Author Topic: uhf repeater  (Read 2163 times)

Offline womule

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uhf repeater
« on: February 18, 2017, 05:58:23 PM »
I'm toying with an idea of setting up a repeater at my house.  our neighborhood civic group organizes during times of severe weather, and our crime watch.  I thought it might be handy to extend our handheld comms. with a repeater.  I would have to do this myself at my expense, which I'm willing to do.

what is the cheapest way for me to accomplish this?   It would need to cover about 3 miles. right now we use frs radios bought at Dicks sporting goods. they work well but corners of the hood we have to turn to our cell phones. clearly we will need new handhelds.  I think the civic club can get some cheapo baofengs and appropriate licensing if I set up the repeater.

thanks!

Offline Sailor

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2017, 08:05:05 AM »
If everyone will be licensed a simplex repeater for $90 is the cheapest route probably.  Kind of annoying but work well.

This is the one I use.  Voicemail remote activation etc.  https://www.argentdata.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=98

Offline Carl

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2017, 08:30:03 AM »
FRS allows no repeaters
MURS allows no repeater
GMRS can be costly and licence is for FAMILY ONLY ,not business or groups ,for your return of investment.
Ham also is costly for users and ROI for your short range needs.

Best solution is a BASE STATION on Ham(all licensed) or MURS(no license needed) as a better antenna will allow any station
to easily call into a base unit.Repeaters really only improve the situation due to antenna height .
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Offline womule

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2017, 12:49:28 PM »
FRS allows no repeaters
MURS allows no repeater
GMRS can be costly and licence is for FAMILY ONLY ,not business or groups ,for your return of investment.
Ham also is costly for users and ROI for your short range needs.

Best solution is a BASE STATION on Ham(all licensed) or MURS(no license needed) as a better antenna will allow any station
to easily call into a base unit.Repeaters really only improve the situation due to antenna height .

what's the ball park cost if I do the install myself?

Offline Carl

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2017, 04:16:09 PM »
what's the ball park cost if I do the install myself?

Install what? A Ham VHF or UHF repeater will cost $1000,cavities,controler,tower,antenna feedline....$5000 could be close.

a better base antenna for Murs or Ham $100 or so,build my Big Stick with feed line for under $50 and use with baofeng HT...

deside a direction and I may offer better ideas, maybe a PM would allow more discretion?
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Offline iam4liberty

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2017, 07:31:54 PM »
Just an FYI.  A lot of neighborhood watch groups worldwide have switched to using the Zello Walkie Talkie app.  This makes it much easier to bring in new members.  Plus people almost always have their phone with them and charged.  See here for example document on deployment: http://cpfsimonstown.weebly.com/uploads/2/0/5/2/20522058/zello_walkie_download.pdf

It has been very sucessful in these areas: https://youtube.com/watch?v=uJdisz3ZUwY

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2017, 10:04:52 PM »
Just an FYI.  A lot of neighborhood watch groups worldwide have switched to using the Zello Walkie Talkie app.  This makes it much easier to bring in new members.  Plus people almost always have their phone with them and charged.  See here for example document on deployment: http://cpfsimonstown.weebly.com/uploads/2/0/5/2/20522058/zello_walkie_download.pdf

It has been very sucessful in these areas: https://youtube.com/watch?v=uJdisz3ZUwY
What if you combined Zello with Gotenna?  The App lets you talk like a walkie talking, the gotenna lets the smartphones talk to each other rather than the towers...like a walkie talkie.  If Gotenna ever releases the mesh (and it works) it would be even more useful.
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Offline idelphic

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2017, 07:12:43 AM »
Could you maybe do a 'simplex repeater'?

https://www.argentdata.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=27
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Offline Carl

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2017, 07:43:29 AM »
FRS and MURS don't allow repeaters,even store and forward type,
Ham would be costly for 3 mile coverage and I would guess they have few licensed Hams.
GMRS allows repeaters,BUT is family only license now.
 
