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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 10-03-2017, 4:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSimpkin View Post
The range of 2 Watt MURS radios *should* be better than 1.5 Watt FRS radios in a vehicle if you are using an external (mag mount) antenna. FRS radios cannot legally use an external antenna and the vehicle body blocks a good part of the signal. Whether a MURS radio with an external antenna will add enough range for your needs, I do not know.

The five MURS frequencies (with bandwidth) are:
151.820 MHz (11.25 kHz)
151.880 MHz (11.25 kHz)
151.940 MHz (11.25 kHz)
154.570 MHz (20.00 kHz)
154.600 MHz (20.00 kHz)

You do not need a license to use MURS for personal or business use but the radio itself does need to be FCC Part 95, sub-part J approved to be legal to use on the the MURS frequencies. The BaoFeng UV-5R radio you link to is not approved for MURS. The BTech MURS-V1 radio is. Here is more information about that radio:
https://baofengtech.com/murs-v1
MURS-V1 Review - Miklor
So the BaoFeng UV-5R if I buy that technically I'm breaking the law? I'm in LE and that's a no go for me. I'd just use my LE radio (digital) on a radio to radio signal only (no repeater) but I don't have 2 portables and I don't "own" them and wouldn't want anything to happen to it, thus buying my own pair.

what are your thoughts on these: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...k%3Amurs+radio
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 10-03-2017, 5:10 PM
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I have several MURS and use them on the 154.6 Mhz. We normally are able to talk back and forth up to several miles with mag mounts on our vehicles. Two and a half to 3 wasn't unusual. Invest in a couple or so good antennas and you should be ok.
Also, as WA0CBW posted, you're the one that's licensed, not the equipment, (for hams, grms, etc.)
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Old 10-03-2017, 6:19 PM
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Originally Posted by KC4RAF View Post
I have several MURS and use them on the 154.6 Mhz. We normally are able to talk back and forth up to several miles with mag mounts on our vehicles. Two and a half to 3 wasn't unusual. Invest in a couple or so good antennas and you should be ok.
Also, as WA0CBW posted, you're the one that's licensed, not the equipment, (for hams, grms, etc.)
you're the one that's licensed, not the equipment - but I cant use a non FCC compliant radio...correct? The radio is not FCC certified to operate on the GMRS/FRS frequencies (even though it can). So this radio I could not use, or am I missing something here? https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R...rds=MURS+radio
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Old 10-03-2017, 6:29 PM
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Originally Posted by quietcropduster View Post
So the BaoFeng UV-5R if I buy that technically I'm breaking the law? I'm in LE and that's a no go for me. I'd just use my LE radio (digital) on a radio to radio signal only (no repeater) but I don't have 2 portables and I don't "own" them and wouldn't want anything to happen to it, thus buying my own pair.
Unfortunately yes.

Quote:
what are your thoughts on these: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...k%3Amurs+radio
Unfortunately most of the radios (primarily the BeoFeng radios) in that Amazon "murs radio" search are mot MURS radios and are only legal for use by amateur radio operators (hams). These radios require each person using them to have passed a test and received a license from the FCC. Amazon does a poor job at correcting the descriptions on some of these radios. It is too easy to buy one thinking it is a toy (walkies-talkie with flashlight!) and accidentally transmitting on a frequency you are not licensed to use or potentially interfering with public safety agencies. There are also a few FRS/GMRS, GMRS, CB radios in the search as well as 1 MURS radio.

