OB Approved Overland Bound Comms Frequency Guide

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brien

Southwest Regional Director
Staff member
Member
Supporter +

Advocate II

2,779
Tucson, AZ
Member #

3553

Ham Callsign
K7XPO
The Overland Bound community has settled on some common "calling" frequencies for the most common radio types. These are meant to be a starting point for making contact with a Overland Bound members. If your local region already has other generally accepted practices, you may want stick with them instead.


U.S. & Canada 2 Meter Amateur Radio
Frequency: 146.46
This frequency is the generally accepted off-road calling frequency. Amateur operator etiquette means that this common calling frequency should be used primarily for initial contact. Any extended conversations or group use, like communication while on a trip or a trial run, should likely be moved to a different nearby frequency.
Licensing: In order to operate an amateur ("ham") radio in the United States of America, you must be licensed by the FCC. Other countries have their own licensing systems, so check with your local regulations. There are other threads here on the Overland Bound forums that discuss licensing, so refer to those for more details.
(links to existing bootcamp about getting licensed)
Range: Range varies quite a bit depending on radio, transmit power, antenna, and geography. A typical range of a handheld on the trail is realistically around 2-6 miles, but with clean line of sight, a good setup, and higher power output, distances of well over 25 miles can be obtained.

U.S. GMRS / FRS
Channel: 15
License: The FCC certifies specific radios for use on GMRS and FRS which share the same channels. Only an FCC certified device can be used on these frequencies, and additionally, GMRS use requires a household license to be purchased from the FCC that is good for 10 years.
CTCSS / Privacy Codes: Some FRS and GMRS radios offer the ability to use what are called Privacy Codes or CTCSS tones as a way to limit the incoming transmissions to only the people in your group. Look at your radios manual for details and be aware that in order to use this option, all radios in your group must also support this feature.
Range: Similar to the VHF amateur radios, a typical range for GMRS on the trail is likely somewhere around 2-6 miles. FRS radios (which do not require the additional FCC license) are much lower power, and therefore the range is significantly reduced, making them less desirable.

U.S. Citizen's Band (CB)
Channel: 16
License
: There is no license requirement for CB use in the United States of America.
Squelch: Almost all CB radios will have a squelch control, this additional knob is used to adjust the noise cut-off on the incoming signal. If you find that other people in your group can hear you, but you can't hear them, adjust the squelch down as you may be filtering too much of the incoming signal.
Range: CB power output is limited to 4 watts, so in a typical trail situation, the range is realistically about 3-4 miles.

Australia & N.Z. UHF CB
Channel: 21
License
: There is no license requirement for UHF CB use Australia or New Zealand
Range: UHF CB power output is limited to 5 watts, so in a typical trail situation, the range is realistically about 10km. In ideal conditions, you can probably double that distance, and for raised repeaters, you can probably reach up to 100km.

U.K. 27Mhz CB
Channel: 10
License
: There is no license requirement for 27Mhz CB use in the U.K.
Squelch: Almost all CB radios will have a squelch control, this additional knob is used to adjust the noise cut-off on the incoming signal. If you find that other people in your group can hear you, but you can't hear them, adjust the squelch down as you may be filtering too much of the incoming signal.
Range: CB power output is limited to 4 watts, so in a typical trail situation, the range is realistically about 4-7km.

E.U. UHF CB / PMR
License: There is no license requirement for UHF CB use in the E.U.


Comms In a Group Run
Before any organized run, select a trail leader and hold a quick drivers meeting where, among other things, you can announce the details of how communication will be managed on the run. Select a "tail gunner" to monitor the rear of the pack, and if the group is large, a "mid gunner" as well. Announce the chosen radio type and the frequency/channel that will be used. Many times not every vehicle has a radio, or there may be some vehicles that do not have the radio type chosen as the primary means of communication. Consider relaying some important turn callouts and such to a secondary radio. For example, if ham radios will be used primarily, you might still announce important turns or warnings on a CB channel as well. Always let drivers know to keep an eye on the vehicle behind them in the rear view mirror and to stop if they ever lose sight. This will keep the group together even in the case that radio contact is lost or unavailable. When leading a moderate to large sized group, it's best to keep the radio chatter mostly focused around trail direction. Socializing on the radio in a larger group can end up making it difficult to call out important turns or obstacles. To make up for this, it's a good idea to have some regularly time stops for bio-breaks and socializing in person.
 
