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"Fixing GMRS" - an Editorial (AKA everyone's GMRS ideas go here)

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Joined
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I have found this thread interesting and educational, at least until tonight. So here are a few observations:
(SNIP)

As of this spring, however, there *is* a new GMRS repeater in Western NY that I can hear loud and clear and they are trying to get people to sign up for it. My first thought was, why? Why would I want to use a GMRS repeater instead of 2 meter or 70 cm ham repeater?

(SNIP)

5) But back to the "Part 90" radio recommendation. Yes, to paraphrase, Part 95E says that a radio capable of transmitting on a non-GMRS frequency cannot be certified for GMRS unless it's certified for another service where certification is required (aka Part 90). It does NOT, however, say that "Part 90 radios are automatically certified for GMRS" as some have suggested. But when I asked which Part 90 radios were also Part 95E I was told, "oh you can go look at the certification database on the FCC website".

Ha, ha, ha.

Yes, I *could*, and I have done so in the past. But again, is "Joe or Jane PotentialGMRSUser" going to do that, or even have a clue what any of that means? My bet is no.

(snip)
Great observations. Some comments on what I have quoted above.

1) As far as Ham vs GMRS. And I am sure you know this. They are totally different services. If you want family communications you could get the whole clan to take the technician test etc. Yes I have even met whole families of hams, with a young daughter working satellites. Terrific! But that is not the usual family dynamic. Folks who want something a step up from CB choose GMRS for family communications. In some Rural areas, Georgia and North Carolina, there are many linked GMRS repeaters because folks have crappy cell service. In Arizona, there are some high altitude repeaters (Big Tanks) that serve a huge footprint.

2) The FCC certification look up is broken, terribly broken. There is a third party FCC.IO that works and if you bang around you can find the actual FCC grant and learn that the XyZ company GMRS radio has some weak 9K3F3E modulation and has a power output of 353 milliwatts. No kidding a lot of consumer junk. I have been surprised and found many radios that are certified. Motorola Systems Saber for one.

You can buy new GMRS radios from some dealers who will swear up and down that they are compliant, but really they are not. Check out Rugged Radios and others.

Just an FYI. The FCC has never issued a violation to any GMRS operator for using a radio that was not certified. Not saying I endorse it, but that is the reality.

There are a lot of older dual part 90 Part 95 radios in circulation on the ebay and other sites. I am sure a freindly Kenwood dealer has a few under the desk as they were plentiful in taxi cab service.
 

alcahuete

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1) My quality of life improved IMMENSELY when I found the "Ignore" feature in the Forums.
Yeah...mine will be improving tonight as well. Russ is just absolutely ridiculous with his constant stupid proposals. Putting an end to that in just a few minutes. :)

Why would I want to use a GMRS repeater instead of 2 meter or 70 cm ham repeater?
Aside from perhaps differences in coverage, or for emergencies, or the fact that family members can use GMRS without having to go through the process of getting a ham radio, none.

They are two completely different services with two completely different uses. If you are getting on GMRS to talk to random people, like CB, forget it. Rarely happens. You might have a little better luck with that on the repeaters, but generally speaking, people don't use GMRS/FRS for that.

4) So that led to my question, which was "other than Midland, who sells a GMRS mobile"? The consensus seems to be that the Midland radios suck because they are NFM instead of FM, and that I should get a Part 90 radio instead because that's what all the REAL GMRS folks do.
This is true.


6) Even if said potential licensed user DID get a Part 90 radio, then they have to go down the path of "you need a special cable, and this really expensive software that you can only get from a dealer but they won't sell it to you because you could program your radio to transmit on public safety frequencies ...."

So that begs (again, perhaps) a couple questions: Why would I want to use GMRS, and what GOOD out-of-the box mobile GMRS radios are available?
What you have to understand is that you are on a forum with a lot of industry professionals, and by industry, I'm not referring to the GMRS industry. There are many folks involved with public safety installations, etc. Then you have the ham radio operators.

So when you get replies that the Midland radios are crap, and the real GMRS users use Part 90 radios, they are being factual...in comparison to the equipment they are accustomed to using. But the fact of the matter is that the crap Midland radios are going to work just fine for 99.9% of the average consumers. Same goes for the handheld radios, of course if you understand that you are going to get 36 miles and 50 miles and such out of two handheld radios.

Me personally? I'm a ham. I use Part 90 gear for my business. A couple of my friends just bought used XPR4550s with antennas for like $120 on eBay, and I programmed them to GMRS for them. It's going to be better than the Midland, for sure, but anytime they want to change the programming, add repeaters, etc., they're going to have to come to me or buy their own software, like you said. Is that cost worth it? I don't know. Only you can decide that. For the average consumer? Probably not.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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I am on various GMRS boards. Folks drop in all the time and ask. Should I buy xyz radio? is that a good radio? Then they want to talk some outrageous number of miles , without a very good repeater would be impossible. Someone will always pop in and say they talked 50 miles once on that radio. Yeah, from a mountain!