Someone else may have a better suggestion but I still feel the BTech MURS-V1 radio with a mag-mount antenna is one of the least expensive legal solutions that doesn't require a license and can use an external antenna for better range. Unfortunately they are out of stock at Amazon at the moment (they were in stock for the last several months). They may have them in stock at https://baofengtech.com/murs-v1
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Old 10-03-2017, 6:53 PM
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Hi Quiet...
.
I think the choice of the BaoFeng radios would work the best for what you want to do.... ie: MURS.
... There is the problem of their FCC Type Acceptance. Personally I seriously doubt any radio inspector will bust you for that. In the over-all scheme of things I'd worry more about getting hit by a random meteor strike, or your chances of winning one of the a Mega-Million lotteries. In my work we interface with the FCC frequently, (though little of what we do falls under their purview.)
I am one of those rare birds that has actually dealt with a living, breathing FCC Field Engineer, and on a first name basis-- and never once has the words "Type Acceptance" ever,ever enter'd our conversations.
.
That said--
..................caveat emptor
.
________________________________________________
.
Curious about all this, this afternoon I ran a short test for you just to see if what I was advising really would work.
.
I bought a whole box full of UV-5's awhile ago after one of our engineers dropped her expensive Vertex handheld's down a pit toilet ('unrecoverable" was how it was listed on the property loss forms.... )
-- We use the UV's in the 406-420 band and they work very well- especially when in the field--- and when they come anywhere near a pit toilet, I don't cringe...
.
I know what they can do on UHF, but never really explored them on VHF.
.
So today, being our "Taco Tuesday," one of us drives into towne to pick up the lunch carry-out order (the guys at the gates won't let them in to deliver.) So I program'd 154.570 into two of the UV-5's, gave one to my friend and ask'd her to call me when she got to the tacoqueta in town.
Our facility is out on an isolated mesa, surround'd by huge Ponderosa Pines, cliffs and hills abound-- hardly line of sight to towne. Over a path of ~1.5 airline miles, the signals both way were near "full quieting." With quarter wave antennas, the range would be very acceptable, especially car to car.
.
You'd have to decide about the legal issues of the BaoFengs, but of all the choices,-- MURS-- I think would serve. Plus at their prices, your guys can use them around pit toilets without worrying....
.
Good Luck Cowboy ....
.
......................CF
.
.
And with my apologies to you, SteveS-- for you gave an excellent legal point of view....

Last edited by Coyote-Frostbyte; 10-03-2017 at 7:04 PM..
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 10-03-2017, 7:06 PM
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Agree with Coyote. I don't advocate the use of the UV-5Rs for MURS operation, but what ever you do is YOUR business, not mine. That being said....
Also when Coyote posted "...full quieting." that radio jargon for the received signal having NO noise in it, came in loud and clear. I would suspect that she and the crew could have reached 2 - 2 1/2 miles without any problems.
There are bigger fish that the FCC would go after compared to someone on MURS.
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Old 10-03-2017, 9:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quietcropduster View Post
you're the one that's licensed, not the equipment - but I cant use a non FCC compliant radio...correct? The radio is not FCC certified to operate on the GMRS/FRS frequencies (even though it can). So this radio I could not use, or am I missing something here? https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R...rds=MURS+radio
I won't rehash what's been said above.

You said you were in law enforcement and it sounded like you were concerned about the legalities.
I'll agree with the others, the markets have been flooded by these low tier Chinese radios. Most don't have proper certifications from the FCC to be used what they are used for. Yet, the world has not stopped turning.

Do what you want with that information.

If the legalities are a concern, then it's fairly easy to get an FCC type accepted radio (Part 95J) that is legal to use on MURS.

It will not be as inexpensive as the BaoFeng's, but I suspect going cheap was NOT your primary concern.
Portable Radio - Ritron Inc. Specifically the PT-150M. This is a 2 watt VHF radio that has the FCC type certifications for use on MURS. No questions, no legalities. It'll cost you more, but like many things, investing now will pay off in the long run.

If you are the type that destroys/loses a lot of radios, then this may not be the one for you.


My brother in law bought a bunch of these for his tower crews. They've stood up to that use well, and that's way tougher than you'll ever be on them.


The key point, though, is that transmitter power isn't as important as many think. Simply throwing RF energy at the issue isn't going to solve all the issues. First, these are two way radios. You can run 100 watts, but if the radio receiver on the other end is deaf, it won't matter. Receiver quality/sensitivity is as important as how much power you're throwing form the other end.
Antennas are really important. Give me 1 watt with a good antenna over 50 watts with a bad antenna. Getting the antenna -outside- the vehicle will make a big difference. Trying to use a hand held radio with attached antenna inside a car is going to be the issue. The body sheet metal, tinted windows, and those meat bags in the seats, all absorb RF energy. Very little will make it out of the car.

