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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 05-15-2018, 9:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I_am_Alpha1 View Post
Welcome to the wonderful world of the FCC. Engineers don't run the asylum these days...lawyers do and ambiguity is what they do best.

I searched this specific radio...not much info available. The owner's manual is dated 2015. One review says it takes AA batteries and another says proprietary battery pack--gotta love the net. You "should" be completely legal to use all channels on this radio. I believe the FCC changed the power level from 0.5W to 2W to bring these radios into the legal side of FRS. Definately legal on channels 8-14 as they are low power under the old rules. I couldn't find the specific power output for this model--and it has a "power boost" button to increase power...I'd stay away from that. Uniden doesn't advertise the specific power output of this radio...nor does Amazon, C-Net, Best Buy, or others. You will never, ever, get 50 miles from this (or any other model)...I have a 50w radio with a big antenna 32' in the sky and find it tough to get that...no way, ever, a 0.5w, 2w, or 5w handheld will do that in real life.
Just about all bubble-pack radios, now (including the linked one) are now "license by rule." i.e. If you follow the rules, you have a license. Often referred to as "no license required" but really means you don't have to pay for a license. The only radios that might be an exception are the ones that include the ability to operate on repeaters (one or two Motorolas and maybe a couple of Garmins). Those would still be considered GMRS and would require a paid license.
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Old 05-15-2018, 9:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unforgiven_AF View Post
@Brts96, ham is on the horizon, my local club meets on baseball practice night, so I'm going to start in the fall. I wanted to get a scanner, started reading, and became enthralled.

@iMonitor, that's was becoming my next question. Most of the radios support the GMRS channels, but people just use them illegally. Great :rolleyes: Range isn't really the problem, noise is. I've read enough to know I should walk softly as I get into this, for both an etiquette and legal reasons. If I with a 50 channel radio like this (https://www.amazon.com/gp/slredirect...getName=sp_atf) am I at least more likely to find a quiet channel or is the 50 channel just marketing.
Just wanted to touch base on the radios you linked here. I use these with my 7 year old and he is able to use them just fine. The 50 channels advertised is a little false. There are 22 channels you can change the PL on, the extra channels have hard coded PL's on them. Not all of the channels are 5w power, the FRS channels are .5w. In my research for these around Christmas, I looked at tons of reviews and these were the only ones that were on all lists. However, my one burn, no repeater capability. I regularly talk 2-3 miles between two different houses. Just wanted to provide my experience with these radios.
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Old 05-15-2018, 9:32 AM
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I don't see any reference to 5W on those radios. Actual Effective Radiated Power (ERP--the power coming from the antenna) is typically going to be 2W or less, regardless of what their output power claim is. 5W would refer to conducted power (the power coming out of the final) and does not account for antenna efficiency. Saying 5W sounds great, but really means that 3W are being wasted as heat (and sucking down the battery).

UPDATE: According to the documents filed with the FCC, that unit's conducted power is 6.6W and its ERP is 3W. unusual, as this exceeds the limits for power emission in Canada (most items are made to meet Canadian rules so that duplicate models don't have to be made for each market). Looking at the unit's label, though, it does not include an Industry Canada certification, so I guess it is for US only.
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Old 05-15-2018, 9:42 AM
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Thanks to everyone. I'm think I have it figured out for my immediate needs. Between all the terminology and having the laws change recently was where I was getting twisted up. Under 2W I'm good to go, 2-3 mile is more than good enough.
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Old 05-15-2018, 9:45 AM
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ninjad by Upman...

I'm actually settled on a pair of unidens as they have a nice loop I can use to attached it to his bicycle handlebars via a carabiner. Now that I have overthought the whole purchase and learned a lot, I don't want to overthink the purchase.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brts96 View Post
Unforgiven,
You've pretty much got it right. One key is maybe certain the radio is "Type Accepted" for the service you're using it for. All these services fall under Part 95 of the FCC rules, just different parts. Parts 95A and J, for sure. Can't remember the other part at the moment.

GMRS is probably the best way to go for range, if you get the license, which does cover your family. FRS and MURS are both pretty short range services, and MURS is the less frequently used of the two.

You should be able to set a PL code / privacy tone, to keep people from walking on you.

If I had to make a recommendation, I'd say to get a license, and a decent set of GMRS Radios, if it's something you'd use semi regularly.

The license is about $75, and valid for ten years. Turnaround time is a few days to get your license, and be nice and legal.

If you do go with GMRS, check for repeaters in your area, they can be helpful.

Kenwood makes a good portable, which is type accepted for GMRS. There are other brands that will work on the channels, but not sure which ones are type accepted for the services.

Hope this helps. Let us know if you have any more questions.

Respectfully,
Brts96

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
What do you mean by type accepted? (from a very noob noob when it comes to GMRS)
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:37 AM
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Type accepted is an approval by the FCC for that kind of use ( business, personal,etc).
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:38 AM
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Best way to learn is to ask. We're here to help.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:44 AM
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Type Acceptance is the old term for Certification.

