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GMRS Repeaters for Emergency Communications Use


KG5UWF
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Trying to clarify if it is acceptable to the FCC based on recent rules changes for a primarily Amateur Radio based club / organization (which also has many CERT, ARES and RACES approved members) to have a GMRS repeater in their equipment mix that could be used (under the club call sign?) and by it's individually GMRS licensed members and general community for emergency communications - is this OK?

How about a CERT organization, establishing communications support in a Fire Rescue shared communications facility, if all users are GMRS licensed?

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@KG5UV , I agree with Sshannon. Amateur Radio and GMRS are separate services. Each service requires its own license. While clubs can be issued callsigns by the FCC in the amateur service, new GMRS license can only be issued to an individual. There is nothing to say that the club cannot purchase and put up the repeater, but it would need to be operated under the authority of one individual’s licensee. That could be the club’s trustee or another board member; perhaps another member that has full access to the repeater site. If at any point the GMRS licensee dies or decides they no longer want the liability, another person would need to step up, volunteer their callsign, and assume the liability. Callsigns are not transferrable.

BTW, LCARA has a series of YouTube videos regarding putting up a GMRS repeater at their club tower site. Perhaps you could reach out to them to see how they have decided to handle it.


Michael
WRHS965
KE8PLM

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6 hours ago, Sshannon said:

A GMRS repeater may only be operated under a GMRS license.  A ham club certainly could collocate a GMRS repeater at their repeater site, but it would have to have a GMRS call sign reflecting its operator’s GMRS license.

There is no such thing as a club license in GMRS, only individuals may hold a license.

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In my area Community Emergency Response Teams host a GMRs repeater, to be used by families in the area, that have been instructed in using FRS/GMRS or post-2017 GMRS only radios, on their own licenses. CERT made it clear though that users were to use their own call sign and unit number if applicable. This also infers no group or club license option.

It was also noticed at my State's Emergency Management Department radio rooms that there was a Bridgecom GMRS repeater, supporting Auxiliary Communications Service.....however, I am not aware of how they operate license wise. 

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I had setup one years ago for our SAR team, until group licenses where dropped. At that time we moved to VHF to meet the industry standard. We still have the site and repeater on the air but only licensed users are allowed on it. We mainly left it as it was at a county park and was used by others on the park.

 

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  • 2 months later...

Now all that being said.  GMRS and Ham licenses are BOTH going to be 35 dollars and last 10 years at this point. 

So the SAR / CERT groups that are pushing folks to get ham licenses could just as easily push their members to get a GMRS license that requires no testing.

Ham radio is great for what it is.  It's a fun hobby.  The problem with ham radio and CERT / SAR operations is they typically want to rely on other peoples infrastructure.  ANd that can work if that infrastructure is installed and maintained at a high level.  Problem is that it's not always that way and it can become a single point of failure for communications.  And I am not saying that a GMRS repeater is somehow more technologically advanced than a ham repeater, but if you as a group have a GMRS repeater, YOU as a group are going to be the ones maintaining it. 

And while this may 'hurt' ham radio if CERT / SAR folks go the route of GMRS, if that was their only motivation to get a ham license, then what were they bringing to ham radio to begin with?

 

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  • 3 months later...
On 2/12/2022 at 4:34 PM, WROZ250 said:

There is no such thing as a club license in GMRS, only individuals may hold a license.

And a "club" call means nothing to an Amateur repeater. It must still come under the control of an individual, the repeater trustee. And the "club" call is usually that of the trustee.

 

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