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Old 02-11-2018, 10:51 AM
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Default Hitting repeaters in other states

Hello;

I've been trying to hit some repeaters in the states adjacent to me. I live in east TN near Gatlinburg. I've tried to hit repeaters in NC and KY. I got excited when I got a confirmation message back, but later on I noticed that there are repeaters in my state with the exact same frequency and offset, but not the same tone. I actually found one repeater in KY with the same frequency and offset as one that I normally use close to home. When I talked on it, I was able to talk to my friend who was tuned into the TN repeater. My question is, how do I hit those repeaters in other states with the same frequencies, offsets, etc??? I've only been into ham radio for about 2 months now so I'm still new to all this. I thought it might be a power issue because I'm using a Baofeng UV5R hooked into a 1/4 wave ground plane antenna I made. I've been able to successfully hit repeaters in TN over 50 miles away. From my house, there are NC repeaters only about 10-15 miles away. Granted there is a huge mountain range in the way, but I feel like I should be able to hit them. Any advice is appreciated.

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Old 02-11-2018, 12:52 PM
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Default Repeaters in other areas

the different tone will take care of it. Installing receive tone will help you on receive.
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Old 02-11-2018, 1:44 PM
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The different transmit tones will determine which repeater you are keying up. Putting a tone on your radio on your receiver will only help if the repeater is also transmitting an output tone. Some do, some donít. If itís not and you put a tone on receive, you wonít hear anything.
Even if the repeater is not far away, a big mountain range on the way can block the signal.
Repeaters should identify (ID) from time to time. Sometimes in voice, sometimes in Morse code (CW). That can also help you tell them apart. When in doubt, put your call out and if someone answers, see if they know which repeater they are on
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Old 02-11-2018, 3:54 PM
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The PL tone is what will make a certain repeater come up, but not the other. Don't let frequency and offset determine how you're going to access a repeater.

As far as hitting repeaters, it all depends on topography. Think of the RF as someone on the mountain top beaming a large searchlight. If you're on the other side of a hill or mountain, you won't be able to see it even if it's not that far away. Same holds true with 2M and 70CM repeaters.

From my house, I can hit repeaters 90 miles one way, yet barely get into some 15 miles away due to a big piece of rock in the way. It's like the old real estate saying... location, location, location.
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Old 02-11-2018, 5:11 PM
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" hitting repeaters" is not good you may hurt them.

Much better to access a repeater..................................
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Old 02-11-2018, 5:40 PM
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How high is your ground plane antenna?

As mentioned in the posts above VHF/UHF is line of sight. Many repeaters are situated on tall buildings ant towers up at hundreds of feet. The higher the repeater antenna the further it will 'see'. Also, the further your antenna is off the ground, the further it will see.

You may find that you just can't reach some repeaters. Usuall after a day or so of trying, you'll know the ones you can hit and you'll program them into your frequencies and those will be the ones you monitor.

But.. There are conditions that can extend VHF/UHF range. These are mostly caused by weather and humidity. You can have temperature inversions that will duct your signals so they travel farther. Summer is the best time for this. https://www.electronics-notes.com/ar...ropagation.php

There's a site that shows the propagation conditions across the US. (I never found it to be that good, but it might help you). VHF Propagation Map

I once tripped a repeater that was 145 miles away standing in my back yard using a 5 Watt handheld with a rubber duckie antenna. This was over mostly flat terrain.
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Old 02-11-2018, 6:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwt873 View Post
How high is your ground plane antenna?

As mentioned in the posts above VHF/UHF is line of sight. Many repeaters are situated on tall buildings ant towers up at hundreds of feet. The higher the repeater antenna the further it will 'see'. Also, the further your antenna is off the ground, the further it will see.

You may find that you just can't reach some repeaters. Usuall after a day or so of trying, you'll know the ones you can hit and you'll program them into your frequencies and those will be the ones you monitor.

But.. There are conditions that can extend VHF/UHF range. These are mostly caused by weather and humidity. You can have temperature inversions that will duct your signals so they travel farther. Summer is the best time for this. https://www.electronics-notes.com/ar...ropagation.php

There's a site that shows the propagation conditions across the US. (I never found it to be that good, but it might help you). VHF Propagation Map

I once tripped a repeater that was 145 miles away standing in my back yard using a 5 Watt handheld with a rubber duckie antenna. This was over mostly flat terrain.
That area has several mountains and MOST repeaters are set up on the mountains and nearby hills. I lived in Upstate South Carolina for 8 yrs and enjoyed hitting the repeaters in NC as well as SC with just a 5 watt HT. To the OP your question has been answered PL tones will help you.
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Old 02-11-2018, 6:33 PM
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Go up on the overlook at the Clingman's Dome... Hit sevearal states with a handheld. I was talking to a Ham when I was and he had worked several. I had no gear with me.

