Communications Questions....

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SaltyYogurtSnek

Rank IV
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Traveler II

1,260
Sumas, WA, USA
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Logan
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Saltsman
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Hey All,

I am relatively new to communication equipment. I used to have CB in my last vehicle but never really used it much because most of my buddies use handheld radios for trail comms. I am looking at adding permanent comms to my new rig and was curious if there was something that would be usable to tune into those handheld frequencies and be usable when in larger groups that use other forms of comms as I am planning on attending some larger group trips. Please don't say cell phone because there is never coverage (which is exactly why I like getting away). Thank you for the help!

Pic of first trip with the new rig.
DSC02724.JPG
 
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J.W.

Rank VI
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Influencer I

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J
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Hey All,

I am relatively new to communication equipment. I used to have CB in my last vehicle but never really used it much because most of my buddies use handheld radios for trail comms. I am looking at adding permanent comms to my new rig and was curious if there was something that would be usable to tune into those handheld frequencies and be usable when in larger groups that use other forms of comms as I am planning on attending some larger group trips. Please don't say cell phone because there is never coverage (which is exactly why I like getting away). Thank you for the help!
If your friends are using handheld walkie talkie type radios for the trail, find out if they are FRS or Ham radios. My guess is that they are FRS. If so, you can use a GMRS mobile to talk to them on about half a dozen channels. Fair warning, you have to have a GMRS license (about $75 but no test) to fully use the wattage available on one of those mobiles. Or you could just pick up an FRS handheld. They are cheap and you don't need a license.

If they are using Ham radios, you'll have to get your license but it's very easy. You can even do it online now.
 

SaltyYogurtSnek

Rank IV
Member

Traveler II

1,260
Sumas, WA, USA
First Name
Logan
Last Name
Saltsman
Member #

11706

If your friends are using handheld walkie talkie type radios for the trail, find out if they are FRS or Ham radios. My guess is that they are FRS. If so, you can use a GMRS mobile to talk to them on about half a dozen channels. Fair warning, you have to have a GMRS license (about $75 but no test) to fully use the wattage available on one of those mobiles. Or you could just pick up an FRS handheld. They are cheap and you don't need a license.

If they are using Ham radios, you'll have to get your license but it's very easy. You can even do it online now.
I don't mind getting the proper documentation to use the equipment. They are FRS radios. I was looking to just getting some but figured being that I want a permanent setup in the truck I would see what my options are and pros and cons. The small compact handheld is nice but I figured most organized lead trips would be probably using something else.
 

J.W.

Rank VI
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Influencer I

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I don't mind getting the proper documentation to use the equipment. They are FRS radios. I was looking to just getting some but figured being that I want a permanent setup in the truck I would see what my options are and pros and cons. The small compact handheld is nice but I figured most organized lead trips would be probably using something else.
GMRS and FRS play fairly well together. You can find more details here. There are some really nice GMRS radios out there that can be permanent mounted. The Midland MXT 275 seems very popular. I don't have one but the reviews are good on it.

I'm partial to going for a full Ham radio setup because it gives you more flexibility over the long run but the most important thing is to be able to talk to the people you are traveling with.
 

M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
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Pathfinder II

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La Grande, Oregon, USA
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GMRS and FRS play fairly well together. You can find more details here. There are some really nice GMRS radios out there that can be permanent mounted. The Midland MXT 275 seems very popular. I don't have one but the reviews are good on it.

I'm partial to going for a full Ham radio setup because it gives you more flexibility over the long run but the most important thing is to be able to talk to the people you are traveling with.
The revised band plan allows FMRS on all of the GMRS channels. I suggest getting both your Ham and GRMS license and getting a dual band mobile rig with MARS MOD this allows talking on both ham and GRMS Chanel’s at the same time. If you are looking for something a little easier, Motorola has a buy one buy the second at 50% off on their GRMS micro-mobile radios right now. Micro Mobile
 

SaltyYogurtSnek

Rank IV
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Traveler II

1,260
Sumas, WA, USA
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Logan
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Saltsman
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11706

I don't mind getting the proper documentation to use the equipment. They are FRS radios. I was looking to just getting some but figured being that I want a permanent setup in the truck I would see what my options are and pros and cons. The small compact handheld is nice but I figured most organized lead trips would be probably using something else.
GMRS and FRS play fairly well together. You can find more details here. There are some really nice GMRS radios out there that can be permanent mounted. The Midland MXT 275 seems very popular. I don't have one but the reviews are good on it.

