Advice for the Wyoming newbie!

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csocs_wolf

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Advice for the Wyoming newbie!

I've heard and experienced such bad things about GMRS and MUH in the mountains, that I've decided to go the ham route this year for hunting season. We had some nice GMRS Midland GXT2050VP4's last year and the range was terrible (<0.5 mile/s) in the region we hunt. Just too many rolling hills/mountains and/or forest for line-of-site radios. So, I was thinking going HAM with something like a Wouxun KG-UV8D.

Equipment:
Any advice on this equipment and if it's any good? Something better for my use? I'm assuming there are decent repeaters in Wyoming that would greatly increase/enhance range. I'd hate to get into it with a bear or mountain lion and not be able to reach anyone.

Frequencies/Repeaters:
Maybe someone here from Wyoming could give even more advice on setup. I am frequently hunting I-25 (south of Chugwater) to the NE border for antelope/deer, and I-80 (west of Laramie) to Encampment/Hog Reservoir for Elk.

Need to figure it all out soon to get licensed before the season this year. Thank you.
 

sloop

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Check out Amateur Radio Repeater database - Updated daily good data base of repeaters nation-wide. Also google search 'Wyoming amateur repeaters..you should be able to find something there. Good luck on getting your license, remember that all in you party must be licensed to operate their radios from other hunting locations. The license covers the operator NOT the radio.
 

wbswetnam

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GMRS radios are pitiful, I think the output is only 1/2 watt. Have you considered getting a Baofeng or similar radio and programming it for MURS frequencies? [See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-Use_Radio_Service] You can get 4 to 5 watts from a Baofeng UV5R, although FCC regulations limit MURS to only 2 watts. But I kinda doubt that the FCC is going to get worked up about a couple of hunters in the wilds of Wyoming using 4 watts instead of 2 watts on MURS channels. I mean, heck, the FCC doesn't seem to care about the CB channel 6 crowd running 10,000 watt linear amplifiers on 27.025MHz...

Now, don't think that I'm trying to discourage you from getting a ham license... I think your consideration of getting into amateur radio is a splendid idea! I'm just trying to give you other options to look at in addition to amateur radio.
 

AK9R

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GMRS radios are allowed up to 50 watts. Most pure GMRS handheld are 4-5 watts.

FRS, which uses interstitial frequencies between the GMRS channels are limited to 500 milliwatts (1/2 watt).
 

csocs_wolf

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Thanks for the replies.

Now that you mention it, I doubt I can count on my buddies doing the leg work to get amateur licensed. I had considered programming the Wouxun KG-UV8D with MURS and GMRS freqs in order to communicate with my buddies on their blister pack radios. The Baofeng UV5R you mention is an even more affordable option for doing this. I'm curious on performance benefits of going this route (the antennas sure look better and I've read power output is much better / blister packs not as advertised). Would have the added benefit of having ham freqs for emergencies.

Was just looking at Wyoming Repeater Coordinator Group. The repeater list doesn't show anything in my hunt location. Well...Rawlins or Laramie would be the closest, but quite far out. Wonder about line of sight and what I'd be able to access from within the forested mountains, anyways. Maybe I'm over thinking things.
 

csocs_wolf

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wbswetnam: What BaoFeng radio would give me the best stock performance (antenna/power)? I was just reviewing the Baofeng UV5R you recommended (along with the 2nd gen BF-F8) are 4w/1w, opposed to the BF-F8+ (5w/1w) and UV-B5 / UV-B6 (5w/2w). I'm starting to lean this direction. Any suggestions?

It'd be nice to do a 2m/70cm mobile cross band repeater setup on my camper/truck and use it to boost the ht, but it may be a bit beyond me, at this point. Just learning and might have to work my way up to it.
 

csocs_wolf

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Another question. This is what I understand.... I think...

