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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 01-08-2017, 3:42 PM
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Originally Posted by farmerjack09 View Post
The license deregulation was "asked" about in 2010 not prposed and this is 2017 they reduced the price to $65.00 and people seems to run with certain parts of the NPRM 10-119.I think we would have heard something by now and do not put much faith in deregulating GMRS.
How is an official Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) not a proposal of new rules? I recall the NPRM contains markups to the existing rules to reflect how the rules would read if the proposal is formally acted upon and adopted as proposed.

The NPRM from 2010 is still an open proceeding and the FCC could act on it at any time. I suspect that when it happens the new rules will more or less mirror Canada's rules.

The prospect of GMRS being made license by rule and rendered a bubble pack only service has caused me to look closely at how I actually use GMRS. It also opened my eyes to alternatives and new technologies which might work better for my particular use case. I have wanted to use digital modulation on GMRS such as P25, DMR, NXDN, etc. but that will never happen legally.

The majority of my use of GMRS over the years has been for local on-site simplex type use with family and friends. The DTRs on 900MHz have been greatly exceeding all expectations as a replacement. I may get a few more DTRs in the not too distant future to add to my collection.

Have fun!


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Old 01-08-2017, 6:07 PM
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How is an official Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) not a proposal of new rules? I recall the NPRM contains markups to the existing rules to reflect how the rules would read if the proposal is formally acted upon and adopted as proposed.

The NPRM from 2010 is still an open proceeding and the FCC could act on it at any time. I suspect that when it happens the new rules will more or less mirror Canada's rules.

The prospect of GMRS being made license by rule and rendered a bubble pack only service has caused me to look closely at how I actually use GMRS. It also opened my eyes to alternatives and new technologies which might work better for my particular use case. I have wanted to use digital modulation on GMRS such as P25, DMR, NXDN, etc. but that will never happen legally.

The majority of my use of GMRS over the years has been for local on-site simplex type use with family and friends. The DTRs on 900MHz have been greatly exceeding all expectations as a replacement. I may get a few more DTRs in the not too distant future to add to my collection.

Have fun!

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The NPRM indeed contained markups of the rules. There is a shortened version circulating without the appendix, but indeed it was serious work. There was a lot of push back from licensed GMRS operators which I believe caused it to be shelved (potentially to be revisited).

There are currently Ex-Parte communications from Uniden to FCC seeking to resurrect some of the provisions.

I don't see any "exit strategy" from GMRS as there is no other service for the public that permits high power and repeater operations. I suggest GMRS licensees be vigilant , remain licensed and speak up.

There is another proposal on the table that threatens to encroach on GMRS bandwidth. This is equally disturbing see below:

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Rele...C-16-110A1.pdf
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Old 01-09-2017, 1:00 AM
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Originally Posted by RFI-EMI-GUY View Post
The NPRM indeed contained markups of the rules. There is a shortened version circulating without the appendix, but indeed it was serious work. There was a lot of push back from licensed GMRS operators which I believe caused it to be shelved (potentially to be revisited).

There are currently Ex-Parte communications from Uniden to FCC seeking to resurrect some of the provisions.

I don't see any "exit strategy" from GMRS as there is no other service for the public that permits high power and repeater operations. I suggest GMRS licensees be vigilant , remain licensed and speak up.

There is another proposal on the table that threatens to encroach on GMRS bandwidth. This is equally disturbing see below:

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Rele...C-16-110A1.pdf
I hear 'ya. IMHO it's just a matter of time before the FCC acts on the NPRM. I am keeping my UHF commercial gear and staying GMRS licensed. I still have capabilities for wide area use on GMRS when needed. What's changed for me is my local on-site simplex use of analog on GMRS has migrated to digital on 900MHz using the Motorola DTRs.

Have fun!
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:44 AM
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Actually the linked NPRM does not propose altering GMRS allocation. It proposes adding some narrowband B/I frequencies that abut against, but do not overlap, GMRS.

"Finally, we propose to amend the I/B Pool frequency table to add frequency pairs 462/467.5375 MHz and 462/467.7375 MHz, with the limitation that the authorized bandwidth not exceed 4 kilohertz (the widest bandwidth that will avoid overlapping GMRS frequencies22)."

