Concern about GMRS

I am an Allstarlink Inc. board member and was a close friend of Jim Dixon for over 25 years. I was on the development team that created the hardware/software technology that asterisk and allstar use. - We made the hardware public domain and the software open source. Let me recap this for everyone. Allstarlink Inc, is a non-profit 5013c set up to a support and maintain the Ham radio Allstar repeater linking system and maintain app_rpt and the associated technology. The technology we use app_rpt and registration server were created by Jim Dixon. Allstarlink Inc., owns the rights to the open source project app_rpt. The being said, Jim and I discussed numerous times app_rpt being used for a GMRS network and even on government pubic safety networks. Realize the technology used and the network it is being used on are two different things. Jim had actually set up a web page to support GMRS networking before his death but never got around to finishing it. This was going to be for GMRS and completely separate list of nodes than the Ham network. Jim mentioned it on the video I posted previously. In fact, he was going help me set up a GMRS node for my minor son. - It has been awhile, but I believe in South America there is a government public safety network using app_rpt. Again, that is completely separate system from the Allstarlink Ham network, it just uses app_rpt. That being saids, Allstarlink Inc., doesn’t currently have the staff to support a GMRS network. We are an all volunteer organization. Could we some time in the future - maybe. You never know what volunteers start helping out or what financial or other donations the non-profit receives in the future. We have our hands full right now but that could change in the future. Would Allstarlink Inc. be supportive of anyone using the open source software in a new way. - Yes. That is the whole point of open source software. I am even considering making this my pet project so my son can link up a GMRS radio with other GMRS radios.

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I am a one person and I have a GMRS network that now has 20 nodes connect and more every month. My job keeps me away from growing the network in the summer time. We have been at it for just about 3 years now and every winter get get more and more nodes. I even started making the plug and play nodes and only changing for for hardware cost to help grow GMRS. We have a allmon2 so you can see the activity. The GMRS Linked Network

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Whatever happened to the pttlink.org domain?? I see it got moved to the Gandi registrar.

That is a very good question. I was wondering the same thing myself. Wayback Machine show what was on it.

K4SAT,
Sorry, been extremely busy and didn’t see this till today. This will also probably get me band from here like it did on several other sites run my Amateur operators, but you did ask…
You wrote:

