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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 10-11-2016, 9:08 AM
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Angry This is a little aggravating

So I have been searching through the forum (literally back to front, front to back and pretty much any other way imaginable) looking for some good mobile GMRS units. I have found some examples and names throughout some of the threads but of course I am having trouble finding some for sale... I could be going about this the completely wrong way (highly likely). So I am looking for a little help. What I am looking for is:

Mobile unit
Programmable
Repeater Capable (for if and when I put one up)
Decently priced (would rather not go to high)
2 of them at first (running tests with another person)
Must be legal (I can and have used the fccid search stuff and do always double check for myself on any I find)

I have looked at the Midland MXT100, seemed like a good radio, however I could not find if it was programmable or repeater cable. I did find on another thread (don't remember which one) that it was not. But something similar to that would be good based on price and all. If there is another thread where this is answered please direct me to that place. Many thanks in advance for any help offered.
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Old 10-11-2016, 1:05 PM
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Most dedicated GMRS radios aren't going to be "programmable" because the GMRS frequencies will be hard-coded into them. The only thing you'll be able to "program" is DCS/CTCSS tones.

Most any UHF-capable mobile radio can be programmed to TX/RX on the GMRS frequencies according to FCC specifications for modulation and power level, even if the radio isn't FCC-approved specifically for GMRS.

But as a practical matter, if you were to purchase such a radio and program it with the correct channel widths, power levels, and frequencies (FRS/GMRS combined channel chart - The RadioReference Wiki), the odds of any legal action being taken against you would be similar to the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot, unless you engage in deliberate acts of interference or jamming, or are doing something that bring you to the attention of law enforcement (like using the radios to run a cocaine processing and distribution network). As long as the modulation and frequency and power are within specs, the person on the other end can't tell whether or not the radio has an actual GMRS FCC approval sticker. You just have to take personal responsibility to ensure the radio is programmed correctly, instead of relying on the factory to do that for you.

One note: while GMRS can use 25KHz channel width, you'll more peacefully coexist with FRS users if you use 12.5KHz channel width instead. GMRS and FRS channels overlap if you use 25KHz channels on GMRS.
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Old 10-11-2016, 1:22 PM
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Motorola M1225

GMRS legal

Up to 24 channels

Commercial grade construction

Programmable but needs an XP computer for max reliability. Newer platforms may or may not run the software properly.

Lots of existing online info: RR, batboard, repeater-builder.com

Programming cables are inexpensive.

Software is way beyond EOL and is easily obtained.
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Old 10-11-2016, 1:50 PM
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I have and use the Midland MXT100. I guess it's the best and most powerful legal GMRS on the commercial market. Removable antenna. comes with a mag mount but can hook others to it. As far as I know, it doesn't do repeater and not programmable. Great little heavy duty mobile radio.
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Old 10-11-2016, 2:09 PM
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Thank y'all for the replies I think the M1225 is what I am looking for, seems to be the best bet for right now
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Old 10-11-2016, 2:09 PM
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There are a lot of great radios out there on the used market.

Kenwood -
TK-880 $40-75
TK-860G $30-75
TK-8180 $150
TK-8160 $200
TK-8150 $150
TK-890 $175-300

ICOM
IC-F221 $40-60
IC-F6011 $70-90
IC-F621 $75-150
IC-F420 $30-65

Motorola
CDM-1550 $80-125
CDM-1250 $75-150
MCS2000 $85-120
Radius M1225 $45-80
SM120 $50
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Old 10-11-2016, 2:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChitheadDeSo View Post
What I am looking for is:

Mobile unit
Programmable
Repeater Capable (for if and when I put one up)
Decently priced (would rather not go to high)
2 of them at first (running tests with another person)
Must be legal (I can and have used the fccid search stuff and do always double check for myself on any I find)
Many of the older Icom and Kenwood mobile radios fit these requirements.

They do need to be Part 95 compliant, and that's the difficult part, the rest of it is easy.

