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Can't tell if I'm hitting a local repeater


Recoilx
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I'm new to this hoppy so please pardon the stupid question.  I'm using a new UV-9G and trying to connect to a local Tampa Bay Repeater (Repeater Name: Tampa Bay 700).   On the mygmrs.com page, it lists the repeater as "Open" type and provides the Frequency, Input Tone and Output tone.  The repeater uses frequency 462.700, so on my UV-9G that equates to the repeater frequency on channel 29.   I went into chirp and added the 250.3hz input tone and left all other settings as is (Except for the repeater name which I customized).  Once I upload the new setting to the UV-9G, I checked the menu/settings and I confirmed that the tone for T-CTCS is saved as 250.3hz.   When I test transmit to the repeater, I don't get any noise or confirmation sounds, just dead air, so I don't think I am hitting it.  Am I doing anything wrong?

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2 hours ago, Recoilx said:

I'm new to this hoppy so please pardon the stupid question.  I'm using a new UV-9G and trying to connect to a local Tampa Bay Repeater (Repeater Name: Tampa Bay 700).   On the mygmrs.com page, it lists the repeater as "Open" type and provides the Frequency, Input Tone and Output tone.  The repeater uses frequency 462.700, so on my UV-9G that equates to the repeater frequency on channel 29.   I went into chirp and added the 250.3hz input tone and left all other settings as is (Except for the repeater name which I customized).  Once I upload the new setting to the UV-9G, I checked the menu/settings and I confirmed that the tone for T-CTCS is saved as 250.3hz.   When I test transmit to the repeater, I don't get any noise or confirmation sounds, just dead air, so I don't think I am hitting it.  Am I doing anything wrong?

It sounds like you did everything right. It sounds like you’re transmitting on 467.700 MHz, with a transmit tone of 250.3 Hz, and no receiver tone.  

Try just monitoring on 462.700 with no receive tone for a long while to see if you can even hear the repeater.  Once you are certain you can hear it, then try to transmit to it.  If you cannot hear it, you’ll never know if you’re hitting it.

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Start by simplifying: Transmit tone, but no squelch tone on the receiver. Transmitter and receiver should be different devices. Transmitter should be a tenth of a mile away from the receiver (just to eliminate desensing of the receiver as a possibility). One person should be listening on the receiver while you transmit hitting the repeater.

 

If the listening person isn't hearing you, then you're either transmitting with the wrong tone (the repeater isn't using the tone you think it is, or your transmitter is set wrong), or the repeater isn't operating on that frequency, OR you're just too far to hit it, or there are too many obstructions between.

 

If you suspect you might be using the wrong tone, get a radio scanner (borrow, buy an old one on ebay, whatever) and set it to display the PL/CTCSS tone of any signal it receives. Then set it to just the frequency of that repeater, and wait for someone else to open the repeater. Could be a long wait.  Or get in touch with the owner.

 

Many scanners will continue to display the most recently received PL tone even after the transmission has ended, so you may not have to be sitting there watching it ALL the time, but that result could be nullified by someone else coming along and transmitting on the output channel in simplex.

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3 hours ago, gortex2 said:

How close are you to the repeater location ? 

Roughly 32-34 miles

10 hours ago, Sshannon said:

It sounds like you did everything right. It sounds like you’re transmitting on 467.700 MHz, with a transmit tone of 250.3 Hz, and no receiver tone.  

Try just monitoring on 462.700 with no receive tone for a long while to see if you can even hear the repeater.  Once you are certain you can hear it, then try to transmit to it.  If you cannot hear it, you’ll never know if you’re hitting it.

Do I need to set a receiving tone if the repeater info on mygmrs.com has an "output" tone of 250.3mhz?

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23 minutes ago, WRQW589 said:

Start by simplifying: Transmit tone, but no squelch tone on the receiver. Transmitter and receiver should be different devices. Transmitter should be a tenth of a mile away from the receiver (just to eliminate desensing of the receiver as a possibility). One person should be listening on the receiver while you transmit hitting the repeater.

 

If the listening person isn't hearing you, then you're either transmitting with the wrong tone (the repeater isn't using the tone you think it is, or your transmitter is set wrong), or the repeater isn't operating on that frequency, OR you're just too far to hit it, or there are too many obstructions between.

 

If you suspect you might be using the wrong tone, get a radio scanner (borrow, buy an old one on ebay, whatever) and set it to display the PL/CTCSS tone of any signal it receives. Then set it to just the frequency of that repeater, and wait for someone else to open the repeater. Could be a long wait.  Or get in touch with the owner.

 

Many scanners will continue to display the most recently received PL tone even after the transmission has ended, so you may not have to be sitting there watching it ALL the time, but that result could be nullified by someone else coming along and transmitting on the output channel in simplex.

I set my wifes UV-9G and my UV-9G to the same repeater and we can't hear each other, but again, I can't tell if I'm even hitting it.  I'm not familiar with a lot of the tech, I just watched a youtube of how to connect to a GMRS repeater and thought I did it right, but I can't tell if i'm too far away or if there is interference, etc.  

I also don't receive the NOAA channels easily like I do on my UV-82HP.  Maybe the stock antennas that came with the radios isn't good?

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16 minutes ago, Recoilx said:

Roughly 32-34 miles

Do I need to set a receiving tone if the repeater info on mygmrs.com has an "output" tone of 250.3mhz?

No.  If you leave no tone set you’ll receive everything transmitted on that frequency.  If you set a receive tone you’ll only hear things transmitted using that tone, but while you’re troubleshooting problems that’s not helpful. 

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2 hours ago, Recoilx said:

Roughly 32-34 miles

That's going to be very ... fringy

The estimated range for the repeater is listed as 31.4 miles on the detail page. You may just be out of range for an HT with rubber-duck.