Last edited:

Chadlyb

Rank VI
Member
Supporter

Advocate III

2,779
Bend, OR, USA
Member #

7632

The Overland Bound community has settled on some common "calling" frequencies for the most common radio types. These are meant to be a starting point for making contact with a Overland Bound members. If your local region already has other generally accepted practices, you may want stick with them instead.


2 Meter Amateur Radio
Frequency: 146.46
This frequency is the generally accepted off-road calling frequency. Amateur operator etiquette means that this common calling frequency should be used primarily for initial contact. Any extended conversations or group use, like communication while on a trip or a trial run, should likely be moved to a different nearby frequency.
Licensing: In order to operate an amateur ("ham") radio in the United States of America, you must be licensed by the FCC. Other countries have their own licensing systems, so check with your local regulations. There are other threads here on the Overland Bound forums that discuss licensing, so refer to those for more details.
(links to existing bootcamp about getting licensed)
Range: Range varies quite a bit depending on radio, transmit power, antenna, and geography. Typical range of a handheld on the trail is realistically around 2-6 miles, but with clean line of sight, a good setup, and higher power output, distances of well over 25 miles can be obtained.

GMRS / FRS
Channel: 15
License: The FCC certifies specific radios for use on GMRS and FRS which share the same channels. Only an FCC certified device can be used on these frequencies, and additionally, GMRS use requires a household license to be purchased from the FCC that is good for 10 years.
CTCSS / Privacy Codes: Some FRS and GMRS radios offer the ability to use what are called Privacy Codes or CTCSS tones as a way to limit the incoming transmissions to only the people in your group. Look at your radios manual for details and be aware that in order to use this option, all radios in your group must also support this feature.
Range: Similar to the VHF amateur radios, a typical range for GMRS on the trail is likely somewhere around 2-6 miles. FRS radios (which do not require the additional FCC license) are much lower power, and therefore the range is significantly reduced, making them less desirable.

CB
Channel: 16
License
: There is no license requirement for CB use in the United States of America.
Squelch: Almost all CB radios will have a squelch control, this additional knob is used to adjust the noise cut-off on the incoming signal. If you find that other people in your group can hear you, but you can't hear them, adjust the squelch down as you may be filtering too much of the incoming signal.
Range: CB power output is limited to 4 watts, so in a typical trail situation, the range is realistically about 3-4 miles.

Comms In a Group Run
Before any organized run, select a trail leader and hold a quick drivers meeting where, among other things, you can announce the details of how communication will be managed on the run. Select a "tail gunner" to monitor the rear of the pack, and if the group is large, a "mid gunner" as well. Announce the chosen radio type and the frequency/channel that will be used. Many times not every vehicle has a radio, or there may be some vehicles that do not have the radio type chosen as the primary means of communication. Consider relaying some important turn callouts and such to a secondary radio. For example, if ham radios will be used primarily, you might still announce important turns or warnings on a CB channel as well. Always let drivers know to keep an eye on the vehicle behind them in the rear view mirror and to stop if they ever lose sight. This will keep the group together even in the case that radio contact is lost or unavailable. When leading a moderate to large sized group, it's best to keep the radio chatter mostly focused around trail direction. Socializing on the radio in a larger group can end up making it difficult to call out important turns or obstacles. To make up for this, it's a good idea to have some regularly time stops for bio-breaks and socializing in person.
Thank you.....
 

HappyOurOverlanding

US West Region Member Rep
Member

Influencer II

3,115
Verdi Nevada
Member #

9206

Ham Callsign
KI7RAM
The Overland Bound community has settled on some common "calling" frequencies for the most common radio types. These are meant to be a starting point for making contact with a Overland Bound members. If your local region already has other generally accepted practices, you may want stick with them instead.


