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How do I join the myGMRS Network?

Thanks for your interest in the myGMRS Network!

About the Network

The myGMRS Network is a system of repeaters linked together over the Internet using Voice over IP (VoIP) technology.

Linking Technology

The myGMRS Network utilizes two popular pieces of software called Asterisk and app_rpt. Asterisk is an extremely popular Voice over IP (VoIP) server traditionally used for creating a private branch exchange (PBX) for private phone networks entirely in software. An Asterisk plugin called app_rpt which was developed by Jim Dixon, enables Asterisk to function as a powerful two-way radio controller that can run on inexpensive hardware and also allows repeaters to be linked over the Internet using VoIP technology. Note, however, that the linking of repeaters does not use the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), despite all the telephony terminology.

What is a node?

A node is a computer system that runs the Asterisk/app_rpt software needed to connect to the myGMRS Network. A node is typically connected to a repeater or link radio through a USB interface that allows the passing of Push-To-Talk (PTT) and Carrier-Operated Relay (COR) signals, in addition to the bi-directional audio, between the radio and the node computer.

Getting Started

Presently, you can get started with the myGMRS Network as a repeater owner in three ways.

  1. Purchase a GMRS Linking Bundle from the myGMRS Shop
    • This is the easiest option if you're new to this technology or if you just want to purchase all the hardware together
    • We will configure your node so the hardware will be plug-and-play
    • Note that every repeater or radio is different, so you will need to perform some audio tuning of the system after hooking it up to your equipment
    • Depending on the type of interface you select, you may need a custom cable to connect to your repeater or radio
  2. Purchase a myGMRS Network Pre-configured SD Card from the myGMRS Shop
    • Recommended if you already have a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B or B+ and need an SD card pre-configured with your node number and password
    • An interface to connect your repeater or radio to your Raspberry Pi is still required and must be purchased separately
  3. If you're comfortable with Asterisk and app_rpt, you can set up your node yourself
    • Note that we don't provide support for this option, once a node number is generated for you, you're on your own! However, you can find ample information online or even on the myGMRS Forums.

Request a Node Number

You can request your node number(s) on the myGMRS Network Manage page:
Click the purple Request Node button, then select the myGMRS repeater listing you want to associate with this new node number. Note that the repeater cannot be associated with another node number, or it will not appear in the list.
Remember, this does not enable you to access the myGMRS Network from a computer, mobile device, or simplex (hotspot) node. This is for linking repeaters, so you must have a repeater listing on myGMRS.

Download the Raspberry Pi Images

NOTE: Not Required if You Purchased an SD Card

Standard Raspberry Pi 2/3 Image:

Raspberry Pi 2/3 Image Preconfigured for RT97S Repeater:

Write the Raspberry Pi Images to an SD Card

NOTE: Not Required if You Purchased an SD Card

Using imaging software such as Win32DiskImager, write the .img file above to the blank microSD card to install the software and make the SD card bootable. It's important that you use a proper program that flashes the contents of the .img file to the card rather than just copying the .img file to the SD card itself. 

Note: We have used Rufus in the past to flash the node image and noticed some weird behavior with nodes locking up periodically, requiring a reboot. Once we switched back to Win32DiskImager, these issues went away. For this reason, we don't recommend Rufus at this time. Use it at your own risk.

Configure Your Node Manually

NOTE: Not Required if You Purchased an SD Card

Follow these basic instructions to configure your myGMRS Network image with your node number and password. These instructions are optimized for the Raspberry Pi.

  1. Download the SD card image for Raspberry Pi (Note: does not currently support Raspberry Pi 4)
  2. Write the SD card image to the microSD card using Win32DiskImager or your preferred imaging program (do not simply copy it to the disk using the file manager)
  3. Insert the microSD card into the Raspberry Pi and apply the power
  4. Either use an HDMI monitor and keyboard to see the screen, or run commands remotely using an SSH client like PuTTY (on Windows)
  5. After applying power, the Pi will boot into our customized version of the AllStarLink (ASL) 1.01 image in about a minute. You can connect to it with SSH by using the following hostname and port: repeater.local port 222
  6. Log in with the default username and password: Username: repeater Password: (case sensitive)
  7. Edit the Aptitude sources file /etc/apt/sources.list to point to the legacy Raspbian repository. 
    1. The easiest option is to type: sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
    2. Change the first line to the following, taking care to copy it correctly: deb stretch main contrib non-free rpi
    3. Save the file and close the editor. In Nano, use CTRL + X to exit and save your changes when prompted.
  8. Edit the setup script at /home/repeater/ to modify the two variables at the top of the file for your Node and Password (provided above) and save the file. 
    1. The easiest option is to type: nano /home/repeater/
    2. Save the file and close the editor. In Nano, use CTRL + X to exit and save your changes when prompted.
  9. Run the script with the following command: sudo ~/
  10. The node will configure itself with your node information and reboot to complete the installation
  11. After installation, you will be asked to change the password for security purposes.
  12. Once it's set up, the node will reboot. Before you can link nodes, you may need to wait 5-10 minutes for other nodes on the network to know that your new node has been registered.