Alright – here is what I have been trying to do. If reading through this you get confused – well, now you know how I feel.
The video below describes exactly what I have done to my four Baofeng UV-5R 2 meter Ham radio’s. I have followed the instructions exactly but to no avail it is not working. The entire purpose of my efforts is to create one or two back up repeaters as a back up to the local repeater in my area. I am not expecting the same range out of my home built repeaters however I am looking for some area coverage over what the stock radio’s are capable of.
In case you are unaware of what a repeater is – the picture below is a pretty good illustration:
The antenna at the top of the peak above represents the repeater. The repeater allows radio’s that are otherwise too far apart to communicate to actually connect. Repeaters are excellent at getting communication around and over obstacles. A repeater generally has a receive channel and transmit channel. The HAM operator on the left transmits a message which is received by the repeater, and the repeater then transmits the message out to the HAM operator on the right via a different channel.
The video below does an excellent job describing this better than I can write it.
Trial #1: In the video a simple cable with a 3.5mm jack on each end along with one end using a 2.5mm adapter is used. I tried it – did not work.
Result: The problem I had was that between the receive and transmit radio’s the transmit radio would constantly receive some type of static. Due to the constant static the transmit radio would “time out”.
ABOVE: Repeater Interface
Trial #2: I purchased a “Repeater Interface” off of eBay. This repeater interface contains the same cable – 3.5mm on each end along with a 2.5mm adapter. The difference between the Interface and a regular cable in a “box” between the two ends. What is in that box? I have no idea. I was told there is circuitry to clean up the signal between the two radio’s.
Initial trials provided the same static from the receive radio to the transmit radio. This static would cause the transmit radio to time out.
Next – I tried a different 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter – success!!!! Well – sort of. I was able to use Radio A to send a message, which would go from the receive radio through the Interface to the Transmit radio – and then to Radio B. Problem? The audio was extremely faint.
I hoisted the “homemade repeater” up approx 35 feet in the air and tried it. The audio was too faint to hear and static was the result. Periodically rather than audio or static I would receive bursts of “noise” – consistent in nature and it would come as long as Radio A or B was keyed up.
Trial 3: I tried the same thing as Trial #1 except with a different cable. The constant static between the Receive Radio and Transmit Radio did not happen. This was great except when I keyed up Radio A all that went to Radio B through the Repeater was static.
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So – this is where I sit…..pretty damn frustrated. I have put a lot of time into this and can’t figure out how many others out there have had success and all I have is failure.
“Pat” left a comment and suggestion to check out a Simplex Repeater – offered HERE. That is certainly a consideration.
“talkingbear” also suggested a Simplex Repeater – HERE.
I know some experienced guys (and gals) out there may be saying – “What an amatuer….” and they would be right. Communication is a vital part of a preparedness system and being able to reach family members and members of my group are high on my priority list. Budget restraints exist and 2-meter HAM should fit the bill.
If anyone out there has any first hand experience – and maybe solutions – please pass it on. This likely will not just help me but many others as well.
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