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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 10-02-2017, 9:06 AM
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Default New user - over thinking it again :-)

I know a lot about a little or a little about a lot. I currently have 2 Motorola FRS Radios (MH230R). I've owned them for about 2 years and the range totally blows. It's claimed at 23 miles but will barely do a mile, if that. Does not matter if its straight line of sight or through mountains. So I started to research it which brought me to this forum :-)

My radios are "1 watt" and believe getting 5 watt radios will help increase range? However I had heard something about the federal gov't now limiting FRS radios to a 1.5 watts? I did also read that I could get my GMRS license for about $90? That allows me to have access to different radio bands?

Primary use for the radios is speaking car to car in a convoy (lead car and end car) when traveling. It's especially useful when going to Deals Gap NC aka tail of the dragon. I did find these radios which were highly rated on several customer review based websites and Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001WMFYH4...=3Q4XO3VNRL250

So I ask the powers to be of this forum, whats the best route to take to fit my needs? I'd say my max budget would be $100 all in. I'm also not opposed to buying used gear, I have yet to check out the FS section on here. Thanks for your help in advance!
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Old 10-02-2017, 4:27 PM
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You won't get more than a mile or so with those radios, and even less from inside a vehicle. CB radio would be your best choice in this situation.
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Old 10-02-2017, 4:38 PM
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The linked radios have the same power as the one you already have. The only difference is a more inflated range claim. Don't bother.
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Old 10-02-2017, 6:39 PM
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+1 with what's already posted. You just ain't gonna get no farther with those you linked to.
You'll just have to bite the bullet spend some extra money. CB is one route, GMRS another, ham license for ALL that will be using the transceivers, MURS. The GMRS license is less than 90 dollars. I think some where around 65 dollars now. With that license your whole family can use those radios, and they do have higher wattage output.
For those bubble packs that claim those high mileage distance, forget 'em. You found that a few hundred yards at best.
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Old 10-02-2017, 6:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W8RMH View Post
You won't get more than a mile or so with those radios, and even less from inside a vehicle. CB radio would be your best choice in this situation.
+1 on this. Look for used working CB's on whatever classifieds you peruse, or Craigslist, or eBay, yard sales, or whatever. Get decent mag mount antennas for the cars (there are a few around) if you don't want to drill holes. You'll have the ability to talk between cars over a few miles and no license required, and if you look hard enough, it ought to fall within your budget. You'll also be able to listen to truckers, which can both identify trouble spots on the road and also can be pretty entertaining at times.
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Old 10-02-2017, 7:08 PM
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Hi Quiet ....
.
I'll echo the CB suggestion... though MURS with external antenna is right in there along side.
.
I have CB's in all my vehicles... and for a ham and and an RF engineer- that is quite an admission.
.
I can't tell you how many times I have been ask'd
........"why do you have one of THOSE in There ???..."
.
Honest answer-- the range is minimum mile-- usually more like 2-5. They talk well to my non ham friends- and were easy to install (though I do use commercial antennas, all hard mounted --ie: "Holes Drilled"-- to the vehicle)
.
I seldom turn them on, but when I have used them-- traffic jams, construction, you name it-- they paid for themselves in Ace's (Double-Plus !!'s) many many times over. (not to mention that truckers have been always charming and polite to me-- a female voice ?? (laffing)-- those that aren't are very rare-- and they get chew'd to pieces by the others-- this can be a very amusing radio service...lol)
.
.
.............................CF

Last edited by Coyote-Frostbyte; 10-02-2017 at 7:15 PM..
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Old 10-03-2017, 6:59 AM
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Problem with the small FRS radios is that most cannot have an external antenna attached to them, which in a mobile situation would increase the range. The lay of the land you are transmitting over has an great effect on range.

Yes you can apply for a GMRS license. If you do then you could use a higher powered GMRS radio. Some of these radios such as the BTech GMRS-V1 are decent radios (have two of these). You can attach external antennas to these and they also can be programmed for GMRS repeaters. This would give you better range.

Using CB as mentioned by previous posters is also a good option. No license needed, you can attach all kinds of antennas (mobile, base) to them, they are readily available and there are lots more to choose from both new and used. Since power is limited to 5W input a good tuned antenna will increase range. You could also go with an AM/SSB CB radio as using SSB might be more effective range-wise. I have an old President AM/SSB AR144 in the car, always fun to listen to CB. Only thing with CB is that when the band is open (these days not too often) sometimes local contacts can be hindered.
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Old 10-03-2017, 7:33 AM
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I'm using Tapatalk, and I had an elaborate reply typed out but 4 some reason it wont go thru? Yet it did before, odd.

So it seems like a CB radio is my best route. The issue is the primary purpose for a radio is to communicate car to car. Which could be a different car every trip. So I'd then have to convince several friends to install them...doesnt make it very feasible. However, I'll probably install one just for kicks. You can buy a decent CB radio used $50 +/-.

If I pony up the cash and get my GMRS license that opens the door to the 5 watt band, which would mean greater distances vs the 1.5 watt radios correct? If my assumptions are correct, does anyone have any strong contenders for really good GMRS radios?

