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FCC does not allow More repeaters?


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3 hours ago, WRPN896 said:

I heard this morning on the net that the FCC does not allow newly Repeaters is this 100% Correct?

DE WRPN896

 

That's flat out wrong. You have to be very careful reading posts on the 'net. There is a LOT of old and outdated information to be found. For example I still read posts out there claiming FRS is limited to 1/2 watt, which it hasn't been on most of the channels, on 1-7 and 15-22 it's now 2 watts, since around 2018.

The few main things with GMRS repeaters are:

1. You observe the power limits set by the FCC on the repeater channels.

2. You operate your repeater(s) on the FCC list of frequencies reserved for repeater operation.

3. You use only the approved types of emissions, typically normal FM, and so have used narrow FM, in the transmitter section.

4. If there is any interference with other repeaters YOU and the other repeater owner(s), NOT the FCC, have to work out a solution to eliminate it.

About number 3 above this subject comes up often enough with people new to GMRS. NO digital voice modes of any kind are permitted. Yes it would be nice if the FCC would just let people use DMR, which seems to be the favorite mode if it was allowed. Maybe at some point the FCC will change their mind, but so far the answer is a big fat NO when it's brought up with them for consideration. But, hey, they finally gave in to allowing FM on 11 meter CB recently, after some decades, so who knows.

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I believe WRPN896 and I heard the same net (Sunshine Net). Dave was probably confused.

The FCC does not license ANY repeaters, whether GMRS, Amateur, or Commercial. Repeaters are all operated under the license of a person, group, or commercial interest.

WX4E, for example, is a callsign allocated to the Charlotte Amateur Radio Society, a non profit group. 'CARS' operates repeaters under that call sign, but the call sign is allocated to the club, not the repeater.

The FCC does not allocate GMRS call signs to groups or businesses (anymore), so all GMRS repeaters are operated under the call sign of the owner. 

 

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On 3/8/2022 at 9:43 AM, oldtech said:

I believe WRPN896 and I heard the same net (Sunshine Net). Dave was probably confused.

The FCC does not license ANY repeaters, whether GMRS, Amateur, or Commercial. Repeaters are all operated under the license of a person, group, or commercial interest.

WX4E, for example, is a callsign allocated to the Charlotte Amateur Radio Society, a non profit group. 'CARS' operates repeaters under that call sign, but the call sign is allocated to the club, not the repeater.

The FCC does not allocate GMRS call signs to groups or businesses (anymore), so all GMRS repeaters are operated under the call sign of the owner. 

 

True But Dave is the Repeater Trustee so it falls on he's callsign also true but he did make it seem not possible to Obtain though my local VEC even asked ARRL about it they heard nothing so if I want to be legit about it I could always contact the FCC about it but seems like it's falls under the Repeater Licensee instead of the FCC.

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11 hours ago, WRPN896 said:

True But Dave is the Repeater Trustee so it falls on he's callsign also true but he did make it seem not possible to Obtain though my local VEC even asked ARRL about it they heard nothing so if I want to be legit about it I could always contact the FCC about it but seems like it's falls under the Repeater Licensee instead of the FCC.

 

None of that sounds right at all.  A VEC is an Amateur Radio Volunteer Examiner Coordinator and has nothing to do with repeaters.  The ARRL doesn't coordinate any repeaters.

 

If the local amateur radio repeater coordinator says an area is saturated and won't coordinate any new repeater pairs in your area, you can still put up an uncoordinated repeater.  You just have no bargaining chips if your uncoordinated repeater has interference from a coordinated repeater.

 

And, still, none of any of that is an impact on GMRS because NO ONE coordinates GMRS repeaters.  Not the FCC, not the ARRL, not VEC's, not coordinator agencies such as TMARC.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I apologize if I missed it within some of the answers, but what Radio Service are you referring to?  Amateur, GMRS, or Business?

The short answer is Not True, regardless and I felt deeper explanation might be helpful.

