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Mountain top repeater


W4udx
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I live in KY but have property in the mountains of north central PA in Potter County. The property is situated down in a valley below mountains on a four sides. I was just wondering...if I wanted to set up a low power mountain top repeater that's water proof and solar/battery powered,  how expensive would that be? Also, it would be located on state owned forest land. How can I get permission to set one up? Setting up a repeater at my camp would be almost pointless as there are mountains in all directions....

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2 hours ago, W4udx said:

I live in KY but have property in the mountains of north central PA in Potter County. The property is situated down in a valley below mountains on a four sides. I was just wondering...if I wanted to set up a low power mountain top repeater that's water proof and solar/battery powered,  how expensive would that be? Also, it would be located on state owned forest land. How can I get permission to set one up? Setting up a repeater at my camp would be almost pointless as there are mountains in all directions....

Getting permission is a matter of contacting whoever watches over that land.

 

I use the Retevis RT97 for this purpose. It and a solar controller are strapped to the back of a solar panel. I have a small amount of coax going from the RT97 to the Antenna which is mounted just above it. The battery is a sealed lead acid battery that is at the base of the tree everything is mounted on.  I get 25-30 miles of range on this set-up...but it is definitely not a commercial grade set-up. Given the same location if it was viable to put a "real" repeater up there it would blow the doors off the RT97. It has taken me about 2 years of trial and error to get this setup to work...winter is my worst problem (Alaska).

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What he said. Your biggest hurdle will be the permission issue. If they allow it they are going to require insurance and other stuff that most people can't provide. You may want to try to find a private individual that owns a piece of property there and work with them.

The TR97 would be ideal for your use case.

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I agree that government permissions would be next to impossible. Our ham club tried to get permission for a portable ( four square feet, 20 lb) repeater set up on a very remote peak. The requirements for application were insurmountable. RT97 repeater, power, and antenna setup would be the easiest route $500-$600. I don't own a RT97 to comment on. My DIY setup got complicated and expensive. There is a lot of good people and information here. Good luck

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56 minutes ago, K7lon said:

I agree that government permissions would be next to impossible. Our ham club tried to get permission for a portable ( four square feet, 20 lb) repeater set up on a very remote peak. The requirements for application were insurmountable. RT97 repeater, power, and antenna setup would be the easiest route $500-$600. I don't own a RT97 to comment on. My DIY setup got complicated and expensive. There is a lot of good people and information here. Good luck

Biggest problem with the RT97 is that it doesn't have an ID capability -- so is limited to the licensee and immediate family (their ID announcement are considered sufficient for repeater ID)

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§ 95.1751 GMRS station identification.

Each GMRS station must be identified by transmission of its FCC-assigned call sign at the end of transmissions and at periodic intervals during transmissions except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section. A unit number may be included after the call sign in the identification.

<SNIP>

(c) Any GMRS repeater station is not required to transmit station identification if:

(1) It retransmits only communications from GMRS stations operating under authority of the individual license under which it operates; and,

(2) The GMRS stations whose communications are retransmitted are properly identified in accordance with this section.

 

(1) is the restriction to "immediate family" category
(2) is the requirement that said "immediate family" properly identifies with the license holder's call (so technically, if some family members have their own licenses, to use the RT97 repeater they would NOT be operating under their call, and should not identify with their call).

 

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14 hours ago, Radioguy7268 said:

That's a warped interpretation IMHO.

A repeater that does not have CWID can just have the individual users stating their own Call Signs in plain English at the required intervals, and no laws have been broken.

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Each GMRS station must be identified by transmission of its FCC-assigned call sign ...

The repeater's FCC-assigned call sign is that of the licensee, not that of some random user. The NO-ID category does not permit random users.

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You've got to be kidding me.  IF the USER speaks their Call Sign, then that is what's transmitted over the air.  In GMRS, there is NO Call Sign assigned by the FCC to a Repeater. There is no Coordination with GMRS, and there's absolutely no correlation between the physical location of a repeater and the mailing address of the Licensed user.

You are making up rules & then trying to find places to apply them. Stop.

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11 minutes ago, Radioguy7268 said:

You've got to be kidding me.  IF the USER speaks their Call Sign, then that is what's transmitted over the air.  In GMRS, there is NO Call Sign assigned by the FCC to a Repeater. There is no Coordination with GMRS, and there's absolutely no correlation between the physical location of a repeater and the mailing address of the Licensed user.

You are making up rules & then trying to find places to apply them. Stop.

The repeater is a station and must be identified.  Here are the rules:

§ 95.1751 GMRS station identification.

Each GMRS station must be identified by transmission of its FCC-assigned call sign at the end of transmissions and at periodic intervals during transmissions except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section. A unit number may be included after the call sign in the identification. 

(a) The GMRS station call sign must be transmitted: 

(1) Following a single transmission or a series of transmissions; and, 

(2) After 15 minutes and at least once every 15 minutes thereafter during a series of transmissions lasting more than 15 minutes. 

(b) The call sign must be transmitted using voice in the English language or international Morse code telegraphy using an audible tone. 

