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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 01-26-2014, 6:54 PM
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Default Caribbean Cruise

My family and I will be going on a Caribbean cruise this March. What would people here suggest so that we can keep in touch while aboard ship? Also, both of us are licensed amateur radio operators.
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Old 01-26-2014, 6:59 PM
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

Take along your ham ht's
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Old 01-26-2014, 7:59 PM
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And use UHF for better penetration.
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Old 01-26-2014, 8:26 PM
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Barf bags. Just read of another voyage with 300 plus sick due to a virus. Always felt the industry was dirty, seems every year another set of problems arises.

Good Luck.
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Old 01-27-2014, 2:41 AM
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Techincally speaking the FCC Rules for GMRS only allow operation on a ship in international waters if the ship is of US Registry. See 95.23(c)2).

Randy Knowles, KAA 8142
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Old 01-27-2014, 5:07 PM
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I saw a guy in a thread take a couple /\/\otorola DTR radios on board. They are only one watt, but they seemed to get out from one side of the ship to the next. These are 900 MHz FHSS, VSLEP radios.
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Old 01-27-2014, 5:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyKnowles View Post
Techincally speaking the FCC Rules for GMRS only allow operation on a ship in international waters if the ship is of US Registry. See 95.23(c)2).

Randy Knowles, KAA 8142
I don't know of any cruise ships that sail from Florida with US registry. They are usually registered in a foreign country where the rules are not as strict. After all the cruise commercials I see on TV, the last thing I hear are "cruise registry Panama, or the Bahamas".
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Old 01-27-2014, 5:19 PM
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Default Caribbean Cruise

I have definitely been eying up the DTR550/650 radios. It would be interesting to know how much difference there would be between:

.600 Watt Nextel Direct Talk Vs. Motorola DTR550/650 1 Watt
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Old 02-06-2014, 11:25 AM
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Most Cruise lines have a blanket list of Prohibited Items.
Amateur Radio is generally one of them.

Use FRS/GMRS and you should have no issues.

Was just in Belize and the locals use American FRS Radios

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My family and I will be going on a Caribbean cruise this March. What would people here suggest so that we can keep in touch while aboard ship? Also, both of us are licensed amateur radio operators.
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Old 02-06-2014, 3:49 PM
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I brought along a pair of FRS radios on a cruise, they didn't too all too well for obvious reasons.

I've heard very good things about 900MHz, those DTRs and TriSquares in particular. I wonder how Nextel Direct Connect off-network would work. You can buy used Nextels on eBay, and they should all have that off-network feature. I would assume they'd do well considering they're also 900MHz, I believe.
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Old 02-06-2014, 3:57 PM
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Keep in-mind those 900 and Nextels are US/CN and in a foreign port could be allocated to other services

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I brought along a pair of FRS radios on a cruise, they didn't too all too well for obvious reasons.

I've heard very good things about 900MHz, those DTRs and TriSquares in particular. I wonder how Nextel Direct Connect off-network would work. You can buy used Nextels on eBay, and they should all have that off-network feature. I would assume they'd do well considering they're also 900MHz, I believe.
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Old 02-06-2014, 5:02 PM
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Default Caribbean Cruise

I did find the following Wiki. So, if I am interpreting this correctly, ISM operations in ITU Region 2 is fine, without a license, at 1 watt or less. Or, would people here interpret that differently?

ISM band - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ISM band
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) radio bands are radio bands (portions of the radio spectrum) reserved internationally for the use of radio frequency (RF) energy for industrial, scientific and medical purposes other than telecommunications.[1] Examples of applications in these bands include radio-frequency process heating, microwave ovens, and medical diathermy machines. The powerful emissions of these devices can create electromagnetic interference and disrupt radio communication using the same frequency, so these devices were limited to certain bands of frequencies. In general, communications equipment operating in these bands must tolerate any interference generated by ISM equipment, and users have no regulatory protection from ISM device operation.

Despite the intent of the original allocations, and because there are multiple allocations, in recent years the fastest-growing uses of these bands have been for short-range, low power communications systems. Cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, near field communication (NFC) devices, and wireless computer networks all use frequencies allocated to low power communications as well as ISM.

