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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 11-10-2017, 7:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bill4long View Post
GMRS radios may use narrow band (11K0F3E). They just cannot use digital. (Which is stupid.) Only analog allowed. At any rate, there is a stockpile of decommissioned 16K0F3E commercial radios due to narrowbanding for those who wish to use 16K0F3E. Like the plague.


95.633(2) Lesser emission bandwidths may be employed, provided that the unwanted emissions are attenuated as provided in 95.635. See 95.628(g) and 95.639(f) regarding maximum transmitter power and measurement procedures.
My "issue" with narrow banding GMRS is that

1) Its not required. (yet it is kind of being forced by the cheap consumer offerings flooding the market)
2) It accomplishes little, FRS was engineered to fall into the interstitial channels with minimal effect.
3) It reduces system performance, GMRS is supposed to be a high performance service. (Yes digital could recapture this)
4) There will be a mish mash of low talkers and loud talkers on the repeater channel.

Some of us tried to persuade FCC to permit DMR in GMRS on a secondary basis, but the FCC wasn't ready for it. There are some pros and cons. In my opinion DMR is wonderful. But also analog FM is dirt simple.
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Old 11-11-2017, 9:27 AM
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GMRS is not intended for the technically inclined who want fancy performance. It is supposed to be an inexpensive way for families and other small groups to communicate over distances.

If you want techie communications, get a ham license and use whatever mode you want to.
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Old 11-11-2017, 9:41 AM
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One thing...

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Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
GMRS is not intended for the technically inclined who want fancy performance.
... has nothing to do with the other...

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Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
It is supposed to be an inexpensive way for families and other small groups to communicate over distances.
Moreover...

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If you want techie communications, get a ham license and use whatever mode you want to.
I have and I do. Irrelevant to the above.

Techies are the ones who put repeaters up for GMRS. The issue at hand here is the reasonable availabilty of radios with regard to repeaters and repeater capable radios. It's very difficult to do on cheap with the current regulation. There is no good reason to disallow Part 90 certified radios from be used. Plus they are used anyway. Like the plague.

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Old 11-11-2017, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
GMRS is not intended for the technically inclined who want fancy performance. It is supposed to be an inexpensive way for families and other small groups to communicate over distances.

If you want techie communications, get a ham license and use whatever mode you want to.
Actually FRS is the "inexpensive service" for families and small groups The GMRS service has always been a licensed service for "fancy (high) performance", by individuals and families and groups of individuals and families. My proposal only seeks to restore the availability of radios that can take full advantage of the GMRS performance parameters historically offered by the rules.

These include:

Repeaters,
Wide band 16K0F3E modulation (+/- 5 KHz),
And;
up to 50 W power output.

The numbers of new model radios offering these capabilities has become almost zero. Instead, the vendors are offering watered down performance that is based on inexpensive FRS RF components.

GMRS users in rural areas can benefit from the increased range of a wide band radio and repeater. Users in urban areas can benefit from the improved receiver IM and selectivity specifications that commercial and public safety grade radios offer.

GMRS has never been a band intended for experimentation, unlike Part 97 (amateur radio), GMRS relies entirely on off the shelf , type certified, equipment.


And yes, many users happen to be technically inclined and see value with using the best available equipment, installed using best practices. However, their family members might not likewise be so inclined to obtain an amateur license, thus GMRS is best suited for their families.

Thanks

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Old 11-11-2017, 1:47 PM
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While I completely agree with the certs and how they really don't make sense spec wise, I don't see it happening anytime soon. It would open up a can of worms if the FCC made part 90 radios legal on GMRS.

First, they would either need to keep the integrity of part 95 and the certifications that go along with it, or just get rid of it all together, as far as equipment certifications. It's a completely different radio service than LMR.

Secondly, with the newer part 90 equipment only available in narrowband analog FM, it would make sense for the FCC to eventually require narrowband only operation on GMRS if this was going to be the case. Legacy equipment is only going to be around for so long. You would have a legal hodgepodge of wideband, narrowband equipment running (although would work but not optimal) and all kinds of digital modes available on radios and repeaters that would be available to the end user, though not permitted.

