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Etiquette for accessing unknown repeaters


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#1 FrancisHaws

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 06:16 AM

I am new to using gmrs repeaters and I just figured out how to access some local ones in my area that where listed on this site. They are pretty far away but just inside my base radios range. I hear many other repeaters IDing really strong in my area and I am sure they are much closer than the ones I found listed. What is the proper way to access and ask for permission to use an unlisted repeater?

#2 kidphc

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Posted 28 October 2020 - 06:25 AM

Most repeater owners are pleasant. You can try to email them. Ask nicely they usually will say yes. Most also want people to use them.

Or simple make a callout on the repeater. You may not even get an answer.

The only ones I steer away from are the emcom repeaters. Usually in this area they are run by groups like REACT. Even then they have notes saying REACT members only, or REACT members have priority.

Down here most of the repeaters have that one guy who is always monitoring it.

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#3 H8SPVMT

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 05:48 AM

Listen and get their ID information as best you can.  Run their callsign thru the call sign lookup here (Control Panel)  on the Repeater page and see if you can ID it that way (for contact infomation).

 

Sit on the frequency and key the mike very shortly using one CTCSS code at a time until you hear the trail tone (if there is one. I turn the squelch off for this) after your transmission (but you may only get a signal of clear space too).

 

Then you can ask for permission to use the repeater.  When this doesn't work I just for a signal report and wait for replies.  For the most part GMRS is dead around here so reports are hard to come by.  Use your call sign slowly too for the owner to hear it they are nearby and I guess they may reply.



#4 berkinet

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 08:54 AM

There is no etiquette for using repeaters or the airwaves on GMRS. This is because of the nature of the service. It was originally into a large extent still is based on small communities, businesses, and now families, who need communications within user group. It was not particularly intended to replicate or extend amateur radio or CB.

On the other hand, if the nature of GMRS is actually changing, perhaps some form of etiquette and communications norms and standards will emerge.

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

-- Marcus Aurelius


#5 FrancisHaws

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 10:58 PM

Listen and get their ID information as best you can. Run their callsign thru the call sign lookup here (Control Panel) on the Repeater page and see if you can ID it that way (for contact infomation).

Sit on the frequency and key the mike very shortly using one CTCSS code at a time until you hear the trail tone (if there is one. I turn the squelch off for this) after your transmission (but you may only get a signal of clear space too).

Then you can ask for permission to use the repeater. When this doesn't work I just for a signal report and wait for replies. For the most part GMRS is dead around here so reports are hard to come by. Use your call sign slowly too for the owner to hear it they are nearby and I guess they may reply.


Yeah I don't get why it's dead, our family has had our license since 2017 and I have always hear repeaters IDing left and right when scanning but I rarely ever hear anyone on them. You would think people who invested that much time and energy into putting something like that up would actually use them from time to time. You seem to know your stuff so I have a question. There is one repeater in my area that gets some regular traffic, sounds like a bunch of blue collar guys like me who are in the trades. They are a riot to listen to and I have really wanted to jump in and chat with these guys but I tried scanning the receive tones but it seems like it is all over the place. I also noticed they have some kind of burst of code when ever they key the mics, is this some type of thing that opens and closes the repeater so only they have access to it even if some one knows the codes?

#6 FrancisHaws

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Posted 29 October 2020 - 11:07 PM

There is no etiquette for using repeaters or the airwaves on GMRS. This is because of the nature of the service. It was originally into a large extent still is based on small communities, businesses, and now families, who need communications within user group. It was not particularly intended to replicate or extend amateur radio or CB.

On the other hand, if the nature of GMRS is actually changing, perhaps some form of etiquette and communications norms and standards will emerge.



I have been studying what they amateur radio guys say and do and the etiquette they use. Am I on the right track or will I sound like a total tool bag on the air? When I am driving at work and come into range of a repeater I will say my call sign and say listening but I haven't gotten many contacts that way. Is that the correct way to do it and how often should I be saying that with out being annoying or creepy. If it stays this boring I am probably going to just go the ham route.

#7 H8SPVMT

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 06:30 AM

Yeah I don't get why it's dead, our family has had our license since 2017 and I have always hear repeaters IDing left and right when scanning but I rarely ever hear anyone on them. You would think people who invested that much time and energy into putting something like that up would actually use them from time to time. You seem to know your stuff so I have a question. There is one repeater in my area that gets some regular traffic, sounds like a bunch of blue collar guys like me who are in the trades. They are a riot to listen to and I have really wanted to jump in and chat with these guys but I tried scanning the receive tones but it seems like it is all over the place. I also noticed they have some kind of burst of code when ever they key the mics, is this some type of thing that opens and closes the repeater so only they have access to it even if some one knows the codes?

OK, thanks for the compliment but, I am just a newbie thrown in here with the rest of our crowd and trying hard to get a gripe on this GMRS comms like you.

 

Go the Repeater Map here, on this site.  Can you identify the repeaters within 30 miles of you?

(Montco West Contact owner) or (First State 550 Shepard 675) These two appear to be private.

 

If so, it might be one of the listed repeaters but you can't bank on that being the case.

 

I don't know that they have any special code except for the CTCSS or DCS code set to, "To Open" the repeater.  Repeaters use these codes to filter out transmissions (TX) not meant for them.  So, in order to get your TX heard, you have to use these codes to get the repeater to "Hear your TX."  More importantly, you have to be within the range of your radio, to reach the repeater.  You may hear a reapeater but, that doesn't guarantee the repeater can hear your transmitted signal.  

 

"Radio transmission Range" is subjected to alot of issues.  Besides the limit of the radio, the land, trees, buildings and atmosphere and contribute to reduce your radios out of power to a point well below the advertised capabilities.

