A newbie looking for advice and contacts

Greetings from Tony, KE8VAB, with my first post. My wife and son got me an Anytone AT878UVII Plus, my first radio, for my birthday in April. Got my call sign and Technician license, learned how to program the software, and programed in the closest DMR repeater. Tried to Rx and Tx, but discovered the repeater is out of range. I feel like I’m on the Mt. Everest of learning curves and I don’t know any local Hams in my area. I guess I’m looking for advice on how to proceed, and how do I find contacts in my area. I’m kinda dead in the water.

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Here are some simple ideas to see if your settings are right.

  1. Use repeaterbook.com and try driving closer to the repeater to see if you can hear or key up.

  2. Each state has DMR groups that help manage or track the working repeaters. I found one here: https://www.michiganonedmr.net/ (because sometimes you are trying to contact a repeater that hasn’t been working for months - so you think it’s you when it’s not.)

  3. Are you able to hit regular repeaters? You should be able to get a repeater tone 5-7 miles with the regular duck antenna.

  4. Antennas! a better gain HT or getting a mobile antenna will double your outgoing signal. Getting an antenna either on your roof or backyard on a 10-20’ pole. The antenna cost 50-200 bucks. I made a flowerpot antenna for about $25 and was able to go about 25 miles.

  5. Michigan Clubs – ARRL Michigan Section in your area: Join us on Sundays at 8pm for the Ford Tin Lizzy club net on the LARC 2m repeater, 145.35 MHz. Always someone in a club that uses DMR.

  6. The Bridgecomm hot spot is expensive but other hotspots you plug into your home internet can cost about $100. With a little more setup, you can talk to your hotspot and get out to the world. Once set up you can even take the hotspot with you and connect it to your smartphone, office or hotel room.

It is a pain until it gets it working.

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Thanks, Member 13, for the info. Just a couple thoughts re: your response…
#1. Thought of this, but time is of a premium in my life.
#2. I’ll check out your link (thanks), but the one I programmed sent me a Tx the said, “Repeater out of range.”
#4. I know this would work, but I’m trying to get a handle on my handheld w/o putting more money into it. Ham, like photography and other hobbies, seems like one of those bottomless pits into which you throw money😉.
#5. I plan on attending the Ford Tin Lizzie club, but they don’t meet again until September (according to the listing on the ARRL site). I’ll see what I can pick up on Sunday evening.
#6. Maybe with a little more basic proficiency.
Thanks for your time and effort contained in your response. There are a couple nuggets here maybe I can work with.
Tony
KE8VAB

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join a HAM Radio club … the closest to you … then ask your club members for help … PLUS … BridgeCom offers LOTS of help on their website.
Jennie - KN6SRE

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Thanks for your response Jennie. I plan on joining the Tin Lizzie Radio club in September, when they start meeting again. Also, I’ve signed up on Bridgecom, and will probably sign up for their course. Thanks for taking the time to respond, KN6SRE.

73
Tony
KE8VAB

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Tony, you must have gotten your call sign the same time as me ,as we are one letter different than you. We are you located? I also have an Anytone 878uv+, but have the same problem as you.
Arnie Berger
KE8VJB

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