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28 minutes ago, KAF6045 said:

That's going to be very ... fringy

The estimated range for the repeater is listed as 31.4 miles on the detail page. You may just be out of range for an HT with rubber-duck.

Ok that makes sense.  My other question is, when my wife and I try simplex on GMRS CHannel 16, I'm in my car and my wife is at the house.  It looks like the max distance we can hear each other is .5 - 1 mile.  We live in a regular neighborhood.   Is that normal?  Should I invest in a stronger antennae or is the UV-9G just a cheap radio that won't give me longer range using simplex?

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So your on portables. Drive a mile from the repeater. Then test. Dont test with both radios in the vehicle at the same time. Dont believe anything the repeater says for coverage unless its a true coverage map. The "circle" is only based on what they enter and is not accurate. 

The distance you get on simplex is about average in a neighborhood. Not sure what you were expecting. 

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36 minutes ago, gortex2 said:

So your on portables. Drive a mile from the repeater. Then test. Dont test with both radios in the vehicle at the same time. Dont believe anything the repeater says for coverage unless its a true coverage map. The "circle" is only based on what they enter and is not accurate. 

The distance you get on simplex is about average in a neighborhood. Not sure what you were expecting. 

Thanks for the feedback.  I am not sure what I was expecting either lol.  I was under the impression we could at least speak up to 3 miles in the suburbs.  Why would the NOAA channels come in easier on my UV-82HP  vs the UV-9G?   The UV-82HP is stronger?  Still learning all of this, sorry.

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3 hours ago, Recoilx said:

Ok that makes sense.  My other question is, when my wife and I try simplex on GMRS CHannel 16, I'm in my car and my wife is at the house.  It looks like the max distance we can hear each other is .5 - 1 mile.  We live in a regular neighborhood.   Is that normal?  Should I invest in a stronger antennae or is the UV-9G just a cheap radio that won't give me longer range using simplex?

Range of VHF and UHF radios is commonly considered "line of sight". If you can see the point you want to contact, you probably can (and probably on lower power!).

"Stronger antenna" is somewhat meaningless. A simple (vertical) dipole create a "doughnut" shaped pattern around the antenna, with the strongest signal being perpendicular to the antenna (if you tilt the antenna, you send some of the signal into the ground near you, and some up into space where it misses anyone trying to hear you). Higher gain antennas will "squish" the doughnut, making it stretch further to the sides, but with even less signal anywhere above/below the antenna.

UHF (and even more the 900MHz stuff) is used in city type environments because it can get through openings in buildings (windows/doors) better than VHF (larger wavelength, gets cut off by smaller openings -- look at a microwave oven; that mesh is there to block the microwaves from coming through the glass door -- GMRS is around 60cm wavelength, a half-wave dipole is just 30cm/1ft; VHF (MURS) signals are around 1.5m, a half-wave dipole would be 75cm/2.5ft).

VHF tends to have more range out in the country, given similar antennas and power levels.

If you are using a handheld radio from inside a car, the car is going to block most of your signal (unless it's a plastic bodied Corvette, or maybe a Jeep Wrangler with the plastic top). Similarly, inside a house (especially one with metal siding and/or metal roof) the signal will be somewhat blocked.

Put a mag-mount antenna on top of the car, and climb a tall ladder outside the house, and try again -- I suspect you should get 0.5-1 mile further coverage.

Antenna is more important than the radio's power. The higher the antenna, the further the radio horizon will be. For a 6ft person, the horizon is about 3 miles. Same person standing on a 15ft roof -- about 5.5 miles. Standing on top of a 200ft tower -- about 17.5 miles... Standing on top a that 200ft tower, with the tower on top of a mountain peak that is 600 feet above average terrain -- essentially 35 miles. Guess why repeaters look for the tallest site they can find?

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1 hour ago, KAF6045 said:

Range of VHF and UHF radios is commonly considered "line of sight". If you can see the point you want to contact, you probably can (and probably on lower power!).

"Stronger antenna" is somewhat meaningless. A simple (vertical) dipole create a "doughnut" shaped pattern around the antenna, with the strongest signal being perpendicular to the antenna (if you tilt the antenna, you send some of the signal into the ground near you, and some up into space where it misses anyone trying to hear you). Higher gain antennas will "squish" the doughnut, making it stretch further to the sides, but with even less signal anywhere above/below the antenna.

UHF (and even more the 900MHz stuff) is used in city type environments because it can get through openings in buildings (windows/doors) better than VHF (larger wavelength, gets cut off by smaller openings -- look at a microwave oven; that mesh is there to block the microwaves from coming through the glass door -- GMRS is around 60cm wavelength, a half-wave dipole is just 30cm/1ft; VHF (MURS) signals are around 1.5m, a half-wave dipole would be 75cm/2.5ft).

VHF tends to have more range out in the country, given similar antennas and power levels.

If you are using a handheld radio from inside a car, the car is going to block most of your signal (unless it's a plastic bodied Corvette, or maybe a Jeep Wrangler with the plastic top). Similarly, inside a house (especially one with metal siding and/or metal roof) the signal will be somewhat blocked.

Put a mag-mount antenna on top of the car, and climb a tall ladder outside the house, and try again -- I suspect you should get 0.5-1 mile further coverage.

Antenna is more important than the radio's power. The higher the antenna, the further the radio horizon will be. For a 6ft person, the horizon is about 3 miles. Same person standing on a 15ft roof -- about 5.5 miles. Standing on top of a 200ft tower -- about 17.5 miles... Standing on top a that 200ft tower, with the tower on top of a mountain peak that is 600 feet above average terrain -- essentially 35 miles. Guess why repeaters look for the tallest site they can find?

Thank you so much for the information!  Makes a lot more sense to me now!

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