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General GMRS question


Guest The Darkness

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Guest The Darkness

I've got a general GMRS question.  In HAM parlance, we can do a "CQ CQ CQ" call to see if anyone's online on the frequency or net when we're doing an initial test of our setup or when we want to just chat to anyone on the given HAM frequencies.

Is there similar interop / compatibility with GMRS so that we can do a generic callout to any GMRS callsign for testing to make sure our setup / radios work and we want to have a test returned by someone on the general GMRS frequencies?

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Guest The Darkness
13 minutes ago, OffRoaderX said:

...just please.. for the love of Xenu, do not do it in the middle of a conversation - wait for them to finish.

Well, yeah, that's only common courtesy!  Thanks for the info though everyone, always happy to make sure I'm doing things right!

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5 hours ago, Guest The Darkness said:

In HAM parlance, we can do a "CQ CQ CQ" call to see if anyone's online on the frequency or net

Calling CQ in ham parlance doesn't really apply in all circumstances. Calling CQ on a ham repeater, for example, is bad form. As it would be on a GMRS repeater. Also, being "online" is kinda reserved for if you're really online, like I am as I type this. BoxCar and Sshannon have it right. OffroaderX too. GMRS is a very conversational form of radio communication. No codes, no jargon, just stuff like WRQC527 mobile. Or WRQC527 monitoring. Or WRQC527 can I get a signal report. Or something equally conversational. (I hesitate to ask for a radio check, that's how you pay for radios, and every time I ask, my wife says no, find a cheaper hobby). And while we're on the subject of asking for signal reports, or even finding someone else to play with, unless you have someone else who you know is listening, it's probably best to do it on a repeater, because it's more likely someone will hear you than if you call out on one of the simplex channels where no one may be listening.

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Oh, for the love of God,,, do NOT call CQ on a GMRS or HAM repeater.  And don't give you call phonetically, unless specifically ask to.  It's a sure fire way to NOT get responded to. 

But don't ask for a radio check if you are looking to start up a conversation either.  People that are monitoring that may have others things they are doing and only monitoring the radio may choose to respond to someone asking for a radio check because that's a quick conversation.  A basic reply of "Yeah, it's working" is a lot different than a full on 10 minute discussion of the weather, or whatever topic you feel like discussing.  And when you do that, by trying to start a discussion after being told your radios is working will be remembered and the next time you will not even get the basic reply that you are working. 

Fire off your call, ask if anyone is around, and see what happens.  If you are on one of the linked repeater systems, chances are that someone is there and will chat with you.  With stand alone repeaters, their might not be someone willing to talk at that point.  And don't do it every 2 minutes until someone answers you either.  Again, you may be heard by others that don't want to talk at that point but will choose to not talk later. 

I swear that someone needs to post a set of guide lines laying out the way to talk on radio.  Things like waiting for a repeater to reset before keying up.  Not getting into a direct two way conversation when several people are on the air and not 'passing' the conversation to the next person in the rotation (I am guilty of this one at times but some are more guilty than I am).   Not entering a conversation and immediately trying to change the discussion topic.  You know, things that you shouldn't do in a face to face conversation. 

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41 minutes ago, WRKC935 said:

But don't ask for a radio check if you are looking to start up a conversation either.

There's a guy here in SoCal who lives on a boat and uses the same worn-out line every time he gets on, often multiple times a day. He asks for a radio check, and as soon as some poor sap responds, this guy says "I was doing some work on my antenna and I want to see how it's working." Seriously, how much work, and how often, does a two-meter quarter-wave antenna take to keep on the air?

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1 hour ago, coderkid said:

and wait at least 15-20 seconds to repeat it, if nobody replies...

A sure fire way to get ignored, and for others to turn their radios off to not hear it being repeated every 20 seconds.

We have a ham repeater locally that you can 'converse' with.  At the top and bottom of the hour it will ID.  If you key up it will ID again, with a different ID.  If you key again the OTHER IDer unit will then ID.  All within 20 seconds. 

repeater: Voice ID,

ME: KB8VUL, who's that?

Repeater: Second Voice ID

ME: Say it again, say it again

Repeater: 3rd voice ID.

NO one talks on the damn thing because you have to wait for it to ID so much.  It's frankly annoying. So no one uses the repeater. They never bothered to set the controller and secondary Voice ID unit to CW ID in the back ground when the repeater was in use and the Secondary ID unit doesn't recognize it's in NET mode so it still VOICE ID's every 15 minutes.  During sever weather nets and the like. 

