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UER Forum > Rookie Forum > FRS radio (Viewed 2706 times)
CStar 


Location: Toronto
Gender: Female
Total Likes: 18 likes




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FRS radio
< on 10/26/2015 4:17 PM >
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Hi All,

Apologies if I'm repeating anything -- this is my first post.

I saw on the forum that lots of people use an FRS radio in the UE community.
What are the ones you'd recommend? I've checked out Amazon and they range anywhere from $25 to $100.

I'm based in Toronto, so any store recommendations would be appreciated too

Thanks!




...I was saying "Boo-urns."
Rico 


Location: Texas
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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Re: FRS radio
< Reply # 1 on 10/26/2015 10:33 PM >
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We often use these radios: Baofeng UV-82

It is easier to program with free software (CHIRP), but you will need the USB adapter cable for the programming. I have two of these and they work great. We also have the throat mics we use on occasion when it's helpful.

The radios are about $30 each on Amazon and the throat mics are about $12 each. The programming cable was about $15 if I remember.

That's what we use....hope this helps.




VAD 


Location: Toronto
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Forgive us our trespasses

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Re: FRS radio
< Reply # 2 on 10/28/2015 2:23 PM >
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I use Motorola-MJ430s, available at costco for a considerable discount.

Note that FRS has considerable range limitations while in the city/concrete structures - definitely takes some getting used to. FCC regulations are very strict (low power, small antenna, etc), so you don't see the quality difference across manufacturers that you see with GMRS and CB. The main difference is speaker/mic quality.

Depending on what you're going for, getting a GMRS may work - more expensive, much better range, and compatible with FRS for half the channels.




-VAD
WhiskeyPapa 


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Re: FRS radio
< Reply # 3 on 10/28/2015 6:00 PM >
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I see you're in Canada. In the US, you are "technically" supposed to purchase a license to operate on a GMRS frequency. The license covers you and immediate family members only, so the person on the other radios could require licenses as well. I put "technically" in quotes because I don't think many folks in the US actually purchase licenses and I don't know of any FCC prosecutions. The rules in Canada may be completely different.

As for UHV/VHF radios, like the Baofeng, you will need at a minimum a HAM Technician license (at least you do in the US). Be careful with these radios, because they WILL transmit on any frequency you program into them (within their range). Those frequencies can be restricted to air traffic, police, and emergency responders. You can't simply pick a random frequency and start transmitting.



[last edit 10/28/2015 6:08 PM by WhiskeyPapa - edited 1 times]

wranglerroadhead 


Location: San Diego/LA
Gender: Male
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Safari Kay

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Re: FRS radio
< Reply # 4 on 10/31/2015 5:13 AM >
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You can get an amateur radio license pretty easily, and then you pretty much have all your bases covered as far as usable freqs and power levels.

I second the Baofengs. I have a Baofeng UV-5R and love it. You can get a basic Baofeng from amazon and an upgraded antenna for about the price that you get a family radio set "bubblepack" from walmart.

The baofengs are fairly reliable chinese models and you will see them on the hips of almost any amateur enthusiast at a meet. It's funny when a guy is toying with a $10,000 radio setup while walking around with a $40 baofeng on his hip.

A radio doesnt really do jack unless someone is on the other end though. I don't really know of people monitoring the FRS and GMRS that much but maybe they do in your area. Are you traveling alone and trying to contact help or are you trying to communicate with other people you are exploring with?

I would go ahead and get a baofeng or something comparable to hit repeaters or emergency channels if you are alone, as any citizen is legally authorized to operate on any rig, channel, and/or power level in the event of an emergency to contact help.

As far as legal stuff goes, you can configure baofeng to legally operate on certain open channels at legal power levels without getting a license (in the US). Or you can just go ahead and take the test and get your call sign. Either way, as long as you are not a clown on the airwaves and stay mobile, no one will ever find you. Hardly anyone uses radios compared to 10 years ago and the radio police have long since been disbanded.

If you think you are going to essentially have a police scanner, be warned that most modern agencies utilize frequency hopping and trunking systems and unless you have your radio programmed with special software, you cannot listen to or transmit anything that the other radios on the net could hear. You can however listen to some "older" dispatch centers and public service channels ie the USFS, weather stations, and rescue teams. Hell, if you input the tones, you can transmit on them too.

Radio stuff is a whole can of worms if thats what you want to take in interest in. If you want easy, go to walmart and buy the bubble pack on FRS freqs. If you want to take some responsibility and learns some new and fun stuff go ahead and get a dual band baofeng and either teach yourself to use it properly or get licensed. You will meet a plethora of radio people at your local HAM meet who would be more than willing to help you learn anything you wanted, including studying for the cert test and operating a rig.

If you have any questions or need help finding a local HAM chapter, feel free to PM as well.




"It's nothing, only the smellz."
ShowerBench 


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Re: FRS radio
< Reply # 5 on 11/2/2015 7:26 PM >
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FRS license can be had here: https://apps.fcc.g...sWeb/publicHome.do as well as many other licenses. Get a Ham license or start a radio station!





Deuterium 


Location: PNW
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Re: FRS radio
< Reply # 6 on 11/4/2015 9:10 AM >
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Posted by CStar
Hi All,

Apologies if I'm repeating anything -- this is my first post.

I saw on the forum that lots of people use an FRS radio in the UE community.
What are the ones you'd recommend? I've checked out Amazon and they range anywhere from $25 to $100.

I'm based in Toronto, so any store recommendations would be appreciated too

Thanks!


