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Rogue_monkey

Frs Radios

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The FRS radios are required to be 1/2 watt. To modify them would be illegal. Even adding an external antenna is illegal. Your options are to

 

A. Get a GMRS license that you and your family could use. No test involved, Just send in a fee with an application. This would allow the use of 50 watt mobiles and 5 watt handhelds.

 

B. Use MURS. This is an un-licensed VHF band for casual and business use.

 

C. Get you and everybody in your group to get an amateur license.

 

I guess I jumped the gun but I just presume you want more range. Radio shack made a FRS radio that had a magnet mount antenna and would plug into your cigarette lighter in the car. This provided great range and was perfectly legal. They are hard to come by but it is not impossible. There are also few (I have one of the only ones in existance) Midland handhelds that came with an external mag mount antenna. These were pulled from the shelves after only several days because of this little oversight. They can still be found but are very very rare.

 

 

Brad

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Agreed, a HAM license would be a good way to go. The Tech (no morse code required) test really isn't that hard to pass, and the benefits are great (plus who doesn't want an official FCC license to show off to their friends?

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Modifying an FRS radio for more power is not that easy. They are basically designed to run flat-out at 500mW. You'd need to pump more battery voltage into the unit to get it really cooking and there's always the danger that will burn it out. Its not very practical either to have an additional battery hanging off the back!

 

What you can do is get your hands on a commercial handie-talkie and programme in the FRS frequencies. These are typically in the 4Watt range and many allow up to 16 channels. Also, some have the ability to operate at low power, which is normally 1Watt - still higher than the 500mW of the FRS radio. They also have provision for larger and higher gain antennas although most users find the 6" quarter-wave stick to be quite adequate. The downside is you won't be able to manually select the CTCSS codes and will have to stick to one all the time.

 

The other downside is that doing this is illegal where I am (Canada) and almost certainly so in the USA if that's where you are.

 

I always thought the UHF band was the worst choice for a hiking radio. There's a lot of attenuation through trees and hills. Many radio amateurs us 6m (VHF-lo) for this kind of service and a frequency near there would've made more sense for FRS in my opinion.

 

Cheers!

Coupar-Angus

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??????

 

I hold a Amateur as well as a GMRS license and will freely admit not knowing the regs inside out, however where is there something about not being able to modify the antenna (add an external) to an FRS radio?

 

Legal limit power-wise is 0.5 watt for FRS and, again, I do not believe if you have a radio that is...say...0.25 watts that you could not modify it to run .4 or even .5, however with the cheap cost of radios, even 2m HT's, it probably wouldn't be worth it. When all is said and done, the GMRS license would probably even be less money and hassle.

 

I think you are wanting to probably do things that these were not designed for. Contrary to what the package may say, they really only have a "pratical" rang of around a mile, less in dense woods or city settings since these frequencies are "line of site".

 

If you need to get farther, either go the ham or cell route. You will be less frustrated and.."hey..look honey...another hobby." ;)

Edited by baloo&bd

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Modifying an FRS radio for more power is not that easy. They are basically designed to run flat-out at 500mW. You'd need to pump more battery voltage into the unit to get it really cooking and there's always the danger that will burn it out. Its not very practical either to have an additional battery hanging off the back!

 

What you can do is get your hands on a commercial handie-talkie and programme in the FRS frequencies. These are typically in the 4Watt range and many allow up to 16 channels. Also, some have the ability to operate at low power, which is normally 1Watt - still higher than the 500mW of the FRS radio. They also have provision for larger and higher gain antennas although most users find the 6" quarter-wave stick to be quite adequate. The downside is you won't be able to manually select the CTCSS codes and will have to stick to one all the time.

 

The other downside is that doing this is illegal where I am (Canada) and almost certainly so in the USA if that's where you are.

 

I always thought the UHF band was the worst choice for a hiking radio. There's a lot of attenuation through trees and hills. Many radio amateurs us 6m (VHF-lo) for this kind of service and a frequency near there would've made more sense for FRS in my opinion.

