February 06, 2023

Learn about Repeaters! (GMRS + HAM)

Walkie-talkies may be good when the power goes out or cell service is down, but they only work a relatively short distance, despite what the retail package may say. So how can you stay in contact when you are miles aways from each other or surrounded by tall East Texas pine trees? Repeaters are the answer. And now they are available to GMRS users - a relatively new type of radio that is both inexpensive and easy to start using.

The Rusk County Amateur Radio Club will host a special presentation on “Repeaters” this Thursday evening during their regular monthly meeting. Participants can learn how repeaters work, what kind of radio to use and how to find repeaters available right here in Henderson, Tyler and Longview. 

“Learning how to use a ham radio or a GMRS repeater is a great way to be prepared for the worst,” said David Chenault, a member of the Rusk County ARC. “Almost anyone can take advantage of these systems that groups and individuals maintain at no cost to users.”

In addition to helping people stay in touch with each other, repeaters--both GMRS and ham--are often used to report severe weather during storms and hurricanes.

The presentation Thursday evening is just one in a series of topics specifically of interest to GMRS users. Chenault says people wanting to use GMRS radios need to get an FCC license. He adds that the good news is the license fee is only $35 and is valid for 10 years. Best of all, almost anyone can get one because there is no test to take like there is for ham radio licenses.

The program is free and open to the public. It begins at 7 p.m., Thursday, February 9,  at the meeting room at the South Main Church of Christ, 401 S. Main, in Henderson.