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Middleton Tract simplex testing results

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  • #11393

    We did some radio testing within and from Middleton Tract on Sunday, October 25th. It was mostly GMRS, with Amateur VHF for coordination. Here’s a short summary of the results.

    On the GMRS side, we used two Tera 505 GMRS/MURS radios (4W) with stock antennas, and two Motorola MS350R ‘bubble pack’ GMRS radios.

    Two teams of volunteers drove around the Middleton Tract area, and tested communications back to Ricks’ base station on GMRS channel 1 (462.5625). The GMRS receiving radio was a Yaesu VX7R with a Diamond SRH940. We used Amateur VHF (VTAC32) to coordinate.

    The Tera 505’s were consistently able to reach our base station with good audio quality – Circuit Merit 4 and 5. We also had some successful tests from inside structures to the base station.

    The Motorola MS350R’s were hit and miss – sometimes good Circuit Merit 4 and 5, sometimes Circuit Merit 1,2, 3. One of the Motorola’s had a weak battery, and it was noticeable.

    Stations we also able to hear each other from many locations within Middleton, especially with the Tera 505’s.

    I was easily able to reach the W6SCF repeater (CMD31) from Rick’s (KM6JVK) home with my 50W mobile (Kenwood TM-V71) and 1/4 wave roof mounted antenna.

    We also tested the TM-V71 cross band repeat capability. We were able to use an H/T on UHF (UTAC92) through the TM-V71 to communicate in both directions with CMD31. During those tests, the TM-V71 repeater identified itself in morse code, which caused some confusion. Next time, I will remember to give everyone on the repeater a heads up before doing that. The good news is we heard all the chatter on the H/T, so it was a good test.

    Overall, the GMRS testing was successful, and should support the community plan to have multiple GMRS users communicate with each other and an amateur base station that can reach CMD31.

    Once caveat – all this testing was done in our late summer, bone dry conditions. Whenever it rains, we should do some additional testing to determine the impacts of wet redwoods on GMRS frequencies, and we may want to do some MURS experiments as well.

    The Tera radios can also use external antennas, so better H/T, attic, or outside antennas might also be useful.

    Thanks to Rick (KM6JVK), Deanna, Allen (KN6GMQ), Lori (KN6MGF), Lydia (KN6GMT), Thomas (KN6TEM), and Baby Yoda for all the testing help.

    #11397
    Casey, KA5WAX
    Participant

    very interesting – were these new 505’s? ( new-ish )
    I ask as I’m looking for something a nitch notch nibble above the BaoFengs used throughout the Canyon.

    also was that Deanna of Asa & Deanna? first house on the right past the bridge?

    #11402

    They were new-ish. One was new, one was about a year old.

    I like the Tera 505’s because they’re foolproof – power/volume knob and a channel knob, so it’s hard to get anything wrong. Li-Ion batteries, and a charger you can leave them sitting on. With an external antenna, you can also use MURS.

    I met Deanna at Rick’s house, so not sure which house is hers, but Mozilla came up in conversations at one point.

    #11403

    They were new-ish. One was new, one was about a year old.

    I like the Tera 505’s because they’re foolproof – power/volume knob and a channel knob, so it’s hard to get anything wrong. Li-Ion batteries, and a charger you can leave them sitting on. With an external antenna, you can also use MURS.

    I met Deanna at Rick’s house, so not sure which house is hers, but Mozilla came up in conversations at one point.

    #11404

    They were new-ish. One was new, one was about a year old.

    I like the Tera 505’s because they’re foolproof – power/volume knob and a channel knob, so it’s hard to get anything wrong. Li-Ion batteries, and a charger you can leave them sitting on. With an external antenna, you can also use MURS.

    I met Deanna at Rick’s house, so not sure which house is hers, but Mozilla came up in conversations at one point.

    #11406
    Neil, W6VG
    Participant

    Great test! Thanks for all the work you did for the folks in Middleton. I’m interested in being involved in the next round of rainy season tests.

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