 

Cheers!

Coupar-Angus

Do you know where one of these radios can be obtained other then from ebay?

I am local to you CA and I know Tomtec has one but don't know where he got it from.

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??????

 

I hold a Amateur as well as a GMRS license and will freely admit not knowing the regs inside out, however where is there something about not being able to modify the antenna (add an external) to an FRS radio?

 

95.194(c )

=

Sec. 95.194 (FRS Rule 4) FRS units.

 

(a) You may only use an FCC certified FRS unit. (You can identify an

FCC certified FRS unit by the label placed on it by the manufacturer.)

( B) You must not make, or have made, any internal modification to an

FRS unit. Any internal modification cancels the FCC certification and

voids your authority to operate the unit in the FRS.

( c) You may not attach any antenna, power amplifier, or other

apparatus to an FRS unit that has not been FCC certified as part of that

FRS unit. There are no exceptions to this rule and attaching any such

apparatus to a FRS unit cancels the FCC certification and voids

everyone's authority to operate the unit in the FRS.

(d) FRS units are prohibited from transmitting data in store-and-

forward packet operation mode.

=

FRS antennas must be integral to the unit.

 

-ajb

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You can purchase just about any amateur 440 handheld and modify it to transmit in the FRS band. This will give you almost 5 watts out. This is not legal.

 

Using a GMRS radio is only allowed on the first 7 FRS channels. So GMRS and FRS can interchange easily, but the FRS radios will sound quiet due to its limit of 2.5khz of deviation.

 

Converting FRS radios is not practical or recommended.

 

Dino - K6RIX

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The downside to the license for the GMRS is the $80 license fee. I can do without that.

 

I have a tech license, I agree, get that and you have better coverage. I got mine 11 years ago after about 2 weeks of study. Not that hard.

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i studied hard for my tech, i had to do the novice and tech pools and i was super nervious. i studied for a couple weeks and took it. i studued for a couple months for my 5 wpm code and got that first try, and for my general me and a friend studied for a couple hours the night before over a 12 pack of beer. passed that one no prob also...

 

the extra on the other hand, i been studying this one on and off a couple of years now and still stop after a while and havent taken the test. #%$@&

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I agree, I wouldn't try to modify those rigs. Althougth probablly not impossible, it would be rather hard and illegal. You could try the GMRS route with commercial radios and a license. The best route would be to just take and pass a amateur exam and buy a dual or triband ht. The other route would be to use the unlicensed MURS band. Again you will need a commercial rig that has been programmed for the band. Unless you can program or know someone who can program a commercial radio you'll probably not find anyone who would willingly illegally program FRS into a rig that doesn't meet specification. Of all the above, I'd suggest the Amateur route. If you decide to not go that route, try the MURS route. I'm sure you will get that extra distance from the VHF band.

 

Jon KC9AXZ

www.kc9axz.com

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There are two problems with modifying an amateur rig for FRS use. The first being the deviation. For those not familiar with FM radio, the deviation is the modulation of the radio's carrier signal to impose the voice thereonto. In the case of FRS it is 5kHz maximum, with 4.5kHz being more typical. This is true also of most other services within the UHF band, including amateur radio. Deviation is frequency dependent so a radio that is engineered for 440-450MHz (amateur) will exhibit higher deviation at 470MHz (FRS range). This will make it appear much louder, it will be transmitting outside of the channel and there's a danger that units trying to receive the signal will mute out on the peaks in the transmitted voice level. Also, there is no law governing the reference frequency stability in amateur transceivers so there's a greater likliehood they'll be off-frequency when operating in FRS and thereby exaggerating the above noted problem. There's a third issue that is difficult to explain in 10 words or less, but the oscillator in modern ham radios is not a linear circuit. When it's operating near the top of its range it will not be as noise-free as when being used in the intended band.

 

Cheers!

Coupar-Angus

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The other route would be to use the unlicensed MURS band. Again you will need a commercial rig that has been programmed for the band.

