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2 way communication and transceivers

Johnnyb

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What's the current preference for communication between enthusiast vehicles like EBs, both off-road and on-highway?
I'm getting ready to equip my rig, and I'm not sure if FRS, GMRS, or old school CB is the best choice?
There's only so much room for electronics and I will also have a 2M/70çm, but that's ham and not ubiquitous; and while those radios could transmit on FRS/GMRS, you're not supposed to.

FRS = low power, no license, good for short range, FM, antenna not removable.
GMRS = Supposed to have a license (about $70, no test, covers whole group), higher power, FM
CB = various power, usually can't get around the block, no license, AM.
 

.94 OR

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It might depend on the roads you travel. Here in the PNW there is quite a bit of use on logging roads so CB is a decent option to communicate with other users not in your group. I used to know a guy that would program the 40 channels of the CB radio into his HAM radio so he could use a single transmitter. It had too much power but obviously worked well.
 
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Johnnyb

Johnnyb

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CBs are great for communicating with trucks. I was a trucker for many years and all of the pits (mines) that I ran to have their own channel, not to mention 19 for highway trucks and so forth. Professionally, we used GMRS and a repeater to communicate with each other.
CB radio is either AM or SSB, limiting access from a lot of ham equipment. None of my radios at the moment will receive on AM, and it's hard to find one that does.
The quality of the transmission also leave something to be desired, but anybody can get one for a few bucks on Amazon or at your local truck stop.
FRS as good quality but in a very limited range because of its extremely low power. Trucks in a convoy could easily talk to one another with good quality but get that distance up to one or two miles and the signal goes away.
Gmrs has great power and quality but somebody in the group has to cough up for a gmrs license (technically). There's no code test or anything else just a fee to the FCC. All my ham radios will receive on gmrs, but it's not legal to use a ham radio to transmit on gmrs.
I think I'll probably end up putting a CB and VHF ham in the ol' EB. If I get into a situation where everybody is using FRS or gmrs, at least I'll be able to listen to everything.
Thanks,
JB
 

squeezer

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May 12, 2016
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Program FRS/GMRS channels and tones into your HAM gear paying attention to setting low power levels on the FRS channels and be done with it.

Some ham operators will tell you thats against the law (It is) but done correctly and operated professionally (Assuming you have a HAM call sign so have good radio manners) its not a big deal. A 100% legal jerk using an handheld FRS radio in a rude manner is way more off putting than professional coms coming in a bit hot. Set your "Home" channel to one of the high power GMRS frequencies that FRS handhelds also cover and you have it nailed.
 

Boss Hugg

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GMRS license is $35 as of a few months back. No test. Pay today, get the license number early the next morning.

Go to this page (https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do) and start with registering for an FRN ( AND KEEP TRACK OF THE NUMBER THEY ASSIGN YOU.) Then go to https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsEntry/licManager/login.jsp and login using your FRN. On my computer, it takes me to "My Licenses." On the upper left, click on "Apply for a New License." You're looking for code ZA - General Mobile Radio. I think you can figure it out from there.

As for radios, you can get Baofengs (pronounced a multitude of ways; pick one: bow fang, bo fang, BOOF WANG!!??, or make up your own pronunciation.) and you'll have to take the time to learn to program them. Otherwise they're useless, right? Youtube is your friend here.

Also, GMRS legally allows FCC Type 95 approved mobile radios up to 50 watts output on certain frequencies. 50 watts will talk a pretty good distance on simplex. And you can put repeaters up for certain GMRS frequencies too.

WQRL767
WW5AH
 
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Johnnyb

Johnnyb

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Great write up! I think GMRS is a good solution because it's inexpensive and requires no test.

KK7HGE
 

Boss Hugg

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Great write up! I think GMRS is a good solution because it's inexpensive and requires no test.

KK7HGE
All the public asks is that we keep it clean. CB comms went from non-family friendly to "they could embarrass a sailer!" There are many in the GMRS community who are afraid the drop in price (it used to be $70 bux) will draw people who do not respect the public communications method. There are frequencies/nets on the HAM bands that you can't listen to with kids in the room. People have lost their manners!
 
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Johnnyb

Johnnyb

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or cheaper options that seem to work out in the offroad park

Baofeng
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074XPB313/?tag=cbama-20
I've got a couple of these and they're not bad. Certainly a great value for 25/30 bucks a piece.
They're not technically legal to transmit on GMRS, but I've been quite satisfied with communication on the ham bands when I'm reasonably close to a repeater, or simplex within about a mile even in the forest. KK7HGE
 
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