Early in the days of FRS, two kids were playing with FRS and heard a hiker 80 miles away on a mountain call in to them saying he broke his ankle . I figure the two kids each having a radio gave them diversity reception. So they got him help.

GMRS is a very special service. It is not duplicated anywhere in the rules or by any technology. It is flexible, expandable, high performance, low noise, low QRM low QRN, and actually very cheap. It would be a shame to have it wrecked by having parameters changed. And really there is no reason to change them. If someone wants to run less than 50 watts, they can, nobody stopping them. If they want to operate their repeater narrow band, which in my opinion is dumb, nobody is stopping them. The rules are fine the way they are.

I spent some time on Long Island and listened in on GMRS and found it was extremely active. There are serious GMRS systems there and to ask them to give up repeater pairs would be a dangerous suggestion.
 

W9BU

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Why would I want to use a GMRS repeater instead of 2 meter or 70 cm ham repeater?
REACT.

There is a fairly active REACT team in central Indiana. They support marathons, bikeathons, etc. They use GMRS and have a GMRS repeater. At one time, you had to have a GMRS license and a GMRS radio in order to get involved with their activities.
 

russbrill

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REACT.

There is a fairly active REACT team in central Indiana. They support marathons, bikeathons, etc. They use GMRS and have a GMRS repeater. At one time, you had to have a GMRS license and a GMRS radio in order to get involved with their activities.
There are also CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) groups and Fire Watch groups that have GMRS Repeaters, that's why my Re-branding/Re-Banding idea leaves 5 repeater pairs active.
 

tweiss3

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Unless the two you removed are the frequencies restricted above "Line A", you have further kneecapped a ton of people.
 

russbrill

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Unless the two you removed are the frequencies restricted above "Line A", you have further kneecapped a ton of people.
Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I will be working on a band plan revision with the Line "A" restrictions in mind..
 

AORradiofan

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I am on various GMRS boards. Folks drop in all the time and ask. Should I buy xyz radio? is that a good radio? Then they want to talk some outrageous number of miles , without a very good repeater would be impossible. Someone will always pop in and say they talked 50 miles once on that radio. Yeah, from a mountain!

Early in the days of FRS, two kids were playing with FRS and heard a hiker 80 miles away on a mountain call in to them saying he broke his ankle . I figure the two kids each having a radio gave them diversity reception. So they got him help.

GMRS is a very special service. It is not duplicated anywhere in the rules or by any technology. It is flexible, expandable, high performance, low noise, low QRM low QRN, and actually very cheap. It would be a shame to have it wrecked by having parameters changed. And really there is no reason to change them. If someone wants to run less than 50 watts, they can, nobody stopping them. If they want to operate their repeater narrow band, which in my opinion is dumb, nobody is stopping them. The rules are fine the way they are.

I spent some time on Long Island and listened in on GMRS and found it was extremely active. There are serious GMRS systems there and to ask them to give up repeater pairs would be a dangerous suggestion.
Totally agree, NY/NJ GMRS repeaters are very active. These GMRS systems are indeed serious and many of the operators are involved with emergency management or public safety. Some systems have been in place for decades. The Midland crowd wants to change GMRS to accommodate their crappy narrow band GMRS radios. Not gonna happen.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Totally agree, NY/NJ GMRS repeaters are very active. These GMRS systems are indeed serious and many of the operators are involved with emergency management or public safety. Some systems have been in place for decades. The Midland crowd wants to change GMRS to accommodate their crappy narrow band GMRS radios. Not gonna happen.
If anything needs to be fixed it is to restore the supply chain of new fully compliant GMRS mobiles, repeaters and portables. The second tier companies such as ICOM and Kenwood make acceptable radios that could fill the niche. They may be intimidated by the proliferation of crap radios. Bridgecom claims to have GMRS compliant radios but there is some doubt on that as a fact. Some concerted persuasion might be in order. I have been told yesterday by someone in the know, that there is some movement to get Part 90 radios approved by the FCC. That would be great, but only if FCC does not say HELL NO.
 

bill4long

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I have been told yesterday by someone in the know, that there is some movement to get Part 90 radios approved by the FCC. That would be great, but only if FCC does not say HELL NO.
Whether they do or not (it would be nice if they did), usage of Part 90 radios is widespread on GMRS and will continue to be. Basically, the People Have Spoken and there's nothing the FCC can do about it if they even wanted to (which they don't.) They don't have the resources or inclination to enforce their outdated regulation. People need to remember that the FCC is essentially a complaint-driven agency when it comes to these matters. Unless they are getting interference complaints, they don't care, nor should they.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Whether they do or not (it would be nice if they did), usage of Part 90 radios is widespread on GMRS and will continue to be. Basically, the People Have Spoken and there's nothing the FCC can do about it if they even wanted to (which they don't.) They don't have the resources or inclination to enforce their outdated regulation. People need to remember that the FCC is essentially a complaint-driven agency when it comes to these matters. Unless they are getting interference complaints, they don't care, nor should they.

