2017-01-23 First Repeater Setup

Below is the original announcement about the first repeater.

January 23, 2017

Announcement: Radio repeater for Berkeley CERT teams

A small group has been working to establish reliable systems for emergency communications between neighborhood CERT groups.

We are now happy to report the implementation of our first pilot project: a GMRS radio repeater covering approximately 95% of Berkeley. A repeater works by receiving radio signals from one person, and then relaying them at greater power, through a rooftop antenna, to the larger community. Thus, it is not necessary for two people be near each other to communicate.

There are a few operating requirements for the use of this system:

1) You will need a radio capable of using GMRS repeaters. Very few bubble-pack FRS/GMRS radios have this capability.

2) Radios capable of accessing a repeater generally cost between $12 and $75, depending on features. We have compiled a list compatible radios and are working on a standardized offering for around $60.

3) A GMRS license is required to use a GMRS repeater. While there is little enforcement of this system and you can test it out without a license, we encourage people who intend to use this system in an actual response to apply for a license. There is no test and the cost is $70 for 5 years. A single license applies to all members of a family. However, it is not possible to license an organization, licenses are only available for individuals.

The repeater is now online and you can become familiar with its operation and also help define how it should best be deployed to support emergency interactions between CERT teams. Note: only a single repeater channel is available. Since the repeater will be used primarily for communications between neighborhoods, communications within a CERT group should continue to use direct radio contact.

We plan regular, probably weekly, exercises for practice and to learn standard directed net procedures. Whenever the repeater is not in use for practice and training, users are encouraged to take advantage the repeater to keep up their skills and familiarity with the equipment.

If you or your neighborhood would be interested in learning how you can join in, please send an email to becertainn@gmail.com with your name and contact information.

Richard Perlman & Geoff Lomax