If you are referring to GMRS (Part 95), the FCC does not take any kind of interest in our repeaters.  As stated above, there are 8 channels designated by the Commission which may only be used for repeaters. It is possible that whomever told you that was referring to the FCC not intending to make any changes to that part of the rule.  They are not planning on allowing any of the other 14 channels to be used with repeaters (the FRS only channels). 

The FCC created the GMRS class, included rules for transmission modes and allowable uses, and set it off to fend for itself.  It is not currently considering any changes to the regulations nor does it actively participate in its' usage day to day, unless there is a situation which requires investigation and potential regulatory action.  (That happened in Tampa FL recently due to usage not in accordance with the regulations).  As an aside,

Incidentally, because i see this all the time, if you do something which is deemed not in accordance with the regulations, you are not breaking the law.  These are not Laws.  The FCC is no a legislative body. It is a regulatory body.  You are breaking a rule, and that alleged infraction would be investigated, and if warranted, passed on to an enforcement body (a local District Attorney for example) who will impose enforcement actions in accordance with the FCC's policies.  Except for extreme cases, (violations of the rules which result in significant property damage, personal injury, death, or disruption of the public broadcast and radio systems) you cannot "go to jail".  You will not be incarcerated for using your Baofeng as your personal 2way radio on GMRS channels while at the County Fair, to keep track of your kids on the Ferris Wheel. 

If you are referring to Amateur Radio (Part 97), the FCC does not coordinate (which is the proper term, not regulate, nor permit, or allow, or license, etc) repeaters or any specific frequencies used with them.  An amateur radio operator (person or club) is free to establish a repeater on any pair it so chooses. There are generally accepted standards such as offsets and splits, but even that is not set in stone.  Amateur radio is 'self-policing" and thus, generally speaking, everyone gets along in the same sandbox just fine. A VEC plays an important role in all of this.  They are Volunteers in that they do not operate as a commercial entity or receive payment for their services.  (It is possible that a person working as a Frequency Coordinator is also an amateur radio licensee and provides this type of coordination for free, while charging for other activities.) I will explain coordinators and what they do at the end.

If you are referring to the Business Band service (Part 90), the answer is still no.  There are no plans to do so because there are significant regulatory standards in place.  One of those is the regulation that any applicationfor a Business Band license includes the need for Frequency Coordination.  You apply for a License, and the FCC approves your application in accordance with coordination.  As an aside, the FCC developed the Band Plan, and in this scenario, does not get involved in the xxx.1234 mhz part of it as long as you operate in accordance with the Part and the Plan.  You do not apply to use a particular frequency.  A coordinator tells the FCC which one to allow you to use and that is then what is approved for your license.

A Coordinator is a person or entity who reviews your application from the technical aspect.  They are a business and charge a fee for their service.  It is expensive in general terms, and the pricing typically is tiered depending upon how many frequencies you are requesting.  Buytwowayradio.com charges a fee, which I believe is at one price for one frequency, and is one price for 2 or more.  A local shop here in my community uses a Coordinator who provides up to 5 frequencies for your application for 1 price.  They will look at your intended use (will you use mobiles, portables, repeaters, data, a mix, etc.) as well as things such as needed transmit powers, the location and height of the transmitter antenna, it's position relative to an Airport, or other restricted area, things specific to towers, and the other frequencies (and all of their conditions such as above), likelihood of inducing or being affected by other radio interference in the geographic region you seek to operate within.  They analyze your application against all of the other data available in your area, and they recommend a frequency, (single, multiple, or repeater pair) and then forward your application to the FCC for final approval.  This is Frequency Coordination, and is a required component for obtaining a Part 90 license.

There is nothing to indicate that there is A: a need to restrict radio station licensing as it exists today, or B: actual Commission activity toward doing so in Part 90.  I would venture to say that our slice (GMRS) will likely require some involvement in the future simply because no one anticipated the unprecedented rise in the actual usage.  Take a look at MURS (VHF, 5 simplex channels, no fee, data OK, but absolutely no repeater use of any kind).  It was developed, thrown out there, has generally limited uses, and thus floats along just fine for decades with light to no usage in most areas. Whereas GMRS has so many uses, it's difficult to find spectrum to operate, in some places.