FRS is open (1/2w max). 11.25 kHz, +/-2.5kHz deviation
7 UHF channels 462.5625 - 462.7125 (shared w/ GMRS)
7 UHF channels 467.5625 - 467.7125 (FRS only)

MURS is open (at 2w max).
3 VHF channels 151.820 - 151.940 (11.25 kHz, +/- 2.5 kHz deviation)
2 VHF channels 154.570 - 154.600 (20 kHz, , +/- 5 kHz deviation)

GMRS is closed (at 50w max (but most portable radios only hit 4-5W)). 25 kHz (+/- 5 kHz deviation)
8 UHF channels 462.550 - 462.725 (GMRS only)
7 UHF channels 462.5625 - 462.7125 (shared w/ FRS)

If licensed amateur technician class, do I still need a GMRS license for those freqs?
 

AK9R

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FCC rules require that you have a license in the radio service in which you plan to transmit. You need an amateur radio license to transmit on amateur radio frequencies. You need a GMRS license to transmit on GMRS frequencies. You do not need an FRS license to transmit on FRS frequencies because FRS is licensed by rule. In other words, as long as you have a radio that is certified for use in FRS, you can transmit there.
 

wbswetnam

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wbswetnam: What BaoFeng radio would give me the best stock performance (antenna/power)? I was just reviewing the Baofeng UV5R you recommended (along with the 2nd gen BF-F8) are 4w/1w, opposed to the BF-F8+ (5w/1w) and UV-B5 / UV-B6 (5w/2w). I'm starting to lean this direction. Any suggestions?
Probably won't make a whole lot of difference. What is more important is that you use a decent antenna with the unit. Most stock antennas are pretty much worthless. It's better to pay an extra $8 - $10 and get a better quality antenna. Also be certain to get the correct match on the plug type! Some SMA connections are male on the radio (like with the Baofeng UV5R), others are female on the radio (for example, the Yaesu FT-60).
 

csocs_wolf

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Probably won't make a whole lot of difference. What is more important is that you use a decent antenna with the unit. Most stock antennas are pretty much worthless. It's better to pay an extra $8 - $10 and get a better quality antenna. Also be certain to get the correct match on the plug type! Some SMA connections are male on the radio (like with the Baofeng UV5R), others are female on the radio (for example, the Yaesu FT-60).
What is a decent antenna? Any examples would be appreciated. I recall we'd replace the 8-10" rubber shorties with the big 6' whip antennas in the military.
 

PrimeNumber

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What is a decent antenna? Any examples would be appreciated. I recall we'd replace the 8-10" rubber shorties with the big 6' whip antennas in the military.
This will let you hang it up and really reach out there:
Dual band 2m 70cm Slim Jim Antenna with 16' rg-58

Handheld, I'm not sure that this would be broadbanded enough to cover MURS & GMRS:
Amazon.com: NAGOYA NA-771 DUAL BAND 144/430Mhz U/V SMA-F Antenna For BAOFENG UV-5R WOUXUN KG-UVD1P: Electronics
It's more for 2m/440MHz. But it is compact.
 

mark432k

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A side note. The locations you said you are going to are bear free, so don't worry about that. As far as mountain lions, if you see one, shoot it.


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csocs_wolf

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A side note. The locations you said you are going to are bear free, so don't worry about that. As far as mountain lions, if you see one, shoot it.


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The area we hunt Elk has "Beware of Bear" signs all over. Down on the continental divide south of Encampment, WY. Lots of big cat prints (all over) last year. Was enough to make the hair on the back of neck stand up. I wouldn't hesitate. But, I like being prepared. In addition to my rifle and survival gear, I carry a pistol and bear spray. Radio is just another tool in my pack. I plan on testing Aug 3rd.

