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SpongeRob

Where to Buy GMRS?

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I've had a GMRS radio for a while and I really would like to get a nice Base station and some higher power Car units. I have seen older hardware that has 35W Dash units but have not been able to find anything but a handheld of 2 watts (sometimes a very expensive 4 watt).

 

Anyone know where I can get good GMRS hardware at a fair price? I would realy like to get hardware that can get me a true 5 mile range vs. the perhaps 1.5 you get under normal terrain conditions.

 

Thanks!

 

--

SpongeRob

rwmech@keenpeople.com

www.keenpeople.com

WPWU826

 

Cache'n Retrievers

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Not to be a jerk... BUT....

 

Have you considered becomming a Ham? Much better selection of equipment, many more options for operation, better selection of antennas, etc. And it isn't that hard anymore. They are practically giving the license away these days.

 

You are right, not many options for the GMRS folks. The radios are out there, but at $800 for a motorola, I prefer $249 for an ICOM.

 

Mike. Desert_Warrior (aka KD9KC).

El Paso, Texas.

 

Citizens of this land may own guns. Not to threaten their neighbors, but to ensure themselves of liberty and freedom.

 

They are not assault weapons anymore... they are HOMELAND DEFENSE WEAPONS!

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I’m going to tread lightly here; I mean no insult to anyone in particular. Why would someone choose GMRS (or FRS, CB, etc) over 2 meter or other HAM bands? It may have to do with “who do you really want to talk to?” I’ve been fascinated by radio my whole life, but never considered being licensed until they dropped the code requirement. The bad taste left by those (almost violently) opposed to the no-coders is, psychologically anyway, keeping me from the hobby. I am sure that most (90%) HAMs are great folks; I’ve had some great conversations with many of them on the MARS freqs while flying C141s across the pond and back. I used to talk to CB-ers as well using the aircraft HF radios. (Sorry to all who were blown away by the 400 watts and the 37,000 foot high antenna!) Some of the CB-ers with high-end units would ask me to push slightly above 40 MHz to escape the chatter, and not knowing any better, I would. Then some HAM a**hole would start screaming and threatening (both legal and physical) to get off his freqs. If he had simply said, “Hey, you guys have strayed into license-required territory”, fine, I would have just gone back to the CB range and split the channel, or gone to LSB. (My radios didn’t have “channels”, only frequency) Later, I hear the vehement objections to no-code from the crusty old HAMs and their organizations. My opinion is that code is a relic; it has no real purpose anymore. I understand the argument, that in a time of national crisis and poor reception, code might save the day. My not knowing it, however, wouldn’t un-save it, I could simply stand aside and let the dinosaurs do their thing. So now there’s a confusing mix of freq and power requirements that suggests I should become a lawyer first, just to understand the whole dadgum thing. There is also the underlying elitism that seems to pervade even now, and anyone familiar with my posts to these forums knows how I feel about that. (I get pretty riled up when I read a snotty condescending response to a geocache question or post.)

 

So that’s my rant and if you had the patience to read the whole thing, please don’t flame me for my opinion, regardless of how incorrect it may be.

 

EDIT: Typo

 

http://fp1.centurytel.net/Criminal_Page/

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quote:
Originally posted by Criminal:

I’m going to tread lightly here; I mean no insult to anyone in particular.

 

My opinion is that code is a relic; it has no real purpose anymore.


 

First off I had better say that I, personally, support the idea of removing the CW exam as a means to assess whether someone should be allowed on the HF bands. Even though I did have to do the CW test to get my own HF licence.

 

However, I would add a couple of points.

1. It's my experience that many of those violently opposed to removing the CW test don't seem to use CW very much themselves and

2. I enjoy using CW and use it as often as I can.

 

In fact I rarely use HF, I'm not a great SSB operator and I don't have the time to call CQ for hours to be ignored by many as I'm not "DX" enough for them, nor do I take much interest in Contests, unless they are VHF/UHF CW contests. Not being a member of RSGB, I couldn't enter any that are organised by them and the international ones are well out of my league.