Seems pretty clear they are NOT considering changes to GMRS, and stating otherwise is blatant scaremongering.
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:04 PM
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Actually the linked NPRM does not propose altering GMRS allocation. It proposes adding some narrowband B/I frequencies that abut against, but do not overlap, GMRS.

"Finally, we propose to amend the I/B Pool frequency table to add frequency pairs 462/467.5375 MHz and 462/467.7375 MHz, with the limitation that the authorized bandwidth not exceed 4 kilohertz (the widest bandwidth that will avoid overlapping GMRS frequencies22)."

Seems pretty clear they are NOT considering changes to GMRS, and stating otherwise is blatant scaremongering.
Is that occupied bandwidth or selected channel deviation?
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:17 PM
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Probably occupied bandwidth of IDAS or narrow NXDN.
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwienke View Post
Actually the linked NPRM does not propose altering GMRS allocation. It proposes adding some narrowband B/I frequencies that abut against, but do not overlap, GMRS.

"Finally, we propose to amend the I/B Pool frequency table to add frequency pairs 462/467.5375 MHz and 462/467.7375 MHz, with the limitation that the authorized bandwidth not exceed 4 kilohertz (the widest bandwidth that will avoid overlapping GMRS frequencies22)."

Seems pretty clear they are NOT considering changes to GMRS, and stating otherwise is blatant scaremongering.
Scare Mongering?
The National Association of Broadcasters does not agree (see below). The FCC has both approved and dis-allowed waivers for Part 90 licensees to encroach into the GMRS band. Their reasoning? - contradictory.

First, the proponents of this NPRM have provided no engineering analysis to back up claims of no interference to incumbent GMRS licensees. Secondly, there is no mechanism in the current GMRS rules to identify what stations are incumbent at a location because the FCC removed requirements for site licenses.

Finally, if the FCC permits this NPRM it will only be a matter of time that the FCC is petitioned by a Part 90 entity for a 12.5 KHz channel with the argument that GMRS should narrowband. Forcing NB on GMRS will indeed cause a reduction in performance for those licensees who wish to operate according to current rules with 20 KHz bandwidth.

NAB Comments
https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filing/1121...219422486862ac
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by nd5y View Post
Probably occupied bandwidth of IDAS or narrow NXDN.
4kHz is the occupied BW for 6.25k NXDN.

iDAS is narrow NXDN (6.25k). Kenwood's NEXEDGE has 6.25k and 12.5k NXDN modes and I have used both. Icom iDAS and Kenwood NEXEDGE 6.25k are compatible on conventional channels. The trunking formats are different for each and are incompatible. I have used NEXEDGE radios in NXDN 6.25k mode on conventional iDAS systems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonwienke
Actually the linked NPRM does not propose altering GMRS allocation. It proposes adding some narrowband B/I frequencies that abut against, but do not overlap, GMRS.

"Finally, we propose to amend the I/B Pool frequency table to add frequency pairs 462/467.5375 MHz and 462/467.7375 MHz, with the limitation that the authorized bandwidth not exceed 4 kilohertz (the widest bandwidth that will avoid overlapping GMRS frequencies22)."

Seems pretty clear they are NOT considering changes to GMRS, and stating otherwise is blatant scaremongering.
Careful, there are two NPRMs being discussed here. The first NPRM is from 2010 proposing changes to GMRS and a few other services under Part 95. It is still an open proceeding and the FCC could act on it at any time and make GMRS license by rule and render it a bubble pack only service.

The second one is the linked NPRM you mentioned that proposes to add I/B Pool frequency pairs adjacent to the GMRS band edges. I have no issue with that since I only operate in narrow bandwidth mode on GMRS like the bubble packs already do and I'm using good commercial gear. All of my adjacent channel splatter problems on the GMRS primaries from local bubble pack users on adjacent FRS channels went away as soon as I made the switch from wide to narrow mode in my commercial gear.
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Old 01-10-2017, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by RFI-EMI-GUY View Post
Finally, if the FCC permits this NPRM it will only be a matter of time that the FCC is petitioned by a Part 90 entity for a 12.5 KHz channel with the argument that GMRS should narrowband. Forcing NB on GMRS will indeed cause a reduction in performance for those licensees who wish to operate according to current rules with 20 KHz bandwidth.

NAB Comments
https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filing/1121...219422486862ac

The sad part, if they opened GMRS up for digital operation, it would likely self-narrowband itself over the course of a decade.