It's a good idea, but it does come with a host of problems.
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Old 11-12-2017, 9:41 AM
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My comments about "techie communications" were mainly directed at the comments about adding digital modes. GMRS has a very limited pool of frequencies and adding incompatible modes is not practical. The FCC has been allergic to "standards" for some time, so let's not mess with one of the few services that has one.
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Old 11-12-2017, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by 12dbsinad View Post
While I completely agree with the certs and how they really don't make sense spec wise, I don't see it happening anytime soon. It would open up a can of worms if the FCC made part 90 radios legal on GMRS.

First, they would either need to keep the integrity of part 95 and the certifications that go along with it, or just get rid of it all together, as far as equipment certifications. It's a completely different radio service than LMR.

Secondly, with the newer part 90 equipment only available in narrowband analog FM, it would make sense for the FCC to eventually require narrowband only operation on GMRS if this was going to be the case. Legacy equipment is only going to be around for so long. You would have a legal hodgepodge of wideband, narrowband equipment running (although would work but not optimal) and all kinds of digital modes available on radios and repeaters that would be available to the end user, though not permitted.

It's a good idea, but it does come with a host of problems.
Ok, but this proposal only entertains use of Part 90 radios in a manner compliant with Part 95 emissions, deviation, and power level.

Nothing in the proposal will ask for or suggest features (encryption) , modes (digital) that are prohibited by Part 95. Users that might do those things will do so on their own regardless of this NPRM.

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Old 11-12-2017, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveNF2G View Post
My comments about "techie communications" were mainly directed at the comments about adding digital modes. GMRS has a very limited pool of frequencies and adding incompatible modes is not practical. The FCC has been allergic to "standards" for some time, so let's not mess with one of the few services that has one.
Please see my last reply above. No intent in this NPRM to add any incompatible digital modes.

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Old 02-11-2018, 6:33 PM
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Default GMRS: Use of Part 90 radios on Part 95

I can certainly see the need for this --- the only problem with it would be the FCC looking at all the Chinese radios that would "Possibly" qualify under Part 90 that would then be quickly adapted to Part 95.... and the Part 95 control freaks that hold tight to keeping GMRS closed to their control would certainly fight it tooth and nail.
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Old 02-11-2018, 6:51 PM
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The FCC won't look at the "Chinese radios" - they don't have to look at them. There are published specifications for Part 95 equipment and the manufacturers would have to submit test results demonstrating compliance with those Part 95 specifications. There are many compliance test houses in China, too.

I'm not intending to be argumentative; I'm only trying to explain that the bulk of the effort lies with the manufacturers.
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Old 02-11-2018, 7:18 PM
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I can certainly see the need for this
Yeah, me too. While I no longer have a GMRS license, I was pretty active many years ago. Find radios that specifically had a Part 95 rating was not horribly difficult, but it did make passing all the perfectly good Part 90 only radios a tad depressing.

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--- the only problem with it would be the FCC looking at all the Chinese radios that would "Possibly" qualify under Part 90 that would then be quickly adapted to Part 95....
Well, yes, but there's a couple of issues going on:
- FCC lets companies do their own acceptance testing, and it's all based off a "trust" thing. The issue is that some companies will gladly cheat the system if it makes them a quick buck. There have been a few low end Chinese radios that had their FCC certifications cancelled when it was discovered they'd cheated the system.
And I'm sure there are many more that didn't get caught.

- There really isn't a reason that suitable Part 90 radios that meet the specs of Part 95 couldn't be used. It would be impossible for anyone to tell the difference remotely.

- The cheap Chinese radio thing is a recent issue, but this same thing has been going on for years, long before the CCR's got here. People using radios that were out of spec, running way too much power, running high power on FRS, etc. has been happening for a long time.

- The bigger issue, at least from what I've seen, is with amateur radio operators. There's at least two issues I've run across myself:
1. "Modded" amateur radios used on FRS in wide band FM, way too much power, etc.
2. Amateurs who mistakenly assume their license gives them legal access to anything outside the amateur radio bands.

- The cheap Chinese radios are an issue. They've flooded the markets thanks to the likes of Amazon, E-Bay, amateur radio dealers, RacingRadios, etc. All with no mention of license restrictions. But it's not just impacting GMRS. They are all over FRS, MURS, Part 90, etc. I've run into a few of them at work, unfortunately, and getting people to stop using them is difficult. Problem is there are so many of them out there, and so many people that will try to justify their use, that it's impossible to fight.