 

So, when do I use CW? Well, it's very useful on VHF and UHF. On Monday afternoon there was a "Scottish Type" aurora. Although not a large, full scale event, I did work a few GM (Scottish) stations on 144MHz using a nine element yagi and about 50 Watts using CW. I find that the auroral distortions are easier to cope with on CW than SSB.

 

I also like to use CW during Tropo and Sporadic-E openings. I find that the 'DX' stations often come down to the CW end for a rest from the howling mob of SSBers. icon_smile.gif Because fewer people use CW there's often a better range of frequencies to use as well.

 

So to call CW a relic, just because you want to get rid of the CW test is a bit off, in my opinion. I don't call SSB or FM a relic, even though there are more effective modes like PSK31 etc., because people like to use microphones to speak to people. I just like using a morse key to do the same thing. I also don't run down ATV just because I'm not interested in it, other radio amateurs enjoy sending pictures about, I just am not one of them.

 

So, please don't pick on my particular choice of mode just because some people, who I don't support anyway, have cheesed you off.

 

Thanks.

 

--... ...--

Morseman

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quote:
So, please don't pick on my particular choice of mode just because some people, who I don't support anyway, have cheesed you off.

 

Not so much that code, in and of itself, is a relic, rather the requirement to know it to a determined specification in order to get a license is "relic". If it were easier to get the ticket, I might pursue CW after hearing it enough, if I found it to my liking.

icon_razz.gif

 

http://fp1.centurytel.net/Criminal_Page/

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I recently heard the best explanation I've ever heard for the CW requirement. On the written Amateur Radio exams, there are questions about the various operating modes (bandwidth comparisons, carrier and "other" sideband suppression for SSB, tones/levels/etc for FSK, etc.). There's really not much of a way to test CW knowledge through a written test, though. And having recently taken the 5wpm code test for General, my experience was that the hardest part of the test was waiting for the code to creep by so I could write down the character. Quite possibly I have more of a "genetic" talent for Morse code, but I think the real problem people have with learning how to copy CW is because they're not being taught very well; certainly not as well as the other Ham subjects are taught in the various training manuals.

 

Regarding the idiots who look down their noses at anyone different from them, they're just bigots. In my estimation they're no different from the neanderthals that believe women should stay barefoot and pregnant, or that they're members of a superior race. Bigots, all. When I run into them, I stay away from their hot-buttons until I can just get away from them. There are many, many, many other folks who aren't burdened by these idiots' problems; I'll just go and associate with them instead.

 

During my time as a Ham, I haven't had much of a problem with these numbskulls. The ones who post so much on the various Internet sites seem to spend all their time spreading their vitriol on the Internet instead of working their radios, and that's just fine with me.

 

Don't let the scum scare you off from Amateur Radio, Criminal. They are such a small minority as to be insignificant. And when you're unlucky enough to run into one of them, it's not that hard to just ignore them.

 

My 2¢.

 

73,

 

-----

~ Boyd

N5CTI

 

"Never ask a man where he's from. If he's from Texas, he'll tell ya soon enough. If he ain't, don't embarrass him."

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quote:
Originally posted by Criminal:

I’m going to tread lightly here; I mean no insult to anyone in particular. Why would someone choose GMRS (or FRS, CB, etc) over 2 meter or other HAM bands?

 

>SNIP<

 

(I get pretty riled up when I read a snotty condescending response to a geocache question or post.)

 

So that’s my rant and if you had the patience to read the whole thing, please don’t flame me for my opinion, regardless of how incorrect it may be.


 

Not a problem. You have some pretty strong opinions. Perhaps ham radio is not for you. That is fine. Knitting is not for me.

 

None-the-less, my previous statement stands. The availibility of radios, antennas, and operating functions is much larger for hams. And the license is much cheaper, although it does take some work and initiative. Nothing is free.

 

For some, a $75/year license and a pair of $1000 motorolas is better that a $1/year license and a pair of $250 Icoms. Ham radio is not for everyone.

 

Mike. Desert_Warrior (aka KD9KC).

El Paso, Texas.

 

Citizens of this land may own guns. Not to threaten their neighbors, but to ensure themselves of liberty and freedom.

 

They are not assault weapons anymore... they are HOMELAND DEFENSE WEAPONS!

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On topic:

Here is a link to a GMRS website that looks like there is some good info.