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Well, yes and no on repeaters and channels. In GMRS there are channels set aside for repeater operation however it is not true that only repeaters may operate on these channels. FRS (and GMRS) can operate simplex (using the same frequency to transmit and receive) on the output frequency of a repeater pair. In the amateur world the channels are a little more structured in there are ranges for repeater channels and these are coordinated by regional volunteers to limit interference.

In the part 90 world, the only band with repeater frequencies specifically limited is in the UHF spectrum but the LMR coordinators will and do assign repeater frequencies in any part of their spectrum they can.

Edited by BoxCar
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@Boxcar

Thank you for mentioning "spectrum" and better clarification regarding bands.  I frequently make the mistake of lumping amateur radio all-in within the 2m/70cm while there is a whole lot more out there and some parts of the band can not have a repeater on them.  (Nor would they work that well.  a 10m repeater? ahh no.

My bad. 

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51 minutes ago, WROY767 said:

@Boxcar

Thank you for mentioning "spectrum" and better clarification regarding bands.  I frequently make the mistake of lumping amateur radio all-in within the 2m/70cm while there is a whole lot more out there and some parts of the band can not have a repeater on them.  (Nor would they work that well.  a 10m repeater? ahh no.

My bad. 

Here’s a link to a long list of 10 meter repeaters: https://www.qsl.net/kc4qlp/10meterrepeater.html

🙂

But I didn’t find any mention of 20 meter repeaters and Repeaterbook doesn’t have anything in its database for longer wavelengths than 10 meter.  Also, various ham forums have had lively discussions with people decrying 10 meter repeaters, especially when linked to vhf and uhf networks. 

Edited by Sshannon
Added information that may or may not be interesting.
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I love 10m repeaters. Had a guy somewhat local to my home in VA with a 10m repeater.  It was 37 miles away from my house and I could work it from home all day with only 5 watts.  It was high enough that with 100w, it easily had 100 mile+ of LOS/Ground wave coverage and at solar maximum the world was the limit.

 

The repeater is listed as private/off the air now. I'm not sure if the owner passed or decided to stop public access. 

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27 minutes ago, Mikeam said:

I am going to have to study for my Ham I guess.

Go for it Mike.  I like my GMRS for family as well as using for our family a private GNRS repeater for us and neighborhood.  BUT with a Ham ticket so much more with selection of radios and hundreds of repeaters to pick from to use without joining.  My now 13 yo grand daughter and I got our Ham ticket last May 2021 and we have fun talking to locals within 40 miles via repeaters, doing fox hunts as well as the speaking to the whole world.  We only use HT and do a lot with DMRoIP.  Grand daughter talks to a group of teen hams on weekend via Digital Youth Group Net FRI, SAT, SUN at 6:45 PM EST on Brandmeister Talk Group 96 https://hose.brandmeister.network/#/?subscribe=96  It a new Teen group and growing.  FYI like GMRS folks, Ham folks are good and welcoming folks.  

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6 hours ago, WRPC505 said:

@Sshannon It would be interesting to find out how well FM might work on the other FM bands.

 

I know you are not asking me specifically, but are you asking about how well FM works in other bands, such as lower portions of HF (20m, 40m, etc.)?  The reason I ask is because the RF propagation is not impacted by modulation type.  Modulation types are chosen due to their performance characteristics with regard to either efficiency or ability to carry data. 

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On 3/8/2022 at 1:36 PM, MichaelLAX said:

With regard to GMRS, the FCC seems to take a Wild West approach to repeaters.

There are only 8 available repeater channels, and for most regions, these are probably enough.

