• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

FNG with novice Q's

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KK6JYX

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I guess I'm the newest guy here. Other than getting my CM (PG00019763) back in 06 for work, I have little knowledge involving civilian radio communication. I have several questions so I guess I'll explain what I want to do first.
I live in San Diego and frequently go out to our local deserts in our camper to enjoy riding ATV's hiking, shooting, etc. Where we go, there is sometimes little to no cell service and I figured VHF comm would be a viable option to contact whomever (typically the wife) back at the camper. Every where we go while we're camped is relatively line of sight and sometimes at a distance of up to 10 miles.
-Am I authorized to communicate on a vhf radio?
-Is it uncommon for a handheld to be able to communicate with a mobile unit at 10mi. LOS
-Is there a particular brand or model that would best suit my needs?

I was an avionics technician for 9 years in the Marines so I'm not completely ignorant however, the systems I worked on are somewhat, shall we say, different.... that's all I can say about that.

Thanks for any and all help!
 

ladn

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I guess I'm the newest guy here. Other than getting my CM (PG00019763) back in 06 for work, I have little knowledge involving civilian radio communication. I have several questions so I guess I'll explain what I want to do first.
I live in San Diego and frequently go out to our local deserts in our camper to enjoy riding ATV's hiking, shooting, etc. Where we go, there is sometimes little to no cell service and I figured VHF comm would be a viable option to contact whomever (typically the wife) back at the camper. Every where we go while we're camped is relatively line of sight and sometimes at a distance of up to 10 miles.
-Am I authorized to communicate on a vhf radio?

Both: YES: You are authorized to operate on vhf in the MURS radio service, FRS family radio service and the unlicensed portion of the 900 MHz band. Both FRS and 900 MHz aren't vhf, but I think you are asking more about radio in general than a specific band. These three services are license-free, but there are restrictions on power output, antennas and equipment. NO: All other services require a license from the FCC. What that license entails varies according to the service. For instance, you and your wife could get ham (amateur radio) licenses which is the best and most versatile option. The downside is you have to pass a fairly easy test (study materials are widely available). GMRS (related to FRS) simply requires a license fee and is good for your entire family. Commercial/business licenses have licensee fees, and frequency coordination fees.

-Is it uncommon for a handheld to be able to communicate with a mobile unit at 10mi. LOS

Depends on a few factors such as frequency, power output and radio path. There's a difference between 10 miles LOS across flat terrain and 10 miles LOS where one radio is elevated in relation to the other. In general, 10 miles handheld to mobile is possible, but is on the outside edge of being reliable. However, mobile to mobile across 10 miles is pretty easy.

-Is there a particular brand or model that would best suit my needs?

Brand/model will depend on which service you ultimately decide on. Like many other consumer choices, you get what you pay for in radio equipment. There's a lot of cheap junk out there that border on toys. Personally, I'd again recommend getting an amateur radio license. There are several amateur radio clubs in the San Diego area (https://www.google.com/#newwindow=1&q=san+diego+ham+radio+clubs) that can help you.

I do a lot of backcountry travel and use a combination of amateur radio and MURS. I also use 27MHz CB radio in my vehicle when I'm traveling with a group of non-hams. My ham radios (both mobile and handheld) are more versatile and reliable than the MURS or CB. Now that Morse Code has been eliminated as a licensing requirement, getting your entry level license is pretty easy.