I have been telling that to folks who claim that internet linking is prohibited. If you go to FCC EB files to look up GMRS enforcement actions you will find none on internet linking or Part 90 radios. What you will find is a few business operating GMRS illegally.
 

willjr75

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Why Russ? Do you want to be known as the guy who ruined GMRS? There are enough bad laws created by people with good intentions. I can only surmise your intentions are awful because people here and on the other BB's repeatedly told you why it is a bad proposal. Why?
Who cares. Frankly, I find his content on the matter interesting whether it happens or not. Why do you take it personal? If you do not like it, don’t participate in the thread or put him on ignore entirely.

This isn’t the RFI-EMI-GUY’s personal forum on his likes.
 

bill4long

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I have been telling that to folks who claim that internet linking is prohibited. If you go to FCC EB files to look up GMRS enforcement actions you will find none on internet linking or Part 90 radios. What you will find is a few business operating GMRS illegally.
Right. The "common carrier" classification was created back when the FCC enforced non-competes that favored the long distance phone companies. None of that matters any more in the Internet age where bandwidth is charged flat-rate and essentially non-metered. Another regulatory barnacle that can be safely ignored. There's a very active network of GMRS repeaters here in the midwest that use AllStar as the link. I think that's pretty cool. They link up with other networks on Sundays for a net, with over 150 repeaters nationwide with 100s of checkins.
 
Last edited:

russbrill

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Great observations. Some comments on what I have quoted above.

1) As far as Ham vs GMRS. And I am sure you know this. They are totally different services. If you want family communications you could get the whole clan to take the technician test etc. Yes I have even met whole families of hams, with a young daughter working satellites. Terrific! But that is not the usual family dynamic. Folks who want something a step up from CB choose GMRS for family communications. In some Rural areas, Georgia and North Carolina, there are many linked GMRS repeaters because folks have crappy cell service. In Arizona, there are some high altitude repeaters (Big Tanks) that serve a huge footprint.

2) The FCC certification look up is broken, terribly broken. There is a third party FCC.IO that works and if you bang around you can find the actual FCC grant and learn that the XyZ company GMRS radio has some weak 9K3F3E modulation and has a power output of 353 milliwatts. No kidding a lot of consumer junk. I have been surprised and found many radios that are certified. Motorola Systems Saber for one.

You can buy new GMRS radios from some dealers who will swear up and down that they are compliant, but really they are not. Check out Rugged Radios and others.

Just an FYI. The FCC has never issued a violation to any GMRS operator for using a radio that was not certified. Not saying I endorse it, but that is the reality.

There are a lot of older dual part 90 Part 95 radios in circulation on the ebay and other sites. I am sure a freindly Kenwood dealer has a few under the desk as they were plentiful in taxi cab service.
Here's the Part-95E statement concerning GMRS's purpose:

§ 95.1703 Definitions, GMRS.

General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). A mobile two-way voice communication service, with limited data applications, for facilitating activities of individual licensees and their family members, including, but not limited to, voluntary provision of assistance to the public during emergencies and natural disasters.
 

alcahuete

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Who cares. Frankly, I find his content on the matter interesting whether it happens or not. Why do you take it personal? If you do not like it, don’t participate in the thread or put him on ignore entirely.

This isn’t the RFI-EMI-GUY’s personal forum on his likes.
You must have missed the literally dozens of threads he has opened on the exact same subject. You would literally open this forum and there were 6 different threads with exactly the same thing. Then the CB forum was involved. It's just silly and ridiculous. The information is fine, it's just that he opens tons of threads on the same thing, and then hijacks everybody else's threads with his BS.

This is a HOBBYIST forum. Nobody here to my knowledge works for the FCC in any sort of capacity to make legislative changes. The place for all these stupid proposals is with the FCC. He has been told that over and over and over again, yet he continues to bring these proposals here. What he needs to do is take them to the FCC, and they need to tell him to go pound sound, which is exactly what they will do.
 

AORradiofan

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Okay, here's the latest CRS Band Plan with Line "A" taken into consideration. However, narrow banding is still a "Long Term" must have for the new plan to work.
This band plan proposal will get the FCC smack down any day of the week. You must provide a reasonable explanation to the FCC on why your proposed changes would benefit current users as well as benefit the Govt. Just the fact that they would have to change all of the Code of Federal Regulations from GMRS to CRS will kill it. What would be the benefit to me, a current licensed GMRS user, if this plan was implemented? P.S. Highway Chat Channel PL/DPL not allowed ROTFLMAO
 

bill4long

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"Fixing GMRS". A solution in search of a problem.
That's what I said awhile back (on another thread.) GMRS is what it is, it's fits a certain niche, and there is no problems to be fixed. (I would like to see Part 90 radios officially accepted by the FCC, but I'm not worried about it.) If GMRS doesn't quite fit the bill for a hobbyist, he can ham-up. If he needs something more proprietary or wants to use digital, then he can get a land-mobile license. (Easy and not too expensive if you use itinerant frequencies which require no coordination.) I am a ham, I use MURS from time to time, I have a GMRS license and use it from time to time, and have a land-mobile license. Several businesses around here use FRS. They all work perfectly well for their intended use.
 
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