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Posted: 5/20/2007 11:25:23 PM EST
One thing that has occured to me is that if something bad happens that is bad enough to knock out comm in my city I better have me and a few of my select friends and family equipped w/ GMRS radios and a code sheet. Anyway, I am on the market for one but I know little about all this.

I want one that is decent quality reciever & has a few of the common bells and whistles, but most of all I want somehting that has an external aentenna jack. Maybe one of the new "25 mile" range radios.

In addition to this I gues I might should get some weather ballons and baloon anetnnas for the kits.

Can some of you radio types help me out?
Link Posted: 5/20/2007 11:26:56 PM EST
BTW, what about those new FMUS (or whatever radio's)? Is that worth a damn or should a guy just stick w/ GMRS?
Link Posted: 5/20/2007 11:36:24 PM EST
Tag for info.

Maybe this is what I need.

I've been looking for a good radio/GPS, but as suggested already, I may want to go with seperate units.


Link Posted: 5/22/2007 12:48:38 AM EST
Probably seperate units is better for many reasons. How'bout that combo devices usually do each thing less well, they are more costly to maintain/repair.

Basically I am looking for a GMRS or FMUS radio that has weather aleats and takes and external antenna and has as much range as possible.
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 12:56:28 AM EST
grms= 25 mile = 1.5 miles

plan on any you buy being lineof sight.
The best one sive had so far are a set my wife got me for x-mas. They are listed as 16 mile. but really on do 1.5 in dense woods. Fine by me really. teh rest have hardley made 1/4 mile in thick woods.

every now and then you may get a good signal and run 1-3 miles but thats it.
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 1:43:35 AM EST
that's why I want the external antenna jack. One can always float an anetnna up.

Is there a better radio technology for people on different sides of town keeping in contact w/ eachother?
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 2:55:02 AM EST
The obvious answer is amateur radio, but you can read 1000 posts about how that is accomplished. MURS or Multi-Use Radio Service is similar to the Family Radio Service, except you can use 4 times the power, and external antennas are allowed. MURS included 5 frequencies in the 151.000 MHz band (VHF-Hi), and 2 watts power.

VHF is better for rural areas, woods, farms etc. UHF (FRS) is better in denser areas, buildings, malls, city. Remember that when you choose a system, be prepared to stick to it. MURS radios do not talk to FRS or GMRS radios.

My personal choice has been to secure a GMRS license and pursue used UHF commercial equipment. All of those bubble pack radios at WalMart are nice (you can forget about 16 miles), but when its time for real communications, you just cannot beat a good old Motorola MT1000. The output is 5 watts, the batteries last for 2 days, and I have driven over mine and left it out in the rain over night, and had it work just fine.

On the other hand, to have some back-up interoperability, a few bubble pack radios work great, especially as they operate on AA batteries usually. This is a great advantage if you are not good at maintaining charged batteries. I keep about 6 of those handy for family trips or even shopping. Its easier than cell phones too.

Link Posted: 5/22/2007 6:12:47 AM EST
If someone only had a potential need for a couple of the cheaper, "16-18 mile" two way radios sets, which one would be recommended?

Also, are the ones bought in a set only good for talking to each other, or could
help be summoned from close by?

I'm sorry, I don't know anything about this stuff, or the acronyms, or the licensing, but would like *something* along these lines.

Is there a "cheap-ass two way radio set" primer/FAQ somewhere?
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 6:15:27 AM EST
Look into handheld 2M ham radios. The Tech license is easy and doesn't cost but $10.00 for 10 years. Go to www.arrl.org and find out when a test is being given in your area. Most handheld 2M radios will give you anywhere from 5 to 70 miles of range, depending on the repeaters in your area.
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 6:41:16 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/22/2007 6:44:07 AM EST by TomJefferson]
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 7:01:50 AM EST

Originally Posted By RunsWithScissors:
If someone only had a potential need for a couple of the cheaper, "16-18 mile" two way radios sets, which one would be recommended?

Also, are the ones bought in a set only good for talking to each other, or could
help be summoned from close by?

I'm sorry, I don't know anything about this stuff, or the acronyms, or the licensing, but would like *something* along these lines.

Is there a "cheap-ass two way radio set" primer/FAQ somewhere?


