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GMRS / FRS Discussions related to GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) and FRS (Family Radio Service) communications

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Old 04-13-2009, 7:22 PM
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Default GMRS and Digital

I have been using GMRS radios for many years and I know that a lot of radio services are going digital. Does anyone know if GMRS will be going digital in the future? Can we use 6.25khz on GMRS? Thoughts and comments....
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Old 04-13-2009, 9:07 PM
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The answer is in 47 C.F.R. sec. 95.631(a).

All of the telephony emitters (i.e., voice) authorized for GMRS are limited to analog.
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Old 04-14-2009, 7:33 AM
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If they were made digital their be to many protocols that the indiviual subscribers would have to make the change to, not that its a bad thing. It would just limited the users to the system.
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:26 PM
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People don't understand the concept of allowing digital versus mandating digital. If the FCC were to allow digital on GMRS, no one has to buy new equipment, no one has to switch to digital, and most users will continue to use analog.

Choice is a good thing, it's nice to know that I can use D-STAR, P25, NXDN, MotoTRBO, or any other digital format that doesn't violate Part 97 rules on Ham. Why should GMRS be any different? Digital is no longer "experimental", it's available in existing radios and is used heavily on Part 90 radio services. We're not talking RTTY, PSK31, or Fax modems on GMRS, just digital voice. When the rules were written, digital voice didn't exist in the commercial/consumer market, so it was to keep data off the service.

Ideally the FCC should permit digital users (if they ever allow digital) to split the primary 25 kHz channels into four 6.25 kHz channels. NXDN uses 6.25 kHz channels which can increase the number of conversations available in the same slice of spectrum. To program those channels, you'd have to program offset frequencies (you're not dead on 462.550 for example, you're slightly above or below it). FCC rules require to you follow the channel plan, and be dead on a frequency not "in between" or "offset" from channel centers. That should be changed as well.
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Old 04-16-2009, 7:38 AM
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If you want to be freq agile, stay with the Ham Radio.

Leave GMRS Alone. It's bad enough with the bubble pack and FRS Radios.

If you have multi-mode allowed, how can you track [other than DF] your interference source, unless you have 5+ different radios.

Keep the experimentation on the Amateur bands.


PS, are you going to pay me to change out my gear, so I don't get interference from your P25 / MTRBO etc? I didn't think so. And the FCC won't send me a check either.


Quote:
Originally Posted by N2DLX View Post
People don't understand the concept of allowing digital versus mandating digital. If the FCC were to allow digital on GMRS, no one has to buy new equipment, no one has to switch to digital, and most users will continue to use analog.

Choice is a good thing, it's nice to know that I can use D-STAR, P25, NXDN, MotoTRBO, or any other digital format that doesn't violate Part 97 rules on Ham. Why should GMRS be any different? Digital is no longer "experimental", it's available in existing radios and is used heavily on Part 90 radio services. We're not talking RTTY, PSK31, or Fax modems on GMRS, just digital voice. When the rules were written, digital voice didn't exist in the commercial/consumer market, so it was to keep data off the service.

Ideally the FCC should permit digital users (if they ever allow digital) to split the primary 25 kHz channels into four 6.25 kHz channels. NXDN uses 6.25 kHz channels which can increase the number of conversations available in the same slice of spectrum. To program those channels, you'd have to program offset frequencies (you're not dead on 462.550 for example, you're slightly above or below it). FCC rules require to you follow the channel plan, and be dead on a frequency not "in between" or "offset" from channel centers. That should be changed as well.
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Old 04-16-2009, 8:05 AM
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Originally Posted by ecps92 View Post
If you want to be freq agile, stay with the Ham Radio.

Leave GMRS Alone. It's bad enough with the bubble pack and FRS Radios.

If you have multi-mode allowed, how can you track [other than DF] your interference source, unless you have 5+ different radios.

Keep the experimentation on the Amateur bands.


PS, are you going to pay me to change out my gear, so I don't get interference from your P25 / MTRBO etc? I didn't think so. And the FCC won't send me a check either.
Interference from a digital transmitter is no different than interference from an analog transmitter. Both will wipe out your ability to communicate while the source is present.

If you have a source of interference, DF it. It doesn't require million dollar equipment. True, if you have an analog signal source you can listen for identifiable information, but unless you have a location of the transmitter site, the FCC doesn't want to even read your complaint. Not that they'd read it anyway, but have a much better chance if you hand them every last bit of information.

So you consider a signal to be interference, only if your radio isn't capable of monitoring? Does that mean you track down D-STAR users on Ham.. because you don't have a D-STAR radio and they're "interfering" with you? The only difference between analog and digital radio is the modulation. Some digital formats occupy less spectrum than others, but digital isn't so radical that it breaks all the rules of RF. It's all just FM..