The Ritron's have a removable antenna, pretty sure it's an SMA type, but you'd need to confirm that with the dealer.
This magnetic mount: http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalo...ssma-1098.html
This antenna: http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalo...qw152-723.html
This adapter #: http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalo...smaj-8400.html
# Confirm with vendor the exact type of antenna mount on top of the radio.

With the right radio and a good antenna, you'll have no issues. With the right adapters, the BaoFeng will work with that antenna/magnetic mount base just fine on VHF.
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Old 10-04-2017, 5:53 AM
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Lots of great advice in this thread! As you are in LE, and I am closely involved with LE training, let me just reinforce what my friend mmckenna said above. You will very much appreciate the much higher audio quality, durability and weather-resistance of industrial-grade business radios, over consumer FRS radios or cheap MURS radios. One CAN get a cheap, high quality, durable, weather-resistant, legal radio that is easy to program and provides excellent range ... BUT not all in the same radio, unfortunately.

I fully respect your desire to keep the radios 100% legal. May I offer one more suggestion? It is way above your price range, but the quality is incredible and you will not get any greater range out of any handheld transceiver. It is also fully digital, licence free in both Canada and the U.S., and virtually private, with hundreds of thousands of possible "channels" to choose from.

Motorola DLR1060 Digital Business Two Way Radio

This is the Motorola DLR1060 digital radio. It transmits on the 900MHz band, and frequency hops so fast that no scanner can follow it or doesn't interfere with any other item near the same spectrum. Because the frequency is even higher than the 460-MHZ UHF band of GMRS radios, the signal transmits even more readily through metal and glass structures such as buildings and vehicles. In my personal tests, it beats ALL GMRS, FRS, MURS and business-class UHF radios for range. And because it is digital, the audio quality is always 100%. You never get a faded broken signal; it either transmits at 100% quality, or not at all.

Programming is simple, and you can literally turn them on, throw a couple into several cars and enjoy perfect audio as far as good line-of-sight radios will ever deliver; no programming necessary. (Unlike converting cheap Ham radios into GMRS, FRS or MURS radios.)

And, here is the interesting thing that makes their high cost justified and would be perfect for your purposes - it does not need an external antenna to work well in a vehicle. In fact, in my personal tests of mobile antennas on their big brother Motorola DTR radios, every single external mobile antenna made the range WORSE. This is a function of the very efficient 900MHz band for penetrating structures and buildings.

If these are still outside your price range, also consider that with recent rule changes, licence-free FRS radios can now be as much as 2-watts. In practical terms, most former GMRS radios can now be classified as FRS radios, simply because few of them actually transmitted radiated power at more than 2 watts.

And, while CB is still very much a viable option for most people with similar needs, I just feel that with your background and your experience with top-end radio systems, you just may not like the audio quality you get with CB band radios.
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Old 10-04-2017, 12:34 PM
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A lot of info and ideas put out there. Kudos on trying to stay 100% legal. However, as proof by my complaints to the FCC over 3 months ago there really isn't any enforcement on FRS/GMRS. My filed complaints are, in my opinion, a lot more serious and interference issues than a non compliant BaoFeng transmitting 1 or 2 watts above legal limits for non GMRS licensed people. Anyways, moving on from that subject.

For your stated purposes just about any decent radio, preferably with external antenna will work just some better than others.

My observations from what I have learned over the last year trying to get up on PRS (Personal Radio Service) so that anyone can communicate with me without having to get their Ham license.

Note: all ranges are subject to terrain and obstacles. Bear in mind that terrain also includes electrical interference. Ie: Power lines, especially High Lines are very common along the roadway and especially in the case of CB will hinder your range and reception. <Bear in mind I know you have some experience, so please do not think I am condescending, just putting it out there like I do with any novice.>

CB: a decent radio with a decent antenna at legal limits only can easily be a 10 mile radio . They are readily available and can be an asset if other people outside your group respond to your calls. The downside other than all the garbage spewed, (especially if skip is rolling) is that they are very susceptible to noise. But with your application of 3 miles or less no problem. The only thing is set your range and your purpose, do not knock yourself out trying to get some stranger happy with your signal on the other side of a high transmission line 12 miles away, if your only purpose is for caravan comms.

MURS: actually for your purposes MURS would be a good way to go. VHF, IMO is a good compromise between CB and FRS/GMRS. However, to stay FCC legal it is a lot more costly. Because of this fact though it is also very non cluttered.