I don't know about "cheap-ass", but popularwireless.com is a good place to learn just about everything there is about FRS and GMRS radios. They have a FAQ here...

www.popularwireless.com/gmrsfaqa.html
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 7:06:52 AM EST

So if a attenna was stuck on a cheap gmrs radio and that attenna was raised above the trees, could it actually get that 15 mile range?
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 7:18:06 AM EST
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 9:05:05 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/22/2007 9:11:59 AM EST by azsavage]
I have these Motorola GMRS radios. They have 2 watts of power and I have used them as far as 5 miles from hilltop to hilltop. On flat land in an urban environment I can get 2-3 miles.

Motorola

You probably want something with a full 5 Watts.
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 9:16:55 AM EST

Originally Posted By protus:
grms= 25 mile = 1.5 miles

plan on any you buy being lineof sight.
The best one sive had so far are a set my wife got me for x-mas. They are listed as 16 mile. but really on do 1.5 in dense woods. Fine by me really. teh rest have hardley made 1/4 mile in thick woods.

every now and then you may get a good signal and run 1-3 miles but thats it.



THE 25 miles is over more like 12.5 miles in real life not 1.5

my 14 mile one will do 7 miles with trees and power lines.
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 9:49:01 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/22/2007 9:49:43 AM EST by JaxShooter]

Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
GMRS is basically short range radios suited as a squad radio only. In that regard, they work exceptionally well, however the range is limited to line of sight. Their strength is they are very low cost, extremely simple to use, and minimal restrictions/licenses. Technically the GMRS channels (most radios also have FRS channels which require no license) require a $75 license which is only a fee, however due to the sheer numbers enforcement of this is nil. The license is a family license.

This pretty much sums up my decision. Since I'm the kind that likes to be legal, I can't see justifying the outrageous license fee for GMRS. I'm going the MURS route myself. You can do well with the GMRS range if you can find a repeater in your area but they're few and far between. I think we actually have one in town, though.
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 12:08:19 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/22/2007 12:28:37 PM EST by TomJefferson]
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 12:20:32 PM EST
Note I am a ham, and always recommend ham radio.

Having said that, I do use my gmrs radio's all the time as my kids don't have their ham licenses (yet) but my gmrs licence covers the whole family.

If you want to use an external antenna, you will probably have to go ahead an look at commercial equipment (vs bubble pack/consumer radios). That would mean that you are giving up the main advantage of 'cheap' radios. The reason is that those consumer radios pretty much always include the FRS frequencies which are restricted from the use of external antennas.

Yes you would increase the radio range very much by using an external antenna with more gain. Especially if you can get it up on a roof or other structure.

I've used my bubblepack gmrs radios in the desert canyons around Las Vegas with no problem, but it was over a range of only a few hundred meters. In a shtf situation, I would only 'rely' on those gmrs for a max of those few hundred meters.


from Survival Communications Primer
GMRS requires a $80 license that covers you and all your extended family. It is a set of
channelized frequencies in the UHF band utilizing FM, a few hertz above the UHF 440
band. There are GMRS repeater systems, but these are usually private and do no allow
public access. They are allowed up to 50 watts and detachable antennae; however these
are not common in consumer products. The type of radios you can get at a department
or electronics store is typically in the 1-4 watt range with fixed antennas in the form of
HT’s. Commercial mobile and base stations are available at greater cost.
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 12:33:31 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 4:15:28 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 4:30:35 PM EST
Great information. Thank you TJ.

Now I know that I want to look into MURS for now, and once I'm back in the states, I'll check into HAM.

Gene
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 5:22:59 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 5:57:29 PM EST
Holy shit I have a headache! wow lots of info.

Im lookin into similar stuff myself...glad I found this
Link Posted: 5/22/2007 7:36:55 PM EST
So, I guess HF is out of the question?
Link Posted: 5/23/2007 3:02:20 AM EST
For those interested in MURS, this guy sells them for $49 a piece with free shipping on a pair. He advertises on Rawles' site. Seems like a solid deal -- much more stout than bubble packs.
Link Posted: 5/23/2007 3:22:25 AM EST
GT, that's the guy I've been looking at. You can actually find better deals on eBay. I found a store selling them in packs where it was almost like getting a free radio compared to the $49 guy.

