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Effects of CTCSS/DCS privacy codes? Newbie question.


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My Cobra  CXT1095 offers both type of privacy codes.

 

Aside for any general tips on using (pros & cons) privacy code, got a couple of questions:

 

# Seems like one downside of using a privacy code would be if someone in range was trying, in a worst case, to broadcast a Mayday or a PanPan I wouldn't hear it. Right?

Similarly if I wanted to be widely (or as "wide" as GMRS goes anyway) heard the privacy code would limit who could hear me.

So my take is if the air is not crowded where I am, and I'm not involved in any illegal activities  ;) , no real upside to using a privacy code.

Your thoughts?

 

# Any pros and cons of using CTCSS vs DCS?

 

............

 

Other topic:

Apparently there are lots of repeaters in California, fewer in Oregon (where mostly I am): Anything you'd tell a newbie about if/how to take advantage of repeaters?

 

Thanks,

Alex

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Hello Alex and thanks for the questions and observations.  I'll let others address your repeater questions - however, the radio model that you mentioned is not capable of accessing repeaters, based on the factory data page for your model.

 

Using privacy codes in radio-congested areas allows your radios to communicate with each other without hearing other users. (unless someone else is using the same code.)   Since the 'range expectations' advertised by manufacturers are under laboratory conditions and do not at all reflect real world distances, relying on low power portable GMRS radios in an emergency to get help is not a wise decision. Using privacy codes between portables is a choice that you will have to make after monitoring conditions in your area. Just a reminder from a statement in your Owner's Manual... do not use channels 15 through 22 without first obtaining an FCC GMRS license.

 

Thanks for stopping by and if you do secure a license, please register at the main MyGMRS.com website to join us in our conversations.

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Much thanks for your reply.

 

If it were not for the fact that there are hardly any repeaters in southern Oregon, snd my uses were not originally envisioning these even being used with releaters, i'd be skreky dissapoinged. I had been under the imoression that as long as a handset was capable of getting in the repeater frequency and the repeater was not private you were in luck.

Would be nice if that ...no reoeater capable...was on the box. It's not even mentioned in the manual.

 

I would never COUNT on using a GMRS radio for help. Even if for no other reason that in most locations...especially remote....it's rare that anyone's monitoring. For that matter, unless, I had prearrangments with a communications base or team i wouldn't count on any transceiver to get me help. Possibly marine radio to coast guard. I don't even count on the standard 121.5 MHz emergency air traffic frequency on the radio in the aircraft i fly to reach help..even though it's 6 watts and up at 8000 feet sometimes has 100 mile range.

Closest thing to reliable help comunication ....other than 911 within cellular reception IMO is a personal locator beacon .

 

That said...if i needed help,was out of cell reception, had the GMRS with me, would surely try it.

For example, i know if the local CERT team was out looking fir anyone (me!) they would all be talking to each other on the GMRS all the volunteers are issued at start of any CERT operation.

 

........

I'm pretty sure you know that many (most?) consumer walkie talkies are often operated without FCC licences, as are mkst CB radios. Not so? That's neither my approval or condenmation of that practice...just a realiity AFAIK.

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Correction to last my post:

 

Apologies for a few typos.

 

And, i meant ti write...

"'m pretty sure you know that many (most?) consumer walkie talkies are often operated even on channels 15 to 22 without FCC licenses, as are most CB radios...."

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  • 1 month later...

# Seems like one downside of using a privacy code would be if someone in range was trying, in a worst case, to broadcast a Mayday or a PanPan I wouldn't hear it. Right?

Similarly if I wanted to be widely (or as "wide" as GMRS goes anyway) heard the privacy code would limit who could hear me.

So my take is if the air is not crowded where I am, and I'm not involved in any illegal activities  ;) , no real upside to using a privacy code.

 

These privacy codes should be thought of as a type of filter allowing you to control who you hear, but not who hears you. They don't afford any security. If someone's radio has no tone set, they will hear everything on the channel regardless of privacy code.

 

They work by adding a subaudible tone (67-250 Hz or so) onto your voice, which is below the range of what 2-way radios will reproduce through the speaker. If your radio is set up with that tone, it will keep the speaker off unless it hears that tone. But if someone's radio isn't set up to use a code/tone, they'll hear everything. DCS is a similar concept, but instead of a steady subaudible tone, it uses a subaudible digital signal.

 

The original intent with these tones long predates GMRS, and was for cases where users in two distant cities might have the same frequency, and weakly hear each other. (Or cases of random noise on the frequency.) The distant signal was weak enough to not interfere with local communications, but annoying to listen to when it came through during times of silence. CTCSS allowed those people to set up a "private" tone that they'd use and not have to hear the distant user / noise on the frequency.

 

They've also found use on repeaters, where people can set up an unpublished tone required to bring up a repeater. In that case random people might transmit on the repeater input frequency, but without the right tone, the repeater receiver won't open up. It's hardly bulletproof security, but it keeps casual unauthorized users off.

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"'m pretty sure you know that many (most?) consumer walkie talkies are often operated even on channels 15 to 22 without FCC licenses, as are most CB radios...."

 

The good news in that is the fact that most bubble pack radios only put out about a watt and a half on the "high" power setting which means that they're only a bit more annoying. Luckily, serious GMRS users have real radios; 4 watts portable and up to 50 watts mobile or base.

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PL (I'm sorry but I'm a firm believer in that if you create it, your name is the proper name) was a handy device invented back in the heyday of two-way radio. It's purpose wasn't to obscure (that is what encryption is for) but to help filter out unwanted noise or at least keep it from being repeated. It works by encoding and decoding sub-audible tones (less than 300 Hz which is the lower limit of the human ear) over transmitted audio.

 

PL is basically the key the opens squelch on radios using it. Where CSQ (privacy code 0) is just traditionally squelch dependent.

 

Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk

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  • 2 months later...

The good news in that is the fact that most bubble pack radios only put out about a watt and a half on the "high" power setting which means that they're only a bit more annoying. Luckily, serious GMRS users have real radios; 4 watts portable and up to 50 watts mobile or base.

 

No issues to repeaters. Pretty annoying when talking simplex between portables though, can still interfere a bit and cut own on the range like when I'm talking to someone a couple miles off.

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