FRS/GMRS (bear in mind I could go on for hours regarding this so if I am vague just ask for clarification. Alot of previous posts have covered the high points so I will try not to rehash too much.) For you and your family I strongly recommend a license. Currently I run 40 watt radios out of a 5.2 db gain antenna and I pretty much have comms throughout the whole desert valley I am in. However, it is highly susceptible to line of sight (ie: obstacles) but having a repeater set up on one side of the valley and my girlfriends house in town 12 miles away as basically my dispatch station (lol) puts just about everyone in connection. With the new rules it's legal for non licensed (as if that stopped them in the past) from coming up on the same channel, albeit low power and NO REPEATER use, but there is always someone in my group that can hear them and relay any message if need. The fact that just about everyone has some type of frs/gmrs radio is the selling point.

For your purposes it would be best for mobile (vehicles) radios but I hear handhelds talking to each other going up highway 395 and the 14 all the time. I have never tried this so I am not sure of what it sounds like, but from one handheld inside a vehicle to my mobile, one mile with clear reception is easy. 3 miles with broken reception at times is common.

Motorola DTR. Never tried it so I wouldn't know except like ChickenHawk said it is costly. However, there is a unknown alternative that has fallen by the wayside. The old Motorola Nextel 'DirectTalk' phones had basically the same type of frequency spread. They do not require a cellphone connection to work, I picked mine up on ebay for $25 each (brand new). There is a gray area on usage but if you stay with just the phone and don't try to extend the range with external antennas etc., you are good to go. From inside the vehicles without the antenna extended I get 3/4 mile no problem with a crystal clear signal. Nice part is that they send an acknowledgement signal back, so if you press the push to talk and the other vehicle is to far back it will come up and say <User not avalaible>.

Anyways, sorry about the long post. These are only vague points, but with all the good info others have been posting I am sure we can steer you in the right direction.

Last edited by swen_out_west; 10-04-2017 at 1:21 PM..
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Old 10-04-2017, 8:10 PM
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Originally Posted by swen_out_west View Post
A lot of info and ideas put out there. Kudos on trying to stay 100% legal. However, as proof by my complaints to the FCC over 3 months ago there really isn't any enforcement on FRS/GMRS. My filed complaints are, in my opinion, a lot more serious and interference issues than a non compliant BaoFeng transmitting 1 or 2 watts above legal limits for non GMRS licensed people. Anyways, moving on from that subject.

For your stated purposes just about any decent radio, preferably with external antenna will work just some better than others.

My observations from what I have learned over the last year trying to get up on PRS (Personal Radio Service) so that anyone can communicate with me without having to get their Ham license.

Note: all ranges are subject to terrain and obstacles. Bear in mind that terrain also includes electrical interference. Ie: Power lines, especially High Lines are very common along the roadway and especially in the case of CB will hinder your range and reception. <Bear in mind I know you have some experience, so please do not think I am condescending, just putting it out there like I do with any novice.>

CB: a decent radio with a decent antenna at legal limits only can easily be a 10 mile radio . They are readily available and can be an asset if other people outside your group respond to your calls. The downside other than all the garbage spewed, (especially if skip is rolling) is that they are very susceptible to noise. But with your application of 3 miles or less no problem. The only thing is set your range and your purpose, do not knock yourself out trying to get some stranger happy with your signal on the other side of a high transmission line 12 miles away, if your only purpose is for caravan comms.

MURS: actually for your purposes MURS would be a good way to go. VHF, IMO is a good compromise between CB and FRS/GMRS. However, to stay FCC legal it is a lot more costly. Because of this fact though it is also very non cluttered.

FRS/GMRS (bear in mind I could go on for hours regarding this so if I am vague just ask for clarification. Alot of previous posts have covered the high points so I will try not to rehash too much.) For you and your family I strongly recommend a license. Currently I run 40 watt radios out of a 5.2 db gain antenna and I pretty much have comms throughout the whole desert valley I am in. However, it is highly susceptible to line of sight (ie: obstacles) but having a repeater set up on one side of the valley and my girlfriends house in town 12 miles away as basically my dispatch station (lol) puts just about everyone in connection. With the new rules it's legal for non licensed (as if that stopped them in the past) from coming up on the same channel, albeit low power and NO REPEATER use, but there is always someone in my group that can hear them and relay any message if need. The fact that just about everyone has some type of frs/gmrs radio is the selling point.

