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Help with setting up long range (50+ mile) GMRS Radio communications solution.

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byaeger

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Hello, I would like some help/tips on hoe to set up a long range gmrs communication system, what I would like is handheld (Baofeng BF-F8HP) Radios that I would use when I get out of the car. And for when I'm in the car I will be using a Talkcoop KT-8900D Mobile/Car radio found on amazon. And as the base station I will use the same KT-8900D or similar. I would like to do this all with distance of 50 or more miles. What got me Into it is my son's school bus firststudent has a similar system where the busses have some sort of Motorola radio and the base station. My gmrs call sign is WRBQ935. Thanks to anyone who can help.
 

nd5y

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You are not going to get 50 mile range, especially with junk Chinese radios, on GMRS without having a repeater or base station on a mountain top or 500+ foot tower.
 

byaeger

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Well Jesus you could of been a little nicer, I didn't know that. I'm just getting into radios. Thanks for the reply, maybe more like 20 miles I think 50 miles is just to much.
 

mmckenna

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Hello, I would like some help/tips on hoe to set up a long range gmrs communication system, what I would like is handheld (Baofeng BF-F8HP) Radios that I would use when I get out of the car. And for when I'm in the car I will be using a Talkcoop KT-8900D Mobile/Car radio found on amazon. And as the base station I will use the same KT-8900D or similar. I would like to do this all with distance of 50 or more miles. What got me Into it is my son's school bus firststudent has a similar system where the busses have some sort of Motorola radio and the base station. My gmrs call sign is WRBQ935. Thanks to anyone who can help.
Unless you live at the top of a tall hill, or on the roof of a very tall building, you are not going to get 50 miles of range without a GMRS repeater. Installing your own repeater is allowed under the FCC rules, but it can be a time consuming and expensive solution. Even if you scored a free UHF repeater, you need the mountain top or tall tower to mount it on. Towers and tall mountain tops are not usually free.

Simplex communications, radio to radio, on UHF frequencies is going to be roughly line of sight. If your antenna can see the other antenna, it's going to work. Put too much dirt in the way, and it's not going to work.

The other complication is that by FCC GMRS rules, the radios you use need to have a valid FCC Part 95 certification.

Those are really low tier consumer radios and you'll likely have issues. If you want reliable communications, you need to figure out what your budget is and invest more in your equipment. Going with the low end Chinese stuff isn't going to work out well.
 

nd5y

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Well Jesus you could of been a little nicer
What wasn't nice about what I posted? I wasn't picking on you personally, just stating a fact. Let me clarify it. It's not just YOU that can't get 50 mile range. The laws of physics and radio propagation apply to everybody.
 

mmckenna

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Well Jesus you could of been a little nicer, I didn't know that. I'm just getting into radios. Thanks for the reply, maybe more like 20 miles I think 50 miles is just to much.
I hear what you are saying, but he's giving you accurate feedback.

The low end "junk" radios sold on Amazon and E-Bay are really poor performers. Lack of proper filtering, very poor quality control, and cheap components really do equal junk.
It's OK you didn't know that, most people don't. They see a low price and a lot of features, and assume it's a good product. China is not interested in helping out the US hobbyists. Even with the low prices, they are still making a healthy profit on these products, which should tell you something. There's a very good reason why the bus company is using Motorola radios in their busses. Reliability, quality and performance.

These Amazon/E-Bay products are aimed at consumers that don't understand the difference. They see the low price and are hooked.

And, 20 miles, still going to be a problem, unless you live on top of that hill or tall building. For simplex communications on the flat lands, you are going to be lucky if you get 5 miles or so at best. It's about line of sight. You'll need to address that to get anything close to 50 or even 20 miles of range.

Keep asking questions, we'll help you out. Ideally you need to state what your needs are, and what your budget is. From that we can make some better recommendations. Choosing the radios first is sort of putting the cart before the horse.