  1. “Also shortly after, you posted something on Radio Reference to the effect that the FCC prohibits linking of GMRS. Seeing as you now have an extensive network both pleases and confuses me.”… let me see if I can attempt to explain all that has taken place since that statement was made. When I made that statement I had not received answers to part one, two, and three of our request for clarification of FCC about linking repeaters together (by the use of Internet connection and the use of VOIP protocol), if DSL, Cable TV connections, and/or Fiber connections were considered part of the “PSTN”, and what is the true definition of “short distance communications” as stated in the description of what GMRS is under the FCC rules. We received an answer to part one, the same “opinion” that was released later and made available to many that in FCC’s “opinion” the use of VOIP connections to radio equipment would not be in violation to the rules. We as of yet have not received a response to the other two parts. After being in the communication field for over 30+ years I know what the answers are to the PSTN question. I just want to hear or see them state it. The third part of that request I (and my legal team) felt would be the deciding factor that FCC would use to go after those doing linking across major areas. Many have questions about the linking part but many more have questioned about the “short distance” description and pushing their opinions that based on their views of the rules linking would be illegal because of the “short distance communication” more than VOIP usage. I have yet though to see where anyone, besides me, has asked that question in writing of FCC. So base on legal views and opinions I received I went ahead and started building my system out as was planned. After that opinion on part one was made public I determined that even if the repeaters are not allowed to be linked because of the third request for clarifications that there would still be a major need for more repeaters in this country that could be used for local communications. So I have the know how, the equipment, and the ability to do so, so why not. Why not attempt to assist individuals who paid for their license in getting on the air? Why not be part of making GMRS better for all? Why not work at getting all GMRS operators on the same page with the understanding of the rules and what equipment is available. These and many more questions asked daily. So I started the Association.
  2. “I had contacted you some time ago to ask about the hardware and software requirements for your system and the response was that it was “proprietary”.”… That sir is correct. The hardware and some of the software portions are proprietary. Why you ask? For the same reason that many commercial and Amateur radio operators are having issue with. Think about this for a few. Most anyone now days can take two Baofeng radios (or other types of radios), hookup a connection between them, set it up as a simple CS operated or PL/DCS controlled, and call it a repeater. Generally systems like this are easy to cause issues with. In fact I have seen these types of repeaters (and simplex repeaters) many times when out and about installing a repeater of my own. So the question is, when you have repeaters like these up and operational what do you do when you have a bunch of squirrels constantly all day/night long kerchunking your repeater(s) looking for the codes? Or what do you do when the repeater owner ends up with those people that are P O’d and have full intentions on causing interference. The repeater owner(s) have to have a way to prevent such squirrels from accessing and causing interference. You do that by installing equipment that has the ability to allow or disallow access to your repeater(s). And, if you are linking them, then you have to have a way to assign individual codes so that you can allow or disallow access to state or nation wide use.
  3. “But to say ASL should not support GMRS is totally shortsighted.”… I disagree. I think I was clear on the reason why. ASL is a Amateur Network. A network that just happens to use app_rpt module of the open source Asterisk software. A network that works well for the amateur radio operator. Providing a access point/port on ASL for the GMRS operator, in my personal opinion that’s based on years of experience dealing with and understanding of the mindset of the Amateur, Commercial, PS, Class A CB, Class D CB, Marine, etc… radio operators, would be a major mistake. If that offends anyone, oh well, I’m entitled to my opinion and facts.
  4. “It was a vision of Jim Dixon that GMRS could be linked.”… as it was of Mark Spencer, who was the creator of Asterisk software, back in the day when his vision was to design and make available software that could control a radio/repeater and to also provide a piece of software to replace the proprietary phone/PBX systems. Thanks to Mark Spenser, many of us throughout the years and still to this day are controlling our repeaters and using Asterisk in our past and future PBX systems. And, last…
  5. In reality, there are probably simple software rules that could be employed to provide a “Chinese wall” between Ham and GMRS nodes.”…yep, many have been saying that about banking and credit card systems also.
    I know this is long but I hope this gives you, and others, a better understanding of my views, opinions, and facts. I’m all about the betterment of communications, especially now for GMRS. I’m all for GMRS having a main portal similar to that of ASL. I’m working on that, have the servers in place, and will be adding it as part of the Association’s website in the near future. It won’t be known as ASL but by a name of it’s own, that which will be decided very soon. I feel GMRS should be allowed to have the same opportunities as other bands of radio operators and should also have someone that will work in doing so when dealing with FCC. That’s something that is all in the works, as soon as the 501©(3) is completed and returned it will be. Also, up to the year of 2016-2017, FCC listen to many in the Amateur world as to what they had to say about the direction of GMRS. That should never happen again. Amateurs wouldn’t like it one bit if we GMRS people (and there are plenty of us now) started throwing our views and opinions around about the direction of the Amateur bands so why should we like it when they do it to GMRS.

Lets work together to advance the opportunities for both parties, even though they be two different operations, we can work together for the benefit of both, and I look forward to doing just that.

Have a great day,
amphibian

Thank you for your response.

I just wanted to throw it out there that I’m the owner of myGMRS.com, and we have been using app_rpt along with a fully-private registration server for the last 7 years. We were aware of the sensitivity of cross-linking GMRS to Ham (even accidentally) and have always kept our system 100% isolated from Allstar for that reason. One thing we noticed early on when we had both types of nodes on one server is that the URIx interfaces sometimes would get reassigned, so the one hooked up the GMRS repeater might suddenly enumerate onto the Ham node or vice versa. These were caught quickly but it drove the point home that the two cannot coexist on the same node because the risk of an accidental cross-link is VERY bad and cannot be allowed to happen.

Since we started, the FCC rules have been clarified a little bit to permit network interconnection but still ban PSTN use (for good reason). We have heard over the years that linking repeaters (emphasis mine) is permissible provided other rules are followed such as efficient use of spectrum (can’t tie up all 8 channels in a 20 miles radius for no reason), and no interconnection to the PSTN. Interestingly, there has been no discussion about simplex stations and linking with regards to GMRS. For that reason, my network completely avoids it and only permits actual repeaters to become nodes.

I don’t want to get into a discussion on this, but I want to mention that the two other networks on this page were created by people who have been banned from myGMRS due to bad behavior. They have opted to spawn off their own systems which is fine, but I want to mention that they DO NOT speak for the larger GMRS community and are certainly not the originators of app_rpt on GMRS using private registration servers.

To clarify a little bit on our use case, we take the latest AllstarLink version available, run some scripts to disable the registration and node list updating from Allstar’s servers, then substitute our own registration server and node list updating mechanism (a method nearly identical to AllstarLink’s in fact). At this point, we’re using the same software but no traffic is sent to or from the Allstar network.

We sell Raspberry Pi bundles with interface boards on our store and preinstall the software for anyone joining the network, since many people aren’t savvy enough to set it all up on their own. Then we encourage them to use the app_rpt resources available to them for learning how to manage their system.

We have set up over 70 nodes over the years, and some are no longer active or have switched to another network after we got them up and running. It’s a well-oiled machine for us, and one we are hoping to expand shortly by promoting more heavily on our site.