I worked my home repeater in Ohio from Spruce Knob several years ago - 150 or so by air. Nearly every repeater pair was active - this WAS several years ago when there was just more activity.

73... N8PFF


Quote:
Originally Posted by grantgfisher View Post
Hello;

I've been trying to hit some repeaters in the states adjacent to me. I live in east TN near Gatlinburg. I've tried to hit repeaters in NC and KY. I got excited when I got a confirmation message back, but later on I noticed that there are repeaters in my state with the exact same frequency and offset, but not the same tone. I actually found one repeater in KY with the same frequency and offset as one that I normally use close to home. When I talked on it, I was able to talk to my friend who was tuned into the TN repehere are NC repeaters only about 10-15 miles away. Granted there is a huge mountain range in the way, but I feel like I should be able to hit them. Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks!
Grant
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Old 02-12-2018, 6:44 AM
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You could try a yagi, too. Arrow and Elk make some nice handheld yagi's, or you could make a "tape measure yagi" for a couple of bucks.
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Old 02-12-2018, 6:56 AM
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Default 2 repeaters

you can buy a directional beam and separate repeaters buy direction.
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Old 02-12-2018, 7:25 AM
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Going out and trying to get into repeaters outside your region can be fun. But the down side is that many, many repeaters around the country either don't publish their required CTCSS tone (PL) for the input or it was changed along the way and never updated.

The different data bases that are available on line are poor at best. They are in some cases copied from other web sites. So the incorrect or missing information never gets updated. One trick that may help is trying to look up the call sign that goes with the repeater. This seems to be correct in most cases. BUT that may not lead you to a web site that contains the information with the correct input tone needed.

In my travels around the country, I get on a repeater I can access ans ask about the other repeaters in the area. This then provides the missing information. That information gets added to my master map I have been updating for many years. I can print it out for the region I will be traveling in and it provides a real look at just which repeaters I may be able to access, depending on my location.

I have a somewhat restricted flexibility, as the radio in my truck is a commercial Motorola unit and it has to have all the channel information pre programmed into it. I do always have my laptop computer with me so that changes can be made on the road. I make a note on my printed out map and update the map information in the evening.

Bottom line hear is that obtaining the required repeater information can be very time consuming. One important fact that you also need to be aware of is that not all repeaters are on standard offsets between the output frequency and the input frequency. This happens when clear channels in the area are not available or that a problem occurred at the the site that was causing an intermod problem to the repeater receiver.

One other comment about the online repeater databases. Most of them will provide some sort of selection on frequency selection and on a state by state selection. This way you can limit the information your receiving and save a few trees. These same web sites will also provide a sort selection that you can use to make the list on a frequency sort or by the city sort.

I have my favorite web sites I like to use, but to keep out of the finger pointing of the good and poor sites, your going to have to do the home work on your own. What I do is input a search of say "2 meter repeaters in Alabama", or "Alabama 2 meter repeaters" and then use what comes up to do my looking. Another refinement on that is once you find some repeater information, you can do another search and see if you can look at just the call sign that is given for the repeater. The results are not always that good. But I do it this way. Enter a search like for "w4xxx repeater" and see if you come up with any information. Like I said, you will not always find what your looking for.

Good luck on your information hunt.
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Old 02-12-2018, 7:49 AM
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I have to agree with jim202. In some resources like Repeaterbook, each state is administered by usually one amateur operator. I found that sometimes they only put in their favorite repeaters which are usually near where they live. There's no incentive for the operators to keep them updated and even when it's brought to Repeaterbook's attention, no action is taken.

In Alabama, for instance, the Interstate search capability is sorely lacking. One Interstate (I-85) is not even listed. I-65, which runs the length of the state (from the Gulf of Mexico to the Tennessee state line) has only the repeaters listed in the administrator's home area, Mobile. That Interstate runs through both Montgomery and Birmingham but no repeaters are listed for those cities when you search I-65.

