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FRS - Who carries 'em?


mgbmusic
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So I've recently acquired the Garmin Rino 110, and I read on the GS FAQ that typically Channel 2 is a good place to start, but does anyone else, in general, but especially in the Chi-town area, actually carry one when caching? Just curious if I should give a shout out and see if anyone's actually there. Thoughts?

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So I've recently acquired the Garmin Rino 110, and I read on the GS FAQ that typically Channel 2 is a good place to start, but does anyone else, in general, but especially in the Chi-town area, actually carry one when caching? Just curious if I should give a shout out and see if anyone's actually there. Thoughts?

I keep a pair of Cobra Li-6000's in my pack, but I don't very often need them. When caching alone in the mountains I keep one turned on and scanning, mostly just to listen to the chatter, but occasionally someone will ask if there's anyone listening, and we'll carry on a conversation.

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So I've recently acquired the Garmin Rino 110, and I read on the GS FAQ that typically Channel 2 is a good place to start, but does anyone else, in general, but especially in the Chi-town area, actually carry one when caching? Just curious if I should give a shout out and see if anyone's actually there. Thoughts?

 

In the past I carried it around, even am licensed as WQAA230 so as not to jeopordize my ham loicense if I cranked the power up inadvertantly while on Ch 2. I never found anyone on geocaching.

 

I still use them when in a group (on ch 2 with the privacy code set to 3) however if out by myself or in a group with other hams, prefer using 2 meters so I can hit the repeaters in the area or 146.52 MHz simplex.

 

I am sure there have to be other Rhino users that keep it turned on.

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FRS is good for groups, but you won't get much range on them. You might pick someone up if they are relatively close by. We use them when off-roading in single groups. For large groups like at Jeep Jamboree we have to use CB as FRS just doesn't have the range.

 

That "7 miles" they quote is wide open flat terrain. Put some trees in the way and it cuts way, way down. Still, I love FRS. Cheap and simple without the headaches that CB has.

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... but does anyone else, in general, but especially in the Chi-town area, actually carry one when caching? Just curious if I should give a shout out and see if anyone's actually there. Thoughts?

I don't. The chance of being able to contact anyone you'd want to talk to is low, even more so if you're expecting geocachers. I usually take an frs to events, but otherwise don't tend to have them along.

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I have a pair in my gear and get 'em out when I am caching with a friend - so we can stay in touch if our search separates us - for instance if a trail diverges and it is not clear which branch will more closely approach the target.

 

When I am alone, there is no point in using it.

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We have them with us all the time while in the woods. Sometimes on tougher caches, our six year old son might not want to go to the container, so I bring the radio to talk to him and tell him what's in the cache in case he wants to trade anything.

 

It's also handy if my wife & son are tired after doing a lot of caching and I want to grab a couple more. I'll bring along only the radio, the GPS, a trade item and a pen and literally run through the woods to the cache. I use the radio to talk about trade items and to get a hint if needed from my wife.

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When the FRS/GMRS radios first came out, I bought a set and often had one on scan mode. The novelty very quickly wore off, however, once I realized that most of the traffic in my area was just neighborhood kids talking to each other while they played in their yards.

 

I also discovered my local AMC theatre seemed to be using Channel 1 for their concession and janitorial employees to contact each other. :laughing: I could hear them from my house on a quiet night. One day just to test I brought one with me when I went to see a movie. I hit my Call button and next thing some supervisor was admonishing her staff to please turn off their cell phones... :laughing:

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Using GMRS, we had very good coverage on a recent hike to the summit of Mt Col Bob. I hit the trailhead a couple hours behind the main party and contacted them. There was a huge blow-down on the trail and the resulting way-trails around it were confusing, they were able to guide me around the mess saving me a lot of time hunting for the trail again.

We had two good stretches of distance between us, one coming in was aproximately 1.15 miles apart through old growth forest when we were at the downfall and you were at the trailhead, and the other on your departure which was aproximately 1.42 miles apart when you were at the creek crossing when we were near the summit. I'd call that more than adequate for all intents and purposes for keeping in touch on the trail when you're spread out.

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We (my local caching community) use FRS/GMRS radios quite frequently when at events and geocaching in groups, especially when 2 or more cars are involved.

 

FYI: Beacause of the ease and availability for purchase many folks do not realize that the GMRS bands on such a radio (generally channels 15-21) are in fact FCC-regulated Amatuer Radio Service frequencies.

 

Each radio is sold with an application for a license - no test, just pay a fee. Most throw it away! Many buy these radios second-hand, or have one loaned to them at an event, and do not know of this licensing requirement.

 

FRS is, in my experience, almost useless; if I can't hit you with a rock I likely can't talk to you on FRS.

 

GMRS is much better, optimally I get 12-15 mile ranges from some of mine (I have 8) and 5 miles under most conditions except urban. (FRS transmits at, I think, .5 watt and GMRS at 3 watts).

 

Channel 2 was chosen, if I recall correctly, because it is FRS and requires no license... but that means it has barely any functionality.

 

You are far better off getting the license and using GMRS.

 

You are far better off, in fact, spending $12 to get a ham license and spending $50 on a used 2meter hand-held, but I have so far not been able to convince the others in my caching world of that logic! Hope you have better luck!