 

Other topic:

Get both. I actually got the GMRS license first and then a few months later I finally studied up and passed the ham test. I use a Rino 120 and also carry my VX-5 icon_smile.gif

 

icon911.gif

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SpongeRob,

 

Any commercial UHF radio that will cover the 462-467MHz portion of the band will do. There are not any specifically marketed GMRS mobile radio out there. You would need to buy a commercial radio and have it programmed. There are many manufacturers out there that will fit the bill. Motorola makes wonderful equipment, it'll cost you an arm and a leg though. Look at Kenwood and Icom. I am running several Icom mobiles currently and have been happy with all of them. Go to the above list WWW.gmrsweb.com link for loads of information.

 

Also try www.rkleef.com they carry a Maxon Mobile at a resonable price, and will progam it for you to the GMRS frequencies.

 

Good Luck

 

Matt McKenna

WPQL444 GMRS

WL7MN Ham

 

McKenna Family

Watsonville CA, San Jose CA, Dublin CA

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quote:
Originally posted by Desert_Warrior:

None-the-less, my previous statement stands. The availibility of radios, antennas, and operating functions is much larger for hams. And the license is much cheaper, although it does take some work and initiative. Nothing is free.


 

I have a ham license and GMRS license. My wife will NEVER get a ham license...she cant spell FCC.

 

You still can't conduct business on ham bands, but you can on GMRS.

 

So, I'll play with ham, I'll learn from ham, God willing, my son will become a ham and I'll talk to him, but for day to day communication needs to talk to my wife and my friends, I have exactly two practical choices: GMRS and cell phone.

 

ApK

 

p.s. I can't figure out these new forums....

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I could have swore that GMRS said that it was for personal "non-buinsess" use. I'll have to check the rules again.

 

As for HAM vs. GMRS i'm really only looking to communicate about 10 miles with GMRS. We go on car trips etc and frequently use our radios out in the field. I find that the 5 mile range really gives me about 1 in dense woods. I'd like to be in a 10 mile range of anywhere and be able to communicate with the family. Other than that I've got no use to see how far I can talk to people.

 

--

SpongeRob

rwmech@keenpeople.com

www.keenpeople.com

WPWU826

 

Cache'n Retrievers

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I believe that some of the frequencies were/are part of the business band. Here is some infor from the FCC. There is a lot of info on the FCC web site but I think this might help some.

 

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GMRS Cannot be used for Business Use, UNLESS, the buisness in a family business, and all the radio users are part of your family. It is not intended to be used as a cheap alternative to properly coordinated buisiness frequencies.

 

Any GMRS radio that you buy (with only a few exceptions) is not going to do better than a few miles under optimum conditions. A lot of the cheaper radios being sold are just FRS radios with 8 additional frequencies. Some claim to put out more power, but it is not a lot, most put out somewhere less than 2 watts. Incresing your output power up to 1 watt from the 1/2 watt FRS radios is not going to translate into twice the distance. It just doesn't work that way. UHF frequencies operate mostly by line of site, so any foliage, terrain or buildings are going to block you signal. There are a few ways to get some better range out of your radios.

Option one: If the radio has a removeable antenna, take it off (throw it away, FAR away) and get an upgraded antenna, this will help quite a bit. The stubby antennas that come on the low end GMRS and FRS radios are very limited in there abilities (by design of the FCC, they wanted FRS to be a short range service).

 

Option B: Use a better radio. Look at Icom, Kenwood and Pryme. They all make GMRS radios that are built on commercial radio platforms. They all put out 4 watts, which itself isn't going to help a whole lot, but they also come with more efficient antennas than what you will find on the FRS/GMRS cheapies.

 

Option 3: Use a repeater. Almost all cheapie GMRS radios are not set up for repeaters. The higher end units are. The repeater picks up the weak signal from your radio and retransmits it at a higher power and from a higher location (Line of Site, remember?).

 

Unless you are using a repeater, there is little chance you are going to ever see the 5 mile claims that the radios advertise. Under ideal conditions, like out on the desert, on the water, or from one mountain top to another, you might see 5 miles or even more.

