I am setting up a repeater on 224.34 in my community. I bought the Bridgecom new a little over a month ago. While waiting for my duplexer to arrive, I have been tinkering with it using vertical separation between a Hustler G7 (9dBi) and an inverted 1/4 wave ground plane. After talking to two hams who have claimed to have successfully run their machines with less than 15 feet between antennas, I decided to settle on mounting the G7 at 27 feet with the 1/4 wave located 14 feet below it. That's the best I can do right now. I drove around town with a couple of handhelds to check my coverage and was disappointed in my real world results as compared to what I had mapped with software. At times, when I listened to the repeater coming back, all I could hear was a rhythmic clicking sound. I just assumed that I had reached the limit of the range of the machine's coverage. I guesstimate that the real world coverage was maybe 1/3 of what I saw in the software. Finally, I did some testing with a friend who lives about ten miles away with some challenging terrain between us. On an external, 1/4 wave, aerial antenna, we can simplex on 5w, sometimes less, with some static on our signals. When I have the repeater transmitting into the low (1/4 wave) antenna, he can hear me well with some steam on the (20w) signal. When he tries to get into the 9.15dBi G7 receive antenna (25w on Alinco 235), all I hear is the same clicking sound from my testing experience. When I switch antennas, he can hear me "booming in" on the G7. He tries to hit the repeater and I either hear the clicking, or nothing at all, not even breaking squelch. I'm guessing that the desense from the antennas not having sufficient vertical separation is the problem. Does this sound accurate? If so, why can I do well at short distance with a 5w ht? This is my first repeater and I'm just trying to wrap my head around this.