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best place to start looking for a great location for an open repeater


Steve
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Just thinking about how my house is down in the vally which is small, about half mile with forrest on one side, and a hill on the other covered with houses, so i'm only getting about a half mile range from my roof mounted Ed Fung ebay GMRS antenna and kenwood TK-880.    How does it work if i wanted to find someone willing to let me install my open repeater somewhere in town?  maybe ask the school, or some random neighbor who lives at the top of the hill, etc.  I see a few water towers near me, all within 1 or 2 miles.  Who do i call to find out about putting a repeater on there? has anyone else gone down this path? What is the general consensis?  I assume unless you know someone or someone owes you a favor, you're out of luck, unless you pay for a commericial site.  I'm looking for other ideas.   Do most people just build a clandestine box and hide it in the woods on a hill top?

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Hey steve,

You can always try a better antenna, like the comet base that is for gmrs. Height is important, so can you get a tower and put it up higher?

You can contact your local ham club and see if they have or know of someone who has a old business band uhf antenna not being used. (450-470), OR CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT AND SEE IF THEY HAVE AN OLD ONE THEY AREN'T USING. Try and find someone who may have a swr meter to check your signal......you should be talking farther than that even with the ed fong. Are you using mobiles, portables? In moving vehicle.....

Glenn

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Hi Glen.... great idea about the local HAM club.  I will reah out.   to answer you question, yes, i'm using HT 4watt, and in moving vehicle most of the time, i'm using the Nagoya 701 with it.   When i talk 2 meter with the local HAMs they say i sound perfect and i'm about the same distance, from their repeater but that's also on top of a hill top.     The furthest i was able to test to home was the top of a hill at the local park about 1.7 miles (point to point measured on google maps) and i was just able to make out the signal.   my biggest problem is noise, its just really noisy, just a lot of hiss coming though and the signal is very weak sounding.  I was using an HT and a voice recorder on the kenwood receive at home.  i'm SURE the kenwood tx would reach the park...  i dont have the repeater functioning yet...  i've just been doing some range testing with it.   I had my dad help me test the TX of the kenwood and it was able to hit my HT full quieting from the 1 mile mark in the vally, but back to the base was very spotty.    prob better coax (currently using RG8X i think) and better antenna, oh and shorter coax.  currently 65 ft.    i am really in what i thinik is a bad spot, lots of hills around me in the direction i want to go with the radio...   if i go in the direction i want to reach with the radio, the hill would be about the height of maybe 10 houses.  in the winter, people can't make it up the hill in their car, that's the hill i'm trying to get past.   but again, the HAM repeater is also over that hill, but its on a tower and hill top 1 mile away, so that is why it works there.    i can't go any higher, i'm already 10 ft over my roof line.  tower is overkill.  i'm better off finding a friendly neighbor who will let me put up an antenna in their back yard at the top of this hill, and run it off solar pannels. 

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You might get a hold of a TOPO map (there are some that can be found online) and note the high points in elevation. Almost all of my repeaters run DB antennas (free surplus). Personal favorite is the DB420 for a top tower mount and for a portable setup a DB406. I've got a couple of almost all of them…DB406, DB408, DB411, DB413 and DB420's.

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yeah, i did look at topo maps, there are hills everywhere...  i'm really in a bad spot.  i am litterally thinking about making friends with the neighbor at the top of the hill, right in the middle of where i want coverage. 

 

these antennas look like they are close to $500-$1000 - are you sure these are the ones you have?  i'm looking for more of a $75-$150 range

http://www.neobits.com/commscope_andrew_db408_b_450_470_mhz_6_6_7_8db_p2764316.html?atc=gbp&gclid=Cj0KEQiAgMKmBRDMjo_F9OfUubABEiQAp8Ky12nHxyaPs7Xn5a1pyvOyQrrrgxK98RID6N_vk29Q74kaAoxh8P8HAQ

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Did I mention narrowbanding was good to me? Lots of companies went to relying on cell phones and just wanted their old stuff gone.