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Old 01-10-2017, 9:22 PM
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The sad part, if they opened GMRS up for digital operation, it would likely self-narrowband itself over the course of a decade.


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Narrowband Digital does provides coverage advantage over FM analog.

I will admit being a Luddite for +/-5 KHz FM wideband. It works great sounds great and is cheap and easy to deploy.

P25 and DMR digital vocoders are fidelity impaired. I compared some old much maligned 12 KBps encrypted CVSD (Securenet) and it actually sounds more natural that P25 and DMR and has less latency (in simplex). A Caveman can do it.

If we had a CHOICE to transition to to digital, in my opinion DMR standard would be the best choice, because of two time slots there would be spectral improvement (FRS already took one 12.5 KHz) and the networks can be easily deployed. (An IT guy plus a Caveman can make it work) And cheaper for medium to large systems, as one repeater allows 2 slots, you can have one local and one wide area slot with one repeater per site, However WB FM should remain the interoperability standard.

I haven't compared NXDN except at a macro level of comparative system deployment cost. There is also a problem in some locales where a lot of 6.25 KHz slices have been licensed in Part 90 Business taking up potential 12.5 KHz slices. Not sure that is good spectrum management by the coordinators, nor am I sure how you work around that with adjacent channel (near/far) problems. I guess you would have to pair both slices in a close geographic area. I will certainly get hate mail from NXDN proponents.
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Old 01-10-2017, 9:31 PM
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I made this migration a few years back too.

Too many GMRS users who were saturating every channel in public places left me wanting something else. I did buy the TriSquare eXRS radios which broke the first time out. Dropping them showed how cheaply made they were and several re-sync issues.

Later I helped a school go with DTR series radios as they did not want a license. DTR worked perfectly and Motorola had some deals on group buys a few years ago. I ended up with a couple myself.

They work great. Range is about what an FRS radio would be, better in buildings though. Durable enough to take some hits and can be set up for more privacy. Highly recommend if you can afford them.
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:14 PM
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Narrowband Digital does provides coverage advantage over FM analog.



I will admit being a Luddite for +/-5 KHz FM wideband. It works great sounds great and is cheap and easy to deploy.



P25 and DMR digital vocoders are fidelity impaired. I compared some old much maligned 12 KBps encrypted CVSD (Securenet) and it actually sounds more natural that P25 and DMR and has less latency (in simplex). A Caveman can do it.



If we had a CHOICE to transition to to digital, in my opinion DMR standard would be the best choice, because of two time slots there would be spectral improvement (FRS already took one 12.5 KHz) and the networks can be easily deployed. (An IT guy plus a Caveman can make it work) And cheaper for medium to large systems, as one repeater allows 2 slots, you can have one local and one wide area slot with one repeater per site, However WB FM should remain the interoperability standard.



I haven't compared NXDN except at a macro level of comparative system deployment cost. There is also a problem in some locales where a lot of 6.25 KHz slices have been licensed in Part 90 Business taking up potential 12.5 KHz slices. Not sure that is good spectrum management by the coordinators, nor am I sure how you work around that with adjacent channel (near/far) problems. I guess you would have to pair both slices in a close geographic area. I will certainly get hate mail from NXDN proponents.


I wasn't going to say it but yes, my experiences are the same. DMR trumps 5 kHz in terms of coverage.

NXDN's market just hasn't grown enough (and likely won't grow much more). I've never had the chance to compare it to DMR and every time I think about building it out I come to the conclusion you loose money on the infrastructure compared to dmr.


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Old 01-10-2017, 11:37 PM
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I made this migration a few years back too.

Too many GMRS users who were saturating every channel in public places left me wanting something else. I did buy the TriSquare eXRS radios which broke the first time out. Dropping them showed how cheaply made they were and several re-sync issues.

Later I helped a school go with DTR series radios as they did not want a license. DTR worked perfectly and Motorola had some deals on group buys a few years ago. I ended up with a couple myself.

They work great. Range is about what an FRS radio would be, better in buildings though. Durable enough to take some hits and can be set up for more privacy. Highly recommend if you can afford them.
Glad to hear I'm not the only one who made the switch from GMRS/FRS to the DTRs on 900MHz.

