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SBPhishy

Gmrs 2 Way Question

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Now, I know everyone has their own opinions, and I don't mind hearing them all.

I have been reading the threads about GMRS radios, but haven't read anything about which one is an overall great unit.

 

The main thing I am concerned about is the range. I have read about the Midland G-300's, and they seem intriguing with their 3 watts of power, and cheap price. After reading some less than great reviews on them though, I guess you get what you pay for.

 

Anyways, I am curious which would be the best overall, and most powerful GMRS radio. I am definitely interested in the GMRS part of the radio, as I would get my license if I got one, to take full advantage of it's capabilities.

 

As far as price, I would rather not spend a whole lot. Nothing more than 100$ would be great, but around 40-50 would be ideal. Hopefully I am not being to unrealistic.

 

Thanks in advance for all your help. :D

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In that price range, I don't know as you'll find much over 2 Watts of power. Legal limit on HTs is around 5W, but those are likely to be expensive, large and heavy.

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A bit over your price range, but one of the best pre-programmed GMRS radios out there now is probably the Icom F21gm http://www.icomamerica.com/frs/icf21gmmain.asp

The important thing about that radio is that it has a fairly efficient antenna as compared to most other low end GMRS radios. When considering coverage area for a radio it is foolish to only look at the advertised power or the false marketing claims of "up to X mile range".

What really is going to make the difference on the radio is the efficiency of the antenna. Steer clear of th stubby little antennas.

 

Also, for clarification, there is no 'legal limit on HT power". Licenced users are allowed up to 50 watts tpo on the 8 primary GMRS channels, and 5 watts ERP on the 7 interstitial (shared with FRS) channels. Radio design, component limitations and battery limitations, as well as what is safe, limits the power output of a handheld radio to somewhere in the 4-5 watt range.

http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx...47cfr95_02.html

Edited by McKenna Family

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That one looks cool. Thanks. Another thing I was thinking of... with a radio like that, for example, I would be ablel to transmit a decent distance. Would I necessarily be able to pick up signals from farther away though? Like could I pick up a normal FRS radio from 5 miles for example, or does the other radio have to be as powerful also. I'm leaning towards they both have to be powerful.

 

Thanks

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Again another argument to get a amateur license. I personally wouldn't spend that much money on a GMRS HT. For the same price I could get a 6 watt 2M HT. Your simplex (non repeater) distance would be better than the inflated claims made by manufactures. With a 2M HT you also have the option to use almost all local repeaters, which add many miles to you communications.

 

Jon KC9AXZ

 

wasted money GMRS call... WPUR857

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Also, for clarification, there is no 'legal limit on HT power".

RF exposure is also law. Just a different section.

 

There's only so much distance you can put between you and the antenna of an HT by design.

 

Semantics aside, I don't think you'll ever find more then 5 or maybe 6 Watts in a HT regardless of the radio service it runs in.

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Would I necessarily be able to pick up signals from farther away though? Like could I pick up a normal FRS radio from 5 miles for example, or does the other radio have to be as powerful also. I'm leaning towards they both have to be powerful.

The optimal setup is with high power, good receivers and good antennas at both ends. Each compromise at each end will reduce range.

 

The range you get with a good radio at one end and a cheap one at the other will be longer then with two cheap radios, but not as long as with two good radios.

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I don't want to get into a debate about GMRS vs. HAM.

I have both licences, and have found that both fill a specific need. I tried for years to get others in my family to get their HAM tickets, but no luck. I still use 2 meters and 70cm for my own use, but when I need to talk to others in my family, GMRS is the only option. Not everyone wants to go through the HAM licensing process. If you look at the $75 spent on a 5 year GMRS licence, that comes out to around 4.1 cents a day. If I then divide that by the 5 people in my family that fall under my licence, that isn't a bad deal. My GMRS repeater access is free, thanks to a fellow HAM/GMRS licencee. So, I have coverage comparable to the local 70CM repeater for less than a penny a day for each person in my family.

As for the price of radios, We have 4 Motorola HT600's tuned up on GMRS, I was able to get those for $55 each, used. The mobiles we use were in the $200-300 range, yes, a bit more than a 2meter mobile, but not bad. Same thing with the base radios. While getting this involved is not for everyone, I don't understand why so many HAM operators bad mouth GMRS, I guess just personal experience. No reason to discourage someone else. GMRS fills a need. Not everyone needs a HAM licence.

This isn't directed as a flame to anyone, just want to make sure a balanced discussion is going on here.

