Programming Repeaters into a Radio for the Traverse City Area

Q: What is a repeater? 

A: Repeaters take your radio's signal and re-broadcast your signal with much greater power. 
Q: How do you use a repeater?
A: To use a repeater, you need to know: 
 1) The frequency 
 2) The "offset" (the repeater can not receive and broadcast on the same frequency; it transmits on a frequency that is slightly off from the one it receives)
 3) The "PL" or "CTCSS" tone (a sub-audible tone that lets the repeater know a true signal versus noise or static, which is required on some but not all repeaters).

Entering all of the necessary information (Frequency, Offset, PL/CTCSS tone, etc) on different radios can be complicated and/or challenging. The method to program different types of radios can be very different. Often, it is easier to use Software and a USB cable to program radios.

For beginners using the Baofeng radio, you will need a programming cable (newest version) here.  For older programming cables, go to the Miklor site (great resource) to get drivers for the USB cable.   Download and run the drivers first, then plug in your sync cable to the USB port – make note of which Com Port (i.e., COM3, COM4, etc.) the cable is using (a window will pop up with this info during installation).  If Windows fails to see the USB cable, check out this video.  Plug the sync cable into the radio and turn the radio on. 

Avoid the software that came with the Baofeng radio.  Download the CHIRP software here. Start the software – click RADIO > Download from Radio. The software may ask you the type of radio that you using and the Com Port that the USB cable is plugged into. The Baofeng comes with frequencies programmed by the manufacturer that are used to test the radio – delete them.  Click here for a list of IMG files for Traverse City, Traverse City to Detroit, and Traverse City to Grand Rapids Then File > OPEN > Traverse Area.IMG – This will open a new spreadsheet.  Copy/Paste the Traverse City repeaters into your radio’s frequencies spreadsheet.  Then click RADIO > Upload to Radio.  Remember to File > Save As to save your radio’s programming. The CHIRP software allows you to load FRS/GMRS/MURS/MARINE frequencies (File > Open Stock Config).  You can listen to these frequencies but it is illegal to transmit on these frequencies with most HT’s (the FCC states that FRS radios can’t have detachable antennas, etc.). If Windows behaves, these instructions should take about 10 minutes.  If you get stuck, come to a Cherryland ARC meeting and we will be glad to get you going.

Download the IMG file for Chirp that lists Traverse City repeaters and NOAA weather stations here. The NOAA frequencies are programmed so that you can listen but not transmit.

Q: What if I have a radio that doesn't have a computer interface, or if I want to enter the information for area repeaters "in the field" when I am away from a computer?

A: Here is a spreadsheet of current Grand Traverse area repeaters. Print it out and take it with you, or feel free to copy and paste it into radio programming software programs like CHIRP, or RT Systems, etc. 

The following data is compiled from the Michigan Area Repeater Council, Inc (http// and is current as of 2/2013.

Please note that sources other than the MiARC official records are NOT official and may be out of date.

The official Cherryland ARC W8TCM repeaters are:

146.86- and 442.500+ (both PL/CTCSS of 114.8)

More information about the club repeaters is available on the Repeaters page.