Contents

1 ISM bands
2 History
3 ISM uses
4 Non-ISM Uses
5 See also
6 References
7 External links

ISM bands

The ISM bands are defined by the ITU-R in 5.138, 5.150, and 5.280 of the Radio Regulations. Individual countries' use of the bands designated in these sections may differ due to variations in national radio regulations. Because communication devices using the ISM bands must tolerate any interference from ISM equipment, unlicensed operations are typically permitted to use these bands, since unlicensed operation typically needs to be tolerant of interference from other devices anyway. The ISM bands share allocations with unlicensed and licensed operations; however, due to the high likelihood of harmful interference, licensed use of the bands is typically low. In the United States of America, uses of the ISM bands are governed by Part 18 of the FCC rules, while Part 15 contains the rules for unlicensed communication devices, even those that share ISM frequencies. In Europe, ETSI tries to govern.

The ISM bands defined by the ITU-R are:
Frequency range Bandwidth Center frequency Availability
6.765 MHz 6.795 MHz 30 kHz 6.780 MHz Subject to local acceptance
13.553 MHz 13.567 MHz 14 kHz 13.560 MHz Worldwide
26.957 MHz 27.283 MHz 326 kHz 27.120 MHz Worldwide
40.660 MHz 40.700 MHz 40 kHz 40.680 MHz Worldwide
433.050 MHz 434.790 MHz 1.74 MHz 433.920 MHz Region 1 only and subject to local acceptance
902.000 MHz 928.000 MHz 26 MHz 915.000 MHz Region 2 only (with some exceptions)
2.400 GHz 2.500 GHz 100 MHz 2.450 GHz Worldwide
5.725 GHz 5.875 GHz 150 MHz 5.800 GHz Worldwide
24.000 GHz 24.250 GHz 250 MHz 24.125 GHz Worldwide
61.000 GHz 61.500 GHz 500 MHz 61.250 GHz Subject to local acceptance
122.000 GHz 123.000 GHz 1 GHz 122.500 GHz Subject to local acceptance
244.000 GHz 246.000 GHz 2 GHz 245.000 GHz Subject to local acceptance

Regulatory authorities may allocate parts of the radio spectrum for unlicensed communications that may or may not also be allocated as ISM bands.
History
[icon] This section requires expansion. (September 2010)

The ISM bands were first established at the International Telecommunications Conference of the ITU in Atlantic City, 1947. The American delegation specifically proposed several bands, including the now commonplace 2.4 GHz band, to accommodate the then nascent process of microwave heating;[2] however, FCC annual reports of that time suggest that much preparation was done ahead of these presentations.[3]

From the proceedings: "The delegate of the United States, referring to his request that the frequency 2450 Mc/s be allocated for I.S.M., indicated that there was in existence in the United States, and working on this frequency a diathermy machine and an electronic cooker, and that the latter might eventually be installed in transatlantic ships and aeroplanes. There was therefore some point in attempting to reach world agreement on this subject."

Radio frequencies in the ISM bands have been used for communication purposes, although such devices may experience interference from non-communication sources. In the United States, as early as 1958 Class D Citizens Band, a Part 95 service, was allocated to frequencies that are also allocated to ISM. [1]

In the US, the FCC first made unlicensed spread spectrum available in the ISM bands in rules adopted on May 9, 1985.[4][5]

Many other countries later developed similar regulations, enabling use of this technology.[citation needed] The FCC action was proposed by Michael Marcus of the FCC staff in 1980 and the subsequent regulatory action took 5 more years. It was part of a broader proposal to allow civil use of spread spectrum technology and was opposed at the time by mainstream equipment manufacturers and many radio system operators.[6]
ISM uses

For many people, the most commonly encountered ISM device is the home microwave oven operating at 2.45 GHz; however, many different kinds of ISM devices exist, which are predominately found outside dwellings. Many industrial settings may use ISM devices in plastic welding processes. In medical settings, shortwave and microwave diathermy machines are ISM devices mostly commonly used for muscle relaxation. Microwave ablation, a type of interventional radiology, is an ISM application which treats solid tumors through the use of RF heating.