According to 47CFR§2.907(a):
Certification is an equipment authorization approved by the Commission or issued by a Telecommunication Certification Body (TCB) and authorized under the authority of the Commission, based on representations and test data submitted by the applicant.

Most types of two way radios must have FCC certification in order to be legally imported (or manufactured in the US) and sold an used in the US.

GMRS, FRS and MURS radios must be certified under Part 95.

For more information about FCC certification see:
https://www.fcc.gov/engineering-tech...-authorization
and https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-id...7.1.2&rgn=div5 Subpart I and Subpart J.
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Old 05-15-2018, 7:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unforgiven_AF View Post
Thanks to everyone. I'm think I have it figured out for my immediate needs. Between all the terminology and having the laws change recently was where I was getting twisted up. Under 2W I'm good to go, 2-3 mile is more than good enough.
Be very careful. The chances of getting 2 - 3 miles with a "bubble pack"
is extremely too much to expect. I have the 8 watt Baofengs and 2 - 3
miles is a real hard press. Sitting in my brother's attic, at the window,
and talking to another brother, we lost communications about 1.5 miles
down the road. At that 1.5 miles, the audio was scratchy, but I could
understand almost everything he said, (almost).

I completely get you when you say you don't want to overthink
the purchase. I do it all the time. I love fireworks, so when making
a purchase, I want the biggest bang for my buck.

Make a list of the important features you're looking for and then
write them down in order of importance. If size is the key, then bubble pack is what
you want. If distance is what you want, then higher wattage, a better
radio, and a better antenna is what you want.
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Old 05-15-2018, 8:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpugEddy View Post
Be very careful. The chances of getting 2 - 3 miles with a "bubble pack"
is extremely too much to expect. I have the 8 watt Baofengs and 2 - 3
miles is a real hard press. Sitting in my brother's attic, at the window,
and talking to another brother, we lost communications about 1.5 miles
down the road. At that 1.5 miles, the audio was scratchy, but I could
understand almost everything he said, (almost).

I completely get you when you say you don't want to overthink
the purchase. I do it all the time. I love fireworks, so when making
a purchase, I want the biggest bang for my buck.

Make a list of the important features you're looking for and then
write them down in order of importance. If size is the key, then bubble pack is what
you want. If distance is what you want, then higher wattage, a better
radio, and a better antenna is what you want.
My hope at this point is most likely 1/4 mile or less. 1 mile max, so 2-3 mile range is really irrelevant. I don't want to put a bunch of money into this as I want to get me and my son licensed at some point, and get appropriate radios for that. That is a whole different thing and I have a lot to learn before I take that step. From this I got a little bit of understanding of something I "knew" years ago. I knew I could buy a radio but some of the channels I needed a license to use. Now I get understand those nuances, and how the law changed from when I got that simple understanding. Absorb a little, internalize it, and use that knowledge to build on. That's all I'm about at this point.
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:16 PM
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The FRS and GMRS are overlaid on each other, and that has caused much confusion between the two services.

Originally, the GMRS was limited to 8 channel pairs:
462.550-467.550
462.575-467.575
462.600-467.600
462.625-467.625
462.650-467.650
462.675-467.675
462.700-467.700
462.725-467.725

These channels are now known as channels 15-22. You are allowed up to 50 watts power output, (most commercial grade UHF handheld radios will only put out 4 watts) with no limitation on ERP (effective radiated power, which is your transmitted power output, plus your antenna gain, minus your feedline losses), or on antenna height. (Local ordinances or HOA restrictions notwithstanding.)

The following interstitial channels were later added to the GMRS, with a 5 watt ERP limit, and a 25' base antenna height limit:

462.5625
462.5875
462.6125
462.6375
462.6625
462.6875
462.7125

These are now known as channels 1-7.

Then the FRS came along. It encompassed channels 1-7, and added channels 8-14:

467.5625
467.5875
467.6125
467.6375
467.6625
467.6875
467.7125

The limitations included a 0.5 watt (500 milliwatt) ERP, and an antenna had to be permanently affixed to the radio. It was intended for ultra short range personal communications.
Use of channels 8-14 has caused interference issues to repeater inputs on the adjacent GMRS channels, because although the FRS radios were mandated to be narrowband, the GMRS is not.

Then some marketing geniuses decided to combine both services into 1 radio, so you ended up with 22 channel toy radios, which required you to have a license to use channels 15-22, but not channels 1-14.
Most people ignored the license requirement for the upper channels, however.

So, in an attempt to address the issue, the FCC opened up a discussion on it, and finally issued new rules last year.

All 22 channels are now in the FRS, provided that the power output is no greater than 2 watts on channels 1-7 and 15-22, and no greater than 0.5 watts ERP on channels 8-14. The antenna must still be non-detachable.

