Topics

Community Radio Watch Efforts in Oroville / Butte County

Alan Thompson
 

Passing along a great update about what these folks are doing at a grass-roots level:

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Just a Note to Let You Know...
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2019 18:19:21 -0700
From: Jeffrey Reid <N6TDG@...>
To: alan@... <alan@...>


Hello Alan,
 
It looks like the repeater for our GMRS system will be set up within the next week or two.  But, I wanted to let you know that the Greater Mt. Ida Neighborhood Radio Watch worked like a champ during the recent PSPS by PG and E.  
 
If you remember the location of your talk to the Oroville Amateur Radio Club back in July, a wildfire started within a mile away a few days ago during the power shutoff. Instead of apprehension, area residents were able to keep informed of the fire fighting efforts.  The fire itself was knocked down quickly, utilizing four aerial assets as well as nearly 20 engine companies. The fire was kept to just under ten acres.  
 
Listening to the GMRS, I heard reports from some members that monitored the Cal Fire frequencies and passed along important information such as location of the fire, etc…  I think this kept the area informed and anxiety levels low because real, solid information was able to be transmitted in a timely manner.
 
I think you can credit this as a success Alan.  The local GMRS weekly net is run by non-amateurs and they do it well.  We use GMRS Channel 16 for the net as well as emergencies and Channel 17 for Chit-Chat.  The repeater I believe will be on Repeater Channel 15.
 
Little did you know as you stared at all those stickers on the back of the SAT trailer, that a very real, hands on system for the general public was not only available but I think for here, has successfully been put into use.  
 
Interest in the GMRS system will wax and wane…that is only natural.  But the infrastructure is there…always ready to be used.
 
On a side note.  I picked up the Btech GMRS V-1 and coupled it with the Nagoya 701c antenna that is tuned for the upper parts of the band/s (2m and 70cm.)  I am surprised on how this little radio works.  I wanted something for my wife to use and not be intimidated.  She is the one that checks in for the net.   (She knows how nets work, after having listened to ones that I have participated.)   At a price tag of around $50, not including the antenna, which is another $15, plus tax, etc…a total of around $75 for a dedicated h/t that works.  I was down at the KOA at Feather Falls Casino and managed to check in to the Mt. Ida area…a distance of easily seven  miles that is hilly and treed.  Now there are some people that I can not hear, nor they can hear me, but that is the nature of the medium.  But Net Control can hear me, as well as others and that is important.  I wanted my wife to at least be able to talk to our neighbor across the street if needed.  It has surpassed that expectation. This is not the best radio in the world, of course.  Perhaps the Icom 4001 would be nicer, but for the price…it works…
 
I don’t know how your presentations are going.  I saw you had uploaded an April Presentation and hope you will have a chance to upload the second portion. (Radio for the Rest of Us)  Perhaps you can voice over a slide presentation and upload that in lieu of an actual presentation.  I think those presentations can then be spread far and wide as to how to set up a simple GMRS Radio Watch.
 
Back in the late winter and early spring, during our back and forth on how to set up such a system, I never realized that the easiest way to do it, was to just do it.  What also blew me away was the synergistic efforts.  As I mentioned early, local residents began asking what they can do for communication during a PSPS (We had one in June).  Your July presentation came at the most opportune time to make everything gel together.  
 
I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know how I see things working.  So far, so good.  I think you can take this to heart and hold this portion of Butte County as a successful implementation of a GMRS system.  
 
Regards,
 
Jeffrey Reid
N6TDG

Nathan Chilton - K6NDC
 

That's good to hear. I've been looking for an excuse to get a GMRS license and a GMRS-V1. 

Jef - N5JEF
 

Nathan -

Thank you very much for sharing this.

Although it's not Amateur Radio, GMRS can play an important role in the emcomm toolbox, and can out-perform ham UHF repeaters due to the constraints imposed by Beale AFB PAVE PAWS radar system.

  • There are several GMRS repeaters already covering Auburn, the Sacramento Valley, and one near Cisco Grove. And the El Dorado ARC has recently adopted their use as well.
  • The GMRS repeaters in our area can run at a full 50W on any of the 8 GMRS repeater channels. [In contrast with high-level ham UHF repeaters that are crippled by PAVE PAWS constraints.]
  • A GMRS handheld can be used with 5W on any of the 22 FRS / GMRS channels, and recently became legally allowed to talk with unlicensed (max 2W) FRS users.
  • GMRS / FRS allows business discussion and use.
  • GMRS requires a license, but no test, and the license covers all the direct family members of the licensee.
  • GMRS legally requires the use of a type-accepted radio (legally Part 95, but in practice Part 90 are widely used and meet the same performance requirements) but in an actual emergency a 70cm ham radio will work just fine if hardware-enabled to operate beyond the ham bands.
All strong reasons for adding GMRS to our emcomm and public service toolkits.