As said, toss your ID and that you are listening, monitoring or ask if anyone is around.  THat is not going to change in 20 seconds. YOU ARE NOT ON HF HAM RADIO.  You are not looking to make a contact to someone that is spinning around on their VFO trying to find someone else to make contact with.  GMRS don't work that way.  Ham operators recognize that type of thing right off, sort of like speaking your call phonetically every time you give it.  Don't do that crap either on ANY FM service.  Phonetics are for poor signal situations to pass traffic in less than idea situations.  NOT to have normal conversations on FM radio.  Whne was the last time you hear a broadcast radio station use phonetics for their call sign?  When was the last time you heard a public safety dispatcher or officer use phonetics to ID their stations?  You haven't because they don't. 

And for FM stuff, you shouldn't either. 

 

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1 hour ago, UncleYoda said:

I use phonetics a lot.  I wish more people did.  I have been able to decode only about half of the GMRS local area users callsigns because they all rush through their IDs.  Maybe FCC can make sense of that but I can't.  So I'll keep using phonetics as often as I feel like doing so.

Why would YOU care about the other guys call sign?  Again, it's NOT ham radio.  We don't exchange QSL cards, create contact logs or any of that hammie stuff.  To each his own I guess.  I do love how you slipped in the FCC and the threat of not legally IDing your station by NOT using phonetics. 

Here's the thing with that.  My license has WRKC935 on it as my assigned call, NOT Whiskey Romeo Kilo Charlie Nine Three Five.  And my ham call doesn't appear in my ham license phonetically either.  On HF, I will use the last three phonetically working a pileup when needed, but I rarely give my full call that way unless it's specifically requested. 

Again, to each their own. 

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3 minutes ago, WRKC935 said:

Why would YOU care about the other guys call sign?

 

I like to at least know the numbers. That way I can say "John 592, are you listening? " because if I just call John, 5 people might try to reply.  It's like a little kid calling out "dad" in the toy store. Damn near every guy is going to see who's calling them.  LoL

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12 minutes ago, WRKC935 said:

Why would YOU care about the other guys call sign?  Again, it's NOT ham radio.  We don't exchange QSL cards, create contact logs or any of that hammie stuff.  To each his own I guess.  I do love how you slipped in the FCC and the threat of not legally IDing your station by NOT using phonetics. 

Here's the thing with that.  My license has WRKC935 on it as my assigned call, NOT Whiskey Romeo Kilo Charlie Nine Three Five.  And my ham call doesn't appear in my ham license phonetically either.  On HF, I will use the last three phonetically working a pileup when needed, but I rarely give my full call that way unless it's specifically requested. 

Again, to each their own. 

It really depends on where you are and what you’re doing. 
I only use GMRS to talk to friends and family when we’re engaged in a shared activity, such as at a rocket launch or on a hike. I don’t have any interest in random conversations on GMRS with people I don’t know. To me that’s something I would do within my ham activities. I only use my call sign on GMRS to be legal. Everyone in my group use first names. 

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11 hours ago, WRKC935 said:

And don't give you call phonetically, unless specifically ask to.  It's a sure fire way to NOT get responded to

So angry 

11 hours ago, WRKC935 said:

don't ask for a radio check if you are looking to start up a conversation either

Oh the humanity, they did what?

 

8 hours ago, WRKC935 said:

Don't do that crap either on ANY FM service

Aye aye sir.

 

12 hours ago, WRKC935 said:

I swear that someone needs to post a set of guide lines laying out the way to talk on radio

Ooooh I can’t wait ? please let it be you…

 

26 minutes ago, WRKC935 said:

Why would YOU care about the other guys call sign

Why do you care if he does?

 

Even where you may be right you are coming in a little hot for such trivial things. IMO

 That’s just me though Whisky Romeo Uma Uma 653 ? 

 

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10 hours ago, WRUU653 said:

So angry 

Oh the humanity, they did what?

 

Aye aye sir.

 

Ooooh I can’t wait ? please let it be you…

 

Why do you care if he does?

 

Even where you may be right you are coming in a little hot for such trivial things. IMO

 That’s just me though Whisky Romeo Uma Uma 653 ? 

 

Well, lets pick this apart. 