If anyone has further questions about our setup, you may direct them to me and I’d be happy to answer. Thanks so much to Jim and everyone who has stepped up to continue work on this great system over the years and not letting the project become abandoned.

I think with DMR taking over the Ham world in many areas, app_rpt is going to have to look to GMRS as a source of growth as more and more repeaters begin to go digital. For now, GMRS is still analog so linking via app_rpt is the best option right now. Interconnection with Zello is a popular request, which can be done with several hacks. It would be nice if we could support that natively with an app or channel somehow.

Here is our linking site: https://link.mygmrs.com/map

Rich Dunajewski
N2DLX / WQEJ577

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Rich if you could ever be so kind and remove my profile from your website. I no longer wish to have my picture or contact information on mygmrs. Thank you email address the account was under jasons1150@gmail.com

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You know Richard, If you don’t want the discussions…then don’t start with posting lies. We’re all too familiar with your MO. We’ve known and seen in other forums/groups how you’ve done this same thing in hopes that certain individuals will respond with something that you can claim is offense and all the while in doing so hoping to get them booted from the group/forum.

Truth be known, I and several others that I know of, was banned from your site for speaking the truth and for being able to do in six months what it took you to do over several years. You never could face the facts since Richard. You didn’t like the fact that there were/are other outlets for licensed GMRS operators to obtain what they couldn’t obtain from your website so you banned all those that offered and provided that access. And in doing so, like many ham run sites that have ban GMRS operators, claimed these very people you banned was due to “bad behavior”, "anger issues, or “the spreading false truths”.

And, now your attempt to CYA and keep many from thinking you no longer maintain the leadership in the GMRS world that you thought you did you post “but I want to mention that they DO NOT speak for the larger GMRS community”. Trust me, many see thru that daily. Since the formation of the USA GMRS Association, you sir, definitely don’t speak for the majority of the GMRS Licensed Operators - not that you really ever did, great dream though.

You are a lot like Jason Seymour, many a time you see me post something in a forum(s) then you feel you have to come along and make an attempt in degrading me or at trying to make yourself look better in hopes that I’ll respond back with something that will allow you to claim is offensive thinking that I’ll again get banned. So go ahead, it hasn’t made much of a difference since the first time you two have done it and sure won’t in the coming future.

And for those GMRS users that want real information about GMRS and how to further their abilities and how to do linking the right way, well sir they have been getting it at usagmrs.com since it inception. After all, that why it was started.

Hopefully now we can get back to doing what’s good for this community here in this forum/group and know this site isn’t about GMRS — it’s about the use of ALlstarLink. It’s sad that what started out as a concern about GMRS operators using AllstarLink software (an/or the app_rpt module) and the possibility of mixing Amateur and GMRS on the AllstarLink Portal has now apparently turned into a discussion about other stuff having to do with GMRS and the need to degrade certain people. I came to this group to share my years of experience with and about asterisk software and the app_rpt knowledge. Yes, I admit, I stated my opinion, based on years of experience and the facts gathered from those years of experience, about how I think it would be a mistake to combine the two, and in doing so I open the proverbial bag of worms I said should never be opened. I now see that maybe I shouldn’t have come to another Amateur run site.

Have a great day Richard, good to see that you are still trying to be what you’ve been trying to be for years.

William

Here we go with the attacking. This is exactly what I wanted to avoid.

Long story short, I don’t want the antics of the other networks to reflect poorly on GMRS use of app_rpt as a whole. I wanted to make it known that there is another network out there that has been peacefully using app_rpt for years with no issues crosslinking to Allstar, and I’m sure there are others. We’re not trying to stretch the FCC rules or pretend to be a Ham network with all the little hotspots.

I don’t think this is an appropriate place to start these cancerous discussions and bickering back and forth that have caused you to be banned on multiple sites. I have no issue with you guys running your own networks, I just don’t want to be lumped into the same group as you guys, that’s all. It’s not a competition, guys. Stop with the negativity and grow up.

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Thank you Rich for removing my picture and email address. Keep on the keeping on.

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Richard, there was no attacking, in fact you proved the point I was making. You do this every time in an effort to make yourself look better. “I just don’t want to be lumped into the same group as you guys, that’s all”…don’t worry, you’re not. You’re far from it.

“Stop with the negativity and grow up.” you should follow your own advice since you posted with the negativity and lies. Until then there were no issues. As I said earlier, people see right through you and know your MO.

I’m sure that as usual, as you have proven many times in the past, you will have to have the last word. I’m sure most of know what they call that. I think it’s time for your to learn to move on past your hurt feelings and learn to deal with them. We both know you are not going to solve those hurt feeling here so follow your own advice, grow up.

