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GMRS / FRS - Discussions related to GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) and FRS (Family Radio Service) communications

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 08-16-2016, 3:13 PM
   
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Default GMRS repeater equipment needed for Eagle Scout Project

My son is looking for GMRS repeater station equipment. We are working on an Eagle Scout project for my son. We wanted to get as close to the 50 watt max as we could. We are looking for a repeater or two units that can work as a repeater, cable, an antenna, a duplexer. Basically, everything to setup a repeater. We might be in need of technical advice. I am helping him find the gear but he will be the one doing the project. After all, he is the one working on his Eagle Scout.

We will be attempting to set this up at a Boy Scout camp in Missouri. This is a very large and popular Scout Camp with over 10,000 campers and staff members each summer. The camp has very limited cell phone coverage. Currently only one carrier works there and it is far from good. The camp has a very extensive repeater system on licensed VHF channels that are only for staff use. We hope to use the antenna towers already at the camp.

Our intent is to use the GMRS system for scout leaders to communicate during camp but it would be open for public use. The scout reservation is used for six separate 10 days sessions. The camp is also used for various events throughout the year. It is over 4000 acres with three separate camps each holding 10+ campgrounds. So, there might be 50-70 different Troops during each session.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. You can send me a PM we will look forward to hearing from you. We are in Kansas City if anyone locally is reading this.
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Old 08-16-2016, 9:10 PM
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Drop me a pm if you like .
Do you have a group that sets up a JOTA station , if so they could help
Point you toward some help with ideas maybe. If using the tower that is on
Location is in the plans you should talk to who ever is in charge . They might have some spare equ or
Know of someone who could offer ideas about your sons set up.
Coax and Antenna and location are major parts of any good repeater more so than watts.
Do you plan on making this a full time set up or temp. I am not sure about the
License requirement that is something else to look into.
Just some thoughts.
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Old 08-16-2016, 9:21 PM
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One thing you would need to consider is the licensing. Unlike a business band license, each user would need to have a GMRS license. The only exception to this rule would be if the scout leaders are in the same immediate family, otherwise you would be required to have each person pay the license fee. You're almost better off allocating one of your VHF channels for the scout leaders to use.
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Old 08-16-2016, 9:31 PM
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Murs might also be a choice since no license is required and, depending on the range needed. 73, n9zas
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Old 08-16-2016, 9:50 PM
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Judging by the estimated size of the camp I highly doubt MURS would cover it on only 2 watts. A repeater that is higher up is going to be the only way to get reliable communications.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:13 PM
   
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KC5AKB, they do setup a JOTA at camp. That is just a temporary thing I think. The location really would be up to camp. I am sure their radio guy will be the one who decides that. The camp is maintained all year long so this will be a permanent setup. My email is kc_exactly at Yahoo.com if you want to get in contact.

And to the other comments, MURS radios just won't cover the terrain at camp and don't offer repeater access. The leaders will be using the radios so I think the burden of a license fee will be easier to deal with than the ability for each person to earn a HAM license. As for allocation of a VHF license. We want this to be available to the public.
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WVFC80 View Post
Judging by the estimated size of the camp I highly doubt MURS would cover it on only 2 watts. A repeater that is higher up is going to be the only way to get reliable communications.
Yeah, I read too fast lol. I didn't see the 4,000 acres involved, Oops! Gmrs would do the trick, but licensing might be an issue unless the unlicensed users stuck with channels FRS 1-7. A lot of the scouts in my area have their amateur tech licenses with JOTA help. 73, n9zas
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Old 08-20-2016, 10:55 PM
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To the OP...
Not a bad idea for an Eagle scout project - except for a few important details:

Are you aware that so-called bubble pack FRS/GMRS radios are rarely capable of being used with a repeater? In most cases, radios used in conjunction with GMRS repeaters need special programming and are often commercial equipment models.

Furthermore, I fully understand the thinking that a 'simple Boy Scout project' should not have to comply with bureaucratic issues. However, the FCC rules are very clear about GMRS licensing and if a business (or the BSA itself) allows the equipment on their property, you could be opening them (as well as the users) to some serious liability. Fines in the tens of thousands of dollars are not unheard of, not to mention the associated legal costs.