On our last family trip I tried keeping in touch with the FIL in the other vehicle with my FRS radios and they sucked. I didn't bump them up to the GMRS channels to get a little extra power but even with the vehicles within sight of each other we couldn't always communicate reliably. This has me encouraged to do some more testing but I'll still probably end up with the MURS. I'd like 4 preferably so I can have two in service and two charging.


southfloridaguns, HF isn't really feasible for close-proximity comms. Not to say it isn't possible, it's just not too feasible.
Link Posted: 5/23/2007 6:43:53 AM EST
was thinking about just using my motorola frs/grma radios but i have an icom IC-V8 i can program with the murs, so that opens up a whole new world for comms.
Link Posted: 5/23/2007 5:05:41 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/23/2007 5:06:15 PM EST by GlockTiger]

Originally Posted By mylt1:
was thinking about just using my motorola frs/grma radios but i have an icom IC-V8 i can program with the murs, so that opens up a whole new world for comms.


There's that legal snag though. If it's the rig I'm thinking of, it can only legally TX in the ham bands.
Link Posted: 5/23/2007 5:31:00 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/23/2007 5:39:53 PM EST by mylt1]

Originally Posted By GlockTiger:

Originally Posted By mylt1:
was thinking about just using my motorola frs/grma radios but i have an icom IC-V8 i can program with the murs, so that opens up a whole new world for comms.


There's that legal snag though. If it's the rig I'm thinking of, it can only legally TX in the ham bands.
icom states that there rigs "may be able to" transmit out of ban but they wont guarantee it. its made to cover 138-174mhz its just not made to transmit on all of them.
edit: just scanned through the manual and it says TX/RX 138-174mhz but only guaranteed to TX on 144-148mhz. i dont see where its illegal but maybe someone will chime in.
Link Posted: 5/23/2007 5:35:10 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/23/2007 5:42:08 PM EST
TJ i just edited my post. but i can tell you first hand this is a damn nice radio. i have dropped it, kicked it, flooded it with water, its been in burning buildings and has yet to fail me. i love it and would recommend it to anyone. they can be had new off ebay for $125 or so.
Link Posted: 5/23/2007 6:02:25 PM EST
gmrs base- antenna 20 ft, 25 watt base.
mobile 25 watt 1/4 wave antenna.


10 miles max, is what I get. That is 25 watts!
Link Posted: 5/23/2007 7:50:36 PM EST

Originally Posted By mylt1:
icom states that there rigs "may be able to" transmit out of ban but they wont guarantee it. its made to cover 138-174mhz its just not made to transmit on all of them.
edit: just scanned through the manual and it says TX/RX 138-174mhz but only guaranteed to TX on 144-148mhz. i dont see where its illegal but maybe someone will chime in.


Icom is stating technical capabilities, not legalities. To operate on the MURS service (or just about any other service other than Amateur), a transceiver must be "type accepted" by the FCC -- a specific certification. Amateur equipment, while groovy and very flexible, is rarely (if ever) type accepted for use in other services.

Now you CAN go the other way -- meaning you can buy a commercial Motorola HT that runs 137-174MHz or whatever and run it on the ham bands with no problem. You just can't buy a ham radio, do a freeband mod and run it in other FCC regulated services.

A good example is where the FCC recently rebuked a fire/rescue agency for its members using modified ham radios to operate on their assigned public safety frequencies. Sorry, don't have the reference. I just saw it in an ARRL bulletin not too long ago.
Link Posted: 5/23/2007 7:58:41 PM EST

Originally Posted By mylt1:
TJ i just edited my post. but i can tell you first hand this is a damn nice radio. i have dropped it, kicked it, flooded it with water, its been in burning buildings and has yet to fail me. i love it and would recommend it to anyone. they can be had new off ebay for $125 or so.


I think the V8's are discontinued and their current production cousins can be had for $120 after rebate. However, for the same money you can get a Yaesu VX-170. I know the V82 is 7 watts while most are 5, but I'll plug Yaesu as they really have the market dialed-in when it comes to HT's these days. I've used both and prefer the big Y. Got a stable full of Yaesu's now.

Here's a handy site: Gigaparts
Link Posted: 5/24/2007 2:05:45 PM EST
You can get a 2M Yaesu/Vertex handheld radio for under 150 dollars.
Add on an external mic, 12V battery power cord, SMA adapter, and
Yagi antenna, and if the target station is line of sight you're in business.
You can also carry it as a walkie if need be.
Link Posted: 5/27/2007 1:14:34 AM EST
It sounds like the FUMS radio w/ a big boosted power external anetnna would be the best thing short of a Ham radioo then. perhaps it would be possible to get a range of 15 miles to another hight antenna w/o obstructions.