Some electrodeless lamp designs are ISM devices, which use RF emissions to excite fluorescent tubes. Sulfur lamps are commercially available plasma lamps, which use a 2.45 GHz magnetron to heat sulfur into a brightly glowing plasma.

Long-distance wireless power systems have been proposed and experimented with which would use high-power transmitters and rectennas, in lieu of overhead transmission lines and underground cables, to send power to remote locations. NASA has studied using microwave power transmission on 2.45 GHz to send energy collected by solar power satellites back to the ground.

Also in space applications, a Helicon Double Layer ion thruster is a prototype spacecraft propulsion engine which uses a 13.56 MHz transmission to break down and heat gas into plasma.
Non-ISM Uses

In recent years ISM bands have also been shared with (non-ISM) license-free error-tolerant communications applications such as wireless sensor networks in the 915 MHz and 2.450 GHz bands, as well as wireless LANs and cordless phones in the 915 MHz, 2.450 GHz, and 5.800 GHz bands. Because unlicensed devices already are required to be tolerant of ISM emissions in these bands, unlicensed low power uses are generally able to operate in these bands without causing problems for ISM users; ISM equipment does not necessarily include a radio receiver in the ISM band (a microwave oven does not have a receiver).

In the United States, according to 47 CFR Part 15.5, low power communication devices must accept interference from licensed users of that frequency band, and the Part 15 device must not cause interference to licensed users. Note that the 915 MHz band should not be used in countries outside Region 2, except those that specifically allow it, such as Australia and Israel, especially those that use the GSM-900 band for cellphones. The ISM bands are also widely used for Radio-frequency identification (RFID) applications with the most commonly used band being the 13.56 MHz band used by systems compliant with ISO/IEC 14443 including those used by biometric passports and contactless smart cards.

In Europe, the use of the ISM band is covered by Short Range Device regulations issued by European Commission, based on technical recommendations by CEPT and standards by ETSI. In most of Europe, LPD433 band is allowed for license-free voice communication in addition to PMR446.

Wireless LAN devices use wavebands as follows:

Bluetooth 2450 MHz band comes under WPAN
HIPERLAN 5800 MHz band
IEEE 802.11/WiFi 2450 MHz and 5800 MHz bands

IEEE 802.15.4, ZigBee and other personal area networks may use the 915 MHz and 2450 MHz ISM bands because of frequency sharing between different allocations.

Wireless LANs and cordless phones can also use frequency bands other than the bands shared with ISM, but such uses require approval on a country by country basis. DECT phones use allocated spectrum outside the ISM bands that differs in Europe and North America. Ultra-wideband LANs require more spectrum than the ISM bands can provide, so the relevant standards such as IEEE 802.15.4a are designed to make use of spectrum outside the ISM bands. Despite the fact that these additional bands are outside the official ITU-R ISM bands, because they are used for the same types of low power personal communications, these additional frequency bands are sometimes incorrectly referred to as ISM bands as well.

Also note that several brands of radio control equipment use the 2.4 GHz band range for low power remote control of toys, from gas powered cars to miniature aircraft.

Worldwide Digital Cordless Telecommunications or WDCT is a technology that uses the 2.4 GHz radio spectrum.

Google's Project Loon uses ISM bands (specifically 2.4 and 5.8 GHz bands) for balloon-to-balloon and balloon-to-ground communications.
See also

Frequency allocation
Fixed wireless
Electromagnetic interference at 2.4 GHz

References

Jump up ^ "ARTICLE 1 - Terms and Definitions". life.itu.ch. International Telecommunication Union. 19 October 2009. 1.15. "industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) applications (of radio frequency energy): Operation of equipment or appliances designed to generate and use locally radio frequency energy for industrial, scientific, medical, domestic or similar purposes, excluding applications in the field of telecommunications."
Jump up ^ "Documents of the International Radio Conference (Atlantic City, 1947) - Doc. No. 1-100". p. 466.
Jump up ^ Thirteenth Annual Report of the FCC, June 30, 1947 (Report). p. 8.
Jump up ^ "Authorization of Spread Spectrum Systems Under Parts 15 and 90 of the FCC Rules and Regulations" (TXT). Federal Communications Commission. June 18, 1985. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
Jump up ^ "Wi-Fi (wireless networking technology)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
Jump up ^ "The Genesis of Unlicensed Wireless Policy". George Mason University. April 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-20.

