GMRS info request | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

GMRS info request

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Prerunner1982

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For plug and play mobile radios there are a couple of options.
Midland, Baofengtech (Btech), RuggedRadios, and Daystar.
Midland and Btech have far better pricing and if you order directly from Midland you can use promocode OverlandUSA Overland15 and get 20% 15% off. Edited: Thanks to @jeepers29 for the heads up on the expired promocode.
Midland also has many options for mobile and handheld. Baofeng also has a handheld GMRS radio.

There are some business radios that can do GMRS but it typically takes a programming software and cable to do so it's not for everyone especially the non-radionerd.
 
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M Rose

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Midland MXT275 is the way go. I've had mine nearly a year now, love it. Much easier than going the route of HAM, and license is cheap for 10 years
Don’t get j to the cost of license as part of the debate between ham and GMRS... GMRS is $7/ year or $70/10 year.... HAM is between free and $50 for life... so say you pay for a ham cram and exam for $100, 10 years later you submit your callsign for renewal and get your new license in the mail and are good for another 10 years. You pay your 70 for the first 10, time to renew and dish out another 70 and now you are way behind what ham would have cost... the cost of radios is very similar for mobile units.... so yea the only advantage GMRS has over the Ham is that the whole family is licensed under one call sign, that is it... personally I can’t justify 70 every 10 years that does exactly what the Wal-Mart $15 talkies do. Sure I can’t talk long distance on FMRS, that’s what I have HF for... which even GMRS can’t talk with repeaters that far.
 
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M Rose

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I will disagree, $7 a year for a radio service that allows improved communication over CB and covers my family is well worth it.
Forego a could Starbucks lattes a year and you have your money back.
My point is that you can’t say the cost of GMRS is cheap compared to ham for the license... for a family of 4 getting licensed on ham is $90 for a lifetime... 10 years later the GMRS is another $70, 20 years later another 70, etc etc... so if you are only going to need the license for 10 years, yes your cheaper... but over your lifetime the license for GMRS is way more than Ham. One other thing... upon your death, the license is null and void for the rest of your family. So again you can’t justify GMRS is better than Ham in a price stand point. Is it better than CB most definitely. Is it better than Ham, depends on where you are.
I know two GMRS license holders in my area...1st guy isn’t a license holder anymore because there wasn’t any one here to talk with, no repeater coverage, and couldn’t justify spending $70 again for a radio he doesn’t use. The second guy said he wished he never got his license and just went ham in the first place for the same reasons.
I wheel with two groups that are t local... one group uses GMRS, the other uses Ham... since my local group uses ham, I just use my FMRS radio when I go wheel with the GMRS group (both groups are close to three hours by freeway from me).
If every one is using smoke signals and you use CB, well guess what, better learn smoke signals.
 
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Prerunner1982

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For anyone that has the MXT275 what kind of antenna do you need? Can you do a puck antenna?
A puck antenna may work ok in close convoy/trail situations and in the city if you only plan on using a repeater. But I can't imagine that it would have any real distance to it.
Midland makes a ghost antenna that's all of 3.5" tall and from the reports I have seen seems to work pretty well.
 

Downs

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Looking for advice on picking a GMRS base unit (in-truck) and hand-helds.
If you want plug and play working right out of the box then Midland. They have some downsides but most of them work for 99 percent of people's uses. None of their handhelds for instance have repeater capability. Their top of the line MXT400 doesn't offer NOAA weather stations because it's a rebadged Chinese UHF only radio. But when you get down to it they offer probably the only no fuss plug and play solutions out there if you want to just talk on the trail. Repeater use on the mobiles can be kind of wonky with having to go into menu settings but overall not horrible.

Btech offers one mobile radio (GMRS-50X1) and one handheld for GMRS (GMRS-V1). They are basically HAM radios that have been re-certified for use on GMRS. You can take them out of the box and use them but they can also be computer programmed to some extent. You can listen in on HAM frequencies (won't let you transmit) and get NOAA weather on them. They are also both repeater capable. They will be much more flexible than the Midlands. Quality control can be kind of eh on some of them but I've got on BTECH mobile (HAM UV-50X2) and a bunch of their handhelds and they have worked well for me. But you can find instances of bad radios out there. They offer enough options and ability to change settings it can sometimes mess up novice users who are just wanting to hit the PTT and talk to someone and aren't interested in deep diving radios.

Surplus radios. These are awesome but as stated by @Prerunner1982 it's the "radionerd" option. They are built like tanks and are likely something you can pass down to your grandkids. Prices for older gear is dirt cheap, but it requires a little knowledge (you can get via GOOLGE) on how to program. I've got a bunch of Motorolas and each model I have has it's own programming cable and programming software. Some of the software is hard to find (I've heard Kenwood is much better about this) and Motorola is very protective of even their old programming software. Much of the software needs to be ran on older machines or needs a machine with a real physical serial port, which is why I have an old Windows Vista tower in my garage, basically JUST to program Motorola radios lol. It's not an option I recommend to people unless they either are willing to learn to program themselves or have friends close by that can program them for you. You also run into issues where if you need to change CTCSS or DCS tones "on the fly" you are kind of boned cause you need the programming software to do it with few exceptions.

Rugged Radios and Daystar..........just don't. They way overcharge for rebadged Chinese radios then program them with frequencies you can't legally use anyway. Rugged Radios is shady as hell. Unless you need some kind of specific intercom system (you could build for much cheaper using aircraft portable intercoms) they sell I would just stay away.
 
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Downs

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For anyone that has the MXT275 what kind of antenna do you need? Can you do a puck antenna?
The shortest I would go is the Ghost/Phantom style antennas that look like little cans. Honestly a 1/4 wave GMRS antenna is going to be about 6 inches long. You can get a PCTEL commerical band 1/4 wave that cost 9-12 dollars and stick it on there. The chances of it being ripped off are very low and even if it does you're out a 10 dollar bill.

I suggest keeping multiple antennas in your vehicle. They take up basically no space and different wavelenth and DB gain antennas have different uses depending on terrain and what you want to do. I keep a 2x 5/8s (half wave on VHF) on the the Jeep most of the time because where I live it's mostly flat and the extra gain helps get a little more range but I also keep a 1/4 wave commercial band antenna next to my seat that I can swap on in less than 30 seconds for tight trails (think trees reaching out to rip off antennas) and more varied terrain.
 

Prerunner1982

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I ordered the MTX400 kit with the Ghost antenna, its awesome...but no-one else around me has GMRS yet.. all still on CB, I'm trying to convert them all.
Good luck, I've been trying for quite awhile to get members of the local club I hang with to switch from CB and except for 2 or 3 people most are very reluctant.
Hopefully you can get someone to switch and then help demonstrate the superior performance.
 

M Rose

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I definitely see gmrs becoming wayyy more prevalent over the next 5-10 years than cb.
I don’t, we are starting to climb the 11 year solar flux, so in another couple years, the CB SSB DX Skipping is going to be hot again. Unfortunately I haven’t heard much talk of GMRS skip.
 

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Don't forget if you have your ham license and there's no repeater 2m 70cm also have simplex channels that you can utilize. I've talked up to 10 miles.(Disclaimer 50 watt Mobile unit and open country), Freq are VHF 146.500 and UHF 446.000.
 

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