I'm partial to going for a full Ham radio setup because it gives you more flexibility over the long run but the most important thing is to be able to talk to the people you are traveling with.
Thank you for the link and info. This seems like one of those topics that can lead down a rabbit hole so I appreciate the general info to get me started.
 

J.W.

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Influencer I

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The revised band plan allows FMRS on all of the GMRS channels. I suggest getting both your Ham and GRMS license and getting a dual band mobile rig with MARS MOD this allows talking on both ham and GRMS Chanel’s at the same time. If you are looking for something a little easier, Motorola has a buy one buy the second at 50% off on their GRMS micro-mobile radios right now. Micro Mobile
Yes, but not with the same power, which I why I posted the chart. Also Mike, I know that many ham radios are able to transmit on GMRS but strictly speaking, it is not legal. Ham radios are not part certified to transmit on GMRS/FRS. That's why I am not offering that advice.
 
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J.W.

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Thank you for the link and info. This seems like one of those topics that can lead down a rabbit hole so I appreciate the general info to get me started.
No worries man! It is most definitely a rabbit hole haha. One bit of advice I will offer is to get the best setup that you can afford. There are tons of ultra affordable options out there but not all will perform the same. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saving some money with a less expensive radio but be aware of how that will affect your range.

Now wait till you start looking at antennas... wow, that's a topic in and of itself!
 
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M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
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La Grande, Oregon, USA
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Rose
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Thank you for the link and info. This seems like one of those topics that can lead down a rabbit hole so I appreciate the general info to get me started.
I play with radio coms gear almost daily, and am going down the same rabbit hole myself... I just upgraded to General Class for ham, and thinking hard about getting a GMRS license as well. I mainly want GMRS for listening, so not 100% sure if I need the lisence. So the other way would be beneficial for you...say a YAESU FTM-400XDR or similar Dual Band Radio with MARS MOD and a GMRS License so you can listen in on 2meter and broadcast on GMRS.
 
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M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
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Yes, but not with the same power, which I why I posted the chart. Also Mike, I know that many ham radios are able to tranmit on GMRS but strictly speaking, it is not legal. Ham radios are not type certified to transmit on GMRS/FRS. That's why I am not offering that advice.
there is nothing in the fcc rules that say a uhf/vhf radio can’t communicate via the GRMS bands, the laws state: “None of the GMRS channels are assigned for the exclusive use of any system. You must cooperate in the selection and use of the channels in order to make the most effective use of them and to reduce the possibility of interference.” So just as in the regulations governing Ham usage, the same laws apply to GMRS. FMRS is restricted to non-removable antennas and 2 watts of power, but a GRMS mobile radio is still allowed to use the FMRS channels on low power, so that means a 100 watt modded radio is completely legal to operate on the FMRS frequencies as long as it’s kept under 2 watts.
 

J.W.

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there is nothing in the fcc rules that say a uhf/vhf radio can’t communicate via the GRMS bands, the laws state: “None of the GMRS channels are assigned for the exclusive use of any system. You must cooperate in the selection and use of the channels in order to make the most effective use of them and to reduce the possibility of interference.” So just as in the regulations governing Ham usage, the same laws apply to GMRS. FMRS is restricted to non-removable antennas and 2 watts of power, but a GRMS mobile radio is still allowed to use the FMRS channels on low power, so that means a 100 watt modded radio is completely legal to operate on the FMRS frequencies as long as it’s kept under 2 watts.