- Jef  N5JEF  WQYJ498

Nathan Chilton - K6NDC
 

I love that they formed an organized net with GMRS.  It didn't occur to me that GMRS repeaters might not have the same restrictions as UHF ham repeaters do in our region.  

Nathan Chilton - K6NDC
 

I just got a GMRS license.  Now I have to memorize "WREM784".

Dennis - WU6X
 

Like anyone at the FCC is actually listening anymore?
Dennis, WU6X

On Nov 7, 2019, at 8:11 AM, Nathan Chilton - K6NDC <k6ndc@...> wrote:

I just got a GMRS license.  Now I have to memorize "WREM784".

--
Dennis - WU6X

Jef - N5JEF
 

And try to remember not to give your ham call sign out of habit.  ;-)

You may want to check out mygmrs.com for GMRS repeater listings.

Here are a few of the GMRS repeaters in our area:
  • "550 Auburn"   Rx:462.550 T123;  Tx:467.550 T123;   FM-W
  • "700 Auburn"  Rx:462.700  DCS:466;   Tx:467.700 DCS:612;   FM-W  Note that Tx and Rx DCS are different for this site.
  • "700" Sutter Buttes"  Rx:462.700 DCS:466;   Tx:467.700 DCS:466;   FM-W
-Jef  N5JEF  WQYJ498  


On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 8:11 AM Nathan Chilton - K6NDC <k6ndc@...> wrote:
I just got a GMRS license.  Now I have to memorize "WREM784".
_._,_._,_

Nathan Chilton - K6NDC
 

Thanks for the tips, Jef!  Are those repeaters "open"?

Gerry - WA6E
 

Jeff-

Who is sponsoring these repeaters and, with respect to the ones in Auburn, where are they?

Gerry
WA6E
No GMRS Call but CB Call from 1960's:  KNA5935

On 11/7/2019 9:27 AM, Jef - N5JEF wrote:
And try to remember not to give your ham call sign out of habit.  ;-)

You may want to check out mygmrs.com for GMRS repeater listings.

Here are a few of the GMRS repeaters in our area:
  • "550 Auburn"   Rx:462.550 T123;  Tx:467.550 T123;   FM-W
  • "700 Auburn"  Rx:462.700  DCS:466;   Tx:467.700 DCS:612;   FM-W  Note that Tx and Rx DCS are different for this site.
  • "700" Sutter Buttes"  Rx:462.700 DCS:466;   Tx:467.700 DCS:466;   FM-W
-Jef  N5JEF  WQYJ498  


On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 8:11 AM Nathan Chilton - K6NDC <k6ndc@...> wrote:
I just got a GMRS license.  Now I have to memorize "WREM784".

Sean - KG6CYA
 

Gerry,
I just looked at my frequency list for the North Valley GMRS group and they own the .700 Auburn and .700 Sutter Buttes repeaters.  I will ask where the Auburn repeater is.  Additionally, from my place (very close to you, 1/2 mi. or so) I am mobile only into the Auburn box.  No HT access.

Sean


On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 10:20 AM Gerry - WA6E <gjbrent@...> wrote:
Jeff-

Who is sponsoring these repeaters and, with respect to the ones in Auburn, where are they?

Gerry
WA6E
No GMRS Call but CB Call from 1960's:  KNA5935

On 11/7/2019 9:27 AM, Jef - N5JEF wrote:
And try to remember not to give your ham call sign out of habit.  ;-)

You may want to check out mygmrs.com for GMRS repeater listings.

Here are a few of the GMRS repeaters in our area:
  • "550 Auburn"   Rx:462.550 T123;  Tx:467.550 T123;   FM-W
  • "700 Auburn"  Rx:462.700  DCS:466;   Tx:467.700 DCS:612;   FM-W  Note that Tx and Rx DCS are different for this site.
  • "700" Sutter Buttes"  Rx:462.700 DCS:466;   Tx:467.700 DCS:466;   FM-W
-Jef  N5JEF  WQYJ498  


On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 8:11 AM Nathan Chilton - K6NDC <k6ndc@...> wrote:
I just got a GMRS license.  Now I have to memorize "WREM784".

Gerry - WA6E
 

Sean-

If the maps are accurate, one of the GMRS repeaters is located just above where the RR track goes into a tunnel under Mt Vernon Road. 

The other is in the hills above Clipper Gap Road.

I was just wondering if there was a prime repeater location, would it benefit us.  Not seeing that at the moment.  Frankly I would be curious to know what kind of coverage they have from their present locations.