For your purposes it would be best for mobile (vehicles) radios but I hear handhelds talking to each other going up highway 395 and the 14 all the time. I have never tried this so I am not sure of what it sounds like, but from one handheld inside a vehicle to my mobile, one mile with clear reception is easy. 3 miles with broken reception at times is common.

Motorola DTR. Never tried it so I wouldn't know except like ChickenHawk said it is costly. However, there is a unknown alternative that has fallen by the wayside. The old Motorola Nextel 'DirectTalk' phones had basically the same type of frequency spread. They do not require a cellphone connection to work, I picked mine up on ebay for $25 each (brand new). There is a gray area on usage but if you stay with just the phone and don't try to extend the range with external antennas etc., you are good to go. From inside the vehicles without the antenna extended I get 3/4 mile no problem with a crystal clear signal. Nice part is that they send an acknowledgement signal back, so if you press the push to talk and the other vehicle is to far back it will come up and say <User not avalaible>.

Anyways, sorry about the long post. These are only vague points, but with all the good info others have been posting I am sure we can steer you in the right direction.
Can you explain a bit more about the PTT Motorola/Nextel phone? It doesn't have to be activated to work? Ironically i use to work for Nextel like 10 years ago selling phones and i LOVED the PTT feature, great comm quality and would get AT LEAST a solid mile in city. Also Batteries usage was reasonable.

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Last edited by quietcropduster; 10-04-2017 at 8:51 PM..
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Old 10-04-2017, 9:51 PM
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Can you explain a bit more about the PTT Motorola/Nextel phone? It doesn't have to be activated to work? Ironically i use to work for Nextel like 10 years ago selling phones and i LOVED the PTT feature, great comm quality and would get AT LEAST a solid mile in city. Also Batteries usage was reasonable.

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No it only needs a sim card, but does not use a service for direct talk. The SIM Card is really only so it will power up completely.. If the phone you get doesn't have a sim card you can buy them on EBay for 5 to $7. I think I picked up 5 for $15.

Any direct talk Nextel phone works on the same frequencies although the I355 In my opinion are the best and toughest.

There are two ways to set it up one where it defaults to the directtalk mode or since there is no service it will hang until you press cancel. When it asks for allow phone service, select no and then it asks for Allow DT (Direct Talk), press yes. If you accidentally screw up the questions it will enter Airplane Mode since there is no service, then just start over.

In order not to derail this thread you can go ahead and PM me. I'll try to find the link of a site (hope a prepper site is O.K. with you) run by a licensed Ham that goes in depth regarding set up for direct talk only. Setting up a pseudo phone number so you can actually direct talk to one individual versus the channel/code of the whole group. And other things.

There's always the naysayers/know-it-alls who claim up and down that it needs a service, but they have no first hand experience or they are thinking of the Sprint Service that does use the cell tower as a link. Direct talk is a straight radio function. I can testify to this, I use it when pulling up to my girlfriends house to announce my arrival. The one thing is the difficulty in removing the call tone, but I use it like a page, lol.

Plus, there is also always the naysayer that says it isn't totally secure. Of course not, but I strongly doubt that the common guy could figure it out.

Last edited by swen_out_west; 10-04-2017 at 10:08 PM..
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Old 10-04-2017, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by swen_out_west View Post
No it only needs a sim card, but does not use a service for direct talk. The SIM Card is really only so it will power up completely.. If the phone you get doesn't have a sim card you can buy them on EBay for 5 to $7. I think I picked up 5 for $15.

Any direct talk Nextel phone works on the same frequencies although the I355 In my opinion are the best and toughest.

There are two ways to set it up one where it defaults to the directtalk mode or since there is no service it will hang until you press cancel. When it asks for allow phone service, select no and then it asks for Allow DT (Direct Talk), press yes. If you accidentally screw up the questions it will enter Airplane Mode since there is no service, then just start over.

