too.

 

there's a ton of useful info here to digest (and helpful people) that's applicable to more than just gmrs, if the interest takes you that direction.

 

One thing I will give btech credit for is at least getting instructions translated (or wholly rewritten) to reasonable English compared to what you get with the average baofeng stuff.

 

I have a Gen Ham ticket already but been out of the practice for several years.  I'm a bit rusty on the repeater lingo and just wasn't sure how the GMRS repeaters worked, or if the same.  Thanks. 

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