External links

Cordless phone frequencies
ITU page on definitions of ISM bands
ITU page on Radio Regulations
European Radiocommunications Office frequency information system
In the US, CFR Title 47 Part 18 describes the regulation of the ISM bands. [1] contains some of the regulations for wireless LAN devices operating in three of the low power communication, Part 15, bands.

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Old 02-08-2014, 12:09 AM
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I have used Midland GMRS radios at full power on cruises (I am licensed) and I have used the Motorola DTR550 digital radios. The Midlands worked better than I thought they would and I had minimal co-channel interference (being there can be several thousand people using these radios). The digital radios worked just as good with 1/4th the power. Of course there will never be co-channel interference with the digital radios, plus they are license free, plus you can program multiple talk groups (adults on one, kids on another worked great for us). There is a major price difference but the DTR radios are commercial quality and will last for years, even if dropped.
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:42 PM
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Our county emergency coordinator just got back from a cruise last week. He ran both 70 cm and GMRS on the trip and only heard others on the shared GMRS channels.
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Old 02-15-2014, 11:49 PM
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Default .6 watt Nextel vs. 1 watt DTR550

First it depends on how long you want to use hand held communications. The Motorola units are still in production and Motorola guaranteess support 7 years AFTER they quit making them. Nextel is out of business so we don't know how long you will be able to get batteries, chargers, etc. for those units. Second the DTR550's are commercial grade radios with excellant audio (transmit and receive) and much better overall specs. The Nextel unit is a cell phone with so-so specs, and their audio quality leaves a lot to be desired. I have used the DTR550 and Midland FRS radios on a cruise ship. They both performed about the same, except I could hear and understand the DTR550's.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JASII View Post
I have definitely been eying up the DTR550/650 radios. It would be interesting to know how much difference there would be between:

.600 Watt Nextel Direct Talk Vs. Motorola DTR550/650 1 Watt
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Old 02-27-2014, 2:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyKnowles View Post
Techincally speaking the FCC Rules for GMRS only allow operation on a ship in international waters if the ship is of US Registry. See 95.23(c)2).

Randy Knowles, KAA 8142
It's similar for ham as well.

I don't know about the cruise line the OP is embarking on, but I know that the Disney Cruise Line ships have an internal wireless telephone system that allows guests to stay in contact. There were two of the handsets in our stateroom when we boarded the ship and they seemed to work everywhere.
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Old 02-28-2014, 9:18 AM
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We take a cruise every year. For years we have used the little pocket FRS radios. They work well for us. We also don't have the expectations of having crystal clear communications either.

If your room has a window or porthole you will be fine. If it's an interior room you will be able to hear that someone is trying to reach you, but it will be unclear. Sometimes just moving to the hall is enough to pick up good coms.

I have other radios that are better, but I would rather put it in my pocket, then in a holster on my hip.

Have a fun and memorable cruise.
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:34 PM
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Technically, to use GMRS or amateur radio on board a ship or aircraft, you need permission from the captain. See 97.11and 95.23. As mentioned before, 95.23 (for GMRS) says you can only use it on or over international waters on a ship or aircraft of US registry. Whether the FCC has jurisdiction over you on a foreign vessel outside US waters is a good question.
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Old 04-01-2014, 7:52 PM
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I've used Motorola DTR 550s with the higher gain antenna (7"?) and had full ship coverage aboard Carnival ships. I was impressed.

I've used 4W UHF radios on cruise ships before and wasn't impressed.

The 900 digital FH DTRs and Nextel DT is the way to go.
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Old 04-02-2014, 5:50 AM
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Since many of the Lines Sell/Rent them on-board, it's a moot issue to ask permission.

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Originally Posted by cgwheeler View Post
Technically, to use GMRS or amateur radio on board a ship or aircraft, you need permission from the captain. See 97.11and 95.23. As mentioned before, 95.23 (for GMRS) says you can only use it on or over international waters on a ship or aircraft of US registry. Whether the FCC has jurisdiction over you on a foreign vessel outside US waters is a good question.
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