 

I just saw this as I was reviewing my previous posting. :rolleyes: MURS is unique to the USA. Your northern cousins here in Canada don't have this service available. How popular is it in the USA nowadays?

 

Cheers!

C-A

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MURS is unique to the USA. Your northern cousins here in Canada don't have this service available.

 

GMRS is also not Legal in Canada. Although my Garmin Rino, which I bought from the USA has it, the Canadian version does not.

 

What do most Canadians use if they want something more powerful than FRS?

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GMRS is also not Legal in Canada. Although my Garmin Rino, which I bought from the USA has it, the Canadian version does not.

 

Your information is a little out-of-date. GMRS is approved for non-licensed use here in Canada. You can buy them at Radio Shack, Costco and numerous other places.

 

MURS is a VHF service with a couple of channels in the USA where you are allowed to run up to 5Watts if I recall correctly.

 

Cheers!

C-A

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Your information is a little out-of-date. GMRS is approved for non-licensed use here in Canada.

Well that's good to hear. So I don't even need a Licence to use it?

 

My information comes from the Garmin Website, their Manual, and a site linked to from the FCC Goverment Web Site.

 

Still I don't know if the Canadian versions of the Rino have GRMS. Their web site says that even the 130 doesn't have GRMS.

 

http://www.garmin.com/products/rino130/

 

I'll have to check out Radio Shack...

Edited by Kenji

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Well that's good to hear. So I don't even need a Licence to use it?

 

Not here in Canada. Land of the left-wing, tree-huggers with free healthcare! :ph34r:

 

My information comes from the Garmin Website, their Manual, and a site linked to from the FCC Goverment Web Site.

 

FCC is the American Gov't body for all things radio. In Canada we're under Industry Canada Spectrum Management. Many of the laws are very similar in both countries, but there are plenty that are not. Almost always the laws are more liberal here. If I had to guess, Ind Can sits back and watches the FCC when they bring in new policies. If they seem to work and are enforceable they are adopted here. If they don't, they are ignored.

 

I'll have to check out Radio Shack...

 

I saw a good selection in Costco before Xmas. The prices seemed reasonable although I admit I wasn't shopping for GMRS/FRS radios so you may do better at Radio Shack or perhaps Wal-mart.

 

C-A

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Is there any way to get a frs radio to put out 1 or 2 watts with a simple mod?

You may want to try building an external antenna. I designed and build a j-pole antenna for GMRS/FRS band.

 

NOTE: 1) You can only use this antenna with GMRS or GMRS/FRS combo radios which are built with removable antenna (you cannot use this antenna on or modify an FRS-only radio or as I understand it, GMRS/FRS radios which do not have a removable antenna). 2) You need an FCC license to use GMRS radios in the US (read the packaging on the radios you get for more info). Know your local laws to make sure it’s legal to use this antenna before building it!

 

GMRS J-Pole Antenna

 

Let me know what you think. It has worked great for me! 18+ miles...

 

--

http://blog.mecworks.com

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Simple solution:

Simplex repeater on ebay, usually $35 / 40.00.

Just plug it into an extra FRS radio and put it at a higher elevation. This will more than quadruple your coverage area.

This is a simple , "just plug it in" set up.

PM me for more details.

All items available to the public.

All use is legal.

No license required.

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What would be the comparative distance in range between MURS and GMRS (let's say 1 watt) in the woods? What does a decent pair of MURS cost? Recomendations?

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Regarding GMRS and RINOs and Canada.... Go update your firmware on your RINO

 

DING

 

You now have a GMRS radio congrats :( The Canadian models of the RINO are now GMRS ready, even if you bought it years ago. The wonders of firmware :(

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Go update your firmware on your RINO - DING - You now have a GMRS radio

 

This is very cool. Its also very interesting that they could get type approval for 2 different services on the initial FRS radio. In other words, grab the firmware quickly as it might disappear! :(

 

C-A

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I've used this method to increase my range.  :lol:

HA, HA, HA. LMAO this is too funny. I do the same thing :rolleyes::ph34r::ph34r:

Edited by n3uea

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Simple solution:

Simplex repeater on ebay, usually $35 / 40.00.