Roger
 

N8IAA

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Fortunately, GA
I guess I'm the newest guy here. Other than getting my CM (PG00019763) back in 06 for work, I have little knowledge involving civilian radio communication. I have several questions so I guess I'll explain what I want to do first.
I live in San Diego and frequently go out to our local deserts in our camper to enjoy riding ATV's hiking, shooting, etc. Where we go, there is sometimes little to no cell service and I figured VHF comm would be a viable option to contact whomever (typically the wife) back at the camper. Every where we go while we're camped is relatively line of sight and sometimes at a distance of up to 10 miles.
-Am I authorized to communicate on a vhf radio?
-Is it uncommon for a handheld to be able to communicate with a mobile unit at 10mi. LOS
-Is there a particular brand or model that would best suit my needs?
Thanks for any and all help!
First, no authorization is needed for you to operate MURS, or FRS. FRS just isn't going to work LOS at 10 miles. MURS handhelds are limited to 2 watts. Might work, but probably not.
You needed the commercial license to work on the avionics. Commercial license will not work for ham radio. Both you and your wife will need to be licensed to talk on ham radio.
GMRS might be a service to look into. $85 dollars for a five year license, and everyone in the family can use it. A mobile radio as a base at the camper, and a mobile radio on the ATV should be able to stay in contact at 10 miles.
Just thought I'd through out some other suggestions.
HTH,
Larry
 

KK6JYX

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Thanks Larry. I have no way of mounting nor do I have a way of powering a mobile radio on my ATV, its a 4-wheeler. So that would limit me to handhelds while out and about.
 

ladn

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The three radios you listed are commercial radios and require a station license and frequency coordination. They would certainly do the job. Amateur radios are very similar in performance and appearance and may be a bit less expensive. While amateur radio requires all users to be licensed, you are not restricted a a few frequencies/channels as you are with commercial/business band radios; amateurs have entire bands available for their use such as VHF (high-called the 2 meter band)--144-148 MHz. Within the two meter band, the frequencies are channelized according to a band plan to allow for both radio to radio (simplex) use and repeater usage.

Roger
 

KK6JYX

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It's funny, the more read and the more I research, the more confusing it gets LOL.
Now I'm thinking of getting a 2 meter mobile and handheld radios along with necessary amateur licenses for my wife and me. Does it seem like I'm on the right track?
 

k6cpo

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Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Messages
696
Location
San Diego, CA
I guess I'm the newest guy here. Other than getting my CM (PG00019763) back in 06 for work, I have little knowledge involving civilian radio communication. I have several questions so I guess I'll explain what I want to do first.
I live in San Diego and frequently go out to our local deserts in our camper to enjoy riding ATV's hiking, shooting, etc. Where we go, there is sometimes little to no cell service and I figured VHF comm would be a viable option to contact whomever (typically the wife) back at the camper. Every where we go while we're camped is relatively line of sight and sometimes at a distance of up to 10 miles.
-Am I authorized to communicate on a vhf radio?
-Is it uncommon for a handheld to be able to communicate with a mobile unit at 10mi. LOS
-Is there a particular brand or model that would best suit my needs?

I was an avionics technician for 9 years in the Marines so I'm not completely ignorant however, the systems I worked on are somewhat, shall we say, different.... that's all I can say about that.

Thanks for any and all help!
Good replies so far, but I'd like to add more in favor of obtaining an amateur license. First of, mobile amateur radios are going to be less expensive to purchase than the ones you listed. For example, a Yaesu FT-1900 2 meter mobile (144-148 MHz) will cost $159.95 at Ham Radio Outlet in Kearney Mesa. Of course, you also have to add in an antenna and coax. HTs are priced accordingly.

The best argument for getting a ham license, especially to do what you want, is that there are a number of 2 meter and 400 MHz amateur repeaters that have good coverage over the San Diego-Imperial county deserts. One repeater on Monument Peak in the Laguna Mountains is linked to three others that have coverage all the way to Phoenix. One of the repeater is northeast of Glamis on Black Mountain.

Obtaining an amateur license in not that difficult. The entry level Technician exam is 35 questions long and requires a 70% passing grade. In San Diego county it only costs $5 to take the test and get the license, which is good for 10 years. (Conversely, while GMRS doesn't require an exam, the license cost is $85 and the license in only good for 5 year.)

If you would like more information you can PM me through the forum and I will try to answer your questions. I am the current President of the South Bay Amateur Radio Society in Chula Vista and you are welcome to attend one of our meetings if you wish.
 

