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GMRS coverage

Guest Ron

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Hello all,

New to GMRS and radio in general. I have the infamous Baofeng UR5+. Ive purchased the NA-771  antenna for one of them and the UT-72 mobile antenna for my truck. Me and the wife have been experimenting with them and not getting very good coverage. At 1 point I was on the roof while she drove just a short distance before losing her. 1.5 miles to be exact. So today (monday) we took them to work where I have access to a roof atop a 10 story building. I went to the roof (10th floor) with the NA-771 and she went to the 3rd (top) floor of her work with the rubber duck and we tried to talk with no luck. She then went outside to my truck and plugged into the UT-72 mobile antenna. A little static is all she got from me. I got nothing from her. This distance is less than 5 miles but right at it. I can see her work place practically. Cincinnati is in a bowl. I can see the ridge line that encircles the city. Basically our 275 loop I can fully see from that building which is 20 minutes in every direction. Ive already bought 3 radios and 2 additional antennas. I purchased over the weekend a roof top antenna that is specifically for GMRS 462mhz from Michael the J pole antenna guy. I was going to purchase the LMR400 cable but now Im hesitant in putting alot more money into this if its not really going get me the distance Im looking for in an emergency situation. I live in a suburb of Cincinnati and the majority of my family lives about 10 to 15 miles out in the country from me.

I want to buy a 50 watt base unit but Im afraid to sink more money into this if Im nonly going to get slim results. I read how peolple swapping their factory antenna for the ones Ive bought increases their coverage so much. Im not buying it or Im doing something terribly wrong, 

I only see 2 repeaters in Cincinnati and they have not given me permission yet. But from my limited understanding is if I cant even talk 1.5miles then how on earth can I reach a repeater thats 10 miles away or better?

Side note

I used the chirp to program the radios so they'd all be the same.


thx guys for any help.

Nice site by the way.  Very cool.

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  • 3 months later...
Guest Randy Bergen

Doesn't look like anyone replied to your post. Have you found answers on your own, or from meeting other radio guys?


I'm new to GMRS radio myself, and also looking for help, but have learned enough to feel like I can help.  . I also have UR5R, and a mobile 25w rig, broadcasting "simplex", "radio-to-radio" (just set the radios to the same channel) with my stock antennas, we can only talk for about 1/4 mile. Maybe there are setting that would increase the range, but I think only high/low power on these radios.


The whole "repeater" thing seemed to be a big mystery, but then I saw a video and figured it out. And this opens up a whole new range of broadcasting.


Once you learn how to set up your radio to "listen" on repeater frequencies (and broadcast on the repeater "listening" frequency, with all CTCSS tones, and such, adjusted properly) your range between the two radios will "grow" to the range that the repeater can reach, sometimes 20-30 miles, or more?


I think most repeaters are for HAM only. I think if GMRS people use them the repeater owners and FCC will not like you. That's why I'm glad I found this site, and hope to connect or learn more about GMRS repeaters.


I welcome any and all assistance.


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Welcome, Ron!


I am a native-born Cincinnatian but now live over 50 miles away. Between Cincinnati and Dayton, there are a few repeaters and they tend to be active. I talk on them from my present location with sporadic results. We are awaiting shipment of a tower here which should improve my ability to reliably talk on those repeaters.


Radio wave propagation can be complex at times. The best bits of advice I can give you are... Height is king. Some of those antennas might not be tuned to GMRS frequencies (they might be centered at 70cm ham). Wattage doesn't usually make as much of a difference as antenna height and a good antenna. Higher wattage can help blast through some obstruction and perhaps with multipath (signal bouncing around to reach the target). UHF primarily propagates line of sight so that theoretically if you can see the other radio location, you can talk to them and if not, there might be a problem with radio, antenna, or both.


You might want to get a hold of Howie at Monix. He can probably point you in some good directions locally for some help. http://monix.net


Hope to talk with you on the air in the coming months.

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I thought I remember replying to this thread a while back. 


I ended up going to HRO, obviously not the place for GMRS, awesome that I realized that after the fact, but I bought 2 antennas, not knowing they were Ham band only, I was told they sell all sorts of stuff, not just for Hams, and I specified I wanted on that is something around 136-174 and 400-470, I suppose they thought I was talking about the receive end of it. I bought the same NA-771 and realized it was also a Ham band antenna. That may be part of your issue, because I noticed crazy results when using a Ham antenna on GMRS, and using a generic antenna on GMRS. So make sure to check the transmit and receive range when buying an antenna. I had a GMRS contact 15 miles away on simplex, rough terrain and lots of buildings, on a GMRS antenna, we made it 4 miles on a Ham antenna, HUGE difference, same location, same power, same route.. Crazy..

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I own four different magnetic mount mobile antennas, three are dual band GMRS/MURS antennas and one is specifically for the GMRS band only, tuned to a mid point between 462-467 MHz. All of the antenna systems give me different results when I put a meter to them. The single band antenna seems to have a slight edge over the others.


If you have a good antenna on your car, over average terrain you should get 10-15 miles.  With a five watt hand held with a good antenna about half that range is "normal".

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