The DTRs will never replace high powered mobiles and repeaters on GMRS and I'm OK with that because I didn't get DTRs for that purpose. I still have GMRS in my Part 90/95 commercial gear including 50W mobiles and a 50W repeater and I'm keeping those. I also have a couple of 440 ham repeaters on the air, one of them being DMR. I still have options for wide area coverage when needed.

The prospect of GMRS becoming license by rule and made into a bubble pack only service caused me to take a close look at how I actually use GMRS. I also looked at alternatives and technologies that might work better. I'm also interested in an all-digital solution.

Local on-site simplex type operations with family and friends is where I tend to use GMRS the most. I have migrated all of my local on-site simplex type use on GMRS to the DTRs on 900MHz and they are working excellent and exceeding all expectations, hence my "exit" from GMRS.

Have fun!
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:41 PM
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Default MyGMRS Survey

For those who are interested, MyGMRS.com has a survey regarding GMRS usage. They have collected well over 300 responses and the tabulated results are interesting.
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Old 01-12-2017, 2:17 AM
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Not interested in survey but with millions of these squawk boxes sold, what can b learned from 300 responses?
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Old 02-03-2017, 1:37 AM
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The Trisquare eXRS garbage seems to always come up in discussions about the DTRs and DLRs. There is absolutely no comparison between the Trisquare eXRS (analog w/FHSS) and DTRs / DLRs (FHSS digital). I believe the vocoder used in the DTRs and DLRs is VSELP. IMHO, the technology in the DTRs is largely under-appreciated.

I did some range testing with a friend down in FL last year with a pair of DLR1060 radios. I was standing on the beach in Cocoa Beach FL and he was standing on the steps to Hightower Beach in Satellite Beach FL. We were 11 miles apart. Some of the Cocoa Beach coastline to the south gets in the way so it wasn't entirely line of sight between us. We both had to find a hot spot to talk with the DLRs and when we did it worked and worked perfectly.

We later did the same experiment with a pair of 4W UHF Part 90 handhelds on GMRS. We were able to communicate on GMRS but we both had to find a hot spot in order to hear each other at all. Once each of us found a hot spot, GMRS was noisy but usable provided we didn't move from our hot spots.

Overall the DLRs worked a bit better and were always 100% noise free due to them being all digital. I expect the DTRs to do a bit better than the DLRs for range due to the DTRs having a much better antenna. The DLR has a built-in stubby non-removable antenna whereas the DTRs have a removable antenna. The stock antenna supplied with the DTRs is a 3" long 900MHz 1/4 wave duck used on Moto's MTX series handhelds. I also bought the 7" long Motorola 1/2 wave duck to use on the DTRs.

The DTRs and DLRs both transmit at 1W. I expect the DTRs to have about 20% better range than the DLRs due to the DTRs having a much better antenna.

Have fun!
Besides the better antenna, the DTR radios have a much better receiver than the DLR radios which will increase the range. The DTR is a commercial grade radio and the DLR is a consumer grade radio. The DLR sure is cute and small and should be great for shopping, etc.
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Old 02-03-2017, 4:30 AM
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Actually, in real world conditions (urban area, with many old and stately homes and lots of mature elm trees lining every street) the DLR provides almost as much range as the DTR. We are talking about half a block difference at the most. If you don't need the one-to-one calling of the DTR, the DLR is a great choice. I would never label the DLR as consumer-grade, especially in light of the price.

You get what you pay for. I would suggest the DLR is about 90% of the DTR. One thing to be aware of though is that the DTR is tested to a higher standard of rain and splash protection, versus the DLR which is only dust resistant. I would not give up my DTRs for DLRs, but I LOVE the DLR. If I was starting from scratch with a 900MHz FHSS radio, I would seriously consider either.

One of the big retailers sent me an evaluation sample of the DLR - full disclosure - because I was a long-time and enthusiastic user of the DTR series. I was the one who finally figured out how to program the DLRs and DTRs to integrate both models into the same system. It took a LOT of trial and error, and trust me, the manual and Motorola were no help. ("Let us know what you find, so we can help future customers.")

People with all DLR or all DTR won't need this info, but if anyone is thinking of running both, there ARE several ways to do this. The easiest, simplest and cheapest way is to forgo the CPS and just do a factory reset on all your DTRs and DLRs. This will get them talking to each other on the first five channel hopsets. (If you are reluctant to go back to the factory default channel 1, ID 1, I have never heard the slightest peep out of anyone on the factory default channel in all the years I have used these.)

