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Repeater question


stockjock
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I recently obtained my GMRS license and a Pofung P15-UV, which is an interesting new GMRS handheld radio that I believe is made by Baofeng.  Looks almost exactly like the Radioddity GM-30, but the key layout is a bit different.  So not sure if it's a GM-30 on the outside and something different on the inside or essentially the same radio, albeit with a slightly different keyboard layout.  Let me know if you know.

I'm in the San Diego area and have not been able to locate or use a repeater.  Looks like we don't have many to begin with, which is surprising as we're a good-sized city, but it seems many/all of them require permission.  I did request permission from 3, but have not heard back.

Is there another way to find repeaters to use?  Also, in terms of the CTCSS and DCS codes, do they need to match up with the repeater's codes each time?  Is it necessary to input those for transmit and also receive codes?  I've been involved with radio for many decades, especially shortwave, but this is new to me.

Thank you in advance.

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22 hours ago, axorlov said:

I encountered more ham repeaters that do not encode PL/DPL than repeaters that do. But it's not like I'm keeping a tally. "Usually" maybe a wrong word, "often" or "sometimes" would be better.

Boxcar put the correct qualifier on it.  It varies by location. IN MY AREA there are probably 60 repeaters, 4 or 5 don't use tones, the other 50+ do.

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6 hours ago, stockjock said:

I mentioned that I received the Pofung P15UV, which seems to be identical, or nearly so, to the Radioddity GM-30 and the Tidradio TD-H5, so I thought I'd share the review...

Good work!

My Pofung P15UV is due to arrive on Thursday and after I get a chance to play with it and program it, I will comment on your review.

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On 8/31/2021 at 9:58 AM, stockjock said:

Is there another way to find repeaters to use?  Also, in terms of the CTCSS and DCS codes, do they need to match up with the repeater's codes each time?  Is it necessary to input those for transmit and also receive codes?

For repeater use, the most important (CTCSS or DCS) code to know is the receive code for the repeater input, which must be used by the transmitting radio to "open" the repeater. Without it, your signal will not be transmitted by the repeater.

As for the repeater output, there are sometimes codes used there, too. Your radio will receive transmissions from the repeater if it uses no code at all or the same code as the repeater output. If it uses a different code, then you will not receive the repeater's transmissions.

Because the repeater output uses the shared GMRS frequencies, you might hear a transmission that you think came from the repeater, but was instead a simplex (non-repeater) transmission. When a code is used on the repeater output, you can use that code on the receiving radio to filter out simplex traffic.

So, if you think of the codes as filters, you'll see that when any receiver is set to use a code, only those transmissions using the same code (aka encoded transmissions) will be received, as all other transmissions will be filtered out. On a repeater, only those encoded transmissions will be re-transmitted, as it will have filtered out all other transmissions.

As for "finding" repeaters, the easiest way to do so is to scan the repeater frequencies in your area. You can scan the repeater output frequencies to hear what's out there, but you won't know if it's from a repeater or simplex unless you hear a repeater ID or something like that.

You can also try scanning the repeater input frequencies, which would give you a more positive identification of the repeater, however, to do so would require you to be within simplex range of the transmitter accessing the repeater. If you are able to hear the input signal, you can scan for CTCSS or DCS codes using <menu 30> for CTCSS or <menu 31> for DCS. Those menu options are for the GM-30/TD-H5 radios, but I believe are the same for the P15UV, too.

If you do identify the code being used, you would need to use that code on transmit in order to open up the repeater. Please keep in mind that the repeater is privately owned, so unless it's advertised as an "open" repeater, you will need the owner's permission to use it.

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1 hour ago, WyoJoe said:

Because the repeater output uses the shared GMRS frequencies, you might hear a transmission that you think came from the repeater, but was instead a simplex (non-repeater) transmission. When a code is used on the repeater output, you can use that code on the receiving radio to filter out simplex traffic.

Good reply!

I would add the following comments to the paragraph listed above:

Because the repeater output uses the shared GMRS frequencies you might hear a transmission that you think came from that repeater, but was instead from another repeater or a simplex (non-repeater) transmission. When a code is used on the repeater output, you can use that code on the receiving radio to filter out other repeaters and simplex traffic.

