Turning Vehicle into Mobile Repeater

OFC Ranger

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I know the basics/purpose of radio repeaters. Outside of basic concepts, Ive not really looked into them much more. I figured it could be beneficial under certain circumstances when multiple parties are out on foot with hand helds that utilizing the very high mounted antenna capability of my truck platform to turn the truck into a mobile repeater?

Can someone point me to a good starting point to read up on this concept and the equipment involved?
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LoneRNGR

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Can someone point me to a good starting point to read up on this concept and the equipment involved?
For most repeater operation an FCC license of some type is required. What purpose will the repeater be used for? Recreational, business, public safety, etc.
 
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OFC Ranger

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For most repeater operation an FCC license of some type is required. What purpose will the repeater be used for?
Not looking for large distances, more like a base camp setup. I figured having a primary antenna that is elevated would help with hand held comms out in the field in communicating with other people near the vehicle or in another part of the field.
 

LoneRNGR

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That looks really cool. A few things:
  • It does require a GMRS license (easy to get, no testing)
  • It is using a duplexer that needs to be tuned for the frequency pair you choose. This would mean a trip to a radio shop or know someone with the equipment and knowledge required to tune the cans.
  • They specified that it was either a 5 or 10 MHz split. You would want it to be 5 MHz to be used in the GMRS band. Is this capable of both or do you have to purchase a different model to be able to use a 5 MHz split?
If you (and your friends) are not opposed to getting an amateur radio license, then many dual-band radios can be configured for cross-band repeat. This would be the simplest setup and your mobile radio would double as a repeater when needed.
 


Jhbryaniv

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That looks really cool. A few things:
  • It does require a GMRS license (easy to get, no testing)
  • It is using a duplexer that needs to be tuned for the frequency pair you choose. This would mean a trip to a radio shop or know someone with the equipment and knowledge required to tune the cans.
  • They specified that it was either a 5 or 10 MHz split. You would want it to be 5 MHz to be used in the GMRS band. Is this capable of both or do you have to purchase a different model to be able to use a 5 MHz split?
If you (and your friends) are not opposed to getting an amateur radio license, then many dual-band radios can be configured for cross-band repeat. This would be the simplest setup and your mobile radio would double as a repeater when needed.
This last bit.

Get a ham license and a cross band repeater with a handheld.

There are some really cool features of ham too... You can share your location over the network - aprs. Which means you travel out somewhere you're other half can follow you around in a website... You can send text messages and receive (limitations apply) to phones....
 

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Best check the rules. Repeater use does require more than a basic GMRS license.
 

Jhbryaniv

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Best check the rules. Repeater use does require more than a basic GMRS license.
A GMRS licensee may use a combination of portable, mobile, fixed and repeater stations consistent with the operational and technical rules in Subpart E of Part 95. The use of some channels is restricted to certain types of stations and certain channels are reserved for voice-only operations, while other channels allow voice and data operations.

https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-divisions/mobility-division/general-mobile-radio-service-gmrs
 

Jhbryaniv

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47 CFR 95.1705(c)(4)(iv)


(d) Individual licensee duties. The holder of an individual license:


(1) Shall determine specifically which individuals, including family members, are allowed to operate (i.e., exercise operational control over) its GMRS station(s) (see paragraph (c) of this section);

(2) May allow any person to use (i.e., benefit from the operation of) its GMRS repeater, or alternatively, may limit the use of its GMRS repeater to specific persons;

(3) May disallow the use of its GMRS repeater by specific persons as may be necessary to carry out its responsibilities under this section.
 

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I've got a TYT TH-9800 that I use s a mobile repeater. In on the 70M Side and cross bands out on the 2M Side. I tune the radio so that I can hit my truck with a hand held Yaesu FT-60 (5w). Then the truck with a better antenna and 50W output makes the call to the actual land based repeater out somewhere else. But if I wanted to, I could make it an in-camp repeater.

There are also people that put repeaters in a Fat-50 ammo can with a little 12ah LiFePo4 battery and a solar charger. Then you can drop it at the top of a mountain during an event like a mountain bike race or a wildfire to provide comms where there are none.

What bands are you looking to use?
  • MURS
  • Ham / Amateur
  • GMRS
  • Police / Fire
 

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Quite an interesting read so far. I'm a little bit curious about this. Can't say I will do it or not, but I am interested
 

Ranger X

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I know the basics/purpose of radio repeaters. Outside of basic concepts, Ive not really looked into them much more. I figured it could be beneficial under certain circumstances when multiple parties are out on foot with hand helds that utilizing the very high mounted antenna capability of my truck platform to turn the truck into a mobile repeater?

Can someone point me to a good starting point to read up on this concept and the equipment involved?
Check out https://youtube.com/@TheNotaRubicon
This guy has a lot of interesting videos on everything related to GMRS and other stuff. I’m sure I will get some SAD HAM comments ?
 

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I would just get that RT97 from Retevis. They will configure it for you before shipping if you ask them to. Put a good antenna on the roof of the truck and you should be good.
 

GTGallop

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Check out https://youtube.com/@TheNotaRubicon
This guy has a lot of interesting videos on everything related to GMRS and other stuff. I’m sure I will get some SAD HAM comments ?
I don't mean to brag, but I'm his favorite viewer. He told me so in a few videos.

As a Ham - I COMPLETELY agree with his Sad Ham assessment.

Matter of fact one of the Ham Channels on YT was recently asked what the biggest challenge to the Ham Radio Hobby is, and he responded that it wasn't cell phones, the internet, satellites, or any of that. He said the greatest challenge to keeping Ham going was the sad crusty old "my way or the highway" ham operators out there that seem content to eat our own - usually the newer and less experienced guys and gals - that are just a year or two in and didn't automatically start in Ham with the knowledge they amassed over the last 48 years of being on the radio.

We do have our fair share of purist F-ers out there. I prefer to use ham as a supplemental and complimentary hobby. It makes hiking better, fishing better, off-roading better, camping better, long distance shooting better, road trips better. I'm sure one day I'll participate in a contest for sh-iggles but I really don't care to hear about bunions and colitis from a guy in Virginia Beach. I'd much rather use it to enhance other hobbies. Matter of fact, if you hit my link over on the left in my profile info, you'll see the equipment and training I have and in the pictures, you won't see a single radio.

I also use it as part of CERT with our local FD, but it is only one element. Our primary comms are Fire Service Motorola APX's on Event Channel 3. Gets me almost all of Maricopa County and parts of Yavapai.
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