 

Like I mentioned above in my post you might want to test and see if you are in fact, reaching the repeater.

 

-Find a time the repeater isn't being used.

-Set up your radio on the repeater frequency.

-Set the first CTCSS code on that frequency.

-Turn off the squelch to the point you hear constinct static

Now

Press the TX button briefly and release

 

Right after releasing the TX button, what did you hear: just instance static or a dead space (complete silence) for 1.5 - 2 seconds? 

Most probably static - 

 

Keep at this until you hit that complete silence and or you hear that trail tone with the next CTCSS or DCS code...

 

If you went thru all the codes, you are too far away from the repeater or you need a better antenna.



#8 mbrun

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Posted 30 October 2020 - 07:01 AM

In my view, you are on the right track. Do consider that at the point at which you announce you are listening that there is no one else actually listening, or that someone may be listening but not in a position to talk or does not want to talk right then and there.

Whether I am using my amateur radio or GMRS, my radios are frequently on scan when I am not actively engaged in conversation. So consider too that your announcement may have fallen on deaf ears.

When the airwaves are quiet, do not hesitate to announce yourself like normal, then ask explicitly if there is anyone else listening. If there is, this could invite a more prompt response. I have had some success with this. In the lower bands bands of amateur radio (10 meter and lower) they use use a repetitive calling phase that includes the use of the letter code CQ which explicitly means you are “looking for a contact”. This is not practiced on VHF or UHF amateur voice frequencies nor on GMRS, but it is effectively the same as ‘Is there anyone out there?”

If repeater actively is frequently dead, perhaps you can change things up by arranging certain times of the day with your friends to get on the radio and start making traffic. Others may hear your conversations and take your lead.

Personally, I generally allow about 5+ minutes between any subsequent announcements of my callsign and listening. As a listener, when I hear it more frequently than this during periods where I cannot jump in to talk, I find it an annoying. So I do not do things to others that I personally find annoying.

Hope this helps.

Michael
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KE8PLM

I have been studying what they amateur radio guys say and do and the etiquette they use. Am I on the right track or will I sound like a total tool bag on the air? When I am driving at work and come into range of a repeater I will say my call sign and say listening but I haven't gotten many contacts that way. Is that the correct way to do it and how often should I be saying that with out being annoying or creepy. If it stays this boring I am probably going to just go the ham route.



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#9 rickh

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Posted 05 November 2020 - 11:27 AM

Use the practice of, If you key it state our call!

As owner of repeater equipment I am not found of "kerchuncks".

We operators are hyper aware of our systems status, always on the listen for irregularities which may require service action and since the GMRS repeater freqs are not coordinated we want to be good neighbors (avoid overlapping repeater coverage) so we hear kerchuncks and wonder, did someone bring a local repeater on line using the same freq, did I put one on the air and causing interference? Even with tones it could cause interference.

So my perspective is, if you are going to key on a machine please provide your call sign. And in the linking world remember, you may be keying your local machine but it may be keying many others across the country as well.

 

You would not go to random houses and open the door to see if anyone was home would you???

KNOCK!

Rick H...

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#10 H8SPVMT

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 04:07 AM

Use the practice of, If you key it state our call!

As owner of repeater equipment I am not found of "kerchuncks".

We operators are hyper aware of our systems status, always on the listen for irregularities which may require service action and since the GMRS repeater freqs are not coordinated we want to be good neighbors (avoid overlapping repeater coverage) so we hear kerchuncks and wonder, did someone bring a local repeater on line using the same freq, did I put one on the air and causing interference? Even with tones it could cause interference.

So my perspective is, if you are going to key on a machine please provide your call sign. And in the linking world remember, you may be keying your local machine but it may be keying many others across the country as well.

 

You would not go to random houses and open the door to see if anyone was home would you???

KNOCK!

Rick H...

WQHJ382 / W2RGH

Very good point for us newbies!

I have found repeaters not listed here, but local in the area.  I figured that the repeater owner would not hear me trying to locate the CTCSS until I had found the correct code to get  tone or, no static.

 

I am on the very outer edges of two repeaters AND ONLY HAVE LIMITED time in areas that I can make contact in the mobile situation I am in.  But I have found one owner that now listens for me every Weds morning as I pass thru an active area where we can chat.  Hes happy his equipment is reaching the far and I'm a happy to know my rig is actually working as designed too.  


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#11 n4gix

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Posted 06 November 2020 - 08:00 PM

The sole exception to the "no kerchunking rule" does not affect GMRS at all, but does affect all DMR repeaters. Most of the hundreds of Talk Groups are "PTT" only, meaning that to activate them on one's local repeater requires a very brief PTT, pause and listen to make sure no one is already having a contact, then giving your call sign.


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#12 ljh505

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Posted 07 November 2020 - 10:49 AM



There is one repeater in my area that gets some regular traffic, sounds like a bunch of blue collar guys like me who are in the trades. They are a riot to listen to and I have really wanted to jump in and chat with these guys but I tried scanning the receive tones but it seems like it is all over the place. I also noticed they have some kind of burst of code when ever they key the mics, is this some type of thing that opens and closes the repeater so only they have access to it even if some one knows the codes?


There are any number of "selective calling" schemes that can be programmed into business band radios and repeaters for private talk groups. Here's a partial list.

https://en.m.wikiped...lective_calling

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#13 1URFE57

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Posted 10 November 2020 - 11:33 AM

I usually do this if I didn't catch the CWID on the RPT "This is *Callsign* testing access and standing by" and if driving "This is *Callsign/Mobile* testing access and standing by"


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