Just plug it into an extra FRS radio and put it at a higher elevation. This will more than quadruple your coverage area.

This is a simple , "just plug it in" set up.

PM me for more details.

All items available to the public.

All use is legal.

No license required.

I wouldn't bet on that being legal either.

 

95.194(c )

=

Sec. 95.194 (FRS Rule 4) FRS units.

 

(a) You may only use an FCC certified FRS unit. (You can identify an

FCC certified FRS unit by the label placed on it by the manufacturer.)

( :laughing: You must not make, or have made, any internal modification to an

FRS unit. Any internal modification cancels the FCC certification and

voids your authority to operate the unit in the FRS.

( c) You may not attach any antenna, power amplifier, or other

apparatus to an FRS unit that has not been FCC certified as part of that

FRS unit. There are no exceptions to this rule and attaching any such

apparatus to a FRS unit cancels the FCC certification and voids

everyone's authority to operate the unit in the FRS.

(d) FRS units are prohibited from transmitting data in store-and-

forward packet operation mode.

=

FRS antennas must be integral to the unit.

 

KE4UUU

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You can still find the Motorola Talkabout Distance radios (or Talkabout Distance DPS) around for a good price. They are 2 watts FRS/GMRS and the antenna is removable. You can purchase a mag mount antenna and an antenna adapter (to change from the moto connector to a BNC) as a kit direct from Motorola for around $50. Tell them it's for a Spirit radio.

 

This set-up on my truck was able to boost the range on the radio in a big way, and I was able to connect with some other geocachers miles up on the mountain when all the other standard FRS radios were silent.

 

Motorola Talkabout Distance DPS

Pros:

Cheap

2 watts

Removable antenna

Takes AA batteries (DPS version only)

Motorola rugged

Way cheaper and easier than modding some POS FRS radio

 

Cons:

Only 7 FRS and 3 GMRS freqs

No longer manufactured by Moto (possibly due to the removable antenna design)

 

Hey, when you're at the trailhead sucking a cold Heineken and you want to know if you should save the last few for the slow hikers in the group, it helps to be able to call them on a radio and ask where they are.

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For those not familiar with FM radio, the deviation is the modulation of the radio's carrier signal to impose the voice thereonto. In the case of FRS it is 5kHz maximum, with 4.5kHz being more typical.

Actually, this is close, but not true. Most amateur UHF equipment will TX with a 25KHz bandwidth, deviation of ~4.5 KHz (typical) and about 5 KHz with PL injected. An FRS unit is actually allocated as narrow-band 12.5 bandwidth utilizing a ~2.5 KHz. Such as channel 1 is 462.5625 This is a narrow-band frequency and would require the lower deviation. I KNOW, I KNOW, this isn't always done. But in the commercial Two-Way world, this is what is supposed to be done.

 

I'm a Motorola Two-Way tech, I kinda know what I'm talking about :)

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I know this is way off topic but:

We are manning a shelter for evacuees from Katrina. We have set up what is essentially a cross band repeater between the Red Cross on FRS, the Highway patrol on UHF and, the Sheriff department on VHF. The radios we are using are Motorola 1550s, the handhelds used by the SO. and HP. are various Motorola, and I believe the FRS radios are Cobras. The 1550s are connected thru a device called an ACU1000 from JPS Communications. The ACU1000 is basically an audio switcher or router that takes the received audio from one transceiver and sends it to the transmit of the other transceivers. When the SO. transmits from the front gate all that it is heard on the FRS is noise. When I brought the SO radio back to the communications truck it sounded fine and as long as we were close (within a 100 feet or so) it worked fine but when I took it back to the gate which is maybe 300 yards away it didn’t. The HP. Radios seem to work but I don’t think they ever stray far from us. I’m sure the problem has some thing to do with the difference in the deviation but I’m not sure where to look.

Any Ideas?

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