Jump to content

We need more GMRS Repeaters Deployed


Recommended Posts

I like the idea.  I have been trying to help.

 

The area's I have homes are flooded with repeaters.  Multiple friends/acquaintances of mine, as well as several clubs, have put up so many repeaters in Northern VA, that there are 2 or 3 on every pair. 

 

I am still trying to get some more deployed.  I do have one up at my Virginia home that has about a 15 mile radius.  I am also looking at putting up several repeaters in a park in Schuylkill County PA and New London County CT on property that belongs to family and friends.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ahhh, no. 

I am all for people that know what they are doing putting up good equipment after they have PROPERLY identified an open repeater pair in their area that will not interfere with the operations of others.  I am willing to assist folks that want to do it right, work with other repeater / system owners to minimize interference and create additional coverage in area's that are lacking any current coverage.  But I don't really think it's a good idea for EVERYONE to put up a repeater. 

First problem is the definition of a repeater.  And depending on who you talk to that ranges from a quality 100% duty cycle commercial repeater and duplexer on an antenna of reasonable height to two mobiles or even handhelds taped together with an vehicle antenna on a wall mount screwed to the peak of a roof on a one story garage.  And what that sort of this does is screw with a big repeater because the person that was told they needed to put up a repeater did so without even bothering to check the frequency first to see if there was another one that covered their area. 

You need to monitor a frequency for a MONTH before thinking you can use it.  You need to setup a PC with a VOX audio recorder like ScannerRecorder that will record any traffic on that repeater output.  And you need to do this with an antenna that's outside and up at least 30 feet.  If you can't do that, IMO, you don't need to even consider putting up a repeater. 

We are limited to 8 repeater pairs for all of GMRS, everywhere. And repeater owners need to cooperate with each other to manage this resource.  Failure to do so will just create problems. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since the OP asked for opinions, I will offer up my opinion. 

I disagree with his statement that more GMRS repeaters are needed. In my opinion, GMRS is not a hobby, it is a service primarily intended for short-distance communications, to facilitate the activities of the licensee’s family. Since that intended purpose comes directly from the FCC’s definition of GMRS, I don’t see why we need more repeaters.

My opinion is that GMRS is not ham radio. It is not CB radio. But the high profile GMRS repeaters in my part of the world are used by people that already talk on CB, and on ham radio . The conversations are exactly the same, regardless of where they talk, so why do we need to waste precious bandwidth on GMRS for those conversations, when we already have other band allocations for that ?

For those that believe GMRS serves a function in civil emergencies, I would also direct you to amateur radio, specifically the ARES/RACES groups that provide those functions. Again, I believe we do not need to duplicate these functions across radio services. It is fine if a local neighborhood repeater such as mine could serve people in a time of need, but that is not it’s true purpose, and I don’t have lofty goals of making it that way. And most people within the couple of miles range of my repeater would not have access to repeater-capable radios, and likely only have FRS radios, so it would be of no use in that case.

My repeater covers maybe 4 miles…on a good day, and only with mobile radios (hey, GMRS stands for General Mobile Radio Service, not “sit in my easy chair with my walkie talkie and talk to someone 40 miles away via a repeater”). It serves the needs of my family for short distance communications. We do use Zello as a means to extend coverage, if necessary, but it is again only for the family…not for a guy in Michigan to ragchew with a guy in Florida, or to hold “nets”. This is exactly why the amateur radio service exists, and where these activities should take place.

A nearby GMRS repeater is connected to the MyGMRS network, and it simply transmits conversations of people not even within the state, all day long (not really all day, just exaggerating to make a point). A nearby ham repeater is connected to the America Link network, and transmits conversations of people not even within the state, all day long. What is point of having these broadcast stations, when local users are not using these repeaters ?

We do not need more repeaters for GMRS. We need fewer people that think GMRS is CB or amateur radio. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I absolutely think we need more repeaters.  I'd have put my own up already, but for the fact that once I got out the topo maps and found the best place within thirty mile,  I discovered that a) the whole hilltop is owned by the water company, b) it has a large water tower on it that's already covered with ham repeaters, c) a local ham group convinced the water company to let them manage all antenna placement, and d) the ham group won't even discuss details like access/rent/maintenance/etc. unless you're a licenced ham who's joined their group.

Instead, I'm trying to convince my wife to let me cut a hole in the tower ceiling of our victorian and place one up there.  It'll likely get a quarter the range, but no one gets to tell me how things are going to work!

As for the "don't be stupid, that's what ham is for" brigade, I'm ignoring them.  My group wants to build reliable emergency comms for our region that *doesn't* require gatekeeper hams to use it.  You'll never get churches, schools, and community centers to fund/maintain personnel to get and stay trained so they've always got a ham on staff, but a $35 license and a $100 HT is completely feasible.  And that's not to mention being able to interoperate with actual community members for the price of $15 walkies from Walmart!  A school or community member can keep a whole box of those things in the basement and just hand them out with ten minutes' instruction in an emergency, and they can even just listen in to repeater outputs to keep track of what's going on locally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, WRTZ231 said:

Hi,

 

We need more GMRS repeaters to be deployed and set up around the great USA!

I'd like to challenge everyone to set one up!

I'd love to hear everyones opinions on this

 

 

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I'd agree that there are regions where an open repeater or two could be desirable (the only one I've found listed in the entire county has a coverage range not much larger than standing on my roof with an HT), I also agree with those that want some sort of frequency coordination. ONE repeater covering a 30-40 mile radius is much to be preferred over an overlapping mishmash of pocket repeaters with 5 mile radius coverage. I'm ambivalent about linking -- if they are "locally" linked and operated by a single organization, basically for the purpose of covering, say, a county during emergencies, but maybe unlinked for day-to-day operations... okay... ad hoc multistate linking... not so much.