2 Meter Amateur Radio
Frequency: 146.46
This frequency is the generally accepted off-road calling frequency. Amateur operator etiquette means that this common calling frequency should be used primarily for initial contact. Any extended conversations or group use, like communication while on a trip or a trial run, should likely be moved to a different nearby frequency.
Licensing: In order to operate an amateur ("ham") radio in the United States of America, you must be licensed by the FCC. Other countries have their own licensing systems, so check with your local regulations. There are other threads here on the Overland Bound forums that discuss licensing, so refer to those for more details.
(links to existing bootcamp about getting licensed)
Range: Range varies quite a bit depending on radio, transmit power, antenna, and geography. Typical range of a handheld on the trail is realistically around 2-6 miles, but with clean line of sight, a good setup, and higher power output, distances of well over 25 miles can be obtained.

GMRS / FRS
Channel: 15
License: The FCC certifies specific radios for use on GMRS and FRS which share the same channels. Only an FCC certified device can be used on these frequencies, and additionally, GMRS use requires a household license to be purchased from the FCC that is good for 10 years.
CTCSS / Privacy Codes: Some FRS and GMRS radios offer the ability to use what are called Privacy Codes or CTCSS tones as a way to limit the incoming transmissions to only the people in your group. Look at your radios manual for details and be aware that in order to use this option, all radios in your group must also support this feature.
Range: Similar to the VHF amateur radios, a typical range for GMRS on the trail is likely somewhere around 2-6 miles. FRS radios (which do not require the additional FCC license) are much lower power, and therefore the range is significantly reduced, making them less desirable.

CB
Channel: 16
License
: There is no license requirement for CB use in the United States of America.
Squelch: Almost all CB radios will have a squelch control, this additional knob is used to adjust the noise cut-off on the incoming signal. If you find that other people in your group can hear you, but you can't hear them, adjust the squelch down as you may be filtering too much of the incoming signal.
Range: CB power output is limited to 4 watts, so in a typical trail situation, the range is realistically about 3-4 miles.

Comms In a Group Run
Before any organized run, select a trail leader and hold a quick drivers meeting where, among other things, you can announce the details of how communication will be managed on the run. Select a "tail gunner" to monitor the rear of the pack, and if the group is large, a "mid gunner" as well. Announce the chosen radio type and the frequency/channel that will be used. Many times not every vehicle has a radio, or there may be some vehicles that do not have the radio type chosen as the primary means of communication. Consider relaying some important turn callouts and such to a secondary radio. For example, if ham radios will be used primarily, you might still announce important turns or warnings on a CB channel as well. Always let drivers know to keep an eye on the vehicle behind them in the rear view mirror and to stop if they ever lose sight. This will keep the group together even in the case that radio contact is lost or unavailable. When leading a moderate to large sized group, it's best to keep the radio chatter mostly focused around trail direction. Socializing on the radio in a larger group can end up making it difficult to call out important turns or obstacles. To make up for this, it's a good idea to have some regularly time stops for bio-breaks and socializing in person.
Good information. Thanks. I will review during our next local meeting.
 
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KC2BUN

Rank V
Member
Supporter +

Advocate I

1,879
Salem County NJ
Member #

12025

Some insightful info here. Thanks for sharing. I will be getting my Ham Op license this year some time. Comms are critical out on the trails.
I've been a ham for 22yrs don't regret it except not getting my general ticket. 2meter is a great band but I want to get into 6meter and 10meter
The HF bands can get ya over mountains
 

Kyle & Kari Frink

Rank VI
Member

Advocate III

3,689
San Diego, California
Member #

6376

The Overland Bound community has settled on some common "calling" frequencies for the most common radio types. These are meant to be a starting point for making contact with a Overland Bound members. If your local region already has other generally accepted practices, you may want stick with them instead.