Ultimately though, ham radio would probably be the only pratical way for a handful of houses to communicate around town.

BTW, I live in JAX, a very flat city that is not too densly developed and very spread out, so even though there are not to many tall buildings, it is very very far across town.
Link Posted: 5/27/2007 1:22:18 AM EST

Originally Posted By GlockTiger:
I think the V8's are discontinued and their current production cousins can be had for $120 after rebate. However, for the same money you can get a Yaesu VX-170. I know the V82 is 7 watts while most are 5, but I'll plug Yaesu as they really have the market dialed-in when it comes to HT's these days. I've used both and prefer the big Y. Got a stable full of Yaesu's now.

Here's a handy site: Gigaparts


Wait a second, are these little ham radio's? If so, please tell me the ranges on them w/ and w/o external eantennas.
Link Posted: 5/27/2007 10:57:49 AM EST
Ok, so how does (SHTF situation only, I know it is illegal otherwise) would a handheld 5watt marine VHF radio do, how about a 25watt boat VHF in similiar situations??
Link Posted: 5/28/2007 9:41:50 AM EST

Originally Posted By GaryM:
Ok, so how does (SHTF situation only, I know it is illegal otherwise) would a handheld 5watt marine VHF radio do, how about a 25watt boat VHF in similiar situations??
unless you have some way to reprogram it its not gonna work.
Link Posted: 5/28/2007 2:53:08 PM EST

Originally Posted By rightwingnut:
BTW, I live in JAX, a very flat city that is not too densly developed and very spread out, so even though there are not to many tall buildings, it is very very far across town.


You need to hook up with Jaxshooter and go to a local ham club meeting. You'll be introduced to the world of radio, regardless of whether or not you get into ham as a result.
Link Posted: 5/28/2007 3:32:14 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/28/2007 3:33:03 PM EST by JaxShooter]
Since Jax is (unless something's changed) the largest city based on land mass in the country you aren't going to do well with anything other than ham if you have any intention of talking say, from the beach to downtown. Heck, from the beach to the Intracoastal.

However, we have very good repeater coverage. St. John's Co. just put one up that's got phenomenal coverage all over Jax (it's right at the county line in Ponte Vedra). NOFARS has several remotes that ensure the entire area is covered. Let me know if you want to hook up.
Link Posted: 5/28/2007 9:48:32 PM EST
what is NOFARS?

JaxShooter, if you are a Ham operator and there are club meetings, then yes, I might want to go check that out some time.

I suppose the Ham is only real option here. I am so glas I resisted the urge to buy the bubble pack GMRS to talk to my GF 10 mile as the bird flies. Marketing

BTW, JAX is the largest municipality in the country, but not the largest Metro area. That would go to DFW I believe, followed by ATL.
Link Posted: 5/29/2007 3:41:11 AM EST

Originally Posted By rightwingnut:
what is NOFARS?

NOrth Florida Amateur Radio Society



JaxShooter, if you are a Ham operator and there are club meetings, then yes, I might want to go check that out some time.

I have an Amateur Extra license. I belong to two of the clubs in town. In addition to NOFARS I'm a member of KB4ARS (Beaches Amateur Radio Society. Two other clubs are Range (not sure what their current site is) and OPARC (Orange Park Amateur Radio Club). One thing I'd suggest is joining us for Field Day the weekend of June 23-24. It will provide an opportunity for you to get on the air and talk with local hams. I know that OPARC is having an event for the weekend. Duval ARES is also holding an event geared towards emergency communications on the 23rd. Location TBD.



I suppose the Ham is only real option here. I am so glas I resisted the urge to buy the bubble pack GMRS to talk to my GF 10 mile as the bird flies. Marketing

FRS/GMRS radios can be good in certain situations but covering a city like Jax isn't one of them.



BTW, JAX is the largest municipality in the country, but not the largest Metro area. That would go to DFW I believe, followed by ATL.

I was speaking purely in respect to land mass. We certainly aren't anywhere close to having a large metro area.
Link Posted: 5/30/2007 9:09:34 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/30/2007 9:17:18 AM EST by KBL]
When I was deciding what type of comms I was going to pick up, I thought it best to set some parameters for my needs first.

