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

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 04-06-2017, 8:42 PM
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Originally Posted by SpugEddy View Post
As for GMRS I kind of hold the radio manufacturers as having the majority
of the responsibility to let their customers know that the radio is designed
to transmit on Licensed Frequencies.
You can blame the FCC for that. They screwed up when they allowed radios to have certification on a license by rule radio service and a license required radio service.
They learned their lesson and made sure they didn't do the same with MURS (yet).

Radio manufacturers just took advantage of it. Used to be they had some fine print on the package that mentioned FCC license requirements. Last time I looked, I couldn't even find that.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 04-07-2017, 2:19 AM
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Originally Posted by ethanh100 View Post
So I have been looking to spend around $70 for a pair of walkies that are capable of gmrs bands and have a few questions about licensing. So i plan to use these out on the water ( I live in CT so the long island sound) as I sail a hobie 16 boat and I kitesurf, and I always want to have a form of communication in an emergency. For sometimes that I go out, regular FRS would be suitable I think, but I will often find myself needing the higher power for longer range, which would be under gmrs. So if I were to broadcast unlicensed, how easy would it be for me to be recognized as a unlicensed operator, and if I were caught, what kind of fines are expected? I would like to get a license, but $70 seems silly for something I am not using all the time, especially if its easy to get away without it. Thanks!

Oh and what kind of range can I expect out on the water for FRS frequencies? thanks.

Here we go short and sweet. If you're just using simplex GMRS then no don't waist your money on getting a license. Trust me there is no need in it for just running simplex. Just be polite and share the channels with other people. If you are planing on using some of your local repeaters then you would want to look at getting a license because if you don't, everyone will ignore you. No fun in that right? No. Haha

However, I agree with most people so far on one thing. If you are going to be on water a VHF marine radio is the best way to go, given you are with in Coast Guard reception so you can call if you have an emergency.

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Old 04-07-2017, 5:35 AM
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Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
Radio manufacturers just took advantage of it. Used to be they had some fine print on the package that mentioned FCC license requirements. Last time I looked, I couldn't even find that.
It is just one small sentence, typically.

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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 04-07-2017, 11:48 AM
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On a Hobie you will get wet. And so will your gadgets, especially if you capsize. So any radio you can buy in the drug store, without serious waterproofing, is a bad idea. Ziplock bags only help so much.

It would be a good idea to take a free boating safety course, usually available from the US Power Squadrons or USCG Auxiliary at this time of year. They will cover many things that will bore you--but they'll also gladly discuss communications safety options.

In LI Sound, I would argue that a simple water-resistant cell phone is a very good start. Not that it replaces a marine radio, but it will reach the USCG (dial 911 and let them choose) real fast, as well as family or friends. The Sound has outstanding cell coverage.

The marine VHF, or an EPIRB, or a PLB, all have advantages. Sometimes there is so much chatter on the VHF channels that they are useless and even the USCG will ask you to call them on a cell phone to uncrowd the radio. The distress beacons are great, but they don't get instant response, contrary to public opinion, and they might be wasted money for what you need.

Better to take a safety course, pick up the operator's certificate while you are at it, and toss ideas around with some local boaters and experts.
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