The five pre-programmed channels on the DTR are:
- Public group 1
- Public group 2
- Public group 3
- Public group 4
- Public group 5

You don't need software or a programming cable. Just do a factory reset. (Enter programming mode and find reset under Settings>Advanced>Reset defaults.)

Here are the factory defaults for the DLR1060:
- Channel one
- Channel two
- Channel three
- Channel four
- Channel five
- Channel six

Again, you don't need a cable or software to restore the factory settings. (To reset the DLR, hold down the - button, the + button, the PTT all at the same time and then push and hold the Power button. Continue to hold down all four until it beeps to indicate it has been reset to factory defaults.)

Now they are both back to factory, Public group 1 corresponds to Channel one; Public group 2 corresponds with Channel two, etc.

If you are ambitious and want to add one more channel to the five factory default channels on the DTR to correspond to the sixth channel of the DLR, it is easy. Channel one and Public group one is channel hopset 1, ID 1; Channel two and Public group 2 is channel hopset 1, ID 2; etc. So to add one more to the DTR, program a new Public group 6, and enter it is channel hopset 1, ID 6.

This is the easiest and simplest way to get them talking to each other. If you have already programmed channels into your DTR or DLR and don't want to do a factory reset, then programming cables and software are about the only way to do this. If anyone has any questions about the DLR versus DTR, let me know and I will try to remember how to do all this.
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Old 02-03-2017, 10:35 AM
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Besides the better antenna, the DTR radios have a much better receiver than the DLR radios which will increase the range. The DTR is a commercial grade radio and the DLR is a consumer grade radio. The DLR sure is cute and small and should be great for shopping, etc.
I have done careful range testing with a DLR1060 vs. DTR650 with the long antenna and found range and performance to be essentially identical. The DLR also is a commercial grade radio like the DTR. It is not a consumer grade radio. I have used my DLR1060 radios for shopping and a ton of other stuff. They beat the pants off what I can do with simplex on GMRS with a pair of 4W UHF Part 90/95 handhelds. Part of my "exit strategy" from GMRS also required an all-digital solution which the DTRs and DLRs provide.

I have a Private Group and plus 6 Public Groups programmed on hopset ("channel") #1 so that the 6 public groups work with the 6 default channels in the DLRs. Aside from setting up a private group for my DTRs, I kept the programming as close as possible to the default so that they will work with DLRs at their default programming and so I can listen for other DTR and DLR traffic. I expect most people will use the DLRs like GMRS/FRS bubble packs right out of the box and use them with their factory default programming.

I recently sold my DLRs to a ham friend and he loves them. I sold them because I "graduated" to the DTR650 and now own 6 of them. It's interesting because the DLR is a recent new model and the DTRs have been on the market for 10 years. I was outgrowing the DLRs after a year of owning them and was wanting the features of the DTRs. I had thought the DTRs sort of faded away when the 900MHz commercial market fizzled but no, the DTRs are very much alive and well and still are current product from Motorola. Some DTR accessories have gone EOL and are NLA but factory brand new DTRs are readily available. Since my DTRs are long term keepers, I stepped up to the plate and bought all factory brand new hardware. I wanted all updates done to date and didn't want to take chances with used and beat up DTRs on eBay. The radios and batteries were manufactured in October, 2016, barely 3 months before I bought them. I also bought a multi-unit charger (MUC) and a pair of speaker mics for them. They are working out great. I'm sort of "meh" towards GMRS now that I've migrated my non-ham local on-site simplex activities to the DTRs.

Chickenhawk's excellent DLR review:
http://www.twowayradioforum.com/foru...ead.php?t=5991

DTR650 audio test:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaNdMWPmVZI
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Old 02-03-2017, 10:43 AM
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Default GMRS Exit Strategy: Going To 900MHz DTRs And DLRs

N1DAS,


What firmware is on the newest DTR units?


NJS
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Old 02-03-2017, 11:08 AM
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N1DAS,


What firmware is on the newest DTR units?


NJS
I don't recall off the top of my head. IIRC, the last FW update was in 2011. Any DTR manufactured after 2011 should have the latest FW.
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David Sterrett
Nashua, NH
Ham [HA] = N1DAS (2/1984)
GMRS [ZA] = KAE9013 (12/1992)

Last edited by n1das; 02-03-2017 at 12:35 PM..
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