As the FCC regulations state, GMRS is supposed to be a short-range service -- a large family farm (really large, let's say 640 acres) only requires radios with a 2-mile range (1.4 mile diagonal, actually). Put up a repeater with a 5 mile range and they can probably support some of the smaller neighboring farms at the same time (and maybe coordinate sharing some equipment should a malfunction occur in a tractor or such)

Heck, it's only been in the last decade or so that the FCC gave up on the CB 150 mile limit, since good skip conditions can easily exceed that [I recall in the late 70s hearing a Kansas or Missouri station asking for emergency/travel assistance... From west central Michigan! -- easily 600 miles).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am on the fence for more or less GMRS repeaters being needed. There are only a few GMRS repeaters in my area, and more amateur repeaters still....but none of them get much use. I throw out a call sign and get a response back at times. When I hear people (rarely) I respond with a radio check. When speaking in person with the repeater owner or administrator, many just "monitor" and never respond back to anyone. Maybe it is a hobby in this area, and I own a Motorola Spectra based portable repeater, which I only put up for my own family use. But, for others there is the bragging rights of being a repeater owner, administrator, or adding another radio service notch to their resume. It varies for all involved on what motivates them. So, more or less, my own opinion is to work within the rules and have some fun.

For some, it may be a hobby, for others it may help a business or organization. I tailor my own radio usage for what I am doing, VHF for short range (MURS), GMRS for family use when I am in areas known to not be saturated with UHF (which is hard as many public safety and interop systems are UHF based in my region), and 900 MHz FHSS Motorola DTR radios when I do not want to hear anybody else, but stay within about a mile of other users. 

Money is often an issue, but then I see many that spend a lot more money on consumer grade hardware, when used commercial gear would serve them better. Or, recommendations on higher end gear, but cost considerations leave out software, special programming cables, or computer operating system upgrades (which all add to overall cost). I may use some of my older Motorola GR300 repeaters, with hardware radio upgrades (replace the Radius based radios) XPR4550 mobiles, as future GMRs repeaters (I know the "radio police" will flame me for that part). 

It would be nice to see more repeaters in the Pacific Northwest, to include GMRS, but with what is available and under used, it just becomes an ego boost to add more in this area. Getting more people to communicate and respond on local repeaters would be even better. Throw out a call sign and respond to someone who is....that will get more people on the air in some way, shape, or fashion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, WRAM370 said:

We do not need more repeaters for GMRS. We need fewer people that think GMRS is CB or amateur radio. 


Perhaps GMRS should be open to frequency hopping and voice scrambling if it is only intended for private communications.

I'm getting my ham ticket -- but that is not a solution for everyone.   CW, FT-8, and JS8call seem to hold a lot of promise for weak signal propagation.   

There seems to be a generational gap with the older ham crowd and younger people.   They tend to have different communication styles and expectations.

The recent court ruling, West Virginia vs. the EPA, seems to call into question administrative "law" and the Chevron deference.
Rules and customs are necessary for good order.  Slavish devotion to administrivia might not be necessary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • In my area, GMRS is all but useless during the day. Pretty my nothing but road crews, construction and others and they ALL seem to want to use 15-22 so more repeaters wouldn't even help. Already have repeaters on 600, 625,675,700 and 725 but as I said, no sense even bothering with it till evening
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, Flameout said:
  • In my area, GMRS is all but useless during the day. Pretty my nothing but road crews, construction and others and they ALL seem to want to use 15-22 so more repeaters wouldn't even help. Already have repeaters on 600, 625,675,700 and 725 but as I said, no sense even bothering with it till evening

Sounds like it’s pretty useful to road crews and construction people though. 😉

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some areas have no repeaters while others are saturated with them.  In my part of the state we have numerous repeaters that in many cases were put up by amateurs.  Many of these repeaters are on mountain tops and have a very long range.  Yet most of these repeaters see only light use.  There is no overcrowding or interference. 

GMRS has evolved since it's inception.  In another thread a poster mentioned the old Citizen Radio Service.  There were 4 classes and the GMRS/FRS were the original CB.  At the present time GMRS is experiencing "growing pains" much like 11 meters did during the 70's when it saw explosive growth.   But, there is room for everyone if people use common sense and work together to resolve any issues that arise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Class A 462MHz -- late 40s; rather expensive (given circuitry of the period which led to ...); business users encouraged to transition to business service in 1987, at which time it was named GMRS
Class B 461Mhz -- discontinued in the 60s/70s and users moved to other services
Class C ? -- Radio Control systems
Class D 27MHz -- "CB" (... created in 1958, and prior to 1975 channels 1-8/15-22 were restricted to units operating under the same license/call, 9-14/23 were allowed to call other stations)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Blaise said:

As far as *I* can see, it's turned into a ghost town...

 

If you get out of major metro areas like DC, Tampa, LA, etc., there is almost no traffic on CB. The problem is, I live in the DC metro and occasionally in the Tampa area and a vast majority of users are Truckers and local infrastructure construction crews, and they are constantly using the most horrible language, threatening each other, and generally making it impossible for someone to have a conversation. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, marcspaz said:

CB turned into an RF trashcan.  I really hope that doesn't happen to GMRS. 

I obtained a Class D license in 1969.  I've witnessed a lot of changes over the years, some good some bad.  The majority of the time I worked sideband.  Now, when I switch to AM all I hear is crickets...dead as a door nail in my area.  All the older cb'ers have passed on and most folks can't get off social media long enough to talk on a radio, cb or otherwise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Guidelines.