In order not to derail this thread you can go ahead and PM me. I'll try to find the link of a site (hope a prepper site is O.K. with you) run by a licensed Ham that goes in depth regarding set up for direct talk only. Setting up a pseudo phone number so you can actually direct talk to one individual versus the channel/code of the whole group. And other things.

There's always the naysayers/know-it-alls who claim up and down that it needs a service, but they have no first hand experience or they are thinking of the Sprint Service that does use the cell tower as a link. Direct talk is a straight radio function. I can testify to this, I use it when pulling up to my girlfriends house to announce my arrival. The one thing is the difficulty in removing the call tone, but I use it like a page, lol.

Plus, there is also always the naysayer that says it isn't totally secure. Of course not, but I strongly doubt that the common guy could figure it out.
PM sent! And I like the call tone, it let's the person know your about to talk, I use to have a Nextel phone a long time ago with PTT, I had the i530 :-)

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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 10-05-2017, 5:19 AM
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More good info!
Consider the outdated Nextel phone option, purchased used from sellers on eBay, to be similar to the function of the Motorola DTR and DLR series of two-way radios. They are digital and work on the same frequency spectrum (but they cannot communicate with the Motorola radios as they use different "hopsets" which are essentially programmed frequency changes that happen every 90 milliseconds.) They share some common elements with the Motorola radios, in that there is a delay in the broadcast because they need to send out a handshake signal to make sure there is another user within range (as my friend detailed for you above) and the signal will always be 100% clear, provided the other user is within range. They are also not hampered much by the short, built-in stubby antenna. (In my range tests of the DTR and DLR series, I found that the DTR410 with the short stubby antenna has almost as much range as the DTR550 with the longer replaceable antennas, and the DLR to be almost identical in range to a DTR.)

The Nextel option is also very inexpensive because you are buying phones that have been out of production for years, as opposed to current manufacture two-way radios.

Downside is that they have very small speakers and low audio output power, so the audio will never match the quality of the audio from the DTR or DLR radios. (You can use them like you would a phone instead of a speaker phone, but now you run afoul of distracted driving legislation that makes it illegal to use handheld devices such as phones in most states and provinces.) They are also not as durable or weather-proof as the dedicated two-way radios - but then again, at $10 a piece, you can throw them away without worrying too much.

So, as you can see, everything in two-way radio communications is a compromise of some kind. Perhaps it would be a good idea to borrow some radios from friends and test them for yourself in vehicles. You may find, as I did, that you hate the audio quality of CB, and FRS will work just fine. Or, for certain reasons such as me, you may decide that you don't want FRS where every kid with a toy walkie or every drive-through in a half mile radius can interfere, and anyone with an FRS radio on the same channel as you and with no privacy codes set, can hear everything you say. This is where the Nextel or Motorola options fit in.

On the other hand, you may want the convenience of being able to communicate with anyone on the same channel on an FRS radio, and not have to provide one for them.

Also keep in mind that in practical terms, there is little difference in range between a 2-watt FRS radio and a 5-watt GMRS handheld radio. Here in Canada, all our GMRS radios are 2-watts or under (and we don't require a GMRS licence) but in practical terms, most GMRS models sold in the U.S. can also be used in Canada because few of them actually go beyond 2-watts in actual radiated power anyway. It is more to do with the quality of the receiver and the antenna system than effective radiated power. (The Motorola radios have the longest range of all, and they do it on only 1-watt!)

Lots of options. Tough decision. You can buy cheap, legal, top quality and long range ... just not all in the same radio!

Maybe look at the new FRS radios that are now 2-watts under the new legislation and see if they will work; CB for all the antennas and accessories available and the Nextel or Motorola for clear communications. Everyone has their own unique needs and budget. For me, I wanted the unique features of the digital DTR radios and the ability to call up any individual radio while leaving the channel free for others, plus the size and quality of the DLR digital radio. I was also willing to pay the $300 plus for the DTR and $200 plus for the DLR.

But I programmed the DLR radios to use channel name announce, and the first time a user turns it on and hears "Tactical One" instead of "Channel Five," it was worth it. VERY cool feature.
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Old 10-06-2017, 1:18 AM
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If you're in law enforcement, and used to hearing the crystal clear FM/Digital signal, you are going to be very dissatisfied when it comes to CB. Yes, CB will likely provide you with the range you need, but the quality of the signal, the interference when propagation is up, etc. I think you'll find very frustrating.

