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Your New (Used) GMRS Radio

Following are the directions that are packaged with each GMRS radio:

This radio was purchased used. It was refurbished by an unpaid volunteer in the local neighborhood. The radio is sold to you at cost, with a small fee added as a fund raiser for the El Dorado County Amateur Radio Club (EDCARC) to support the club's community service programs. There is no financial profit. It is impractical to offer any guarantees on these radios other than to say that they have been tested and performed to specification when they were sold to you.

You must obtain an FCC license ($70, soon to be changed to $35) to obtain a call sign. You must use your call sign when using this radio. The license and call sign are good for 10 years for everyone in your family. There is no test for this license.

You need to practice using the radio on the Oak Hill 1 channel every Tuesday evening at 6:30 pm. During these practice sessions you will test the Paging alert channel, the Oak Hill 1 channel and practice using correct procedure with the Net Controller and many of your neighbors.  Following is a description of what the buttons on your radio do:

The TK-380 GMRS Radio

 

ON THE FRONT

S = Scan. Click for ON and click again for OFF to start and stop scanning.
A = Add to or from the Scan List. Press to remove a channel from scanning, press again to add it.
B = Scroll up one channel.
C = Scroll down one channel.

 

ON THE SIDE

Top button: Monitor — push it to listen without squelch. Push again to resume squelch (no static).
Large, center button: PTT (Push to talk) Hold the button down to talk. You must let go of the button to listen.
Bottom button: Light - Push to turn on the light, push again to turn it off.

 

AT THE TOP

Tall dial = Scroll Channels just like buttons B and C. Rotate this dial to scroll through the channels.
Short dial = On/Off/Volume - Rotate to the right to turn the radio on and to raise the volume. Rotate to the left to lower the volume and turn off the radio.

 

Charging the Battery

Your TK-380 radio comes with a new power supply and charging cradle — they are shown in the photo on the right. You can leave the radio in the charging cradle while you are monitoring one of the channels at the same time. You should not transmit with the radio while it is in the charging cradle. (That would be very difficult to do anyway.)

May contain: wristwatch and digital watch

The new chargers we have begun supplying with radios this year have automatic functions and will slow down the charging rate when the battery is nearly charged, stop charging when the battery is fully charged. It is possible to overcharge your battery if you lift the radio off the charger and put it back on the charger when it is already fully charged. It is best to accasionally allow the radio to run completely down and then charge it up fully -- that prevents the battery developing a "chemical memory" that can shorten its life.

 

Selecting Channels

Your radio can be programmed for many channels.  When you receive it, it will be programmed for 18 channels. Some of these channels have special uses.

The Repeater Channel (Oak Hill 1).  This channel connects you with everyone in the Oak Hill area (and a little beyond).  If you live in an area not covered by the Oak Hill repeater, you will have a different title for your neighborhood's repeater, such as Mosquito 1, Logtown 1, etc.

When you use your neighborhood's repeater channel, such as Oak Hill 1, your transmission is received by a much more powerful radio (a repeater station) on the highest ridge in your area. From there, it is rebroadcast so that you can reach everyone with a radio tuned to that channel and within range of the repeater station. That makes your mobile GMRS radio into a much more powerful radio. Usually, you will be leaving your radio on and tuned to your repeater station, such as Oak Hill 1, during the day.

You should only use Oak Hill 1 for serious events, radio checking and for practice on Tuesday evenings. You should not use it for informal conversations with your neighbors, unless those conversations have to do with safety issues of general interest to the community, such as power cut-offs, loss of telephone reception, information about a wild fire, etc.

Oak Hill 1 is usually monitored by a “Net Controller.” When interacting on this channel, you should follow the direction of the Net Controller.  He or she will receive and direct all traffic on the Oak Hill 1 channel.

The Pager Channel. At night, you may wish to tune your radio to the “Pager” channel and turn up the volume. You cannot talk on the Pager channel, only receive paging alerts, that way you will not be disturbed by any miscellaneous chatter that might disturb your sleep. If the pager is triggered by the Net Controller you will be awakened by very loud beeps that indicate that the Net Controller has an important message. The beeping won’t stop until you get up and turn the radio to Oak Hill 1 to hear the message.

The Other Channels. The rest of the pre-programmed channels on your radio can be used for informal talk. You and your family must use your call sign when making contact and give your call sign when ending communications. In general, it is best to use the channels from 1 to 7 for informal talk between family and friends. These are lower power channels and will not interfere with the operation of the repeater station.

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