GMRS: "not impressed" or "we musta been doing something wrong" | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

GMRS: "not impressed" or "we musta been doing something wrong"

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M Rose

US Northwest Region Director

Explorer I

La Grande, Oregon, USA
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US ARMY Retired
I've gotten 2-3 miles in open country using GMRS handhelds in vehicles on a road trip. I don't use the bubble pack radios though. Instead I get commercial Part 90 type radios, program them for GMRS, and use GMRS specific antennas. By contrast, I usually get about a dozen miles on 2m simplex (vhf ham band) in open country using my mobile radio and externally mounted antenna. GMRS would do the same +/- a few miles depending on terrain and vegetation. 2 meters will theoretically work better in thick vegetation as the wavelength of GMRS is close to the size of leaves and such and gets absorbed faster.

Radio is not good at penetrating ground or rock and it sounds like you were driving through terrain that obscured line of sight. As other have mentioned, neither CB nor GMRS will perform well in those circumstances as they are both LOS dependent. Very low frequencies in the HF band (such as the 80m ham band) have several miles of useful ground wave propagation (like an AM radio station). When you see rigs in the Australian Outback or Africa with the fat antennas mounted on the brushguards that is what they are using. Sadly, those setups run into the thousands but they also work for hundreds or thousands of miles on skywave.
How many watts are you running on 2m. I get about 90 miles on simplex 2m with a huge mountain between me and my friend W7OIL on 75 watts.