Have a great day sir.
William

And all this because there WAS a SHORT one-time occurance of GMRS traffic tied to one of my nodes in the SF Bay area and all that’s gone now.

I for one have learned WAY more than enough about non-ham implementations of apt_rpt (via HamVoIP-ware) and my concerns relative to ALLSTAR have been answered long ago. Perhaps that this tattered thread has run its useful course. Frankly I’d delete my own start of this if I could.

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I found two web pages that have responses from the FCC about linking repeaters on the internet.


Unfortunately, there is a lot of noise but, the important thing I took out of it was the FCC said you can link it on the internet. In addition, the FCC changed the definition of GMRS in 95.1 and took out the “short distance” language.

This web page also has an interesting comment from the FCC.

The FCC once again said interconnection by voip is O.K. What makes this even clearer for me is the FCC has defined the internet and voip in the telecom rules as “interstate in nature” - even when the two end points are within the same state. This was their justification for regulating it. Otherwise they would run afoul of the 10th amendment and the State Public Utilities Commissions. The very fact that it is interstate versus intrastate shows that it can be long distance.

Since you all are on GMRS a lot, is there a lot of profanity being used? I listened to a repeater in San Diego and one of the persons on there wouldn’t stop swearing. I was shocked. He sounded drunk - I know the ham license doesn’t guarantee a person isn’t a jerk but at least the person has to take the extra step to study for the test. - I was considering buying my 8 year old son a GMRS repeater capable radio for his birthday next month but now I have serious reservations. At least with the cheap blister pack GMRS/FRS radios they don’t go very far and have the squelch tones. There is a lot less likelihood that he would hear other people so I won’t have the problems.

I can only speak for myself on this. Because I used the radio almost like a cell phone a swear word may come out from time to time. And I am a general so being an amateur has nothing to do with swearing over the air. the way I look at it is if you’re that worried about it you need to reprogram the radios to not listening to repeaters or have parental advisory over your kids. I just recently bought my kids a set of bf-888s and program them all to the same frequency and only to hear me not to be able to talk to each other

Hello, wd6awp ASL Admin

I’M a GMRS License operator not HAM. this seems to be done thru freepbx voip system the nodes numbers are generated as extensions numbers just by changing DNS servers and it seems that Allstar Dns server with freepbx system can communicate each other, just like ISP when they exchage traffic with others isp’s via IGP mode and the same way with telephone companies they connect together if you dont want others to connect thru Allstar link then disable dns IGP function on your server. i have run my own experiment with my voip and setting up another voip system and it seem to communicate with each other and the way i stop that is by changing IGP on my firewall settings. maybe you have a different firewall

I have to put my 2 cents in. After several people left Jasons network because of his foul mouth and attitude they asked if I could help them link a few radios. GMRS Live was born. It is modeled after Allstarlink. We have a registration server for GMRS and no connection to Allstarlink. That is all we supply. Users request nodes and create their own hubs and networks. If you want a hub, simplex, repeater or radioless node it is up to you. All the traffic you use is up to you. You control your own equipment. We do host a few hubs for users but all are encouraged to create their own. Just as in Allstar you can connect to any other node you please. We don’t force you into a big melting pot and your choice is listen to or turn it off. On OUR hubs we enforce a family atmosphere. If you create a hub it is entirely up to you to police its use. We have a few people that have created their own personal networks that the other users know nothing about. We have no fancy map that others can track you. We maintain a Supermon status page for OUR hosted hubs only. You maintain yours.
I have read a few of the comments saying they would like a hub so they could get their children involved, here it is. That they would like to tinker, here it is. Stop by and look. We don’t sell anything and don’t charge you to be a member. It is not for me. Our network is for the users.

GMRSLIVE.COM

Tony
K1TNY
WRAW556

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Tony, I have a similar system setup here in the San Joaquin Valley of California. I looked around your website and noticed you have DNS setup for your users’ nodes. I have DNS setup as well where users point to my registration server in iax.conf that allows any node to connect to any node instead of everybody connecting to a central hub. I have a guy here in Cali that owns a few GMRS repeater sites that we could maybe link to if you are interested. I am aiming towards a family friendly and kid friendly network as well unlike Jason’s.

Bryson
K6BWY
WRBQ935

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Hi Bryson,

Yes we have a registration server. If you or your friend wants to join our network you are more then welcome. If you were inquiring about linking the 2 networks together we would have to respectfully decline for security reasons.

We have numerous new features in the works and the network grows everyday.

I enjoy taking about the networks and what all they can do. Our support phone system is not up and running yet (still tweaking it).

Feel free to contact me at support@gmrslive.com

Tony

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