Well, they were popular in 2000s. You're talking about walkie talkies people use to stay in touch with their group when they're out skiing and such. They only have very limited number of channels. There's no expectations of privacy. The various codes and such were meant to minimize other people's conversation from walking up your walkie talkie but anyone with the feature turned off can hear you.

https://www.cobra....lk-radios-frs-gmrs




SuchundFind 


Location: San Antonio, Texas
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Re: FRS radio
< Reply # 7 on 11/22/2015 10:22 PM >
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Posted by Rico
We often use these radios: Baofeng UV-82




Do you have a ham radio license?
As that's what you need with a Part 90 radio in order to operate it.




geoff5093 


Location: New Hampshire
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Re: FRS radio
< Reply # 8 on 11/29/2015 2:36 AM >
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If you are using the amateur radio (HAM) bands to communicate with others when exploring, there are many things you need to be careful of. First you need to know what frequencies you can communicate on, as there is a limited range allocated to HAMs, and other frequencies that some of those radios can transmit on are for police, fire, public service, businesses, etc. Before you get excited, most police departments are either encrypted or using digital modes so you can't hear them unless you get a digital scanner.

If you are talking on the HAM bands without a license, depending on where you live, there are likely many repeaters in your area so if you are transmitting on one of these frequencies you are most likely going to have some HAM barge in on your conversation because you aren't broadcasting your callsign. If you do have a HAM license, the rules state you need to identify yourself during your conversations, something you likely wouldn't want to do when talking about illegal activities.

While this isn't legal, what many do is purchase amateur radios, program in the frequencies for FRS/GMRS channels, and then use them as high powered two-way radios. Just keep in mind you never know who is listening, and since you have much higher power, a lot more people could hear you then you can hear.




azuro1125 


Location: Passing Oaks
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Re: FRS radio
< Reply # 9 on 12/1/2015 6:20 PM >
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I didn't know you needed a license for FRS. I thought that was just normal, two way simplex stuff like the CB band.

Also, there's no harm in getting your technician license. There needs to be more hams around : ) I'm trying to study for mine now.




"I'm just not set up to mold hard rubber..."
wranglerroadhead 


Location: San Diego/LA
Gender: Male
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Safari Kay

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Re: FRS radio
< Reply # 10 on 12/5/2015 7:00 AM >
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Posted by geoff5093
If you are using the amateur radio (HAM) bands to communicate with others when exploring, there are many things you need to be careful of. First you need to know what frequencies you can communicate on, as there is a limited range allocated to HAMs, and other frequencies that some of those radios can transmit on are for police, fire, public service, businesses, etc. Before you get excited, most police departments are either encrypted or using digital modes so you can't hear them unless you get a digital scanner.

If you are talking on the HAM bands without a license, depending on where you live, there are likely many repeaters in your area so if you are transmitting on one of these frequencies you are most likely going to have some HAM barge in on your conversation because you aren't broadcasting your callsign. If you do have a HAM license, the rules state you need to identify yourself during your conversations, something you likely wouldn't want to do when talking about illegal activities.

While this isn't legal, what many do is purchase amateur radios, program in the frequencies for FRS/GMRS channels, and then use them as high powered two-way radios. Just keep in mind you never know who is listening, and since you have much higher power, a lot more people could hear you then you can hear.


Pretty accurate information here.

Most VHF/UHF radios you can buy off-the-shelf are capable of transmitting on more frequencies than you are authorized to use.

In the US, FRS and GRMS don't require a license in practice.

The GRMS and FRS bands will perform the same as other "unauthorized" freqs in the same range so just use them, even if you offset to stay between the prescribed channels.

I wouldn't be too worried about stepping on a EMS, Police, Federal, ED, Fire channel with an off the shelf handset. Any "real" agency has long since moved to trunked, encrypted, and hopping systems that you couldn't jam without thousands of dollars in equipment. They are very robust systems.

You have to manually input tones to re-trans on a repeater so unless you did that, I wouldn't worry about accidentally shooting long range. Most transceivers you can readily buy are more or less LOS (line of Sight) and aren't going to shoot past 100km in mild terrain at even 5Watts.

You are perfectly able to (legally) use a "HAM" radio on GRMS/FRS freqs provided you stay within the power limitations (1 to 3 watts). Most handhelds only have a max out of 5W anyways, which makes almost no difference.

As you use radios more you will find that power out (in watts) means less than the antenna, location, and freq band you are on. 50W VHF from HH at the bottom of a valley is less useful than 3W from the same HH on VHF a kilo away on a ridge.

I will reiterate though that in an emergency ANYONE is permitted, without consequence, to utilize ANY frequency, gear, or transmit power to obtain help. I personally travel solo a lot, so I carry a HH more for emergency help versus talking to an exploring buddy. YMMV.





"It's nothing, only the smellz."
geoff5093 


Location: New Hampshire
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Re: FRS radio
< Reply # 11 on 12/6/2015 1:04 AM >
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Posted by wranglerroadhead
I wouldn't be too worried about stepping on a EMS, Police, Federal, ED, Fire channel with an off the shelf handset. Any "real" agency has long since moved to trunked, encrypted, and hopping systems that you couldn't jam without thousands of dollars in equipment. They are very robust systems.

You have to manually input tones to re-trans on a repeater so unless you did that, I wouldn't worry about accidentally shooting long range. Most transceivers you can readily buy are more or less LOS (line of Sight) and aren't going to shoot past 100km in mild terrain at even 5Watts.

While this is true in most large cities, around here most town and small cities operate fire on traditional analog and police on traditional P25 digital channels, so depending on if you are in a more rural area you may run into this more often.

That's true that without tones you aren't going to activate the vast majority of repeaters, but some don't work with tone squelch, so while you wouldn't activate the repeater if you are talking on the same frequency you may cause interference with other users, who could then listen in on what you're saying.

If you do use HAM frequencies, I would use one of the several simplex frequencies that are available, and avoid the traditional 146.520, 550, 580, and 446.000.




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