What I find amusing is in my area that should be very true and might be. Without testing to see if they are all live, just looking at the list of repeaters here for my state (Maryland), many of them use the same frequency and even PL code. I don't think there is much geographic overlap on their coverage as most seem to be fairly limited coverage (maybe 10-20 mile radius), but 2-3 of them almost certainly overlap if the estimated coverage is correct. Fortunately the 3 higher coverage repeaters that for sure overlap use different frequencies.

 

I've actually be kind of curious to try out that Retevis brief case repeater for personal use (not setup as a general access repeater). My house is on a bit of a ridge locally (I mean hyper local, like in my neighborhood, not the larger geographic area where my house/neighborhood is on the backside of a ridge down to a river valley. Its central Maryland, so "valley" and "ridge" are relative). Anyway, I've been kind of curious to try getting it and taking it up one of my taller and straighter trees. Setup a small platform to host it on the tree, lead acid battery, 12V DC output and a solar panel to keep it charged. That would likely significantly increase the range of my HTs in my neighborhood. Granted the last time I really tested their coverage was with my Retevis H777 cheapo (though decent-ish) HTs. When I first got my GMRS license I got 5 of them for my whole family and I tend to pass them out for things like Halloween for my kids or I take one with me over to a friend/neighbor's house as I tend to get side-tracked by him and his offers of chatting and drinking and cell reception at his place, even though it is only a few hundred yards away, sucks. So my wife can buzz me to remind me I said I'd be home 2hrs before and she is going to order pizza if I don't come home and make dinner like I promised I would...

 

Anyway, they work surprisingly well. But still weak in a lot of places and some dead zones. Now that I've finally "gotten serious" about radio/GMRS and started getting better equipment and learning about it all more that might not be as much of an issue. I'll test my UV9g HTs against my H777. I suspect the UV9g on their own will help out significantly with reach. I have the older style H777 which I can't find out too much info on, but I am pretty sure are narrow band only and I think 2.5 or 3w and have the typical crappy antennas. The UV9g I have has probably not a much better rubber ducky, but it is a measured 4.5w of transmit power (5 claimed), wide band and I have a Nogoya 771g antenna on it. I just bought a second UV9g for more of the family camping/backpacking stuff to give out one to whatever person/group is wandering off and keep one with me. I'll get 3 more at some point so everyone can have one. But I'd imagine having a low power repeater 30ft off the ground on my "ridge" would be pretty helpful to extend reach. The local terrain over the surrounding mile or two has plenty of creek bottoms, hillocks, and sunken roads that can vary the terrain height by +/-30ft over 200-500ft. I am not sure reception will be that big a deal with the UV9g to my house base station (which I'll test and just finished installing yesterday) which is a radioddity DB-25g in my basement run to a 6dBi HYS 350-500MHz antenna mounted in my attic about 13ft AGL. But from HT to HT if someone is in one of the creek bottoms to another one is probably dicey, even with the nicer HTs and higher gain antennas. But hitting off a repeater...

 

Another option would be just mounting the repeater in my attic, though that would get the antenna significantly lower.

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2 hours ago, AdmiralCochrane said:

In central MD I think I hit 2 at once using the same tone. 

Ellicott City and Bull Run Mountain are both on the ch19 pair and accept the 141.3 tone for emergencies. But the regular users of Ellicott City use 7a and the regular users of Bull Run Mountain use 4b for day to day to avoid bringing both machines up at the same time.

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  • 1 month later...
On 3/7/2022 at 11:20 AM, OffRoaderX said:

If what that person said is "the FCC does not allow new GMRS repeaters", then that person lied to you or is an idiot - likely both.

Glad to meet you, NotaRubicon, we (the royal plural) have enjoyed many of your videos.

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On 4/2/2022 at 10:36 AM, marcspaz said:

 

I know you are not asking me specifically, but are you asking about how well FM works in other bands, such as lower portions of HF (20m, 40m, etc.)?  The reason I ask is because the RF propagation is not impacted by modulation type.  Modulation types are chosen due to their performance characteristics with regard to either efficiency or ability to carry data. 

You are certainly right, and I knew that as well...just had a brain cell issue at the time.

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