 

When we geocache, I carry a Motorola HT600 radio, yeah, its big and bulky, the antenna is long, and it is a bit heavy, but it works. Each of our trucks have 35-45 watt mobile radios with external antennas. From truck to truck with the external antennas we have talked over 13 miles, it was in a nice flat valley floor, but we did it. Normally, we use repeaters around home. I can reach out over 50 miles, and over a mountain range to talk to my dad.

 

GMRS can get expensive if you are really getting into it. The low end radios just are not going to cut it for anything less than 1/2 a mile or so.

Depending on your terrain, you may want to check into a relativly new service called MURS (Multi Use Radio Service) that the FCC opened up. They took 5 VHF business band channels and opened them up to licence by rule use. Licence by rule translates into licence free, as long as you follow the rules. These 5 channels are fairly quite, some are in use by businesses still, but the flood of cheap radios just hasn't happened yet, like what happened to FRS. Also, VHF is a little better in getting around terrain that would normally block UHF signals. If I wasn't so far into GMRS, and was just starting, I would look into MURS. A lot of info is available on FRS, GMRS and MuRS, as well as CB and Ham at WWW.POPULARWIRELESS.COM

 

Matt.

 

McKenna Family

Watsonville CA, San Jose CA, Dublin CA

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Man what I would do for 400 watts at FL370!....almost as good using the pacific for a director and the rockies for a reflector!!

73 you mud duck lol

kc7nys

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quote:
Originally posted by McKenna Family:

GMRS Cannot be used for Business Use, UNLESS, the buisness in a family business, and all the radio users are part of your family.


 

I can find nothing in the rules that suggests that's true. An individual can send communication related to his business activities to any other authorized GMRS station (not just under HIS license, i.e., his family.)

 

TITLE 47--TELECOMMUNICATION

 

COMMISSION (CONTINUED)

 

PART 95--PERSONAL RADIO SERVICES--Table of Contents

 

Subpart A--General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)

 

Sec. 95.181 Permissible communications.

 

(a) A station operator for an individual who is licensed in the GMRS

(other than an employee of that individual) may communicate two-way

voice messages concerning the licensee's personal or business activities

(see Sec. 95.179).

 

Here's the link: GMRS RULES

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ApK,

 

You are correct, I was being a bit vague in my response. As long as two users are properly licenced, they can use it for whatever they want. The spirit behind GMRS though is that it is for family use. There are a lot better services to use for business communications.

 

McKenna Family

Watsonville CA

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quote:
Originally posted by McKenna Family:

There are a lot better services to use for business communications.

 

McKenna Family

Watsonville CA


 

That's certainly true. If I was rich, I'd get a private land mobile licenced frequency or two, and a repeater for my own use! Who'd want to share the air when you're talking about practical communications. Party lines went out of favor for a reason....

 

But notice how many business (check the radios carried by the clerks at the next super-store you visit) don't use the better options, but rather choose to save the money, suffer the chatter and use FRS. And the FCC seems to be instigating contension with MURS. It's an unhappy situation from a business point of view...they HAD private channels, and now have to share them...I can just see the fights starting....

 

I think there's a conspiracy to drive people to use pay-per-minute cellphones/PCS services.

 

ApK

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MURS came about because the FCC screwed up, more or less. They are so lax on enforcement, and so many retailers were selling low end VHF radios programmed with one or more of those 5 channels that it was easier to make it licence by rule rather than try and chase all the unlicenced users off. Same thing happened with CB. CB exploded so fast that there was no real way to enforce it, so they just walked away. Same thing is probably going to happen with GMRS. A lot of officially licenced users got the shaft on this MURS thing.

 

McKenna Family

Watsonville CA

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WoW! Code a relic? In amateur radio maybe, just depends who you ask and what answer you are looking for...but in commercial applications ie: Code is used for navigational purposes worldwide, even commercial and Militiary aircraft, for exchanging data.

 

my personal answer is:

There is no language barrier...it is known internationally by all radio operators as the "universal non-voice communication" even if they do not know how or what it means.

 

I agree, there is still alot of mixed emotions by all who resent having the code part recinded for "techies" to play "walkie talkie".

On the contrary, all "techies" who do pass their no-code exam have the opportunity to upgrade to "tech plus" by passing the code portion within 1 year.