Also thanks everyone for your help thus far, I appreciate it very much.
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Old 10-03-2017, 8:24 AM
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Don't forge that the GMRS license only covers your family and relatives. If others in your convoy are not your family or relatives they would need to get a GMRS license as well.
BB
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Old 10-03-2017, 8:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WA0CBW View Post
Don't forge that the GMRS license only covers your family and relatives. If others in your convoy are not your family or relatives they would need to get a GMRS license as well.
BB
I need to look into the specifics. My assumption was if I had a license any radio I owned could be used for that purpose even if I gave to a friend to use temporarily (a trip somewhere with me). What am I missing here?

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Old 10-03-2017, 8:29 AM
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Last time I checked, you're allowed up to 50 watts on the following:

GMRS
Frequencies

1 462.5625 MHz
2 462.5875 MHz
3 462.6125 MHz
4 462.6375 MHz
5 462.6625 MHz
6 462.6875 MHz
7 462.7125 MHz
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iMONITOR View Post
Last time I checked, you're allowed up to 50 watts on the following:

GMRS
Frequencies

1 462.5625 MHz
2 462.5875 MHz
3 462.6125 MHz
4 462.6375 MHz
5 462.6625 MHz
6 462.6875 MHz
7 462.7125 MHz
Your information is completely incorrect Those are the 2 watt frequencies for FRS and and 5 watt frequencies for GMRS.

A completely new Part 95 went into effect at the end of September 2017. Anything you looked up months or years ago is now invalid.

The 50 watt frequencies for GMRS and 2 watts for FRS are:

462.5500
462.5750
462.6000
462.6250
462.6500
462.6750
462.7000
462.7250

The matching 467 repeater input frequencies are GMRS only up to 50 watts.
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Old 10-03-2017, 12:07 PM
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The big advantage of GMRS over the FRS is not power. GMRS allows external antennas which will greatly increase range (even for the same 'power'). Even two handhelds with mag mount style antennas on the cars will greatly increase usable range. If you install CBs (another idea), my suggestion would be to not even think about a handheld solution. At CB frequencies, a antenna mounted on the vehicle (and at least 5 feet long) is almost a 'must' for any range at all.

Hope this helps
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Old 10-03-2017, 12:49 PM
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You might also look at this post. https://forums.radioreference.com/gm...wbie-here.html
The OP was wanting something similar for just two vehicles traveling together (a moving truck and a car). Various options (with prices) were suggested including FRS, GMRS and CB. In the end he bought a pair of Motorola MR350R "1.5 Watt" FRS/GMRS portables ($58) and it worked for his needs. His range requiremtns were not that far. Your needs may vary.
Another potential option is MURS radios such as the BTech MURS-V1 portable ($50 each). These can be use with a low-cost external mag-mount antenna to improve the range in vehicles and require no license.
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Old 10-03-2017, 12:58 PM
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One thing that maybe getting overlooked- how radio savvy are the other people in the car caravan? To make all this work, everyone is at least going to have to be mildly interested in radios. CB's are not exactly the warm cuddly things to install in a family chariots.. lets not even mention their antennas.
.
MURS with mag mount external antenna would probably be the best all around compromise- you can get considerable range out of them, and when they fail, go over to your 'cel phones...
.
.
........................CF
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Old 10-03-2017, 1:24 PM
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So if I buy a MURS radio it operates at frequencies 151.820 MHz, 151.880 MHz, 151.940 MHz (VHF) correct, and I do not need a license? And the range would be greater than FRS? Lastly, I believe the below radio would meet my specifications?

https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R...rds=murs+radio
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Old 10-03-2017, 2:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quietcropduster View Post
I need to look into the specifics. My assumption was if I had a license any radio I owned could be used for that purpose even if I gave to a friend to use temporarily (a trip somewhere with me). What am I missing here?

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For the most part the FCC licenses people not radios. Look at part 95.1705(c) for rules concerning who is covered under a GMRS license.
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Old 10-03-2017, 3:03 PM
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I just refresh'd my memory about who can operate a GMRS station---
.
Under a single license, a "Family"--- ( I quote 95.1705) :

.
"(2) Any individual who holds an individual license may allow his or her immediate family members to operate his or her GMRS station or stations. Immediate family members are the licensee's spouse, children, grandchildren, stepchildren, parents, grandparents, stepparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and in-laws.........."
.
In West Virginia that could cover your whole County....... lol ....
.
.
...............CF

Last edited by Coyote-Frostbyte; 10-03-2017 at 3:08 PM..
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Old 10-03-2017, 3:15 PM
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So if I buy this (MURS capable correct?): BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio (Black) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007H4VT7A..._W9-0zbY4ECP7J

Get an external antenna I should be sitting pretty good?

And too bad I don't live in Virginia lol

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Old 10-03-2017, 3:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quietcropduster View Post
So if I buy a MURS radio it operates at frequencies 151.820 MHz, 151.880 MHz, 151.940 MHz (VHF) correct, and I do not need a license? And the range would be greater than FRS? Lastly, I believe the below radio would meet my specifications?

https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R...rds=murs+radio
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
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