For a licensed GMRS user, channels 1-7 are still permitted 5 watts ERP, and channels 15-22 are still permitted up to 50 watts.

You may still be able to find 14 channel FRS-only radios out there.
You can probably still find pre-rule revision 22 (and more) channel FRS-GMRS hybrid radios. (Anything over 22 channels simply includes the 22 channels with firmware assigned CTCSS tones (aka PL tones, sub-channels, or sub-tones, depending on the manufacturers choice of terminology) or DCS codes (aka DPL, sub-channels, or sub-codes). On channels 1-22, you can select your own CTCSS or DCS. (Most radios will have CTCSS, but not all will have DCS.)

I don't know if any manufacturer has come out with new models since the rule revision.

I hope this clears up some of the confusion, and doesn't add to it. (Yes, some history details have been left out, as I didn't feel it was necessary for the discussion.)

John
GMRS WPXJ598
Peoria, AZ
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Old 05-16-2018, 7:28 AM
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^^^that post needs to be stuck somewhere. Thank you very much.
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Old 05-16-2018, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knoxradio View Post
Just wanted to touch base on the radios you linked here. I use these with my 7 year old and he is able to use them just fine. The 50 channels advertised is a little false. There are 22 channels you can change the PL on, the extra channels have hard coded PL's on them. Not all of the channels are 5w power, the FRS channels are .5w. In my research for these around Christmas, I looked at tons of reviews and these were the only ones that were on all lists. However, my one burn, no repeater capability. I regularly talk 2-3 miles between two different houses. Just wanted to provide my experience with these radios.
I have those radios and they work very well. I originally bought the Motorola MR350R, and they were not as good. One of the Motorolas had low volume issues, and issue others have had with the MR350R, and the range was not as good in testing as the Midland GXT1000VP4. The MIdland will no do repeaters, but for a general GMRS radio, they work quite well.

I also have the Tera-505, and are very happy with them, but for general use, we still use the Midland GXT1000VP4 since they work well and I really would not care if one got lost or damaged. The Tera is of course nicer, but I highly recommend the Midland if you just need a basic radio.
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Old 05-22-2018, 4:18 PM
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Final sanity check LOL. I ordered these and they came in today.
[url]https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01C5TEIAG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1[/url
Below is a link to the manual. I checked the uniden site to see if there was a later version than the printed one that came with the radios, but the pertinant part is the same
http://www.uniden.info/download/ompd...95-2CKHSom.pdf

Attached is the GMRS License section from the included manual. My understanding is these radios are below 2 watts for transmit. I found that data point somewhere while researching, but can't find it now.

Is the statement in there due to the manual most likely being printed before the September 2017 change to the FCC rules? Do I have the transmit power wrong?

I don't mind getting a license, but would prefer not to spend the cash needlessly.
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Old 05-22-2018, 4:20 PM
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Yes. Since these were designed a couple of years before the rules change, the O/M does not reflect the current rules. As we develop new products, we'll remove that statement.
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Old 05-22-2018, 4:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UPMan View Post
Just about all bubble-pack radios, now (including the linked one) are now "license by rule." i.e. If you follow the rules, you have a license. Often referred to as "no license required" but really means you don't have to pay for a license. The only radios that might be an exception are the ones that include the ability to operate on repeaters (one or two Motorolas and maybe a couple of Garmins). Those would still be considered GMRS and would require a paid license.
I may have relied on this post in assuming these blister pack radios were sub 2W.

A a followup question, why the hell is the information on transmit power so difficult to find. I can't even find it on Uniden's website. I don't mean that to single out Uniden, it's all radios I've looked into. It makes it pretty difficult to make sure one is staying on the right side of the law.
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Old 05-22-2018, 4:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UPMan View Post
Yes. Since these were designed a couple of years before the rules change, the O/M does not reflect the current rules. As we develop new products, we'll remove that statement.
Ah, thank you. Cheers!!!
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Old 05-22-2018, 4:46 PM
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I own the Uniden GMR5088-2CHHS Two Way Radio and very happy with it's performance. It has good range on the road and in the city through concrete and steel walls. Wife and I use them all the time instead of cell phone when we are out but go in separate directions. The 5098 is the same radio but not camo

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Old 05-22-2018, 4:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unforgiven_AF View Post
A a followup question, why the hell is the information on transmit power so difficult to find. I can't even find it on Uniden's website. I don't mean that to single out Uniden, it's all radios I've looked into. It makes it pretty difficult to make sure one is staying on the right side of the law.
Find the FCC ID number. It should be on the label along with the model and serial numbers. If you don't actually have the radio then see if you can download the manual. They usually contain the FCC ID.

Go to https://fccid.io or the FCC web site https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/repor...ericSearch.cfm and look up the FCC ID.

The equipment authorization grant will list the transmit power.
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