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Need reliable radio on our farm


Guest Kevin
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Lscott is right:

 

MURS channels are 151.82, 151.88, 151,94, 154.57, 154.6 Mhz.

 

Y'all are correct. In the mid-'90's I had purchased a 20 watt Motorola base, antenna/cable and two Uniden handhelds on 152.625 from a radio shop in a neighboring town to fix the fact that there was no (at the time) analog cell signal to our house in a canyon. Digital was spotty then. Ah, the days of the bag phone and multi hundred dollar cell phone bills. I was told that it was a business band and that since they did virtually everyone else's radios in that part of the state there wouldn't be any cross talk and they knew which freq to pick. It worked great. And there was no license required. Then. Still?

 

We live in a different place now and I brought the radios with me. I tried it here with a cheap mobile antenna for a bit but the DW hated the handhelds saying they were too heavy and bulky. Plus one of the Unidens has a volume problem (speaker or earbud). Plus the proper antenna/cable for it is pretty darned expensive. But I like it as its much more private and powerful than FRS or MURS. And it reaches for over a mile even with the tree cover and multiple canyons. I'm still pondering the issue as safety is crucial and it's very possible to be out alone with saws, dangerous roads and lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Seriously, it is something I want to fix but I've got a hodge podge of different equipment with no clear path to integrating the various radio/freqs so only one remote handheld is needed in the field.

 

Seems I'm not the only one researching solutions.

 

Best, JRH

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I think perhaps he meant 151.625, which is the most used itinerant business frequency in the VHF band. Also Known As "The Red Dot Channel" and "The Weatherman Channel".

 

My error with a typo. It is 151.625.

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I live north of Spokane. This area is mixed woodland and farmland. The terrain varies from "flat" valley floor to rolling hills, and mountains. I have my base station antenna (a 5/8 wavelength ground plane from RW antennas?) mounted 30 feet AGL. I can reach as far as 30 miles in some directions. Unless you have extreme changes in elevation on the farm, you may not need a repeater. If you mount antennas on vehicles and tractors, and put an elevated antenna at the house, you should be good to go.

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I live north of Spokane...

 

... Unless you have extreme changes in elevation on the farm, you may not need a repeater. If you mount antennas on vehicles and tractors, and put an elevated antenna at the house, you should be good to go.

In the Palouse?

 

If all communications are between the house and someone out in the field simplex communications might work well as you describe. However, if they envision communications between people out in the field, the story might be different.  As Kaiser cement trucks used to advertise "Find a need and fill it!"

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  • 1 month later...

Test at farm completed. The Midland GXT1050s worked really well. Way better than FRS. Most of the 700 acre farm was within range even with hilly terrain and heavily wooded areas. No repeater used during test. We think a repeater at the home might still be a good idea to ensure reliable comms to and a little beyond property boundary.

Thx for all the great assistance and info from mygmrs.com!

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Test at farm completed. The Midland GXT1050s worked really well. Way better than FRS. Most of the 700 acre farm was within range even with hilly terrain and heavily wooded areas. No repeater used during test. We think a repeater at the home might still be a good idea to ensure reliable comms to and a little beyond property boundary.

Thx for all the great assistance and info from mygmrs.com!

 

Good to hear, and thanks for reporting back. 

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  • 6 months later...
On 10/11/2020 at 3:26 PM, Guest Kevin said:

I have zero radio background. We have a wooded and rolling hills cattle farm. Low valley area and ridge tops. FRS radio is just not reliable and looking for a dependable and effective radio solution to ensure good communications from anywhere on the property. The house is in the middle of the 700 acres. Distance is about 1.5 miles from one side to the other in all directions as the property mostly square. Stumbled on GMRS. Can someone help me determine if a simple small scale solution with a repeater at the house and handheld radios will work please? Was excited to see GRMS exists and the license is very reasonably priced. I think I saw $70 for 5 years for the entire family. If GMRS is not really an option, I plan on attempting the HAM solution that I know nothing about either.