A base station is a possible though NOT for FRS,GMRS...They would be better served with the suggested cell phone APP suggested above
unless ALL of the group get Ham radios and licenses.
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Offline Alan Georges

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2017, 08:55:03 AM »
Three miles around a neighborhood is exactly what CB was designed to do, no repeaters needed.  Plentiful, inexpensive base & mobile radios and antennas.  Decent handhelds available for under $40.  License free, easy to operate.  Also, we're moving into a low period of solar activity, so there won't be much skip interference for the next 6 or 7 years.

The only down side is that the band has its share of trolls.  It might be worth picking up a cheap used unit and listening around on what's happening locally.  If the band's dead in your area, then this is an easy answer.

I swear, there are times it seems like "Baofeng" is Cantonese for "hot mess."

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2017, 05:43:07 PM »
Could you maybe do a 'simplex repeater'?

https://www.argentdata.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=27
Nice, affordable.  Here's a video demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY24xWERCBg  There are all kinds of weatherproofing, solar power for it, etc. videos in the sidebar.

I swear, there are times it seems like "Baofeng" is Cantonese for "hot mess."

Offline Carl

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2017, 04:31:32 AM »
Nice, affordable.  Here's a video demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY24xWERCBg  There are all kinds of weatherproofing, solar power for it, etc. videos in the sidebar.

But repeaters are not allowed (ILLEGAL!!) on FRS,CB  or MURS ,even simplex repeaters that are referred to as store and forward systems. Ham or GMRS are the choices of frequency for repeaters and both require licences for each user.The concept is workable ,but not with the FRS radios described and not without licence for each member of the groupe with their own GMRS ($65 ) or Ham license's and the FRS does not allow for an external antenna for 'base station' operation though MURS does allow for external antennas and would be a good choice for a medium range setup with one base providing comms to each foot unit. A repeater ,without a high antenna,is not going to improve the situation.

Far better to use the 'chat' app for the cell phones that most everyone carries these days as the least costly answer for training,license,and hardware.
OR to have members use CB radios as they are easy to use and low cost alternative though tend to be crowded and noisy in many cities.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 04:54:43 AM by Carl »
I refuse to punch back as I didn't come here to fight.

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Offline iam4liberty

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2017, 11:01:11 PM »
This is one of those cases where it has become more difficult over time. 

Five years ago you could still buy affordable handheld CB units with single sideband capabilities.  With SSB it was rare to get any trolling as most trolls either didnt have the capability or wanted to stay with the bigger audience using standard AM. 

Ten years ago you could still get group licenses for GMRS.  This would be the perfect solution.  But alas, that option was eliminated.  You can do the same thing with the Private Land Mobile Services but you have to work with a band coordinator and that can be costly.

Gotenna Mesh will be available in a couple months but that is text only.  Some older people have trouble with text based systems so that may or may not be an option. On the plus side you do get position capabilities. On the downside you are limited to only ten people in a gotenna group.  But they are also coming out with a professional system for first responders, etc. which probably wont have that limitation.

Another option is a neighborhood wifi system coupled with TCP handhelds.  Problem with that is that it is dependent on the central hub.  If it goes down then there is no communications.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2017, 09:45:49 AM »

Another option is a neighborhood wifi system coupled with TCP handhelds.  Problem with that is that it is dependent on the central hub.  If it goes down then there is no communications.

As a professional computer nerd, while that is technically intriguing, seems too much can go wrong given the stated mission.

In ARES/EMcomm, we use packet for winlink emails when we need to accurately relay detailed information up the chain of command.
This is ideal for situation reports, or administrative tasks like authorizing resources, that benefit from a "paper trail".  Even though this is done on the VHF amateur band, sending a simple text email via winlink requires some kind of PC, digital interface (TNC+cables) and an appropriate radio (duty cycle and technical specs are beyond the scope of this thread).

For quick tactical communication, voice (phone) over handhelds is still king.  "Check point A, this is base.  Has the fire truck arrived at your location?"

For anything involving modern smart phones, if you are willing to depend on the devices and their respective mobile networks there are a number of solutions, including Zello.  For a random group of neighbors, chances are 2-3 mobile cell phone carriers are involved.  During an emergency some or all of those might be disrupted.

This is a tough spot for unlicensed folks.


