Alaska GMRS

KL5LD

Mark 12: 29-31
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Joined
Jul 29, 2022
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18
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Alaska
Hello everybody!
I am completely new to this whole radio thing. I have recently received my GMRS license and I am excited to use my new radios and talk with people and practice the mechanics behind them. I am also working on my technician license as well, but for now, I will be using GMRS for all my radio needs. I have been on numerous websites and have been trying to network with other GMRS users in Alaska, but there don't seem to be many of us. So I am just trying to throw a net out there and find as many as possible and maybe start a GMRS club for Alaskans if there isn't one already, but I don't think there is. If there is anybody up here who is interested in connecting over GMRS please let me know. I would really love to do this and I know I might be a little too enthusiastic about this, but I don't have many hobbies or at least ones that I can share with others, well except with my awesome wife. So, anyways, I will be posting this here and on other forums, so feel free to contact me if you are at all interested in an Alaskan GMRS club, or please let me know if one already exists, I would love to join. Thank you all for your time. Take care!
 

mmckenna

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Jul 27, 2005
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18,861
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LATA 722

Big state, not a lot of people, and GMRS is a short range radio service. It may be hard to find other users.
Also, GMRS was intended as a "personal radio service", so you'll often find that users are running coded squelch so they don't have to hear other users.

When you get your ham license, you'll probably find a lot more people willing to talk to you. The amateur radio service is designed for that.
 

KL5LD

Mark 12: 29-31
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 29, 2022
Messages
18
Location
Alaska

Big state, not a lot of people, and GMRS is a short range radio service. It may be hard to find other users.
Also, GMRS was intended as a "personal radio service", so you'll often find that users are running coded squelch so they don't have to hear other users.

When you get your ham license, you'll probably find a lot more people willing to talk to you. The amateur radio service is designed for that.
Good point. So then maybe I should do something that is more for our area instead of the whole state. Matsu/Anchorage area GMRS.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't GMRS stand for "General Mobile Radio Service"? I understand I think lol, that GMRS is more geared towards people using for short distances, but if that was the only case then why use repeaters? It is my understanding that repeaters can allow you to communicate much farther than just a couple of miles. My purpose isn't to just create/join a club or group for the sole purpose of talking about the weather, but also to link like-minded people with a common interest in GMRS. I would also like to be able to connect with individuals to test equipment as well as to learn more about the subject. Still have a lot to learn, but maybe creating/joining a club will help me and others along to gain a better understanding of it and other forms of communication. I will continue to work on my technician license, but to be honest I find all this stuff really fun and interesting. Wish I got into it sooner :) Thanks for the response! Hope to talk to you some more.
 

mmckenna

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Jul 27, 2005
Messages
18,861
Location
LATA 722
Yes, repeaters give you more coverage. However, the initial intent of GMRS was for it to be an easy solution for small businesses/individuals to have some reasonable radio service.

If you can find enough GMRS users in your area that are interested in it, then a club would be a good option. Get enough people together and put up your own repeater. With recent updates to the rules, you can link repeaters together to make wide area systems. It can get expensive, but if you have enough people to share the cost, then it's much easier.

One thing you will find is that a lot of GMRS users don't want random contacts. They want to be able to talk to their family/friends and that's pretty much it. Nothing wrong with what you want to do, there are GMRS clubs out there.
You'll find, however, that amateur radio has a lot more people that want to make random contacts. If you search around, I'm sure you'll find an amateur radio club in your area.
 

ko6jw_2

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Santa Ynez, CA
According to myGMRS.com there are only two GMRS repeaters listed. One is in Barrow and obviously not within range and the other is in Eagle River which is. Both are closed repeaters requiring permission of owner to use. Amateur radio is very popular in Alaska. There is a club in Mat-Su and one in Anchorage. You should contact them for licensing classes and exams. I have been to both clubs and they welcome new hams or prospective hams. Most people would consider GMRS to be too limited given the vast area of the state. There are ham radio repeaters all over the Anchorage and Mat-Su areas. The technician license is only 35 questions and is mostly non-technical. You can do it!
 

KL5LD

Mark 12: 29-31
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Joined
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Messages
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Location
Alaska
According to myGMRS.com there are only two GMRS repeaters listed. One is in Barrow and obviously not within range and the other is in Eagle River which is. Both are closed repeaters requiring permission of owner to use. Amateur radio is very popular in Alaska. There is a club in Mat-Su and one in Anchorage. You should contact them for licensing classes and exams. I have been to both clubs and they welcome new hams or prospective hams. Most people would consider GMRS to be too limited given the vast area of the state. There are ham radio repeaters all over the Anchorage and Mat-Su areas. The technician license is only 35 questions and is mostly non-technical. You can do it!
You are right, I have been contacting and researching more about it in my state. Like I said before I am a total noob with all of this. I have been studying for the technician license and it’s really not as hard as I thought so hopefully I will be getting that soon as well. But what I really like about GMRS is that it is not as “exclusive” for lack of a better word. I like the fact that it is in some cases cheaper and the fact the my license covers my entire family is nice and is rather easy to obtain for anybody. A lot easier then ham. Not to say ham is incredibly hard because it isn’t, but it does take more time to fully comprehend it, at least for me. My wife is on board with it all and likes the GMRS as well because now she doesn’t have to take the test for ham. Not to say that she couldn’t ace it because she absolutely can, but with her schedule and what she does for a living (medical/hospital) she really has no time to study with being on call constantly and very long work hours as well as finishing up her education. And for my kids it is easier as well. I will definitely be getting my ham license here soon, but for those reasons above and many more that I’ll save you the time of reading, is why I like GMRS. After I get all my licenses done I heard the CB is opening up to FM. If my understanding is correct then that also opens up a lot of communications for people. Personally I plan on doing it all. Like I said before I wish I knew more about this stuff sooner because I am totally hooked on all of this and I am still learning more and more everyday. It is so very fascinating and fun! Thanks for the comment I hope to hear back from you soon!
 

ko6jw_2

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I would suggest that you contact the Matanuska Amateur Radio Association KL7JFU.com. They will be very helpful. Too often people try to study on their own and get bogged down. Clubs can also answer your questions about radio.

GMRS and CB are fine and have their uses, but ham radio has many options that they don't have, like more bands and higher power. Not to mention a variety of modes.

Perhaps your wife will see the advantages of ham radio after you get your license. By the way, it could come in handy at the hospital in a disaster.

FM on CB will take a while to catch on. Most people are not going to out and buy new radios to begin with. Also, sideband will still provide more range for CB.

Good luck.
 

KL5LD

Mark 12: 29-31
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Joined
Jul 29, 2022
Messages
18
Location
Alaska
Thank you so much for the help!!! I will definitely do so. I haven’t found it too terribly difficult. Definitely some terms and ideas I have never heard before but again no too difficult. Ham Radio crash course is great and good info as well as the Gordon West Technician study guide! Thanks for the comment I appreciate it! Hope we can talk some more.
 
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