 

Thanks in advance for any assistance the GMRS community may be able to provide.

 

Kevin 

I know, by reading, that there has been many people giving input. I just thought I would chime in by saying that if it was me, I would try installing a plug and play system like that of the Retevis RT97 and a Goal Zero battery with solar panel that can be put up anywhere. I would just in case it in a waterproof case and there you have it. It wont cover hundreds of miles, but I had a piece of land that is not that large, that is the way that I would go. I know it would not apply to all users.

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I’ll add my two cents just in case it could help. Depending on the type of farming the OP operates, if you have grain silos the repeater antenna (along with any other necessary equipment) could be mounted on top of the highest point. This would eliminate the need for the added expense of a tower or extension pole mast. The repeater itself (enclosed in the appropriate weather proof housing) could possibly be mounted close by which would shorten your feed line requirements. 

I’m sure the OP was hoping for a simple reply with a simple solution (since no experience and little knowledge of communication equipment), unfortunately it’s a little more complicated (isn’t that the truth for life in general ?).

 

All suggestions made have their merit. Hopefully the OP and anyone else that reads this post will be able to take away enough information to allow them to choose the option that best works for their needs. 

 

JC

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/12/2021 at 9:31 AM, djxs said:

I know, by reading, that there has been many people giving input. I just thought I would chime in by saying that if it was me, I would try installing a plug and play system like that of the Retevis RT97 and a Goal Zero battery with solar panel that can be put up anywhere. I would just in case it in a waterproof case and there you have it. It wont cover hundreds of miles, but I had a piece of land that is not that large, that is the way that I would go. I know it would not apply to all users.

I see this is a bit old but in case the OP checks back:

I would second the RT97. I have one running on a mountain side here in Alaska and get 25-30 miles of coverage to HT. An RT97 setup at your centrally located house with an antenna put up above roof level would work wonders for you. If simplex is working from one side to the other at ground level, having the repeater in the middle sounds like it would give you exactly what you are looking. There doesn't appear to be a need to place a repeater antenna 6 million miles in the air. A few feet above the roof of your home sounds like it would be more than enough to accomplish the goal you're trying to accomplish. I would be willing to bet that the RT97 set on low power and some HTs set on low power would set you up nice. Advantage to low power use is much extended battery life on the HTs and having the option to push to high power if you find an area with spotty coverage.
 

The RT97 is weather sealed and small so you can place it very close to the antenna and not worry about loss from long coax runs. 

Something as simple as the RT97 feeding a mobile antenna with a ground plane kit via some RG400 would work just fine. Are their better setups out there...for sure...but this works well for what it is. There is no need to over complicate the system for some cases.

RT97
https://www.retevis.com/rt97-portable-repeater-power-amplifier-uhf/#A9150A

Ground Plane Kit
https://www.amazon.com/TRAM-1465-Mobile-Ground-Plane/dp/B004PGMFGM/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=tram+ground+plane+kit&qid=1627330792&sr=8-1

Simple Antenna (I have one and works well, the cutting guide that comes with is accurate)
https://www.amazon.com/Browning-450MHz-470MHz-3dBd-Mobile-Antenna/dp/B00IDTJ2EA/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=browning+uhf&qid=1627330865&sr=8-2

RG400 Cable in various lengths
https://www.ebay.com/itm/132890965676?hash=item1ef0eb36ac:g:QWgAAOSwaPNcFyCP

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

If you find the need for a repeater, and you choose the Retevis RT97, you could use (if the farm has this) the grain bin tower which most likely has electrical service at the top platform for fans and augurs. Place your weatherproof RT97 repeater and antenna at the top of the structure (with minimal feed line) and you should easily realize significant results. Just a thought.

 

Good luck with your quest.

 

JC

 

woops ! Just realized I already posted a reply prior to today.........my bad

Edited by JCase
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