GMRS Repeater for the North Methow Valley
If you already know about GMRS and FRS services,
then you are likely good to go. But if you are new to GMRS, it
is family radio service (like FRS) but not limited to the junky radios you
buy at Walmart for 10 bucks each. It is way more beneficial
and effective than those bubble pack overhyped toys.
Here in the (North) Methow Valley, cellular coverage
is poor, especially if you do not have Verizon service. Once
you head down Lost River Rd or West of Early Winters, you lose
cellular coverage. GMRS will extend your ability to have
communications between your own group when separated by more than a
half mile or so or if you need emergency or other priority services.
This is when a GMRS repeater will help fill the communications gap.
We also have several Amateur Radio (Ham) repeaters in the Methow
for more information.
So if you are skiing (especially so in winter), hiking, biking, on a horse or
in your vehicle, this repeater can provide you easy communication for routine
use with friends or in an emergency. To take advantage of
this great resourse, you need to have the appropriate knowledge and
equipment. The links below will provide basic to advanced GMRS
There are over
in the US, many being open for your use. So your investment to
get rolling on GMRS in the Methow, will provide you much the same access
elsewhere in the country.
The owner of this repeater does have some
specialized equipment consisting of handheld radios, mobile radios &
antennas for your groups if you do not have your own. Please
inquire if you would like to explore GMRS on the
loaner plan but take a look at
the handy Amazon options below.
If you have a
good high location, it would better serve our community if the repeater
could be relocated. Flagg Mtn or Sun Mountain Lodge for example would
be a good location as would Slate Peak. If you wish to help or have
any leads on a good location to park this repeater,
||This repeater is a Motorola Micor Station running 50
watts out of the duplexer into a 4.5 dB gain antenna at 2,350 feet ASL
(~250 feet above the valley floor). Program 462.725 Mhz for
your receiver and 467.725 Mhz for your transmit. Also you will
need CTCSS (PL) of 141.3 Hz on your transmit and optionally add it
to your receive as well. The call sign is: WQZD796
|Who can use it?
||Anyone in the Methow; residents, visitors,
travelers. Permission is granted, no need to ask, please use
your own call sign.
|Why Use a Repeater?
||The repeater can greatly enhance the distance
between your two radios. 20-30 miles are possible with mobile
radios or handhelds in good clear or high areas line of sight to
Edelweiss, between Winthrop and Mazama
||Rough projection of your coverage with both a
handheld and mobile radio, green for handheld and yellow for a
Close-up coverage map. These maps are for the temporary
location in Edelweiss.
|Need a License?
||Well yes...sorta. GMRS is like family
licensing, apply online for $70 (good for 5 years)
via the FCC with a charge card. Login, create an
account and then apply for GMRS license (code is: ZA)
GMRS by the FCC
||Basic information provided by the Federal
What is GMRS?
||Wikipedia's entry telling about about GMRS
||Database of thousands of GMRS repeaters in the USA
||Good catchall web site explaining FRS and GMRS
||Miklor's page on how far can a 5 watt handheld can
|Aux Repeater PL's
||Also available for longer conversations: 173.8,
206.5 and 210.7 but you must be in carrier squelch as no PL is
transmitted on the repeater's output. Only the Traveler's PL,
141.3 is transmitted.
|Radios to Use?
||Most bubble pack radios will not access repeaters.
The least expensive, decent quality and type-accepted handheld is
the BTECH GMRS-VI (Amazon
$55). The higher cost Midland MXT400 40 watt mobile (Amazon
$250) is at the other extreme. Most commercial UHF
radios will also work as well. We have various GMRS capable 40
watt mobiles that can be available. A car antenna is also
needed for around $200 radio and antenna possibly. Mobile
radios have much greater distance capability.
GMRS-VI is a 5 watt type accepted handheld radio that supports
$55). This is about the least expensive
handheld out there today that can be legally used with GMRS
repeaters. This is a good repeater capable GMRS starter
radio. Also it can be programmed with the excellent
Chirp Programming Software or via the front panel. See:
Reference & FAQ. A
Starter Codeplug is
available, you also need a programming cable or get the
starter kit for the best deal)
|Midland 15 watt Mobile
Midland's MTX115 is a type accepted midrange mobile
radio that supports repeaters and includes the antenna and mount
with cable (Amazon
$149). It has 15 watts of power rather than the 2-5
watts and lossy rubber antenna on the typical handheld but less than
the 40 watts of the MTX400, (about $290 complete). So this
radio is about half the cost of the high power mobile but 2.5 times
the cost of the GMRS-VI handheld.
|Midland 40 watt Mobile
Midland's MTX400 is a type accepted higher end mobile
radio that supports repeaters (Amazon
$250). Also needed is a mobile antenna.
Suggested Antenna (Amazon $20),
Suggested Magnet Mount and cable for Antenna (Amazon $20)
||Other radios may be
better and cheaper but require some programming knowledge to use on
GMRS. Either way, the bubblepack radios are marginal at best.
Most of the low end bubblepack stuff will not work through a
repeater, so be careful. The
cheap Boafengs work on GRMS but
are not type-accepted for GMRS use. We suggest the
BTECH GMRS-VI (Amazon
$55) as the minimum HT entry radio. Possibly the 20
watt portable/mobile TalkCoop KT-8900 (Amazon
$88) with antenna and cigarette lighter plug. It is
likely not type accepted for GMRS but could be used for, WX, MURS,
Ham and other licensed and unlicensed services as well.
|| Be careful on Ebay. If you know what
to look for, it is a great resource. This link weeds out much
of the junk but there are still over 700 hits (at this moment) and
much of it is not what you want. Your mileage may vary.
|| A pair of simple "demonstration" HT's programmed as
High Power / Side button 1 is "Monitor"
1) Mazama Repeater
2) Mazama Direct 3) Alt Mazama Repeater
4) Alt Mazama Direct 5) Alt Mazama Direct low power