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Most HT's come with a budget antenna to hold down the price.  Another $30 worth of aftermarket antenna is usually a good investment.  In fringe areas, antenna polarization is important.  The transmitting and receiving antennas need to be exactly in the same plane (hold the HT with the antenna pointing straight up).

Outside of that, we would need more details. 

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I have many upgraded antennas....including a outside mobile mag mount. I receive in the house as clear as on the net. most all my antennas work even the stock with position not being very critical. I have the right tones. I have hit the repeater a couple of times, but not anywhere near consistent. I have a 50w mobile ordered to set up as a base to try.

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When you are operating in the fringe area of a repeater your HT will almost always hear the repeater much better than the repeater is going to hear your HT. Why? The repeater likely has upwards of 10x +/- more power than your HT.

Now, assuming a top performing repeater operating at 50 watts, and a top performing mobile or base radio operating at the same power, and assuming both have the equivalent receive sensitivity ratings, both radios should hear one another nearly equally at all distances.

Given that a GMRS HT is going to be at most 5 watt, your HT has a 10dB disadvantage in transmission power over the repeater. This translates to less usable transmission range for your HT.

GMRS operators that live in the fringe area of repeaters are the ones that really need to step up there game whilst those that live closer have greater flexibility.

I live in the fringe area of several repeaters. While I can open certain ones with my HT and rubber duck, I cannot achieve reliable communications thru them. Things change when I use that same HT connected to my base antenna located 56’ AGL, but the signal into the repeater is still on the noisy side. However, when I switch over to the 50-watt base rig and the base antenna I can get in at or near full-quieting because now I am on more-equal footing. The later is equivalent to how my base hears the repeater, at or near full-quieting.

Antenna height makes a difference; power makes a difference. As far as priority is concerned, antenna height is more important and has higher priority than raw power.


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Take your HT for a nice drive towards the repeater (you do not mention what model your HT is), especially during "rush hour" and make some connections.

Try these repeaters:

To the West, Bremen 575 with digital code (DCS) of D175N*; and

To the SouthWest, Tippecanoe 650 with tone 173.8* and Culver 725 with a tone of 178.8*

To the North, Elkhart 550 and to the East, Brimfield 625 require permission, so visit these repeater links and click to "request access" (and obtain the tones) for the future.

Or pickup a $27 Baofeng HT and have a family member (and hence covered by your GMRS license) drive a circumference of your home and obtain a radio check.

*I recommend you only use the "encode" tone and leave the receiver open to any and all receptions during your early communications work.


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