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GMRS / FRS - Discussions related to GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) and FRS (Family Radio Service) communications

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2018, 2:54 PM
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Default FRS/GMRS vs. Handheld CB radio

Let's say for a scenario: camping in the woods. Which would you prefer and why?
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Old 06-08-2018, 9:27 PM
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Any handheld CB is going to be somewhat disappointing. As CB uses AM, you will get static and noise as distance between units increases. Also (and likely more relevant) the antenna for CB needs to be quite a bit larger (a 1/4 wavelength is 9 feet compared to 6 inches for FRS/GMRS). While antenna can be made smaller, they lose effectiveness as they 'shrink'. Also a 1/4 wave antenna is 'looking' for a 'ground plane ' of similar dimensions. The chassis of a handheld will supply this much better at UHF frequencies than at CB frequencies. A possible advantage to CB would be that you are more likely to find an open 'channel' as most people have moved to FRS/GMRS. Expect range of around a mile or less and you will not be disappointed. The main factor for range is antenna height. If the 'base camp' is up on a hill range will improve dramatically. Either of the two is basically 'line of sight' with the GMRS/FRS being more consistent.
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Old 06-08-2018, 9:48 PM
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MURS, the Multi-Use Radio Service, should also be looked at as a 3rd option.

5 channels. 2 watts. VHF. External antennas are permitted. May have better range than a 22 channel FRS/GMRS radio, even at the same power output. (Higher power and external antennas on GMRS require a license.) Depending on the popularity of the campground, there may be fewer fellow campers on the MURS channels, versus the FRS/GMRS channels.

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Old 06-08-2018, 9:51 PM
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And we are in solar minimum so CB will not have the skip interference that can even drown out close rransmitters. But when solar maximum starts, at least during the day, skip could well drown out almost all communication on CB. GMRS and FRS is not usually subject to skip or thermal ducting thus little interference. I am not in the USA but understand GMRS requires a license but can use higher power. FRS is limited to ? 2 watts and no allowance for replacing antenna. Another option in the USA is the MURS frequencies but I cannot comment on this as it is not available in Canada.
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Old 06-08-2018, 9:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdtolkienishfig View Post
Let's say for a scenario: camping in the woods. Which would you prefer and why?
wyShack has good points.

The antenna requirements for CB sort of make it a poor choice for hand held use.
UHF (FRS and GMRS) can put a very reasonably sized antenna on a hand held radio, and it can work well.

CB with it's noise can get tiring.

Even though FRS and GMRS are more popular, there's often little use, especially when you are well away from the cities. For years, I used GMRS with family while out on our ATV's. It worked pretty well with 4 watt commercial hand held radios. We've since switched to VHF, running higher power mobiles in UTV's. Not sure I'd consider using CB again for that use.

The key to good UHF performance is having a good antenna. Most of the consumer grade/Wal*Mart radios have antennas that are physically short and will not perform as well as a longer antenna.
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Old 06-08-2018, 9:57 PM
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I would echo what wyShack and mmckenna said - I'd avoid CB and go with FRS or GMRS. If you have a GMRS license you can even use the full power on the GMRS frequencies which extends the range.
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Old 06-08-2018, 11:57 PM
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Yeah, forgot about MURS, a good option.

In some cases, VHF can outperform UHF in heavy foliage. A good 2 watt MURS radio with a decent antenna would be a great option.
Unfortunately finding good MURS radios varies form difficult to expensive.
My brother in law is using the Ritron PT150M MURS radios for his tower crews. They are pretty solid radios. Probably a bit expensive, but they'd last longer than any of the consumer grade stuff.
https://www.ritron.com/PTSeries-Ritron-2-Way-Radios
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Old 06-09-2018, 11:09 PM
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Yes, definitely go with FRS/GMRS or MURS. Good luck.
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Old 06-10-2018, 9:14 AM
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I always use FRS radios because they give good range, have low noise floor, and can use AA batteries.
CB is nothing but noise and skip most of the time.
MURs radios work ok but most lack the ability to use AA batteries.
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Old 06-11-2018, 9:43 AM
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i have recieved MURS stuff at relatively long ranges in the woods. there are some high end motion detectors you can buy that will tx the alert on MURS. "Alert Zone Two...Alert Zone Two" in a soothing female voice. i live on 30acres with no clue how far away its coming from, as my closest neighbors seem the least likely to have such things set up. i estimate its at least a mile away and through solid woods.

since you mentioned camping and are willing to tote bulky things like a handheld CB, then you'll love my next idea. assuming a bnc connection:

short part-
bnc male connector-short length of wire-allegator clip/bullet connector

long part-
long length of wire-allegator clip/bullet connector
wrapped/taped/twisted around a multisection fiberglass tent pole

type with elastic cord thru center
https://www.google.com/search?q=fibe...iw=939&bih=446

ya just unfold it, hold in hand (or my favorite, put one end in a pants pocket) clip antenna to radio and you're set.

i found some discarded on the beach years ago that were over 20ft long, most are way shorter, but ya have options.

either way it loads of fun and the chicks dig it. go ahead try it out, you'll love it. $10 cost, 10 minutes effort, and you'll be knockin squirrels outta trees in no time.

Side Note:
being unsurprisingly disappointed in BNC handheld antennas for CB/Low Band has me still pursuing one that is at least decent-ish. best so far i have found is the W-881 Portable Antenna. anyone have suggestions?

i don't care about length, it just can't be so heavy that it puts serious strain on the radio, and it needs to be flexible enough that i can smack it into stuff on a regular basis, making a telescoper unsuitable. it has to be bnc cause i don't need a bunch of adapters adding to the strain.

i have had no success in locating a Comtelco PEXL36 BNX (BNC connector) as the few who offer it for sale turn out not to have any. mentioned here: https://forums.radioreference.com/sc...k-success.html

anyone know where i could get one, or similar, from a non-overseas supplier?

Last edited by spacellamaman; 06-11-2018 at 10:04 AM.. Reason: low band antenna needed
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Old 06-11-2018, 2:51 PM
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I would go with MURS i have used MURS radio while deer hunting and also have used FRS and GMRS and the Murs out performs a lot better than the rest they cost a little more money but you wont be sorry...
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