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Community repeater project underway

By Meg Dickens
Freelance Writer

Earlier this week, friends of Karen Weaver reached out to inform the community of a special service available to the public and visitors of Johnson County.
According to the announcement, Weaver has provided a sizeable financial donation towards a project to help families in the area with communication in honor of her friend and departed county staple, Danny Herman, who passed away in January 2021. This is through General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS).
GMRS is a service that allows families to keep in touch in areas where cell phone service is not available and could be the foundation of a new communication notification system for emergency
situations. It is possible through a repeater Weaver has provided on Stone Mountain. At least one county emergency service is reportedly already installing equipment to utilize this repeater in cases where phone services may be down.
“In severe weather or environmental emergency in Johnson County, it is hoped this service will form the backbone of community communications to keep all residents informed of current and developing conditions and transmit safety advice and emergency action messages,” explained Weaver’s constituent David Ridley. “ We also hope that county emergency agencies will monitor this repeater when cellular or traditional phone services are damaged. County EMS is already looking at installing equipment to use this service, and we thank them for their initiative.”
Use of this repeater will be free to anyone in the area but does require a license. This license reportedly covers extended family, and the cost is set to drop by more than half by April 19, reducing from $75 to $35 for ten years. For groups interested within Johnson County, Weaver has agreed to give presentations on the service for free.
“The community repeater is still in development,” said Ridley. “We are trying to find the finances to replace the current and aging repeater to give greater community coverage and serve more residents. We are looking at grants, but as you can imagine, this is a lengthy process, so we ask for your patience.”
The Stone Mountain Repeater operates on GMRS repeater channel 5 / 19 (462.6500 / 467.6500 FM Tone 141.3Hz).
For more information on licensure and GMRS,
visit the Federal Communications Commission website, fcc.gov. Interested parties will need to look for FCC Form 605.