DTRs are amazing little radios. If you look hard enough on eBay, you can get DTR550s for around $100 a piece. That would keep the 2 radios within your budget, and you can add to the fleet in the future if you need more than 2 radios.
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Old 10-06-2017, 6:03 AM
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I need to point out that there are a few of us DTR/DLR enthusiasts in this forum and one of the members even set up a dedicated forum for DTRs. Lots of us can answer any questions about this compact, tough and secure licence-free radio. If you decide to follow the advice of my friend above and find a couple of used DTR radios on eBay, here are some tips:
- Stick to generation 2 or 3 models. They have a few more features and slightly better range than the gen 1s. (DTR550 gen 1 has a short built-in stubby antenna; DTR550 gen 2 has a 3 1/2" replaceable antenna, and the DTR550 gen 3 has a 7" replaceable antennas.) Replacement antennas are easily found.

- If you want to keep it as simple as possible and forego the programming cable and (free) programming software, try this trick. Read the manual on how to reset the radios to factory defaults. You will have five channels to choose from without any programming needed, and I have used them across the country and never heard a peep from anyone else on channel one, let alone any of the others.

The other advantage to keeping things as simple as turning them on and talking is that when reset to factory defaults, the DTR radios can talk quite easily to the DLR radios. The first five channels are common to both models.

- Don't waste your money on an external mobile antenna on your vehicle. A few of us have tried them with the DTR and none of us have ever gotten good results. The factory antennas, plus the 900MHz frequency spectrum is just so good at punching through glass and steel that there is nothing to gain with an external antenna; most just degrade the signal.
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Old 10-06-2017, 6:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chickenhawk56 View Post
the 900MHz frequency spectrum is just so good at punching through glass and steel that there is nothing to gain with an external antenna
Glass yes, steel not so much. The wavelength of 900MHz is short enough to go through typical car window apertures with minimal loss, unlike VHF. But RF isn't actually going through the sheet metal.
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Old 10-06-2017, 10:05 AM
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Yep, a cars sheet metal body will stop the 900 Mhz signal, or any other Mhz frequencies. As jonwienke pointed out, the glass won't stop the signal, but that metal body will.

(I studied a little about the molecular make up of some of the elements, metals, what not; to which I know that there is a small gap in the atoms in iron, don't remember how small it is. Makes me wonder how high in the microwave range signals would have to be to pass through that gap? just wondering out loud so please don't flame me!!! lol)
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Old 10-06-2017, 10:17 AM
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Many vehicles use metallic film in the glass to reduce solar heating inside the vehicle. It will absolutely reduce the passage of RF. I've got a site at work, new building with "Low-E" glass. A cell site sits 100 yards away, you can look at the antennas. Cell phones will not work inside the building.

800MHz, 900MHz, not going to be different. External antennas are what fixes this, and why they use them on most public safety vehicles. Problem is, using after market/external antennas with some of these DTR radios can be problematic. Buyer beware.
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Old 10-06-2017, 1:31 PM
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Quote:
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...one of the members even set up a dedicated forum for DTRs.
Would you mind PMing me the address? Can't find anything like that in Google. I'd love to join!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chickenhawk56 View Post
You will have five channels to choose from without any programming needed, and I have used them across the country and never heard a peep from anyone else on channel one, let alone any of the others.
Las Vegas is fairly active...well, probably as active as you can get for DTR. Ha ha! There are a couple shops that use them inside the hotels, a limo company (or taxi company, but didn't sound busy enough), and at least a couple parking services for event/valet parking. Usage was channel 1-5.

Just need to get up a few dozen stories in one of the hotels to hear them clearly.

Also one company that I know of out here in the high desert of California uses them.
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Old 10-06-2017, 3:14 PM
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Not that this will add much to the discussion- but the colloidal metallic glasses of some tint'd car windows are very effective RF shields.
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Brings to mind- the ultimate in this can be seen driving along Maryland Route 32 ...thru Fort Meade.... that tall emerald sided building of the "Brand-X" guys..... (an Agency starts with an "N".... )
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