What do you all think of the Baofeng GT-3, over the UV-5R. It has a similar style antenna to one presented above. In addition, 5w/1w and wider Ultra freq range (400-520Mhz). Amazon.com : Twin Pack Baofeng GT-3 Transceiver, FM Radio, Dual Band 136-174/400-520 MHz, Chipsets Upgraded, ABS Frame + Programming Cable : Car Electronics
 

wbswetnam

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A side note. The locations you said you are going to are bear free, so don't worry about that. As far as mountain lions, if you see one, shoot it.
If you see a sasquatch, capture him and sell him off to the highest bidder. LOL

More seriously, I have used the Nagoya NA-771 after-market antenna and it works pretty well I think. I'm not sure about its effectiveness with MURS frequencies, but it sure can't be any worse than the stock antenna and would probably perform much better.
 

csocs_wolf

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If you see a sasquatch, capture him and sell him off to the highest bidder. LOL

More seriously, I have used the Nagoya NA-771 after-market antenna and it works pretty well I think. I'm not sure about its effectiveness with MURS frequencies, but it sure can't be any worse than the stock antenna and would probably perform much better.
I'm not that lucky. Will be happy enough to see Elk.
 

csocs_wolf

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So....

I applied (and paid for) my GMRS license.
I plan to test for Technician Amateur on Aug 3.

I bought the Baofeng GT-3.
I bought the Slim Jim antenna.
I bought a NAGOYA UT106 antenna.
I bought several mics and cases, etc.

I'll get further into all this once I get my license. Until then, I think I'm on my way. Studying begins. Thanks for all your help and advice.
 

wbswetnam

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So....

I applied (and paid for) my GMRS license.
I plan to test for Technician Amateur on Aug 3.

I bought the Baofeng GT-3.
I bought the Slim Jim antenna.
I bought a NAGOYA UT106 antenna.
I bought several mics and cases, etc.

I'll get further into all this once I get my license. Until then, I think I'm on my way. Studying begins. Thanks for all your help and advice.
Good luck on the test! Did you get only the study guide for Technician? After you pass Technician, start studying for the General. It's with General privileges that the fun REALLY begins in amateur radio because the big world of HF opens up for you. As it is you can still work some HF with a Technician license on 10 meters. I've had a few QSOs with Technicians on PSK31 10m (28.120 is the calling frequency) as well as SSB below 28.500 MHz.
 

csocs_wolf

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Good luck on the test! Did you get only the study guide for Technician? After you pass Technician, start studying for the General. It's with General privileges that the fun REALLY begins in amateur radio because the big world of HF opens up for you. As it is you can still work some HF with a Technician license on 10 meters. I've had a few QSOs with Technicians on PSK31 10m (28.120 is the calling frequency) as well as SSB below 28.500 MHz.
I've been going through the material on ARRL.org, including the external flash cards and practice tests. Have Technician down. Think I could test tomorrow. I have started reviewing General now and will try to pass both on Aug 2, if possible. I am a Systems Administrator on Supercomputers. So I've done a lot with networking, both wired and wireless. Plus, I have a good electronics foundation. The hardest part for me so far are the Q codes, band plan, and the billion acronyms. A lot to remember.

Sounds fun. But a lot of $$$ to invest, it appears. So I'll take baby steps. Handhelds done. Mobile next (any recommendations on killer mobile units?). Then bigger base stations and terminal node adapters later, I think.
 

teufler

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Congrats on taking a ham test. You will enjoy it. As for range with a ht, whether a ham, commerciak, or grms frs, range ht to ht, is about 3 miles. Thats line of site. If one is over the mountain, the other is up a creek. If you were to have a dual band, in th etruck, as you suggested, unless the truck power is low, th current drain on the batter y will be high. You could be eating your kill as you will have to wait for a battery jump. I have left by dual band on in the car, and by morning, "click click click", the battery is dead. To get max range, the higher the rantenna, the more range you will have. If you take the truck up to a high point, after the hunt you have to go back and fetch the vehicle. Things to consider. You can replace your radios with a 1/4 wave antenna that can get somew better range. Problem is that if a ham radio is vhf, its 18" tall and could get in the say of your gun or your sighting eye, So better range, more power, more battery power, more height, could get in the way. You could get yaesu hts that have a function that tells you when one ht is out of range, and alerts you that you are out of range. Each radio pings and waits for a response from other units. ARTS, Auto range transponder system.Havn't used it much but its a good option if you need it. ARTS will increase battery consumption so thats a negative.. Take along another battery pack and that problem goes away.
Most hams don't like to think of a cell phone but do you have cell phone coverage. If so just call each other.
 
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