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Originally Posted by tomharkness View Post
and the Part 95 control freaks that hold tight to keeping GMRS closed to their control would certainly fight it tooth and nail.
I think you'd find that there are a lot of otherwise perfectly legal GMRS users using Part 90 radios, either through ignorance, misinterpretation of the rules, or just not caring.
Done right, it wouldn't be an issue. Things are going to have to change, anyway. The older GMRS repeaters are running old 25KHz analog repeaters. As those repeaters fail, they'll have a harder and harder time finding good wide band gear.
Things are going to have to change. I just wish the FCC had done it all in one swoop.
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:20 AM
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quote"
The cheap Chinese radios are an issue. They've flooded the markets thanks to the likes of Amazon, E-Bay, amateur radio dealers, RacingRadios, etc. All with no mention of license restrictions. But it's not just impacting GMRS. They are all over FRS, MURS, Part 90, etc. I've run into a few of them at work, unfortunately, and getting people to stop using them is difficult. Problem is there are so many of them out there, and so many people that will try to justify their use, that it's impossible to fight.

On my job if you are caught with a CCR you are put out of service, basically suspended, until a hearing. If most employers did this it would end the CCR problems by at least half. Whoever holds the license gets to say what radios they will "COVER", because it's their license that could get pulled, or get fined.

Quote"
The older GMRS repeaters are running old 25KHz analog repeaters. As those repeaters fail, they'll have a harder and harder time finding good wide band gear.

I run Micors, they are basically indestructable, unless hit by lightning. I have one at site near me that has run 24/7 for over 30 years. Mot used them on GMRS back in the day when those frequencies were still Business Band at that site for years until they abandoned them for 900 trunking.
Micors are still around and they are cheap.

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Old 03-20-2018, 1:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radioman2001 View Post
quote"
The cheap Chinese radios are an issue. They've flooded the markets thanks to the likes of Amazon, E-Bay, amateur radio dealers, RacingRadios, etc. All with no mention of license restrictions. But it's not just impacting GMRS. They are all over FRS, MURS, Part 90, etc. I've run into a few of them at work, unfortunately, and getting people to stop using them is difficult. Problem is there are so many of them out there, and so many people that will try to justify their use, that it's impossible to fight.

On my job if you are caught with a CCR you are put out of service, basically suspended, until a hearing. If most employers did this it would end the CCR problems by at least half. Whoever holds the license gets to say what radios they will "COVER", because it's their license that could get pulled, or get fined.

Quote"
The older GMRS repeaters are running old 25KHz analog repeaters. As those repeaters fail, they'll have a harder and harder time finding good wide band gear.

I run Micors, they are basically indestructable, unless hit by lightning. I have one at site near me that has run 24/7 for over 30 years. Mot used them on GMRS back in the day when those frequencies were still Business Band at that site for years until they abandoned them for 900 trunking.
Micors are still around and they are cheap.
Much as I loved the Micors, getting some parts is becoming impossible. Maintaining to factory specs without the OEM transistors is difficult . We need more fully compliant ( wideband) GMRS equipment.

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Old 03-20-2018, 2:05 PM
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I buy mobiles for pennies, the transisters in the PA are the same, and other than the audio board itself (the components are the same) everything is the same same. You MAY have to remove some components and relocate to the repeater boards. I bought a bunch of 225 watt chassis (analog paging stations I think) They come with a 25 watt PA, and then I found some 110 watt mobiles for a dollar a piece and moved the PA ceramic boards from the mobile to the repeater heat sink. You are never going to have a problem running 50 watts from a 110 watt PA with that heat sink. I either run the original PL/DPL boards or add a Zetron tone panel.

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Old 03-20-2018, 3:38 PM
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Originally Posted by radioman2001 View Post
I buy mobiles for pennies, the transisters in the PA are the same, and other than the audio board itself (the components are the same) everything is the same same. You MAY have to remove some components and relocate to the repeater boards. I bought a bunch of 225 watt chassis (analog paging stations I think) They come with a 25 watt PA, and then I found some 110 watt mobiles for a dollar a piece and moved the PA ceramic boards from the mobile to the repeater heat sink. You are never going to have a problem running 50 watts from a 110 watt PA with that heat sink. I either run the original PL/DPL boards or add a Zetron tone panel.
You are sounding like me and my Systems Saber obsession!

Do you have any surplus Micor UHF 450 to 470 MHz helical preselector/mixer assemblies?

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Old 03-20-2018, 9:35 PM
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Micor and Mastr II's are still plentyful here on GMRS. At this point, there is no need to replace them. They have proven themselves, they owe me nothing and I owe them nothing.