(c) Any GMRS repeater station is not required to transmit station identification if: 

(1) It retransmits only communications from GMRS stations operating under authority of the individual license under which it operates; and, 

(2) The GMRS stations whose communications are retransmitted are properly identified in accordance with this section.

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59 minutes ago, Sshannon said:

(c) Any GMRS repeater station is not required to transmit station identification if:

(2) The GMRS stations whose communications are retransmitted are properly identified in accordance with this section.

That would seem to say as long as the users are ID'ing as they should, the repeater doesn't need to 🤷‍♂️ or am I misinterpreting that?

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2 minutes ago, wayoverthere said:

That would seem to say as long as the users are ID'ing as they should, the repeater doesn't need to 🤷‍♂️ or am I misinterpreting that?

No, you left out (1) which says:

(1) It retransmits only communications from GMRS stations operating under authority of the individual license under which it operates; and, 
 

Because it says “and”, both conditions must be true. The only example of (1) that I interpret would be if I set up a repeater and only my family members operating under my call sign use the repeater. (2) means that they still must properly ID using my call sign while using the repeater. Both must be true. If the repeater is ONLY used for that purpose then there’s no need for the repeater to (separately) transmit my call sign. 
But in my opinion I believe that as soon as someone using a different call sign uses the repeater, then the repeater is required to ID itself periodically either using voice or CW. 

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18 minutes ago, wayoverthere said:

That would seem to say as long as the users are ID'ing as they should, the repeater doesn't need to 🤷‍♂️ or am I misinterpreting that?

You are.  You left out:

"(1) It retransmits only communications from GMRS stations operating under authority of the individual license under which it operates; and,"

Note that subpart 1 ends with AND (emphasis mine).  So (c) is only true if BOTH (1) and (2) are true.

In other words, if someone stands up a repeater for the private use of their family ONLY (all operating under one GMRS license) and the users ID, then the repeater doesn't have to ID.  Otherwise ... it does.

Jinx, @Sshannon  😀

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1 hour ago, Radioguy7268 said:

You've got to be kidding me.  IF the USER speaks their Call Sign, then that is what's transmitted over the air.  In GMRS, there is NO Call Sign assigned by the FCC to a Repeater. There is no Coordination with GMRS, and there's absolutely no correlation between the physical location of a repeater and the mailing address of the Licensed user.

You are making up rules & then trying to find places to apply them. Stop.

Coordination is irrelevant, as is physical location vs mailing address.

If you are comparing GMRS to amateur radio, the most important fact is that nothing in Part 97 applies to Part 95e.  The rules for GMRS repeaters are right there in 95e.  Oh, and the FCC does not assign call signs to amateur radio repeaters either ... they operate under the call sign of the owner or trustee, either individual or a group.

Same applies for a GMRS repeater.  If someone stands one up, it operates under *their* call sign.  There is no requirement that the repeater be located at the owner's mailng address.  (Same is true for ham repeaters, but again, that's not relevant.)

The rules are right there in 95e.  If you don't like them and choose to ignore them, that's on you.  That doesn't make them go away. 

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7 hours ago, Radioguy7268 said:

You've got to be kidding me.  IF the USER speaks their Call Sign, then that is what's transmitted over the air.  In GMRS, there is NO Call Sign assigned by the FCC to a Repeater. There is no Coordination with GMRS, and there's absolutely no correlation between the physical location of a repeater and the mailing address of the Licensed user.

You are making up rules & then trying to find places to apply them. Stop.

The mailing address is where the FCC will send notifications if it receives enough complaints about the operation of the repeater. The repeater must ID so that the FCC can determine the licensee to which the notification is going to be sent.

 

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If you really needed the RT97 to ID you can get the RT97S which can be connected to a Raspberry Pi and the ID can be done through that.

 

If you don't want to do that or can't do that at the repeater location just use another radio to send the ID over the input frequency from a remote location. Done.

 

But in all honesty the GMRS repeaters I have run across don't ID...as do the cast majority of simplex GMRS users (Bubble Pack Users)

 

 

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12 hours ago, WRFP399 said:

But in all honesty the GMRS repeaters I have run across don't ID...as do the cast majority of simplex GMRS users (Bubble Pack Users)

Since the 2017 FCC reorganization -- pretty much 90% of the bubble-pack units sold before 2017 are NOW classified as FRS radios, which do not require a license, and now have access to all the GMRS simplex channels.

Naturally, both of my archaic bubble-pack sets came out on the GMRS side of the reorganization -- one has three power levels, with H being >2W, the other is <2W but has repeater capability.

I haven't seen any GMRS bubble-packs in local stores; they are all <2W NFM FRS radios. Might need to check Cabella's and REI -- they might be specialized enough to offer GMRS and FRS packages.

 

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33 minutes ago, KAF6045 said:

Naturally, both of my archaic bubble-pack sets came out on the GMRS side of the reorganization -- one has three power levels, with H being >2W, the other is <2W but has repeater capability.

Which manufacturer/model numbers are those?

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