Bubblepack and FRS radios are such a small problem on GMRS. Sure, there's millions of the damn things out there causing simplex interference, but that doesn't last for more than a mile or two on a good day. The real problem is unlicensed users with commercial equipment, repeaters, etc. When they act up, they can wipe out 30 miles or more if their site is decent. GMRS is not a self-policing band like Ham, so there's really no reason for other licensees to be able to monitor transmissions. The only exception is that you can't use encryption, but you can use scramblers. GMRS is a much more private service whereby my system is none of your business unless I'm causing harmful interference to you.
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Old 04-16-2009, 8:56 AM
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You and I are tech's. Fine there, but for the Ma' and Pa' users of GMRS it doesn't help them out, and most of the users are not technical.

It's a lot easier, when you can hear them in analog, say'n Up, Up, Up, Slow, Up, left, left, stop, down, down, down. Hmmm we have a Crane/Const crew. Ma' n Pa' are not going to be able to handle this.

Keep GMRS Simple

Quote:
Originally Posted by N2DLX View Post
Interference from a digital transmitter is no different than interference from an analog transmitter. Both will wipe out your ability to communicate while the source is present.

If you have a source of interference, DF it. It doesn't require million dollar equipment. True, if you have an analog signal source you can listen for identifiable information, but unless you have a location of the transmitter site, the FCC doesn't want to even read your complaint. Not that they'd read it anyway, but have a much better chance if you hand them every last bit of information.

So you consider a signal to be interference, only if your radio isn't capable of monitoring? Does that mean you track down D-STAR users on Ham.. because you don't have a D-STAR radio and they're "interfering" with you? The only difference between analog and digital radio is the modulation. Some digital formats occupy less spectrum than others, but digital isn't so radical that it breaks all the rules of RF. It's all just FM..

Bubblepack and FRS radios are such a small problem on GMRS. Sure, there's millions of the damn things out there causing simplex interference, but that doesn't last for more than a mile or two on a good day. The real problem is unlicensed users with commercial equipment, repeaters, etc. When they act up, they can wipe out 30 miles or more if their site is decent. GMRS is not a self-policing band like Ham, so there's really no reason for other licensees to be able to monitor transmissions. The only exception is that you can't use encryption, but you can use scramblers. GMRS is a much more private service whereby my system is none of your business unless I'm causing harmful interference to you.
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Old 04-16-2009, 9:18 AM
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Sorry, but you can't just 'add' 6.25 KHz channels. You have to convert ALL users to make usable interstitial channels, since 'old' users are still wideband, and wipe out those interstitials, while the 'new' users will interfere with the 'old' wider channel users, as well.

Given the huge number of unlicensed, uncontrolled bubble pack users, it's not likely to happen any time soon. If the FCC makes any changes (and so far, they seem to have ZERO interest in GMRS, the current rules are a total, hashed up, inconsistant mess), it will be a complete rewrite to shift to digital, narrowband. (narrower, that is)

I wouldn't bet against them deciding to REMOVE repeaters, and turn all the inputs into more simplex channels, actually. The FCC seems to consider GMRS to be a family, SHORT range service, for local use, not longer range as repeater use creates, these days.
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Old 04-16-2009, 4:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkipSanders View Post
Sorry, but you can't just 'add' 6.25 KHz channels. You have to convert ALL users to make usable interstitial channels, since 'old' users are still wideband, and wipe out those interstitials, while the 'new' users will interfere with the 'old' wider channel users, as well.

Given the huge number of unlicensed, uncontrolled bubble pack users, it's not likely to happen any time soon. If the FCC makes any changes (and so far, they seem to have ZERO interest in GMRS, the current rules are a total, hashed up, inconsistant mess), it will be a complete rewrite to shift to digital, narrowband. (narrower, that is)

I wouldn't bet against them deciding to REMOVE repeaters, and turn all the inputs into more simplex channels, actually. The FCC seems to consider GMRS to be a family, SHORT range service, for local use, not longer range as repeater use creates, these days.
IMO Nothing wrong with GMRS repeaters,not everyone wants to be a HAM and listen to the same rag chewing about radio equipment or politics day in and day out,I bet you would change your mind if HAM repeaters were to be removed so you couldn't talk across town,might as well trash the whole system then huh? Each system has its own use and if you don't like it stay off of it simple as that.I have no desire to be a HAM but like my GMRS system.
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Old 04-16-2009, 5:16 PM
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N2DLX

I'm not againist allowing digital on a pair, or having the option of digital or analog on a declared frequency pair for it. The trick here is declared, I have radios that are digital capable as you already know. The prolbem is the gmrs concept is to be kept simple for family users only, I'm glad the fcc open a sections of bands (vhf-murs and uhf-frs, gmrs-Wide area) for radio traffic. While I'm not againist your digital suggestions I think you need a 1. a set aside frequency for each type of digital. or 2. a license of your own uhf or vhf digital based radio system and I'm sure you can find a way to get it license. The prolbem is I don't know if you want to dish out the money for the license for such. However, based on brief conversations and the equipment you have, some how I think you can scrum up some money for a license pair.
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Old 04-16-2009, 7:41 PM
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To each his own GMRS or HAM , both are good, but I do not push either, just get on and enjoy commu nicating and the bubble packs, who cares a mile or so or less they are dead...

Enjoy whatever you have, as I said I like both, and certainly dont hold my breath about rule changes from big daddy<FCC>.

