900mhz popularity

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bharvey2

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Does anyone have any experience with 900mhz activity in the San Francisco East Bay? I've been thinking about getting a Kenwood TK981. I've researched both HAM and commercial frequencies and programmed them into my scanners. I've hardly heard a peep in the last few days. I've heard no activity on the commercial sites and a 10 minutes call sign timer on one or two HAM repeaters but no traffic. Is usage on this band fading away?
 

mmckenna

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I used to live in San Jose, now I live over in the Monterey Bay area...

900MHz was always pretty dead when I lived over there. Never heard anything.

Over here, I know of 2 or 3 people that have 900MHz radios and there is at least one 900MHz repeater, but usage is non-existant, as far as I can tell.

Probably some of it has to do with the lack of amateur radios that work on this band. While I understand the availability of the commercial gear, a lot of amateurs are turned off by the lack of VFO, programming on the fly, etc.

With 2 meters and 70cm pretty quiet, it's not surprising you are not hearing much.

I personally chose not to invest in any of the 900MHz or 1.2ghz gear. I used to have some UHF and dual band radios, but I got rid of them all. Found that 2 meters did what I needed just fine. Haven't felt the need to expand beyond that at this point in my life.
 

d119

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It's not that it's fading away, it's that it was never very heavy to begin with, at least with regard to amateur use.

The 900MHz amateur band is ripe for digital operation (P25, DMR, etc), however not a lot of that type of equipment is on the surplus market. Unfortunately due to the plethora of unlicensed Part-15 devices on this band (ISM, think cordless phones, low speed long haul data networks, SCADA, baby monitors, etc.) there is A LOT of noise.

Digital modes can fight through it fairly well, but in analog, it is manifested as a lot of clicks, pops, static, and just plain inability to access the repeater at times. This turns a lot of people off.

Hope this helps.
 

bharvey2

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Repeaterbook actually lists quite a few 900mhz repeaters in my area although a good deal of them seem to be run by one entity and are private. Still, there are more than I expected (athough some may have been shut down and not reported)

I'm really surprised that the commercial activity seems to have disappeared. Before the advent of Nextel and cellphones, we were subscribers on one the the local 2 way providers 900mhz networks. The provider is still listed as having the 900mhz network. As mentioned, a few commercial networks exist on paper but maybe companies are leaving them to go to DMR.

Maybe I need to rethink my next "investment"
 

mmckenna

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Nextel bought up a lot of smaller companies. There are still a number of 900MHz LMR systems around.

There is a company, with some loose ties to Nextel (I think the Nextel founder is on the board) that is starting up a company that is buying lots of 900MHz spectrum across the country. Their plan is to have a nearly nation wide 900MHz DMR trunked network. Basically recreating what Nextel originally was, an big trunked radio network, before they decided to start handling phone calls.
 

bharvey2

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Hmm, that could be a good. I think Nextel had a pretty good thing going on. My wife and I used to talk to my inlaws in Michigan when I had Nextel. Not that it can't be done with cell phones but there were no minutes involved when that was going on. It doesn't seem like the PTT movement in phones ever took off after Nextel disappeared.
 

mmckenna

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It could be good if they don't get stupid with it.
They want a lot of spectrum, and some of that involves kicking other users out of the way. Basically bullying their way into a nationwide system.

If it stays as a 2 way radio system, then it'll probably find a market. Nextel used to be great before they started compressing the audio so much to make room for phone calls. The original Nextel handhelds I used, before they started running phone service, sounded really good. Once they lost focus, things went down hill.
I had a Nextel for years at work, but it was very difficult to understand in high noise environments. After an earthquake, it was unusable for about 45 minutes.

As long as we don't get into another rebanding cluster **** we'll be OK.
 

bharvey2

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Yeah I thought the first Nextel handheld I had sounded pretty good. By the time I got to the flip phone I it was getting difficult to hear sometimes. I thought it was a combination of smaller device and aging ears. I didn't consider audio compression. If the players in this new 900mhz network have the clout, I could surely see the 900mhz spectrum occupied by the HAM band up for grabs. Too bad. I could envision a pretty decent HAM data network running in that area.
 

kj6ko

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YES!!

Actually, to reply to the original message, there are about 20-30 900 repeaters around the area! 900 became VERY popular when the USAF kicked so many people off of UHF. Check nc9rs.com or NARCC.org Some are gone or moved, but there are still quite a few active.

If you are in ear shot of the East Bay Hills, try 927.650 or if in Livermore area or south bay, 927.1875

73
Greg Stahlman KJ6KO
kj6ko.com
Trustee Northern California 900 Repeater System
NC9RS
nc9rs.com
 

bharvey2

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Actually, to reply to the original message, there are about 20-30 900 repeaters around the area! 900 became VERY popular when the USAF kicked so many people off of UHF. Check nc9rs.com or NARCC.org Some are gone or moved, but there are still quite a few active.

If you are in ear shot of the East Bay Hills, try 927.650 or if in Livermore area or south bay, 927.1875

73
Greg Stahlman KJ6KO
kj6ko.com
Trustee Northern California 900 Repeater System
NC9RS
nc9rs.com
The NC9RS (927.650) is one of the two repeaters that I heard IDing. I didn't hear any voice traffic though. I also noticed that CARLA had one listed on Repeaterbook but not on their site WA6JQV seemed to have the lion's share of them but I read that as being a closed/private system. Some of the 2M/70cm repeaters in Livermore will make it over the hill into my area but I'd be surprised if 900mhz would do it.
 

curtissac

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As well as SCADA, you are bound to hear smart meters. We used a baby monitor in our daughter's room for longer than we needed to, and the activation the smart meters in our neighborhood was what finally forced us to turn it off. When the uitility, in our case it's SMUD, runs there meter read routine (every few hours), the receiver woud start to sound like a movie theater popcorn machine. At least twice a night.
 
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