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2 hours ago, MichaelLAX said:

Good reply!

I would add the following comments to the paragraph listed above:

Because the repeater output uses the shared GMRS frequencies you might hear a transmission that you think came from that repeater, but was instead from another repeater or a simplex (non-repeater) transmission. When a code is used on the repeater output, you can use that code on the receiving radio to filter out other repeaters and simplex traffic.

It took me a while to figure out what you added!

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16 hours ago, WyoJoe said:

As for the repeater output, there are sometimes codes used there, too. Your radio will receive transmissions from the repeater if it uses no code at all or the same code as the repeater output. If it uses a different code, then you will not receive the repeater's transmissions.

So just to be clear, if the repeater is transmitting a code, and you do not have a receive code set, you will hear that repeater and any other repeater on the same frequency.  But if you have that receive code, you can use it to isolate the conversation to only the output from the repeater that you are interested in hearing.  Is that correct?

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15 minutes ago, stockjock said:

So just to be clear, if the repeater is transmitting a code, and you do not have a receive code set, you will hear that repeater and any other repeater on the same frequency.  But if you have that receive code, you can use it to isolate the conversation to only the output from the repeater that you are interested in hearing.  Is that correct?

Yes, that is correct.

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On 8/31/2021 at 9:58 AM, stockjock said:

I recently obtained my GMRS license and a Pofung P15-UV...

OK! My Pofung P15-UV arrived today and I have been playing with it for a few hours now.

It does indeed scan CTCSS or DCS codes but slowly, but its better than nothing.

Tomorrow, I will unscrew the hex and connect it to my rooftop antenna and see how it performs.

I am a bit disappointed that we can only program the 8 Repeater Channels and cannot program a 2nd repeater on the same frequency with a different PL... but I did not really buy it for that reason.

I might give it to my 10 year old grandson to use, too!

I might go wargmrs'ing again tomorrow and try to hit this 550 Palomar repeater that another Newbie needs help with! :)

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4 minutes ago, MichaelLAX said:

I am a bit disappointed that we can only program the 8 Repeater Channels and cannot program a 2nd repeater on the same frequency with a different PL... but I did not really buy it for that reason.

You should be able to update the firmware to correct that problem. On the GM-30 radio, it was the same for me when I got it, but with a firmware update, I can program multiple repeaters with different tones/codes that are on the same repeater frequency.

For the GM-30, I downloaded the firmware updates from the Radioddity website. If you can't find the Pofung software, I'd be willing to be the Radioddity GM-30 software would work on the P15UV. It works on the Tidradio TD-H5, which is another nearly identical radio.

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Great tip!

The Firmware instructions say to turn the radio off, then while holding the PTT + LED Key, turn the radio on.

Which is the LED Key?

I've checked all three instructions for firmware updates and they all say the same thing, and I cannot figure out which is the LED Key!

UPDATE: I figured out it must be the button below the PTT (the flashlight button, duh!) and I have successfully updated the firmware to v6.03.006.

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9 hours ago, WyoJoe said:

For the GM-30, I downloaded the firmware updates from the Radioddity website. If you can't find the Pofung software, I'd be willing to be the Radioddity GM-30 software would work on the P15UV. It works on the Tidradio TD-H5, which is another nearly identical radio.

Now where do I program the extra Repeater channels in the Radioddity v2.06 CPS software?

It seems still blocked after Channel 30?

UPDATE: Ok, it's not blocked, I just had to go ahead and enter the new Channel 31 and go from there!

Terrific, Joe; thank you again!

And now I am connected to my rooftop antenna, too...

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10 hours ago, MichaelLAX said:

Now where do I program the extra Repeater channels in the Radioddity v2.06 CPS software?

It seems still blocked after Channel 30?

UPDATE: Ok, it's not blocked, I just had to go ahead and enter the new Channel 31 and go from there!

Terrific, Joe; thank you again!

And now I am connected to my rooftop antenna, too...

Looks like it doesn't work on Mac.  Tried to open using an older Window computer, but not reading from the radio.  Using a Baofeng programming cable.  Only 1 communications port is not greyed out (COM3).  Tried a different port which shows as COM4 and that cannot read from the radio either.  Let me know if you can figure out what I'm missing, if anything.  Getting the error "Please check all connections and communication port settings".

