Arizona GMRS Initiative

Introduction

Our repeaters consist of a series of linked nodes registered with the myGMRS network. In developing our systems and infrastructure for our needs, why not share it with others?

The Arizona GMRS Initiative is a statewide linking project looking to develop the linking capabilities of GMRS repeaters throughout Arizona by sharing our infrastructure where there’s a need, and working with interested repeater owners to grow the prevalence of linked repeaters in our state.

Technology

The networking technology used by myGMRS is Asterisk with the APP_RPT module; this is the same software package used by Amateur Radio’s Allstar system, and will work readily with devices running the Allstar Link and HamVoIP images, or custom builds of the software. Devices running this system can act as full fledged repeater controllers, providing not just linking capabilities, but also repeater control functions and traveler’s services.

Our Infrastructure

Tucson GMRS hosts the Arizona and National nodes for the myGMRS network alongside the systems we use to host our own repeater cluster. We manage a scalable virtual server with dedicated CPUs located centrally in Dallas, TX – the server provides excellent uptime, bandwidth and latency for our users located throughout the country. The Arizona hub is open to all repeater owners and organizations within the state, with the National hub open to all repeaters on the myGMRS network throughout the country.

Internet linking with myGMRS is an easy and legal means to develop wide-coverage areas for GMRS repeater users; repeaters wishing to utilize the Arizona hub or any of our other hosted systems require conformance with our terms of use.

We also maintain a RoIP service which lets users access the repeater system from a desktop, smartphone or tablet. Users of this system have direct access to the Arizona Hub and any connected repeaters from their devices anywhere there’s internet. Users do not need to be members of our group to sign up for this system; yes, we’re happy to let anyone connect so long as they hold a valid GMRS license (which we verify!).

Interested repeater owners should look to join the myGMRS network directly; if you need a hand or have questions, feel free to let us know. If you run a private repeater or repeater system we do not require that you make your system public, but obviously you would need to accept traffic coming through the link when connected.

If you run multiple sites or have sites that are difficult to access and are not interested in running and maintaining servers for linking use, we can help by handling the server side when using thin-client architecture; see below.

Hardware

There are two general approaches to hardware for this network. Self hosted, which provides fully self-sustaining hardware at each site, or thin-client, which is a centrally hosted and managed system architecture. For self-hosted solutions, kits with everything you need can be purchased directly from myGMRS. These can connect to our Arizona hub (node 20400) freely along with many other nodes on the network once registered. Stand-alone systems make sense for single or few-site systems that are easily accessed, where keeping a deployment up to date is not an issue.

Radio Thin-Client Modules (RTCMs) are a more robust, “set it and forget it” centrally hosted solution. RTCMs are appropriate for remote and/or multiple sites. With these devices, all audio, signalling and configuration is handled off-site to a remote server which does all the hard work. No port-forwarding or other configuration is required, making RTCMs easy to coordinate with shared internet sites where you do not have direct control of the connection. In case of an internet outage, the devices will function as a basic repeater controller with hang-time and CW-id.

If you run multiple sites but would like to avoid managing a central server for linking, we can host the server-side of the connection on ours. In this case, repeater owners would be given full access to the remote management console required to control their node(s) from our system.

We hope to see the number of Arizona repeaters on the myGMRS network grow in the future. If you have any questions or would like to work together to get your repeater online – please do not hesitate to contact us. If you are already part of the myGMRS network – consider joining us on the Arizona hub, or every Sunday for the National GMRS Net!