2 Meter Amateur Radio
Frequency: 146.46
This frequency is the generally accepted off-road calling frequency. Amateur operator etiquette means that this common calling frequency should be used primarily for initial contact. Any extended conversations or group use, like communication while on a trip or a trial run, should likely be moved to a different nearby frequency.
Licensing: In order to operate an amateur ("ham") radio in the United States of America, you must be licensed by the FCC. Other countries have their own licensing systems, so check with your local regulations. There are other threads here on the Overland Bound forums that discuss licensing, so refer to those for more details.
(links to existing bootcamp about getting licensed)
Range: Range varies quite a bit depending on radio, transmit power, antenna, and geography. Typical range of a handheld on the trail is realistically around 2-6 miles, but with clean line of sight, a good setup, and higher power output, distances of well over 25 miles can be obtained.

GMRS / FRS
Channel: 15
License: The FCC certifies specific radios for use on GMRS and FRS which share the same channels. Only an FCC certified device can be used on these frequencies, and additionally, GMRS use requires a household license to be purchased from the FCC that is good for 10 years.
CTCSS / Privacy Codes: Some FRS and GMRS radios offer the ability to use what are called Privacy Codes or CTCSS tones as a way to limit the incoming transmissions to only the people in your group. Look at your radios manual for details and be aware that in order to use this option, all radios in your group must also support this feature.
Range: Similar to the VHF amateur radios, a typical range for GMRS on the trail is likely somewhere around 2-6 miles. FRS radios (which do not require the additional FCC license) are much lower power, and therefore the range is significantly reduced, making them less desirable.

CB
Channel: 16
License
: There is no license requirement for CB use in the United States of America.
Squelch: Almost all CB radios will have a squelch control, this additional knob is used to adjust the noise cut-off on the incoming signal. If you find that other people in your group can hear you, but you can't hear them, adjust the squelch down as you may be filtering too much of the incoming signal.
Range: CB power output is limited to 4 watts, so in a typical trail situation, the range is realistically about 3-4 miles.

Comms In a Group Run
Before any organized run, select a trail leader and hold a quick drivers meeting where, among other things, you can announce the details of how communication will be managed on the run. Select a "tail gunner" to monitor the rear of the pack, and if the group is large, a "mid gunner" as well. Announce the chosen radio type and the frequency/channel that will be used. Many times not every vehicle has a radio, or there may be some vehicles that do not have the radio type chosen as the primary means of communication. Consider relaying some important turn callouts and such to a secondary radio. For example, if ham radios will be used primarily, you might still announce important turns or warnings on a CB channel as well. Always let drivers know to keep an eye on the vehicle behind them in the rear view mirror and to stop if they ever lose sight. This will keep the group together even in the case that radio contact is lost or unavailable. When leading a moderate to large sized group, it's best to keep the radio chatter mostly focused around trail direction. Socializing on the radio in a larger group can end up making it difficult to call out important turns or obstacles. To make up for this, it's a good idea to have some regularly time stops for bio-breaks and socializing in person.

@brien

Thanks for the detailed information, I am positive people will appreciate the information.
Appreciate the time you have put into this post.
Our family just runs the CB and hand held radios for those who don't, been considering getting a HAM license though.
 

HappyOurOverlanding

US West Region Member Rep
Member

Influencer II

3,115
Verdi Nevada
Member #

9206

Ham Callsign
KI7RAM
Maybe I should get both - 2 is 1, 1 is none.
It's always good to have a main comm device (I prefer Ham) and a couple of GMRS radios for relay, spotting or hiking comms. If you are out with a few others and Ham is the main Comm but a few have CBs, the GMRS radios make good relay comms to one CB person to relay info to the other CB folk.
 
Last edited:

Ruba-Su

Rank I
Member

Member I

173
Columbia, Tn
Member #

13319

So what is the most common choice? And then what's the most common dual set up?
I'm building my first rig and trying to decide what to buy.
 

Blue Moser

Rank I
Member

Traveler I

271
Milton, Pennsylvania
Member #

13326

Cb is non licensed and free to public use.
Gmrs has a 70 dollar fee ( no testing ) for 10 years and covers your entire immediate family under one call sign.
ham requires testing and fees to use.

I myself based off of compatibility for my area. I use both CB and GMRS. Some places I travel to there is no cell phone reception. But I can use a GMRS repeater and contact people all over if need be.