In most areas, it's a hit-and-miss proposition. Finding the radio clubs' web sites in the areas you're concerned about can be a big help. As others have said here, "Google is your friend."
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Old 02-12-2018, 8:47 AM
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You should also bear in mind that, while you are chatting through a distant repeater on a particular frequency pair, you could be interfering with a closer repeater that is using the same pair. Having a different CTCSS (PL) tone will keep you from going through the repeater, but your signal will still be present at the repeater site.
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Old 02-12-2018, 9:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
You should also bear in mind that, while you are chatting through a distant repeater on a particular frequency pair, you could be interfering with a closer repeater that is using the same pair. Having a different CTCSS (PL) tone will keep you from going through the repeater, but your signal will still be present at the repeater site.
This is not necessarily true in all case. Where you can be received depends on conditions.
Back in the 80's when I had a decent outdoor 2m antenna and when very few repeaters had PL there were several tropo openings where I was able to work repeaters hundreds of miles away and not key up closer ones 100-200 miles away on the same frequency when none of them had PL. More often it was true that I could get into multiple repeaters at once.
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Old 02-12-2018, 9:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grantgfisher View Post
I'm using a Baofeng UV5R hooked into a 1/4 wave ground plane antenna I made.
Not putting down Baofeng lovers but that radio isn't the best. I own one and it doesn't do very well with receiving compared to my 20+ year old Kenwood HT.
Also a beam is your buddy, it focuses you radiated pattern in a certain direction and has some gain were as an omni directional 1/4 wave antenna does not.
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Originally Posted by grantgfisher View Post
I've been able to successfully hit repeaters in TN over 50 miles away. From my house, there are NC repeaters only about 10-15 miles away. Granted there is a huge mountain range in the way, but I feel like I should be able to hit them. Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks!
Grant
KN4JFH
Those mountains will block you big time, remember they are peaking at 1 mile in altitude. Now Mt. Mitchell is slightly higher than the national park but only by a 100 feet or so and Sevierville is probably right on the edge of the mountain shadow of being able to access it.
I used to live on Pine Mtn in Pigeon Forge and could get into it, but I was up at 2000' and had a beam to help me.

Living on a mountain had its advantage as I could regularly access repeaters in Ky, VA, and NC. But I could not hit anything south of Knoxville because of mountains. I could not hear a thing from Cleveland or Chattanooga because I had tall mountains between me and them.
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Old 02-12-2018, 9:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
You should also bear in mind that, while you are chatting through a distant repeater on a particular frequency pair, you could be interfering with a closer repeater that is using the same pair. Having a different CTCSS (PL) tone will keep you from going through the repeater, but your signal will still be present at the repeater site.
If the frequencies are properly assigned, would that be a problem?
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Old 02-13-2018, 7:55 AM
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What do you mean by "properly assigned"?

It is possible to be received at more than one coordinated repeater site when transmitting from a high elevation or during certain types of enhanced propagation. It is also possible when using excessive power.

When I lived in Rochester, we had a problem on the 146.880 repeater with a ham in central NY who insisted on running very high power in order to access the 146.880 repeater in Utica. Both repeaters were coordinated and adequately separated for good amateur practice under normal conditions. The club eventually had to add PL on the input (which they referred to as the "xxx Filter" - xxx representing the ham in question's callsign suffix) so we didn't have to listen to his one-sided conversations. A few mobile stations had trouble getting in to the Rochester repeater from the east side of its coverage area whenever that station was on the air, PL notwithstanding.
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Old 02-13-2018, 8:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
What do you mean by "properly assigned"?

It is possible to be received at more than one coordinated repeater site when transmitting from a high elevation or during certain types of enhanced propagation. It is also possible when using excessive power.

When I lived in Rochester, we had a problem on the 146.880 repeater with a ham in central NY who insisted on running very high power in order to access the 146.880 repeater in Utica. Both repeaters were coordinated and adequately separated for good amateur practice under normal conditions. The club eventually had to add PL on the input (which they referred to as the "xxx Filter" - xxx representing the ham in question's callsign suffix) so we didn't have to listen to his one-sided conversations. A few mobile stations had trouble getting in to the Rochester repeater from the east side of its coverage area whenever that station was on the air, PL notwithstanding.
The New York repeater interference begs the question: Were they "coordinated and adequately separated" properly? Simply because they went through the process doesn't mean it was done right. The fact that they interfered with each other may indicate that. Admittedly, I've never had to go through the process so I may be a little naÔve but it would seem that an alternative would have been available.
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Old 02-13-2018, 8:49 AM
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The New York repeater interference begs the question: Were they "coordinated and adequately separated" properly? Simply because they went through the process doesn't mean it was done right. The fact that they interfered with each other may indicate that. Admittedly, I've never had to go through the process so I may be a little naÔve but it would seem that an alternative would have been available.
Also, your experience if only that of around Columbus, GA, is not representative of what one encounters in areas with tall mountains where you can often key several coordinated repeaters (particularly if using high power and not using a directional antenna-but even a directional antenna is not perfectly directional).

I have been atop mountains that were high but not the highest and been able to key repeaters in N VA, TN, KY, and NC with 45 W and a magnetic mount on the roof of a Toyota.
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Old 02-13-2018, 9:09 AM
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Quote:
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Also, your experience if only that of around Columbus, GA, is not representative of what one encounters in areas with tall mountains where you can often key several coordinated repeaters (particularly if using high power and not using a directional antenna-but even a directional antenna is not perfectly directional).

I have been atop mountains that were high but not the highest and been able to key repeaters in N VA, TN, KY, and NC with 45 W and a magnetic mount on the roof of a Toyota.
Well, my experience is not just Columbus but I understand what you're saying. It's just the nature of the beast and you work around it as best you can.
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