Many years ago I ran a number of Icom mobiles. I knew several that ran Kenwood mobiles.
All are programmable with the correct software and cable.
All are repeater capable, it's just a matter of programming correctly.
Prices are reasonable on the used market, you just need to be absolutely sure you are getting the correct model. Both Icom and Kenwood has 3 different bandsplits for UHF, and you need to make absolutely sure you have the correct on. An incorrect bandsplit radio cannot be made to work on a different part of the UHF band from where it was intended.

It comes down to what you think is "reasonable" in the price department, and what your skill level is to do the programming and installation.

I'd suggest looking for some used radios, then coming back here and asking for input. You'll find that there are a lot of us here that are more than willing to assist you.

Your requirements and expectations are not unrealistic and are easy to meet.
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Old 10-11-2016, 2:10 PM
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There are many Kenwood TK-880-1 radios available from eBay and other sources. Be careful to read carefully to make certain that everything is included (mobile bracket, microphone, etc.). BTW, only the "-1" are GMRS capable!
See: kenwood tk-880-1 | eBay
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Old 10-11-2016, 2:18 PM
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Installation would be the easy part, I used to do car audio installations (as these will be put into vehicles seems to fit in that area nicely) although may still have some questions about them (ie, antennas, grounding and such). I am fairly good with computers and softwares and tend to be able to learn easily for these things, so I think I should be able to handle that also. So there are a couple of the M1225's for sale on Ebay with the bandsplit of 450-470 Mhz, I believe that is correct... or am I totally wrong?
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Old 10-11-2016, 3:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChitheadDeSo View Post
Installation would be the easy part, I used to do car audio installations (as these will be put into vehicles seems to fit in that area nicely) although may still have some questions about them (ie, antennas, grounding and such). I am fairly good with computers and softwares and tend to be able to learn easily for these things, so I think I should be able to handle that also. So there are a couple of the M1225's for sale on Ebay with the bandsplit of 450-470 Mhz, I believe that is correct... or am I totally wrong?
Either band split is fine as they both cover the 462 & 467 frequencies that you need for GMRS simplex and half duplex (repeater) use.

However, if you think you might want to get your ham ticket some day and use 70CM, the lower band split is preferable. Yes, the upper band split can hacked out of band, but you are better off with the right band split because you won't have any degradation of power out or other issues.

Also, the lower band (403-470) split covers most of the commercial/public safety UHF frequencies. It's something to consider.

And from the list of Motorola radios above, only the M1225 is 95a type accepted. You're looking for legal, so the 1225 is your best choice.
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Old 10-11-2016, 3:21 PM
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I have had thoughts about HAM but that would probably be a little more into the future. Not to worried about that right now.
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Old 10-11-2016, 3:47 PM
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I use a kenwood tk-860hg. I dont know it is part 95. But, it meets all the specs. Also use a motorola gm-300. Both good reliable radios. Pain in the seat to program. The radio cops will have fun with the next part.. just get whatever radio you can find that is easy to program for gmrs. As long as you are not causing interference, there will be no reason for a complaint to the fcc, and they will never look at you. Just dont brag over the air about what radio you are using.....ymmv

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Old 10-28-2016, 12:59 PM
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I know this is an older thread, but I missed it.

I run Kenwood TK-880H-1 Mobiles, and TK-380 Handhelds. Both are Part 95A Type Accepted.

The 880H is a 45 watt version. The 880 is a 25 watt.

The "-1" indicates the 450-490 band split.

Both can be programed with the same software.

I've gotten all my units off of ebay, and so far, have not had any problems.

I love Kenwood. They are extremely durable units, and the audio is great. They are also very easy to use and program.

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Old 10-28-2016, 1:16 PM
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I second Seven Delta FortyOne's recommendation. The Kenwood products are of good quality and easy to obtain. Programming software is pretty cheap too. I have a number of the same radios and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.
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