 

M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
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Great video, except, it’s not FCC, facts... I posted exactly what the fcc referred to me when I asked the question to them. And this is in regards to HTs not mobile rigs.
 

M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
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Pathfinder II

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Ham radios are not part certified for GMRS. That's all you need.

Go ahead and give whatever advice you want. I'm out.
I have a question a little off topic... how is a 10 meter rig legal for use... it’s either built on a cb chassis, or it’s built into an over powered rig. Both are illegal according to what you posted, but there are competitions on the 10 meter band, and it’s an open amateur band.
 

TerryD

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Off-Road Ranger I

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I have a question a little off topic... how is a 10 meter rig legal for use... it’s either built on a cb chassis, or it’s built into an over powered rig. Both are illegal according to what you posted, but there are competitions on the 10 meter band, and it’s an open amateur band.
10m rigs are sold to give high power, low quality radios to CBers. They are legal on Ham bands because as hams, we are expected to maintain the quality and power outputs of our equipment.

We can repurpose other radios to the ham bands because our licensing requirements should make us knowledgeable enough to stay within the output specifications required for each band and mode we are allowed to be on.

GMRS equipment, because its a general populace use service like CB, has limits on the gear you can legally run. The snip you posted referecing systems has to do with individual companies who tout their radios as having security and privacy codes or tones and some of the older gear that referenced channels by different numbers where you are still sharing the spectrum with other users on GMRS.

Per fcc website, part 95.1761

"(c) No GMRS transmitter will be certified for use in the GMRS if it is equipped with a frequency capability not listed in §95.1763, unless such transmitter is also certified for use in another radio service for which the frequency is authorized and for which certification is also required. No GMRS transmitter will be certified for use in the GMRS if it is equipped with the capabilities to operate in services that do not require equipment certification, such as the Amateur Radio Service. All frequency determining circuitry (including crystals) and programming controls in each GMRS transmitter must be internal to the transmitter and must not be accessible from the exterior of the transmitter operating panel or from the exterior of the transmitter enclosure."

 

Charles M

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One other thing I would like to point out is if you are looking for a mobile rig go with a Ham you will save $50 bucks on the license fee that could go to a better rig.. I have a Yaesu 7250 so when I travel with guys running on GMRS I can listen in on GMRS 15 I just can't reply to them.
 

Prerunner1982

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Logan (@SaltyYogurtSnek ) welcome to our rabbit holes. :laughing:
For what it's worth.. I run ham, GMRS, and CB....in that order.
Ham: For it's great capability and communication distance. I am also a ham hobbyist so I have a bit larger setup than needed for overlanding, but I can talk locally, all over the world, track my Jeep, send SMS/Emails, etc.
GMRS: There is a slow movement to GMRS for groups looking for better trail/convoy comms but not interested in taking the ham test. Being that the single $70 license (good for 10 yrs) covers your immediate family I am installing one in the wife's car as well.
CB: Because there are still groups/individuals that refuse the move beyond it.

We also have a great Communication sub-section: Overland Communications
 
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SaltyYogurtSnek

Rank IV
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Traveler II

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Sumas, WA, USA
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Logan
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Saltsman
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11706

I have been looking at the Midland MicroMobile radios. Guess I will wait and see what Midland releases.... came across this today.

"5txsstrs
· 20 days ago
Is the replacement for the 400 still coming out?
1
answer
Midland Radio Corporation · 18 days ago
A new high powered MicroMobile should be available in fall 2020."
 

Prerunner1982

US Southwest Region Member Rep
Member

Traveler III

2,902
Navina, Oklahoma
First Name
Jon
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B
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I have been looking at the Midland MicroMobile radios. Guess I will wait and see what Midland releases.... came across this today.

"5txsstrs
· 20 days ago
Is the replacement for the 400 still coming out?
1
answer
Midland Radio Corporation · 18 days ago
A new high powered MicroMobile should be available in fall 2020."
It is supposed to be like the MXT275 but with 50 watts.
 
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