Better to stick to the unlicensed services or a service/frequency that is (properly) licensed.

John
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Old 08-20-2016, 11:49 PM
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There ARE bubble pack radios capable of repeater use. Moto MR 350's T7200 & T7400 as well. Also the Tera TR 505 is repeater capable too. 73, n9zas
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Old 08-21-2016, 8:29 AM
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Burden of getting ham licenses? You do know that there is a Communications Merit Badge, right?
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Old 08-21-2016, 9:18 AM
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Default Who will foot the money for this project?

The cost of the equipment, (antenna, coax, electricity, transceivers, etc.) is going to be very high. Then the cost of the individual licenses at $65 per license. Will the individual scouts foot the license fee, share in the cost of the equipment, maintenance fee, etc.?
As David post, "Communications Merit Badge", would be, I think, the route to go.
That's just my 2 cents of thought.
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Old 08-21-2016, 9:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
Burden of getting ham licenses? You do know that there is a Communications Merit Badge, right?
My club just ran a class for this last spring with our local scout troop. It was a one or two session class and certainly nowhere near enough to qualify the boys to take the Tech exam. It was, however, enough to spark their interest.

I would however agree that amateur is a much better route for this than GMRS. There's no licensing cost beyond the testing fee, and that is way less than the GMRS fee. And, let's face it, the Tech exam is a breeze with just a bit of study and coaching, especially for boys who are still in high school and used to taking written tests. (It's my position that adults find the exam to be challenging because they're years past their school time and have forgotten how to learn and how to take a test.)

Amateur equipment is readily available in a wide variety of price ranges,both used and new. And some of the Baofengs and similar can be purchased in bulk at very attractive prices.

There's a wealth of info on amateur repeaters on the net. One can be assembled pretty inexpensively and it would be a great project as part of earning the Eagle Scout badge.

The whole thing would need the guidance of an experienced ham, but the results can be spectacular when it comes to starting a new generation of amateur operators.
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Old 08-29-2016, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
Burden of getting ham licenses? You do know that there is a Communications Merit Badge, right?
You do know that the Communication merit badge has little to nothing to do with RADIO communications, right?
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Old 08-29-2016, 1:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC4RAF View Post
The cost of the equipment, (antenna, coax, electricity, transceivers, etc.) is going to be very high. Then the cost of the individual licenses at $65 per license. Will the individual scouts foot the license fee, share in the cost of the equipment, maintenance fee, etc.?
As David post, "Communications Merit Badge", would be, I think, the route to go.
That's just my 2 cents of thought.
Unless any of the scouts are part of your family, each user needs a GMRS license. No skirting the FCC rules there. Pay for the license fees like the rest of had to. You can't just add a repeater on any of the GMRS repeater frequency unless you are legal with the FCC.
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Old 08-29-2016, 1:54 PM
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i really think what would be best is a licensed frequency in the business band. VHF is ideal for the terrain, but because there is already VHF on the tower, then i'd see whats do-able in UHF.

Advantages are:
a repeater can be built with off-the-shelf used equipment.
you can get a cache of used radios, programmed once.
used commercial type radios would be similar in price to new gmrs, but be more robust.
a single site license would be better then individual GMRS licenses and the hassle of checking compliance.
it can be administered by whomever administers the VHF site

Disadvantages:
people cant just bring their own radios and get onto the system
requires the hassle of licensing (although, im sure there isnt much site coordination required at such a rural location)
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Old 08-29-2016, 4:12 PM
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Default UGH

I be more then happy to help you, but your pm does not work.
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Old 08-30-2016, 8:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madrabbitt View Post
You do know that the Communication merit badge has little to nothing to do with RADIO communications, right?
Maybe, but the Radio badge does. My mistake.

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Old 08-30-2016, 8:22 AM
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Too new a member (# of Posts) for PM to be enabled.

Also they have not logged back in since the 21st
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I be more then happy to help you, but your pm does not work.
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Old 08-30-2016, 1:47 PM
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Default Ahh okay

Fair enough, had no idea he was limited to certain features.
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Old 09-06-2016, 6:35 AM
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Besides UHF gets slightly better performance when using portables in my experience.
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