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Old 04-16-2009, 9:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecps92 View Post
If you want to be freq agile, stay with the Ham Radio.

Leave GMRS Alone. It's bad enough with the bubble pack and FRS Radios.

If you have multi-mode allowed, how can you track [other than DF] your interference source, unless you have 5+ different radios.

Keep the experimentation on the Amateur bands.


PS, are you going to pay me to change out my gear, so I don't get interference from your P25 / MTRBO etc? I didn't think so. And the FCC won't send me a check either.
I heartily agree!
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Old 04-17-2009, 1:22 AM
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I didn't say that I was in favor of removing GMRS repeaters, I said it wouldn't suprise me if the FCC decided to do so, to 'free up' more channels for the use they currently seem to intend to be the primary use, namely simplex.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkipSanders View Post
I didn't say that I was in favor of removing GMRS repeaters, I said it wouldn't suprise me if the FCC decided to do so, to 'free up' more channels for the use they currently seem to intend to be the primary use, namely simplex.
Sorry Skip im half blind these days and misread your statement my apologizes.
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Old 04-21-2009, 2:24 AM
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The GMRS unit may transmit digital data containing location information, or requesting location information from one or more other GMRS units, or containing a brief text message to another specific GMRS unit. Digital data transmissions must be initiated by a manual action or command of the user. However, a GMRS unit receiving an interrogation request may automatically respond with its location. Digital data transmissions shall not exceed I second, and shall be limited to one transmission within a 30-second period. However, a GMRS unit may automatically respond to more than one interrogation request received within a 30-second period.
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Old 04-21-2009, 2:35 PM
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Default Interseting on the above

Interseting on the above topic message, and yes to each their own. I like that statement the best
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raveena View Post
The GMRS unit may transmit digital data containing location information, or requesting location information from one or more other GMRS units, or containing a brief text message to another specific GMRS unit. Digital data transmissions must be initiated by a manual action or command of the user. However, a GMRS unit receiving an interrogation request may automatically respond with its location. Digital data transmissions shall not exceed I second, and shall be limited to one transmission within a 30-second period. However, a GMRS unit may automatically respond to more than one interrogation request received within a 30-second period.
I'm not sure where you're quoting from, but it sounds like the Garmin waiver which was granted by the FCC to allow the Rino GPS radios to transmit GPS information. A waiver was required because NO digital modulation was allowed on GMRS, not even short messages. The waiver has/had very specific language limiting the method and frequency of data bursts which your post reminds me of.

Waivers shouldn't be required, digital should just be allowed for all licensed users, not consumers of $400 bubblepack radios. Giving a large corporation a waiver while restricting everyone else was a big mistake, and shows where the FCC's mind (or wallet) is at.
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Old 04-25-2009, 8:41 AM
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Default gmrs and digital

Hi Everyone,

I sent an inquiry to the FCC about GMRS and the possibility of being able to use digital in the future. The answer I received is that there are currently no plans in place at this time to allow digital or make any rule changes for digital. As of right now GMRS will be staying the way it is.
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Old 04-25-2009, 2:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt131 View Post
Hi Everyone,

I sent an inquiry to the FCC about GMRS and the possibility of being able to use digital in the future. The answer I received is that there are currently no plans in place at this time to allow digital or make any rule changes for digital. As of right now GMRS will be staying the way it is.
But that's not because they're necessarily against digital, they just don't want to even THINK about having change Part 95 rules. The rules are a mess as it is, and they'd have to do a lot of work to revise the rules, so they'd much rather keep it the way it is.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:26 AM
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First off, GMRS does have "Splinter" channels, this is the FRS.
Second, there are 3 contradictory rules, one signed by President Obama.
If you are sending in a "Spectrum efficient mode" that can interoperate with, and that IS the key, you can use an accepted digital standard of a type that is type accepted for the intended service.
The ONLY radios that will meet all of the requirements are very expensive commercial units.
Digital narrow band is permitted but not required in the GMRS/FRS service but encryption is not.
I had requested a waver for WQGD204 on the merits of narrow band operation and this was rejected on the grounds that a waver is not required.
I specified AMBE and or AMBE+2 as the codec, the IMBE codec is not narrow band.
I am using P-25+ and P-25ii interchangeably with P-25 disabled and fallback to analog, autotrunk to clear channel if not manual, no control channel.
This is in the San Antonio and 200 miles around but in reality San Antonio to Corpus Christi and area between, Eagle Ford Shale.
This is oilfield radios with "extra" channels for private conversations not related to oilfield work.
The reason for this is that frequently cellular coverage is lacking and the extended working hours limit communications options, deep rural areas of South Texas at or near rig sites.
For this reason the chances you will even be able to hear any of this is very remote indeed, that and 99.9% of all communications is in Spanish limits your options indeed.
The reason for the use of oil field radios and not a GMRS radio is the need for intrinsically safe radios.
The older Analog only radios are now used for GMRS only and the newer radios are dual use, everything meeting IS requirements.
By 2013 Analog will be discontinued to comply with narrow banding altogether.
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