They are not what I would call budget friendly. I'd call them get something in your price range and then keep an eye out for DB antennas through surplus channels for later purposes.

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     You can try the water towers around you. When you find the property managers tell them about the volunteer nature and emergency communications that GMRS is for. Then tell them about personal comms, and that the manager's family is all covered under the license, and no test to take. Offer him, or her, to jump on the repeater. Talk with the Ham community and see if they know of spots to put it. They may even let you on one of their sites. Then their family's can use it without a test to take. Ours here in Toledo has gotten several people to take their ham tech tests. Tell everyone that GMRS can lead to many things. Hope this helps.

 

Oh, and get rid of that RG8X and get some LMR400 at least. There is a huge amount of line loss in the coax you are using.

 

Jerry

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that's a good idea. 

 

i think i found the perfect peak that is right in the middle, aprox 1 mile from everywhere, home, school, park, friends house, all between half mile and 1.5 miles.  this is better than any water tower around me.... line of sight as well....  except its at the top of a large hilltop covered in about a square mile of forrest in all directions. maybe i can build a cheap repeater with a couple of HTs and a battery and solar pannel and just leave it there.   What are the legal requirements / rules about that?  its the middle of nowhere on the hilltop.... the problem is always theft.

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Just had a chat with a radio tech locally and he said that occasionally when a new system is added to a tower that already has more than one system installed in the same general band space, that some unwanted interaction can result.  When installing a new system in an area of high RF concentration, be prepared to deal with things like this, so as not to cause problems for other system owners.

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Gurellacom on Youtube has some videos of a simplex repeater installed in a remote location (don't know whether or not it's in national forest or not). For placing in public lands (federal) I believe one is supposed to perform a site survey (it's in the Extra question pool somewhere) or something similarly named. Ideally you's want to try and get the antenna above the trees but depending on how sharp the peak is and the density, you may be able to conceal the antenna.

 

Avoid the LMR400…it's very poor in a full duplex environment, personally I think RG8 does better but  I'd switch to hardline of some form. 

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Gurellacom on Youtube has some videos of a simplex repeater installed in a remote location (don't know whether or not it's in national forest or not). For placing in public lands (federal) I believe one is supposed to perform a site survey (it's in the Extra question pool somewhere) or something similarly named. Ideally you's want to try and get the antenna above the trees but depending on how sharp the peak is and the density, you may be able to conceal the antenna.

 

Avoid the LMR400…it's very poor in a full duplex environment, personally I think RG8 does better but  I'd switch to hardline of some form. 

Zap,

I have watch some of his videos and I do not really know if it is legal to run the simplex repeater or not.I have not studied into that part of the rules in quite some time.I do wish he would us a different name on his videos,when you use the name Guerrilla it tends to make you wonder along with the instructions how to mod radios out of band and the lack of stressing licensed use for GMRS...William

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Zap,

I have watch some of his videos and I do not really know if it is legal to run the simplex repeater or not.I have not studied into that part of the rules in quite some time.I do wish he would us a different name on his videos,when you use the name Guerrilla it tends to make you wonder along with the instructions how to mod radios out of band and the lack of stressing licensed use for GMRS...William

He actually has stated on several videos that he does hold a tech license as well as GMRS license. It should also be noted in several of his videos (SHTF Radio, Ham vs Commercial, for example) he does state that it is illegal to transmit with a modified amateur radio on the commercial bands. 

 

There isn't anything in the GMRS rules that prohibits simplex/talkback repeaters. MURS, there is a statement that no station shall retransmit a received transmission (rules out any kind of repeater and digipeater).

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Gurellacom on Youtube has some videos of a simplex repeater installed in a remote location (don't know whether or not it's in national forest or not). For placing in public lands (federal) I believe one is supposed to perform a site survey (it's in the Extra question pool somewhere) or something similarly named. Ideally you's want to try and get the antenna above the trees but depending on how sharp the peak is and the density, you may be able to conceal the antenna.

 

Avoid the LMR400…it's very poor in a full duplex environment, personally I think RG8 does better but  I'd switch to hardline of some form. 