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5 hours ago, MichaelLAX said:

I only have a Mac

i have used the emulation program Parallels with a copy of Windows XP for all of my codeplug programming adventures so far

what version of OS X do you have on your Mac? How much RAM?

I'm using a MacBook Air (current version) running Big Sur 11.5.2 with 8gb of RAM.

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1 hour ago, MichaelLAX said:

If you’re willing to buy Parallels Desktop, I’d be willing to help set up Windows for you

Thanks!  I have 2 Windows laptops.  One (Dell) won't work, for whatever reason.  I'm currently updating the other (Alienware), which I haven't used in ages, to see if it will work.  But I probably will ultimately have a few questions...

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23 hours ago, MichaelLAX said:

Now where do I program the extra Repeater channels in the Radioddity v2.06 CPS software?

It seems still blocked after Channel 30?

UPDATE: Ok, it's not blocked, I just had to go ahead and enter the new Channel 31 and go from there!

Terrific, Joe; thank you again!

And now I am connected to my rooftop antenna, too...

Glad to hear it worked!

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9 hours ago, MichaelLAX said:

I only have a Mac

i have used the emulation program Parallels with a copy of Windows XP for all of my codeplug programming adventures so far

what version of OS X do you have on your Mac? How much RAM?

I run my programming software on Linux using Wine. It doesn't always work, but with a bit of tweaking, I can usually get it to work for me. I believe Wine may be available on Mac as well. Has anyone given that a try?

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52 minutes ago, WyoJoe said:

I run my programming software on Linux using Wine. It doesn't always work, but with a bit of tweaking, I can usually get it to work for me. I believe Wine may be available on Mac as well. Has anyone given that a try?

If you have the right CPU Linux has a virtual machine subsystem. I had several computers at one point all running Windows XP. I accessed them remotely using RDP on the Linux box and a Windows Terminal app on the computer I was using.

At the moment I have Virtual Box running on my office machine, Win 7 Pro, with several VM's, Win 2K, Win XP, Win 7 Pro, depending on what I need. These are all accessible over the network.

Sometimes I use these as a sandbox when trying out software from sources I have doubts about. I just save the main VM file as a backup, then run the VM. If it gets infected I just shut it down, erase the VM file and copy back my backup version I saved. I'm ready to go again in a few minutes.

They also have a version for OSX and Linux hosts you might want to look at.

https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads

 

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15 hours ago, MichaelLAX said:

For the USB cables, drivers are the problem. 

Check out this article:

Miklor

Appreciate the article.  Cable was provided recently by Baofeng and shows in device manager as Prolific, but no yellow triangle.  However, could not read from the radio.  

Following instructions, downgraded driver to 3.2.0.0. with the same problem.  Plug is pushed in fully and radio is in programming mode.  Correct port selected (Com 3).  Not sure what the issue is.  Let me know if you have any thoughts or recommendations.

One more thing is that even though it was not reading with driver version 3.2.0.0., when I unplug the USB cable and plug it in again, it seems to revert to the newer 3.6.81.357, which also doesn't work.  

The specific error I get on 3.2.0.0 is "please check all connections and communication port settings", but from what I can tell, they seem to be good.

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33 minutes ago, stockjock said:

Appreciate the article.  Cable was provided recently by Baofeng and shows in device manager as Prolific, but no yellow triangle.  However, could not read from the radio.  

Following instructions, downgraded driver to 3.2.0.0. with the same problem.  Plug is pushed in fully and radio is in programming mode.  Correct port selected (Com 3).  Not sure what the issue is.  Let me know if you have any thoughts or recommendations.

One more thing is that even though it was not reading with driver version 3.2.0.0., when I unplug the USB cable and plug it in again, it seems to revert to the newer 3.6.81.357, which also doesn't work.  

The specific error I get on 3.2.0.0 is "please check all connections and communication port settings", but from what I can tell, they seem to be good.

Disregard for now.  The software can read from the radio.  I was holding down transmit and the button under it while turning the radio on.  Turns out I only needed to hold down the button under transmit.

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