HAM radio is the ultimate for SHTF comms, IMHO, and in the future I plan to pursue it. But, for my immediate comm goals I wanted a shorter range option to use for patrol purposes with the added benefit of a base station with a faily decent radius of range around a BOB/BIL. My immediate concern was for a more specific and shorter range comm system between those in my group, and not a longer range comm system to reach a broader field of users.

After examining the various limited range radio options, I settled on MURS. The advantages of MURS over GMRS an FRS have been stated here by others, but the most appealing arguements to me were these:

<No license required.
<2-watt radios.
<Antenna upgrades allowed on handheld, man-portable radios.
<Allowable antenna height of 20' above structure, or 60' above ground - whichever is greater (base station use).
<Lower number of current users due to the recent creation of MURS and scarcity of dedicated MURS equipment for sale.
<Reasonable cost.

I picked up a couple of the Kenwood TK 2100 radios, used, with chargers for $100.00/pr. recently. The radios came already programmed for the five MURS channels. A pretty good deal, I thought. The first link below is the source where I purchased the radios. The other links are some general and specific information sites about MURS.

Just my $.02 cents...YMMV...

mursradio.googlepages.com/
www.provide.net/~prsg/murshome.htm
www.wild-ideas.org/radio/tk2100/index.html
www.southernce.com/cgi-bin/SoftCart.exe/tk2100.htm?E+scstore
Link Posted: 5/30/2007 9:14:56 AM EST

Originally Posted By KBL:
I picked up a couple of the Kenwood TK 2100 radios, used, with chargers for $100.00/pr. recently. The radios came already programmed for the five MURS channels. A pretty good deal, I thought. The first link below is the source where I purchased the radios. The other links are some general and specific information sites about MURS.

You've got my attention. I'm looking at these radios. What are your thoughts so far and where'd you get them?
Link Posted: 5/30/2007 9:19:21 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/30/2007 9:19:59 AM EST by KBL]

Originally Posted By JaxShooter:

Originally Posted By KBL:
I picked up a couple of the Kenwood TK 2100 radios, used, with chargers for $100.00/pr. recently. The radios came already programmed for the five MURS channels. A pretty good deal, I thought. The first link below is the source where I purchased the radios. The other links are some general and specific information sites about MURS.

You've got my attention. I'm looking at these radios. What are your thoughts so far and where'd you get them?


Sorry Jax, I forgot to add the links I mentioned in the post. I fixed it. Click on the first link for the source where I purchased mine. The other links have some useful info.
Link Posted: 5/30/2007 9:26:59 AM EST
Ok. That first link is where I was looking. So what are your thoughts? Have you had a chance to range test them or anything? Were the ones they sent in good shape?
Link Posted: 5/30/2007 9:46:33 AM EST
The units I received were in very good shape, and at least as good or better shape than the Motorola HT1250-LS that I use everyday at work.

I haven't been able to give them a decent range test yet. I just had my wife (a definite tech-NOT) at one end and me at the other up to about 1/2 mile away. They work great so far. My wife grew bored very quickly, so the initial test was short in duration. Hopefully, my brother will make it over this weekend so we can give them a proper test.

Now I'm looking at some base stations. I've seen at least one (the DakotaM538-BS) that can be set up as an infrared perimeter alarm in addition to communicating with MURS portable radios. I haven't read enough information on this model base station yet to know whether the quality is very good, but I like the concept.
Link Posted: 5/30/2007 10:03:43 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/30/2007 10:05:55 AM EST by M-60]
This is my carry around radio. I can use it in concert with my 2m/440 mobile in cross band repeater mode to get a signal out almost where ever I am. The radio runs $320 ish and the antenna is $50ish. The speaker mic was about $35ish.


Kenwood TH-F6a w/Diamond SRH320A antenna.




Mark.
Link Posted: 6/2/2007 4:32:18 AM EST
OST
Link Posted: 6/2/2007 9:03:17 AM EST

Originally Posted By odontia32m:
gmrs base- antenna 20 ft, 25 watt base.
mobile 25 watt 1/4 wave antenna.


10 miles max, is what I get. That is 25 watts!


I use a similar system at my property in northern michigan and that's about right. Our 4 watt handhelds maybe get a mile and a half on a good day.

We use UHF radios at work (25 watt base and 4 watt hand helds) in the 460 mhz range and that's about what they get.
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