The thing about these rigs that makes them so attractive (especially ham) is the fact that you can actually "tinker" with them. Adding all sorts of neat stuff is easy.. today's repeaters the only thing you can add easily is firmware and whatever they give you for ACCY out for the most part. What fun is that?
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Old 03-20-2018, 9:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 12dbsinad View Post
Micor and Mastr II's are still plentyful here on GMRS. At this point, there is no need to replace them. They have proven themselves, they owe me nothing and I owe them nothing.

The thing about these rigs that makes them so attractive (especially ham) is the fact that you can actually "tinker" with them. Adding all sorts of neat stuff is easy.. today's repeaters the only thing you can add easily is firmware and whatever they give you for ACCY out for the most part. What fun is that?
Those old repeaters also have very decent narrow 2 MHz front end filtering so they have better performance in an urban environment. Whoever thought a repeater needed to tune channels over 30 MHz without re tuning was just ignorant.
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Old 03-20-2018, 9:50 PM
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Ok, but this proposal only entertains use of Part 90 radios in a manner compliant with Part 95 emissions, deviation, and power level.

Nothing in the proposal will ask for or suggest features (encryption) , modes (digital) that are prohibited by Part 95. Users that might do those things will do so on their own regardless of this NPRM.

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Have you been in contact with manufacturers of Part 90 equipment? Are they all on board with your proposal?

A footnote in the recent rule changes indicated that the FCC is well aware of the use of surplus Part 90 gear on GMRS and doesn't seem to have a problem with it. The FCC indicated that they will continue to accept dual certifications for manufacturers that want to offer Part 90/95 dual certified radios.

A Part 90 equipment manufacturer might be willing to do a special for you and deliver a Part 90/95 dual certified radio if you are willing to pay the development costs including certification and then commit to buying say 10k units or more per year for a minimum of 5 years or so for a manufacturer to get a return on their investment. Manufacturers might be willing to deliver exactly what you want for GMRS but they won't do it for free. Manufacturers need a strong enough business case to pursue it and help push for rule changes through an NPRM.

I don't intend to rain on anyone's parade but unless manufacturers of Part 90 equipment are on board with your proposal, I don't see this going anywhere.

Good luck.
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Old 03-20-2018, 10:01 PM
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Those old repeaters also have very decent narrow 2 MHz front end filtering so they have better performance in an urban environment. Whoever thought a repeater needed to tune channels over 30 MHz without re tuning was just ignorant.
No kidding. You can thank synthesized technology for that. Pretty decent RX sensitivity that works good on the bench, not so good on selectivity out in the real world. Especially nowadays.

Can you see the look on the newer guys if you actually had to "tune" a repeater!? The only thing they tune now is their Honda ricers!
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Old 03-20-2018, 10:13 PM
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Have you been in contact with manufacturers of Part 90 equipment? Are they all on board with your proposal?

A footnote in the recent rule changes indicated that the FCC is well aware of the use of surplus Part 90 gear on GMRS and doesn't seem to have a problem with it. The FCC indicated that they will continue to accept dual certifications for manufacturers that want to offer Part 90/95 dual certified radios.

A Part 90 equipment manufacturer might be willing to do a special for you and deliver a Part 90/95 dual certified radio if you are willing to pay the development costs including certification and then commit to buying say 10k units or more per year for a minimum of 5 years or so for a manufacturer to get a return on their investment. Manufacturers might be willing to deliver exactly what you want for GMRS but they won't do it for free. Manufacturers need a strong enough business case to pursue it and help push for rule changes through an NPRM.

I don't intend to rain on anyone's parade but unless manufacturers of Part 90 equipment are on board with your proposal, I don't see this going anywhere.

Good luck.
There is no intention on my part to ask manufacturers to dual certify existing Part 90 radios for part 95. It would never happen. The suggestion is to petition the FCC for a change to the Part 95 rules to permit certain part 90 radios to be used in GMRS subject to their being programmed within the parameters of GMRS. The FCC waives requirements and grandfathers a lot of technology within various rules. It isn't that radical a suggestion.

The problem is that there is little new product out there that fully complies with GMRS or is as rugged as part 90 equipment. As far as repeaters, there is Bridgecom, but to be honest, nobody has cited a Part 95 grant for their repeater. I have taken them at their word, but hey, wheres the beef?
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