 

WL7MN

WPQL 444

Edited by McKenna Family

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"Semantics aside, I don't think you'll ever find more then 5 or maybe 6 Watts in a HT regardless of the radio service it runs in. "

 

Yeah, you are right, I kind of touched on that above. The battery capacity and the RF amp as well as the safe limits will keep it in that range. Most I have ever seen was a low band Motorola radio that did 6 watts. I have seen 2 meter rigs that will do 6 or 7 also. 5 watts is as high as I have ever seen on UHF. My 800MHz radios at work are 3. Don't think I'd want much more than that.

Heat dissapation probably plays a roll too. When I first got my ham ticket the first radio I bought was a Yaesu FT470 dual band HT. On long QSO's the back of that thing could get pretty warm. I really miss that little hand warmer.

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My post was not intended to "bash" any radio operators. I was just basically saying that there is so much more you can do with a amateur license. Not to mention, it is also very cost effective B)

 

Personally, my GMRS license fee was a total waste of money. B)

 

This is a "GPS & HAM" forum. Therefore, it would appear to be a good place to promote the service.

 

Jon KC9AXZ

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one of the best pre-programmed GMRS radios out there now is probably the Icom F21gm

I've read a lot of good things about this unit. My main concern is that when caching in the groups that I've been with, almost everyone is using the generic low powered units. This seems to negate any advantage that would be gained, unless I supplied at least a second unit to someone. Is my logic correct? I can see these would be great if used by several members of a group.

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As a licenced GMRS user, you are allowed to use the 7 intrastitial GMRS frequencies at up to 5 watts ERP (effective radiated power). Those 7 intrastitial frequencies are shared with FRS, so you could use that radio on one of those frequencies and talk to another FRS radio on channels 1-7. Since you would be running more power, and the Icom F21gm is not type certified as an FRS radio, you would still be required to operate as a GMRS station, rougly translated, you would still need to use your call sign.

 

However, the antenna/power difference plays in here. Your radio with more power and a more efficient antenna would transmit farther, and receive a bit better than the FRS units. The result might be that there would be times when there was a lot of distance or obstructions between the GMRS radio and the FRS radio where they could hear you, but you might not be able to hear them.

 

Bottom line is: Yes, it will work

 

The ICOM is a great radio. If you don't mind the additional cost, you would be very happy with its performance. Once you get accustomed to real commercial grade equipment, the FRS radios really feel like cheap little toys.

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Again another argument to get a amateur license. I personally wouldn't spend that much money on a GMRS HT. For the same price I could get a 6 watt 2M HT. Your simplex (non repeater) distance would be better than the inflated claims made by manufactures. With a 2M HT you also have the option to use almost all local repeaters, which add many miles to you communications.

 

Jon KC9AXZ

 

wasted money GMRS call... WPUR857

I just got my ARRL book for the Technician License (Part 2). The exam is $35 (less than the cost of a GMRS license) and gets you the 2M privileges, but also more of the VHF and UHF bands. With handhelds in the range of $100-200, you really do get more for your money and the rather straightforward material they want you to learn for the basic license.

 

The Tech license exam covers legal issues, basic electronics and radio theory and where you can and can't broadcast. Basically, its a "do it this way and you will have a lot more fun and a lot less problems with the FCC" exam.

 

The ARRL book is $19.95 from Amazon and it qualifies for supersaver shipping (free). I am into chapter two already, and looking forward to getting my license.

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The exam is $35

:lol: A book for $35 I can believe, but I didn't think the tests where that high. Aren't they more like $10?

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Here in Spokane, WA/Coeur d'Alene, ID area it was $12.

 

BRM - Good man! Study hard.

Kind note: careful, you can't 'broadcast' with amateur radio, you can transmit tho. :lol:

 

Todd - K7PKT

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Here in Spokane, WA/Coeur d'Alene, ID area it was $12.

 

BRM - Good man! Study hard.

Kind note: careful, you can't 'broadcast' with amateur radio, you can transmit tho. :lol:

 

Todd - K7PKT

You know, I studied that in chapter 1. This is going to be a hard one to change my word patterns on. I always associate a radio with broadcasting. I need to remember that broadcasting is a one way communication designed for commercial reasons and transmitting is a two way non-commercial use of the radio spectrum.

 

Thanks.

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Wow, my test was only $5 15 years ago. It used to be you were only paying for Postage and testing materials....

 

If Ham fits your needs, definetly go that route. I have been very few places in this country that didn't have 2 meter repeater coverage.

Pick up a handheld for $100 bucks, get your licence, and you will always be in touch.

GMRS still has its place though.

Edited by McKenna Family

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