Solar powered GMRS repeater


This page is about building a low cost, low power, solar powered GMRS repeater using all the new rules from the FCC. This project started out of nothing and then grew as I found more and more information on what I needed to do and what to buy to complete it. In the end I ended up spending less than 800 dollars for everything.
The list;
1- set of ferrite ring clip noise suppressors - 12.00
1 - 55 AH battery gel battery - 85.00
1 dual band VHF/UHF base station antenna ANLI-100 - 68.00
1 hyper pet ball launcher - 23.00
50 Ft. - rg8x coax cable pl259 - 33.00
100 ft. - black dacron polyester rope, 3/16 #6 = 16.00
1 - sunnydaze spiral ground anchor1 12 inch- 13.00
1 - Zebco bite alert spincast reel - 15.00
1 - renogy 50 watt 12 volt solar starter kit - 125.00
1 - coaxial adapter connector kit N male to pl259 - 14.00
2 - baofeng UV-5RV2+ dual band radios - 72.00
2- Baofeng UV-5R 12 cigarette lighter battery pack eliminator - 12.00
1 - surecom sr--328 duplex repeater controller - 60.00
1 - Fumei UHF 400-470 30 duplexor adjusted for 462/467 Mhz - 84.00
1 - armbucker DC12 volt cigeretter lighter adapter - 10.00
1 - homemade wood enclosure- exterior - priceless
1- door latch and hinges - 17.00
All of these items can be purchased at Amazon ( I did)


Then you need a large tree that you hang the antenna from. I have a 100 ft Oak tree in the southern end of my property where I could place the solar panel and have good sun all day.

Getting the rope across a limb about 50 foot up? Easy> I took the tennis ball launcher and a couple of fish hooks and glued them into two balls, ( just in case I lost one) , mounted the zipco reel on the bottom of the launcher. Hooked up a ball with a swivel, and found the perfect branch to use. LAUNCH! got it on the first try. That launcher above could easily hit 80-100 ft straight up, wow. Let out enough slack until the ball reaches the ground. Tie on the 100 Ft length of rope and reel it back over the limb. Then take the anchor and screw it into the ground at dead drop center. Loop rope through and tie off for a Flag type pull rope.

Then I put together my 2M/70CM antenna and used tie straps to tie it to the rope in 5-6 places. Connected up my RG-8 cable and pulled the antenna up to the limb. Set a couple of more tie straps on both ropes to hold position. Antenna is up and secure at 48ft.
Then I built a box for all the repeater gear to go in and stand for the solar panel. I just used scrap lumber i had at the house, but you can build what you need to fit radios and gear.
Configuring the radios is easy, you just have to monitor the repeater frequencies you want to use to make sure no one else is using them. One radio is set for the recieving side 467 Mhz, and one the transmit side 462 Mhz.
The first couple of days I got "chittering" and a "buzz" when transmitting. The buzz ended up being two things; Noise from the USB charger in the Solar controller which I cured with a Ferrite coil inline and the other was a bad radio filter. The chittering ended up being some static interference from something local, I placed aluminum foil "grounded" around transmit radio and that stopped it. Sometimes the simple things are the best.
Whitt Haven Watch
Is the name listed under GMRS repeater website. I posted this in our neighborhood FB page and the response was underwheming to say the least... no surprise there. The sole purpose was to see and test viability, would it work correctly and how far will it reach. My property is in the lowest area of the hood, with antenna at 48 ft it is surprising just how far it will reach. Our hood has a 2 mile square road, I am on a far corner and I can reach to the other corner without issue on a handie talkie. I plan on purchasing a 50 watt unit for the auto and see just how far I can reach around the subdivison.

Again, this was a experiment for testing. My plan is to place this on a mountain top at my farm in TN and use it for communications while in the woods and with neighbors there.


FITZ

Overall, it works very well. Coverage is good for what I have, it covers at least a mile in all directions. If located at a higher point or tower, I could see this working for several miles with no issues. It came in a bit more than what I had thought it would, but under 800 total so I am good with that.

The only thing that I would change in what I have done would have been to try and place it huigher up in the tree, I am at about 48 ft., I would have liked to see it at 60-70 ft. high.