Gerry

On 11/7/2019 10:39 AM, Sean Finders wrote:
Gerry,
I just looked at my frequency list for the North Valley GMRS group and they own the .700 Auburn and .700 Sutter Buttes repeaters.  I will ask where the Auburn repeater is.  Additionally, from my place (very close to you, 1/2 mi. or so) I am mobile only into the Auburn box.  No HT access.

Sean

On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 10:20 AM Gerry - WA6E <gjbrent@...> wrote:
Jeff-

Who is sponsoring these repeaters and, with respect to the ones in Auburn, where are they?

Gerry
WA6E
No GMRS Call but CB Call from 1960's:  KNA5935

On 11/7/2019 9:27 AM, Jef - N5JEF wrote:
And try to remember not to give your ham call sign out of habit.  ;-)

You may want to check out mygmrs.com for GMRS repeater listings.

Here are a few of the GMRS repeaters in our area:
  • "550 Auburn"   Rx:462.550 T123;  Tx:467.550 T123;   FM-W
  • "700 Auburn"  Rx:462.700  DCS:466;   Tx:467.700 DCS:612;   FM-W  Note that Tx and Rx DCS are different for this site.
  • "700" Sutter Buttes"  Rx:462.700 DCS:466;   Tx:467.700 DCS:466;   FM-W
-Jef  N5JEF  WQYJ498  


On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 8:11 AM Nathan Chilton - K6NDC <k6ndc@...> wrote:
I just got a GMRS license.  Now I have to memorize "WREM784".


Jef - N5JEF
 

Nathan -

Technically, no.  You can request permission for that Auburn 550 repeater through myGMRS and I expect it will be granted.  The other two repeaters are part of the NVGMRS system, and I think they are in myGMRS too.  I've been a member there for a few years.

- Jef

On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 9:38 AM Nathan Chilton - K6NDC <k6ndc@...> wrote:
Thanks for the tips, Jef!  Are those repeaters "open"?

_._,_._,_

Nathan Chilton - K6NDC
 

On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 11:31 AM, Jef - N5JEF wrote:
that Auburn 550 repeater
I was granted access to that Auburn 550 repeater (aka "Mountain Top" on channel 15) and had a conversation with some of its users yesterday.  The repeater seems to be quite active.

Jef - N5JEF
 

Nathan -

Thanks for sharing this. I believe GMRS can be a strong adjunct to Amateur Radio capabilities including Emcomm, especially with the PAVE PAWS restrictions in our region.  

- Jef  N5JEF  WQYJ498


On Sun, Nov 17, 2019 at 8:40 AM Nathan Chilton - K6NDC <k6ndc@...> wrote:
On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 11:31 AM, Jef - N5JEF wrote:
that Auburn 550 repeater
I was granted access to that Auburn 550 repeater (aka "Mountain Top" on channel 15) and had a conversation with some of its users yesterday.  The repeater seems to be quite active.

Greg D
 

Jef, good point about PAVE/PAWS.  I presume they escape by being on a different part of the 70cm band.

Greg  KO6TH


Jef - N5JEF wrote:

Nathan -

Thanks for sharing this. I believe GMRS can be a strong adjunct to Amateur Radio capabilities including Emcomm, especially with the PAVE PAWS restrictions in our region.  

- Jef  N5JEF  WQYJ498

On Sun, Nov 17, 2019 at 8:40 AM Nathan Chilton - K6NDC <k6ndc@...> wrote:
On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 11:31 AM, Jef - N5JEF wrote:
that Auburn 550 repeater
I was granted access to that Auburn 550 repeater (aka "Mountain Top" on channel 15) and had a conversation with some of its users yesterday.  The repeater seems to be quite active.


Alan Thompson
 

Jim - N6MED
 

Greg -- less about GMRS 'being in a different part of the band' and more that the segment we have we use as secondary users to DOD.

Jim

Greg D
 

Right, that's what I was referring to. We're in one of those "secondary
allocations" that hasn't worked out so well, at least around here.

Greg KO6TH


Jim Piper wrote:

Greg -- less about GMRS 'being in a different part of the band' and
more that the segment we have we use as secondary users to DOD.

Jim

Jim - N6MED
 

Got it. 


On Mon, Nov 18, 2019, 08:59 Greg D <ko6th.greg@...> wrote:
Right, that's what I was referring to.  We're in one of those "secondary
allocations" that hasn't worked out so well, at least around here.

Greg  KO6TH


Jim Piper wrote:
> Greg -- less about GMRS 'being in a different part of the band' and
> more that the segment we have we use as secondary users to DOD.
>
> Jim