This opens up the opportunity for people who have turned away at the thought of becoming Amateurs simply because of not being "code friendly" or "genetically advantaged".

 

With computers and cell phones being more on the rampant and crammed between low power junk called frs and gmrs...you will find us Amateurs caught between trying to almost salvage a relic of a hobby as well.

 

I am proud to be an Amateur radio operator. I help others to study for their first license and share with them the knowledge for what has been given to me and researched on my own...

no matter if they are "newbies" or "extra's".

 

We all have to start somewhere and with a positive attitude and a desire is the hard part...the easy part is just doing it.

 

Keep an open mind about code though...

there are many methods of teaching and remembering...find the best one that suits your needs. I wish all those who want to pursue Amateur Radio that you are more than welcomed in doing so...I personally invite it.

 

For those who are Amateurs, I appreciate your efforts in continuing the betterment of the hobby for the best interest of all...

 

Best Wishes and Happy Geocaching! KD7KYU

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Off topic, but just want to point out a funny thing about Technicians getting their code.

 

Once they pass their code, they are Technician w/HF, and can use the tech portions of the HF bands for as long as they have their licenses. If they wish to upgrade, they have to pass their Element 3 (General) within 365 days of passing the code.

 

With WRC-03 wrapping up in Geneva, the international treaty requirement for HF looks as though it will go away. Countries would still be able to retain the CW requirement for its hams, if they so choose.

 

As for code being a relic, it's not evident from what I hear on the bands. It's still alive and well

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I agree. My morse is pretty rusty, I learned it, but never went down and upgraded to Tech Plus. I have found that my needs are pretty well served by VHF and UHF FM. Maybe one day I will freshen up my skills and go get upgraded.

 

Will be interesting to see what happens now tha WRC is over, will the code requirement drop, or will it stick around. Seems like the ham community will be pretty well split. I am sure the big radio makers will want to see it drop. Bet they would see a big jump in HF radio sales, like the jump in VHF-UHF gear after no-code. I don't think we would see a big decline in the HF band quality if they drop the code though. I know everyone thought it was the end of the (radio) world when no code came around, but I just never saw it. Of all the bad operators, it has been a pretty even split of seasoned operators and no-codes alike.

 

Anyway, with the cost of a good HF set up, I bet most will stay away, unless they are really iterested. If the band goes down hill, I belive most hams won't stand for it. From what I have seen, the amateur community does a pretty good job of policing itself. Wish we could say the same for GMRS.

 

On the other hand, having a small HF rig for emergencies would be pretty nice. I originally started out heading in that direction, but in the middle of my studying, they went no code. At the time I was going to school, and didn't have a lot of time, so I just bagged the tech licence and moved on. Either way, sure would like to have the capability to hop on HF. Got a few friends on HF, and they tell some pretty good stories.

 

73 WL7MN

WPQL444

 

You have to go out, you don't have to come back.

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quote:
Originally posted by McKenna Family:

SpongeRob,

 

Any commercial UHF radio that will cover the 462-467MHz portion of the band will do. There are not any specifically marketed GMRS mobile radio out there. You would need to buy a commercial radio and have it programmed. There are many manufacturers out there that will fit the bill. Motorola makes wonderful equipment, it'll cost you an arm and a leg though. Look at Kenwood and Icom. I am running several Icom mobiles currently and have been happy with all of them.


So just to get this straight, the FCC only requires buisness land-mobile type acceptance? Or, are there multiple type acceptance coes acceptable for GMRS?

 

Also, for geocaching, MURS sure fits the bill.

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quote:
Originally posted by SearchRescueDog:

So just to get this straight, the FCC only requires buisness land-mobile type acceptance? Or, are there multiple type acceptance coes acceptable for GMRS?


Land mobile type acceptance is not sufficient for legal operation as a GMRS station. From Part 95.129:

 

Every station in a GMRS system must use transmitters the FCC has certificated for use in the GMRS.

 

So, equipment has to be specifically certificated for GMRS use.

 

-----

~ Boyd

N5CTI

 

"Never ask a man where he's from. If he's from Texas, he'll tell ya soon enough. If he ain't, don't embarrass him."

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