Offline Sailor

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2017, 08:00:25 AM »
$165 and you can get a  IG Business Itinerant License, and some Baofengs. 

Application is easy to complete. 

One decent antenna and you are set.


Offline dave9199

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2017, 12:51:33 PM »
Another option is to use gotenna or the soon to be released Beartooth.
This allows you to mesh a phone with a bluetooth phone to radio for local communication.
This works in a grid down situation and is a distributed network that does not require a repeater.
Beartooth is UHF and has better range than gotenna but is not out yet.

https://www.beartooth.com/ Beartooth
http://www.gotenna.com/ GOtenna

Offline Carl

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2017, 02:33:10 PM »
Another option is to use gotenna or the soon to be released Beartooth.
This allows you to mesh a phone with a bluetooth phone to radio for local communication.
This works in a grid down situation and is a distributed network that does not require a repeater.
Beartooth is UHF and has better range than gotenna but is not out yet.

https://www.beartooth.com/ Beartooth
http://www.gotenna.com/ GOtenna

But VHF and UHF are line of sight radio and BOTH will have the same problems with range in their neighborhood,replacing one radio with another really will not improve range capability even if you think a cell phone is going to help. If everyone is spread out and they mesh,then maybe.
I refuse to punch back as I didn't come here to fight.

Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

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Offline SCWolverine

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2017, 05:44:58 AM »
just built a UHF repeater.
I have about $800+ in equipment, not counting the controller and backbone card from Sierra.
This isn't a cheap option (repeater) if you want to do it correctly.
http://www.kj6vu.com/?page_id=1002
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Offline Carl

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2017, 06:09:10 AM »
  As it appeared the poster wanted low cost and probably FRS radios,a repeater was out of the question.
But my 2 meter repeater cost $1050 ,and six cavities from Wacom $1400,antenna,tower position,hardline are major investment also
and my cost was years ago as there are not many cavities being produced for 2 meters at good prices any longer.

It appears as though we have lost the original poster in this thread now.The repeater in itself is just another line of sight radio and
range of a repeater (or radio) is dependent on location above terrane as most repeaters only are 50 watt and about HALF of that reaches the antenna.
I refuse to punch back as I didn't come here to fight.

Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

I've reached the age where there is little left to learn the hard way.

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Offline Alan Georges

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2017, 05:09:40 PM »
It appears as though we have lost the original poster in this thread now.
True, true.  We did air out all the options though, and they're here for future reference.  I'm pretty sure none of this will go to waste.

I swear, there are times it seems like "Baofeng" is Cantonese for "hot mess."

Offline Carl

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2017, 05:14:38 PM »
True, true.  We did air out all the options though, and they're here for future reference.  I'm pretty sure none of this will go to waste.

Maybe ,in the future,a viable,legal, licence free option will exist...as even a bad test result has value.
I refuse to punch back as I didn't come here to fight.

Stop complaining about life and start Celebrating it .

I've reached the age where there is little left to learn the hard way.

If you had only one year,one month,or one day...Would you live your life differently?

Offline Citizen Zero

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Re: uhf repeater
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2017, 10:30:36 PM »
Give it time.. Just like CB was originally licensed and widely abused due to the easy retail availability, GMRS is on the very same path. With all the bubble pack radios being sold that are FRS/GMRS capable it is only a matter of time. The unauthorized uses of the band are far and wide, including repeater controllers that are available for under $50.00 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M7YTI16/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 all it takes is a couple of radios and antenna installations, you can do the multi cavity thing if you really want to use only one antenna, but two antennas spaced appropriately is economically much more feasible IMHO).

There are GMRS repeaters across the country that can be utilized, getting licensed is not that expensive if you have a specific purpose in mind (one licensee covers an entire extended family, take that to your own conclusion).

Iffin it were to be a true TSHTF situation all bets are off and you need to be equipped to communicate. MURS and GMRS (as well as most of 2M) is handy for this in a pinch. The caveat is the fact the during all normal times the rules apply, if TSHTF comes there will be nobody to enforce those rules. Knowledge is power, figure it out early, not when you have to. Listening in is NOT illegal on some bands, however transmitting is. Use your own best judgement.

As usual, just my $.02
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