Why not ask for a radio check when you are wanting to start a conversation?  Best reason here is it comes off as being dishonest.  And the issue with it, frankly is that when you, and others think it's OK and people get wise to it, then they refuse to even answer radio checks because they don't want to be dragged into a conversation they don't have time for.  And you will get the operator requesting a radio check every 30 seconds until someone answers them or finally gives up.  That leads to them being frustrated and possibly giving up on GMRS.  Sort of like what's happened to ham radio.  Towns full of repeaters that are silent. 

Using phonetics.  There is zero need for it.  It's FM short haul communications.  If someone is rattling off their call sign too fast for you to understand, ask them to repeat it, or don't.  We're playing hobby radio having routine conversations, not handling communications regarding the release of nuclear weapons.  Are their specific times it should be used,,, yes, but not as a rule.  And BTW U is Uniform,,, not Uma.  If phonetics means so much to you, get a ham license and join the HF traffic nets.  Then you can pass traffic where you get to do basically the whole message in phonetics.  I say again Delta Oscar, space, India, Tango, space, Sierra, Oscar, Mike, Echo, Whiskey, Hotel, Echo, Romeo, Echo, space, Echo, Lima, Sierra, Echo. Because on FM short haul radio where your not fighting signal to noise issues it's frankly India,Romeo, Romeo, India, Tango, Alpha, Tango, India, November, Golf.  (Irritating).  And to me it's every bit as irritating as sitting here doing it on a written page.  Why?? Because again it's NOT needed with this format.   Unless of course you are receiving codes to verify the release of nuclear weapons have been authorized or some other equally important information is being conveyed.  But I may have missed the memo about NORAD and STRATCOM switching from their communications systems to GMRS radio.

 

Lastly, why get so wrapped up in all this.  Simple.  Sam Hams.  Ham radio at one point was very active, and now it's all but silent except on HF.  Doing stuff that the 'hams' do / did when it was active may well have contributed to the loss of interest.  Stuff like using phonetics in the eyes of the new guys can easily turn them off to it because they are figuring it's gonna be informal chatting on radio.  You start adding a bunch of structure past basic radio etiquette of allowing everyone a turn and not talking over others into phonetics, codes, and that sort of thing they feel out of place.  And then loose interest. 

But, again, this is my personal opinion.  Yours may differ, and that's fine too.

 

 

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49 minutes ago, WRKC935 said:

And BTW U is Uniform,,, not Uma

Haaaaa! ? you walked right into my joke. Couldn’t help yourself, gee thanks for correcting me. 

 

49 minutes ago, WRKC935 said:

If phonetics means so much to you

Obviously they don’t ? Uma Uma! ? but I really don’t get upset if it means something to someone else.

 

49 minutes ago, WRKC935 said:

But, again, this is my personal opinion.  Yours may differ, and that's fine too

My point wasn’t so much what you said but the way you said it… Don’t do this. Don’t do that. All caps.  At the end of the day none of your points were against any FCC rules. You can explain proper protocol without dictating and ranting. A guest came here to ask a question and you ranted, still ranting. Fingers flying away on the keyboard. I don’t even disagree with most of what you say but man you sure want everyone to act according to your wishes. Don’t use phonetics but by god if you do don’t say Uma! ?
my rules for radio are 1) don’t break FCC rules (2) be polite (3) if you break rule 1 don’t tell anyone (4)if you break 3 tell me  (5) be polite 

All I’m saying is you seem upset and it’s not worth getting upset over. I hope you have a pleasant day. Speaking of ham,

Happy Easter. 

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Guest Talljeffd

Really enjoyed reading that back and forth. Just got my GMRS license. Navigating the fcc website was a hoot. I had always been sort of interested in ham, but the process was off-putting. I "discovered" GMRS while looking into ham. I am looking forward to the relaxed nature of GMRS. I am prior military, so I will throw the occasional phonetic out there, but the fact that it is not necessary is nice. When I was in the military I/we liked to respond to radio checks with whiskey whiskey tango tango golf bravo-wall to wall and treetop tall good buddy. Maybe that will catch on.

And, I laughed out loud when I saw "uma uma". 

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27 minutes ago, Templeton said:

I don't want to derail this topic, but I am occasionally on a GMRS repeater near me (in IL). I often hear a short burst of a series of rapid beeps on the freq, kind of sounds like morse code, but it seems way too rapid to be that (I think, but I don't know morse code). What is this?

It is likely the repeater identifying itself via Morse code.

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