Zap,

Why is LMR400 poor in full duplex?

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It's known for introducing noise due to the dissimilar shield materials. It's fairly well documented.

im gonna have to look that up... what about LMR600?  I am trying to figure out what to use for my next antenna.  I think my RG8x at 65 ft is very noisy and lossy.   

 

on a side note, does the antenna change the noise floor more than cable, say in my case? I have the $40 ed fong antenna, I was thinking about the Comet CA-712EFC - and how it might have less noise at long distance (or maybe a pre amp would help).... so much to play around with and see.

 

back to the topic:

 

at this point, I'm going to have to spend the spring time looking for a possible place to put a repeater.   There is litterally no one using GMRS in my town.  I did a search a FCC and only 6 people have GMRS active in my town.  Me, and the guy who let me use his repeater, and then like 4 other people... if that.   So maybe there is "room" for a GMRS system.    Only thing is we have two other repeaters, the one i have permission to use and one other one.  I am in contact with the guys who own it, and they said both systems have trouble and need service in the spring.  One is out of service, and one sounds very quiet and is very noisy and has a problem where after you key up, it just keeps curchuncking itself for 10 to 30 min.   What i'm trying to say is there is no good useable GMRS system in town right now.  Maybe the guys who run the two "sick" systems will let me help them get it back up and running again because they have a great spot for it.   That's my best bet at this point.  I really dont want to put expensive of gear in a tree / in the woods up on a hill top and hope no one messes with it.  Its too populated here.

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im gonna have to look that up... what about LMR600?  I am trying to figure out what to use for my next antenna.  I think my RG8x at 65 ft is very noisy and lossy.   

 

on a side note, does the antenna change the noise floor more than cable, say in my case? I have the $40 ed fong antenna, I was thinking about the Comet CA-712EFC - and how it might have less noise at long distance (or maybe a pre amp would help).... so much to play around with and see.

 

back to the topic:

 

at this point, I'm going to have to spend the spring time looking for a possible place to put a repeater.   There is litterally no one using GMRS in my town.  I did a search a FCC and only 6 people have GMRS active in my town.  Me, and the guy who let me use his repeater, and then like 4 other people... if that.   So maybe there is "room" for a GMRS system.    Only thing is we have two other repeaters, the one i have permission to use and one other one.  I am in contact with the guys who own it, and they said both systems have trouble and need service in the spring.  One is out of service, and one sounds very quiet and is very noisy and has a problem where after you key up, it just keeps curchuncking itself for 10 to 30 min.   What i'm trying to say is there is no good useable GMRS system in town right now.  Maybe the guys who run the two "sick" systems will let me help them get it back up and running again because they have a great spot for it.   That's my best bet at this point.  I really dont want to put expensive of gear in a tree / in the woods up on a hill top and hope no one messes with it.  Its too populated here.

LMR in general has the same foil shield.

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Steve,

I recently replaced an Ed Fong antenna with the Comet CA-712EFC, and it easily doubled the range of my repeater. It seems to be a great antenna.

thank you, good to know.... i am currently looking out for a comet antenna now.   did you notice any difference in noise levels at half mile to 1 mile?  currently the noise is so loud that you can barly hear the voice.  that might just be my terrein and poor coax. 

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I never had any real noise to begin with. What I can tell you is to the west I can get out 13 miles with full quieting talking on an HT. This is all over nothing but rural farm land that is very flat. To my east I can get out 14 miles with a lot of noise, but I can still make out the words being said. At 10 miles it is full quieting. This is over neighborhoods and shopping centers while driving on the freeway. With the Ed Fong the furthest I ever reached was about 4 miles, and there was some noise, but not terrible.

My little repeater is only 25 watts, and the base of my Comet is mounted at 37 feet, for reference.

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Find out if you have a local Tower Company that has a few sites. I was able to get on a local owned comerical tower combined system with 20 other users (mostly trunking) for $45 a month. The system his a nice transmit combiner with a DB-411 300' and another DB-411 for the receive at 460'. Stay away from owners like american tower as they want min $250 per month.

 

Corey

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