I’m obviously really confused about repeaters, but it seems my question about split bands should have really been on split tones.
What are split tones, and is there any reason that I shouldn’t be able to transmit to and receive from any gmrs repeater, assuming I have permission to do so?
The term split tones refers to the ability of the radio to assign a CTCSS tone or DCS code for receive and a different one for transmit on the same channel. For example, if the repeater requires a tone of 88.5 to receive and 114.8 to transmit, you would need to be able to configure your radio to transmit and receive on those tones. Most consumer grade GMRS radios only allow you to set a single tone for the channel. But a few professional grade GMRS transceivers are capable of split tones. One is the Wouxun KG-805G, which is one of the reasons why it has become so popular so quickly.
Keep in mind there are a lot of repeaters that use the same tone or code for both transmit and receive, so if you have access to one, it’s not an issue. But for those that use split tones, having a GMRS radio with this feature adds greater flexibility, especially when traveling across the country.
Split tones are an interesting subject (I’ve been known to use them a time or two). The main purpose is to keep people who utilize the tone search function from utilizing repeaters without permission as tone search typically will scan for the output of the repeater (which is transmitting a different tone than it needs to receive on the input).
Can you use a repeater that utilizes split tones? Yes. The key is to set you receive frequency to CSQ instead of a specific tone. On some lower end radios this may require setting the correct transmit tone and then forcing the radio into “monitor” mode, where it listens without the tone requirement.