KK6JYX

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k6cpo, Thanks for the info!
After much reading I have decided to get a mobile unit in my truck and have 2 HT's. The mobile unit will be capable of cross band repeat and the 2 HT's will be dual band 2m/440. This way I would be capable of local control of the mobile with one HT, and the 2nd HT would be used while out exploring away from camp.
I would like to have the mobile with a good 5/8 antenna installed in my camper which would be higher and a MUCH larger ground plane however, the installation would be much more involved and I like the idea of having a unit in my truck too.

Here's what I've been eyeballing:
KENWOOD TM-V71A or ICOM IC-2820H
Wouxun KG-UV3D-2/UHF (not sure yet about this particular one)
Comet-NCG CSB-790A 5/8 wave dual band
Comet-NCG SS-680SBNMO 1/4 wave dual band

And as far as coax goes, what do you guys prefer?
 

KK6JYX

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Messages
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Ramona, CA
Oh, I've been studying for my technician license for a week or so now. I hope to take my test next month on the 15th.
 

k6cpo

Member
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Messages
696
Location
San Diego, CA
k6cpo, Thanks for the info!
After much reading I have decided to get a mobile unit in my truck and have 2 HT's. The mobile unit will be capable of cross band repeat and the 2 HT's will be dual band 2m/440. This way I would be capable of local control of the mobile with one HT, and the 2nd HT would be used while out exploring away from camp.
I would like to have the mobile with a good 5/8 antenna installed in my camper which would be higher and a MUCH larger ground plane however, the installation would be much more involved and I like the idea of having a unit in my truck too.

Here's what I've been eyeballing:
KENWOOD TM-V71A or ICOM IC-2820H
Wouxun KG-UV3D-2/UHF (not sure yet about this particular one)
Comet-NCG CSB-790A 5/8 wave dual band
Comet-NCG SS-680SBNMO 1/4 wave dual band

And as far as coax goes, what do you guys prefer?
Oh, I've been studying for my technician license for a week or so now. I hope to take my test next month on the 15th.
Couple of things here... First, keep in mind that this is all ham gear and although you are intending to get your amateur license, that license DOES NOT extend to members of your immediate family like a GMRS license does. If anyone wants to operate that gear when you are not present as a Control Operator (see your study materials) will have to have their own amateur license.

The February 15th testing session in San Diego, which I'm assuming is where you will be taking the test, is at the North Park Recreation Center. I would suggest you get there early as parking is somewhat of an issue due to lots of apartment buildings on the street. I'm a VE and usually attend that sessions, so I should be there that day.
 

KK6JYX

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I'm well aware of the restrictions associated with amateur radio. I've talked with my wife and unfortunately, she doesn't seem too interested. However, my good friend and fellow avionics tec from back in the day whom also goes out to the desert with us is very interested and he said that he'll get his if I get mine. Regardless of whether or not my wife gets her license I'll have the mobile set to whichever frequency that we'll be on and she can just listen and not have to touch a thing. Maybe I can talk my daughter in it? She would probably be the youngest ever to test considering she's not even 6 months. LOL
As far as testing locations according to the ARRL the closet to me is in Kearney Mesa at Filippis.
 

k6cpo

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I'm well aware of the restrictions associated with amateur radio. I've talked with my wife and unfortunately, she doesn't seem too interested. However, my good friend and fellow avionics tec from back in the day whom also goes out to the desert with us is very interested and he said that he'll get his if I get mine. Regardless of whether or not my wife gets her license I'll have the mobile set to whichever frequency that we'll be on and she can just listen and not have to touch a thing. Maybe I can talk my daughter in it? She would probably be the youngest ever to test considering she's not even 6 months. LOL
As far as testing locations according to the ARRL the closet to me is in Kearney Mesa at Filippis.
Ok. I was just making sure. A lot of new people have misconceptions about the amateur radios rules.

The testing at Fillippis in conducted by a different VEC organization than the one I'm in. SANDARC, the San Diego Amateur Radio Council, conducts testing in various locations in the San Diego area on different weekends of the month, including El Cajon, North Park, Bonita and Escondido. One of these locations might be more convenient for you (and we typically charge less money...)

San Diego County Amateur Radio Council, SANDARC
 
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