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FRS radios
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KC0GRN
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 22 Feb 2004

Posts: 1424

PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wild guess here, but probably can't use a 2 meter to transmit on those. Interesting though, never knew about that system.
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TwentySeven
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Joined: 06 May 2004

Posts: 175

PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KC0GRN wrote:
Wild guess here, but probably can't use a 2 meter to transmit on those. Interesting though, never knew about that system.

You could, but that is not legal. Type acceptance issues. Same with using an "opened up" uhf radio for FRS/GMRS.

Shane
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Mario and Princess Peach
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Joined: 22 May 2005

Posts: 98

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My family and I like to bike. Last weekend, we biked to two caches. One problem of biking in Minneapolis is that the trails often are not wide enough to bike next to each other (so you can talk). Two-way traffic and biking decorum often result in single file biking, which keeps you from talking to your partner for a good deal of the trip.

So, I was thinking of getting two-way radios with VOX (voice activated) headsets. I've been researching different models for the last few days. It seems that the main way they try to distinguish themselves is how far they can transmit. However, transmitting past 2 miles usually requires GMRS and an FCC license.

Midland has a new model coming out this month: The Midland 5W GMRS/FRS VOX Radios GXT500

It has 5 Watts of power, which is the most I've seen in units under $100. Most in this price range have 1 to 3 and a few have 4 watts. The extra power makes me think I'll get better reception at closer ranges, even if I never need the 14 miles range is brags about.

Here's a photo of them. They sell for about $70 for the pair.



Any other models you would recommend or tips I should consider?

And, just since I'm new around here, here's a pic my wife took while we were biking to a cache last weekend:

[/img]
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Moe the Sleaze
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Joined: 10 Jan 2003

Posts: 1146

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kennybellew wrote:
My family and I like to bike. Last weekend, we biked to two caches. One problem of biking in Minneapolis is that the trails often are not wide enough to bike next to each other (so you can talk). Two-way traffic and biking decorum often result in single file biking, which keeps you from talking to your partner for a good deal of the trip.


Have you considered getting a tandem bicycle? Getting one greatly improved the experience of biking with my wife.
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Buzzygirl
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Joined: 06 Apr 2004

Posts: 499

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kennybellew wrote:
However, transmitting past 2 miles usually requires GMRS and an FCC license.


Actually, the transmission distance has nothing to do with whether you're using GMRS or FRS frequencies. GMRS and FRS use different frequencies (channels) and, as in this example, the two are often combined in one radio. GMRS radios will allow you to use more power and thus a little talk farther, but that really isn't an issue if you're just planning on using them to talk with your wife on a bike trail.

Check out this link: GMRS/FRS frequencies

Technically, you should not use a GMRS radio unless you pay the license fee, which is currently $75 (maybe $80?) per family and is good for five years.

While I don't believe that the FCC is going around hunting down people who're using the GMRS frequencies without a license, there are citizens who own and operate private GMRS repeaters who are on the lookout for "radio pirates." So if I were you, I would either 1) pay the GMRS license fee; or 2) use an FRS-only radio.

Sometimes it's difficult to tell from just looking at the bubble-pack which frequencies a particular model can access, and there is often no warning written on the package that you need a license to use the GMRS frequencies (although you'll usually find it written somewhere in the manual inside the package). Carefully reading the package will usually tell you which frequencies a particular model can access.
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Mario and Princess Peach
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Joined: 22 May 2005

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A tandom bike... you know, the more I think about it, the better I like that idea. Can you get a good workout on a tandem? I'm always wanting to go about 5 mph faster than my wife can keep up (in order to get a better workout), but I stay slow so we can be together. A tandem might fix that problem too. However, I think we'd still need headsets for the rear person to hear the front person.

Buzzygirl - that's excellent info. Thanks.

Here's a link to the Midland brochure on these radios if anyone is interested.

http://www.homeaudiosuperstore.com/pdf/midland-gxt500-specs.pdf
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Moe the Sleaze
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kennybellew wrote:
A tandom bike... you know, the more I think about it, the better I like that idea. Can you get a good workout on a tandem? I'm always wanting to go about 5 mph faster than my wife can keep up (in order to get a better workout), but I stay slow so we can be together. A tandem might fix that problem too. However, I think we'd still need headsets for the rear person to hear the front person.


You can get a great work out on a tandem. We don't have a problem talking without headsets.
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Buzzygirl
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another option you have with the combined GMRS/FRS radios is to know exactly which channels operate on the FRS frequencies, and be sure to stay on those. The link I posted above should be useful for that purpose.
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RINO SHAWN
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Joined: 18 Nov 2004

Posts: 194

PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Decided to revive this old thread instead of starting a new one......

I searched for as much info in these threads 1st...so hopefully I don't ask a dumb question Shocked

I just purchased a new set of Motorala talkabouts to replace a very old set of Cobra's. I also use my GPSr (RINO) which has a FRS/GMRS radio built in. We use them while camping on the weekends (nearly every weekend 6 months out of the year)

I don't have my manual handy for the Garmin RINO....but it only uses channels 15-22 for GMRS and would need a license to legally use those channels....1-14 are legal to use.

Part of the rules I read about GMRS licenses (which by the way are currently $80 for 5 years...and good for entire family including Grandparents, immediate family, and even in-laws) was that channels 1-7 are shared GMRS/FRS...........I will eventually get to my question........

The rules state that tramsmit power can be no more than .5 watts for the shared FRS/GMRS channels or else a GMRS license is required (channels 1-7)......my new Talkabouts put out 1 watt on the GMRS channels 1-7, and 15-22....and they put out .5 watts on the designated FRS only channels 8-14

Since I would like to use my Walkabouts on channel 2 for geocaching...but they technically put out too much watts to be legal without license. (1 watt istead of the allowed .5 watts)

MY QUESTION IS:

Wouldn't it be extremeley difficult for someone else to determine that your using a Walkabout on channel 2 illegally? after all the same channel is legal when I use my cheaper FRS radio that puts out less power. and I am only over the limit by .5 watt

I believe in playing by the rules....but $80 for a situation that is just bareley over the line?????? If the radios were more powerful, like 5 watts or something...that would be a different story.

I don't plan on using channels 15-22....ever...but I have better output on channels 1-7 than I do on 8-14

am I reading the rules wrong??
Quote:
If you operate a radio that has been approved exclusively under the rules that apply to FRS, you are not required to have a license. FRS radios have a maximum power of watt (500 milliwatt) effective radiated power and integral (non-detachable) antennas. If you operate a radio under the rules that apply to GMRS, you must have a GMRS license. GMRS radios generally transmit at higher power levels (1 to 5 watts is typical) and may have detachable antennas. The current fee for a new GMRS license is $80.


http://wireless.fcc.gov/prs/genmbl.html
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5701

PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RINO SHAWN wrote:
MY QUESTION IS:

Wouldn't it be extremeley difficult for someone else to determine that your using a Walkabout on channel 2 illegally?


Without actually (physically) hooking up your radio to a test set, yes, it would be very hard to tell the difference between 1 and 0.5 watts.
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