 

So, that brings me to 'License? We don't need no steenkin license!' and this quote from today's American Radio Relay League (ARRL) newsletter, containing this tidbit from the FCC:

 

==>FCC CITES ALLEGED UNLICENSED HAM BAND USERS

 

The FCC has notified several entities -- including two trucking companies and a balloon festival sponsor -- regarding the alleged use of Amateur Radio frequencies by unlicensed individuals. Special Counsel in the FCC Spectrum Enforcement Division Riley Hollingsworth advised all of the parties that unlicensed use of radio equipment not only can interfere with licensed users but violates federal law and could lead to fines of up to $10,000.

 

"Information before the Commission indicates that at the 2005 International Balloon Fiesta held in Albuquerque, there were numerous balloonists using Amateur Radio Service and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) radio transmitting equipment without licenses," Hollingsworth wrote Paul Smith, the event's executive director on August 23. "Both services require a license from the Commission."

 

Hollingsworth told Smith that while the FCC encourages all balloonists to use communication equipment of some kind, he'd like the Balloon Fiesta to advise those participating in this year's event October 6-15 that unlicensed operation is illegal. He invited Smith to post the Advisory Notice on the event's Web site.

 

Big Brother IS watching!

 

And, he bites!

==>APOLOGETIC RADIO JAMMER JACK GERRITSEN GETS SEVEN YEARS, FINES

...On September 18, US District Court Judge R.

Gary Klausner sentenced convicted radio jammer Jack Gerritsen, now 70, to seven years imprisonment and imposed $15,225 in fines on six counts -- one a felony -- that included willful and malicious interference with radio communications and transmitting without a license....

 

Ed

73 de W4AGA

Edited by TheAlabamaRambler
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So I've recently acquired the Garmin Rino 110, and I read on the GS FAQ that typically Channel 2 is a good place to start, but does anyone else, in general, but especially in the Chi-town area, actually carry one when caching? Just curious if I should give a shout out and see if anyone's actually there. Thoughts?

I keep a pair of Cobra Li-6000's in my pack, but I don't very often need them. When caching alone in the mountains I keep one turned on and scanning, mostly just to listen to the chatter, but occasionally someone will ask if there's anyone listening, and we'll carry on a conversation.

I guess I should turn mine on too then :wub:

 

I usually just carry my Amateur Radio

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I have access to both, but I count on my ham radio for communication. FRS if of little use for geocaching safety, although it's handy for communicating between cars while travelling if there's not enough hams to go around :(

 

I also find the 11 mile range (or whatever range th package says) to be a joke with these FRS radios, but they sure beat the old walkie talkies that lost signal in the backyard :huh:

 

Generally I only use them when I go caching with the family. My wife isn't keen on bushwacking of any kind so I take a radio and leave her with one so we can chat if she get's bored. I also like to use one when she is with if I am doing a potentially dangerous cache like one involving my wading across a river or something so if I get in trouble I can let her know.

 

Mostly I use the FRS when shopping though. I hate when I try to find my wife and I walk the entire store 20 times and can't find her. That is when those things are really handy. Course I could just use my cell phone, but the FRS just seems more... ummm.... I dunno, I just like it.

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I have one in my caching gear. BTW I think that FRS is rated at 2 miles line of sight. I also keep a CB walky-talky in the car. The FRS is not very useful for caching. I have used a CB when hiking in the mountains, and often found myself in dark territority with it, but the FRS is used a lot by small businesses and as a car to car intercom. If you need to put out a mayday call on FRS... Forget it.. Chances are that if you can get a response, it will be:

A. Some kids playing.

B. some teenager working at a local store

C. Some tourist passing through the area that don't know how to help you.

 

If you do a lot of urban caches a gps enabled cell phone would be the best choice.

However, if you work a lot of rural caches, CB, 2-meter, or an emercency Sat phone are better options.

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Mostly I use the FRS when shopping though. I hate when I try to find my wife and I walk the entire store 20 times and can't find her. That is when those things are really handy. Course I could just use my cell phone, but the FRS just seems more... ummm.... I dunno, I just like it.

 

Yeah, we used to do this too, until one day we were trying to reach my mother and kept pressing the call button and calling out "Mom, are you there?"

 

Turns out she was in the bathroom at the time, and...

 

We've stuck with cell phones ever since.

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Chances are that if you can get a response, it will be:

A. Some kids playing.

B. some teenager working at a local store

C. Some tourist passing through the area that don't know how to help you.

Although I will agree they aren't worth too much in long distance communications, even this is better than nothing. We've had plenty of mountaineers get stuck in situations where they managed to convince the kid to give the radio to mommy or daddy so emergency help can be gained. Nevermind why they had the emergency or why there wasn't another way to gain help... that was what they had and it worked.

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We own a set and did not take them on our first geocaching outings in the mountains. We agreed they would have been helpful when the cache was not located at the exact waypoint and we had to go searching. We could have searched a bit further afield and still kept in contact with each other.

 

I don't take them when it is just myself and my preschooler searching -- I don't let her go far enough away and she would just play with the buttons anyway -- but we will probably take them on outings where more than one adult is present in the future.

 

They are probably a good idea in case the gps quits and you are lost, someone gets injured, bad weather is coming in and you need to be notified, etc...

Edited by sunrise searcher
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