You'll need to look at this as an entire system package, not individual components at this stage. Based off your coverage desires, you are looking at an expensive solution. You're going to need some quality gear and investment to get what you are looking for.


There are other options besides GMRS that might work, but give us a bit more of an idea of what your usage will be and we can talk more.
 

KK4JUG

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byaeger, just because you didn't get the information you wanted to hear doesn't mean anyone was being brash or picking on you. He was giving you "down-and-dirty" information without beating around the bush.
 

byaeger

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Sorry nd5y, I guess if you would have said that in person I wouldn't of considered it rude. I apologize, You were just giving me accurate info. Thank you everyone for your help!! I just don't have a lot of money to buy a really good radio. I appreciate everyone's feedback!!
 

mmckenna

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Sorry nd5y, I guess if you would have said that in person I wouldn't of considered it rude. I apologize, You were just giving me accurate info. Thank you everyone for your help!! I just don't have a lot of money to buy a really good radio. I appreciate everyone's feedback!!
Understood. But keep in mind, a cheap radio isn't going to work any better. I would recommend taking your time and reading up on these systems rather than buying an unsuitable radio. You'll have a better go of it if you get the right equipment in the first place.

You can easily start with a base and a mobile, or a portable radio and see how well it works on simplex. Start small, build up.
 

PCTEK

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The most cot effective and easy to use is a smartphone app called Zello. They work like a push to talk walkie talkie. They in essence have the same coverage as your cell phone. (the use a portion of the cellular bandwidth) You can create your own Zello group which multiple people can talk to each other. The app is free and so is it's usage. That's long distance solution #1.

Solution #2. Get HAM licensed. While a decent Hand Held walkie talkie (Wouxun, forget Beofung stuff) will cost you around $160, you can make use of community repeaters. Some repeater owners may charge a small access fee, but that's rare.

So check out the Zello app for your smartphone. It my be all that you need.

Steve
 

KK4JUG

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What you want to do might not take a "really good" radio but it'll take a pretty good one and I don't think there's a Baofeng on the planet that'll do what you want. In addition, that radio is not certified for GMRS usage. Even though people use it (and the ones it was cloned from) for all kinds of things, I believe it's certified for ham use only.
 

bob550

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The bus company is most likely using a repeater system which they may own or rent. Repeaters, simply put, act as relay stations to receive, amplify, and retransmit over greater distances. The repeater and associated antenna may be located on top of a mountain or tall building making it possible to transmit over a wide area. You also mention the buses using Motorola radios. Motorola builds professional-caliber radios, and are in wide use by many public safety agencies and businesses throughout the country. But, even police and fire department radio systems would be hard-pressed to achieve a 50 mile range. Honestly, as a private citizen, your best bet for reliable 50+ mile communication is a cell phone.
 

UPMan

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To clarify, a bit, a very expensive US made GMRS radio won't do 50 miles simplex, either (unless you are at the top of a mountain). Any terrain blocking the signal path will result in 0 comms. Feet on the ground on flat earth, the horizon is 3 miles away.
 

Fowler

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Where are you located? Your profile doesnt say...
50 miles is easy up here at 10,850 ASL!
 

K7MFC

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BS advertised range

I'm genuinely curious as to why a marketing team would consider their customers so dumb that they can make an outrageous claims like a 50 mile range on a cheap HT. Example:



Are claims like these flaunting Truth in Advertising and deceiving the consumer? Or are they just being jerks because you can theoretically talk 50 miles given the right conditions, such as from a mountain peak to peak?
 

jonwienke

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The latter. The units will perform as advertised, but only under ideal conditions (mountain to mountain) most users will never encounter. Range is always caveated "up to" in the fine print.
 

UPMan

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We test those to 50 miles. Our test setup is one person at the top of Mt. Scott in Oklahoma, the other person across the Red River in Texas. The radios achieve the rated range. We also, on that same web page, say "Range is line-of-sight and will vary based on terrain."
 

bharvey2

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Byaeger, Since you already have a GMRS license, you might want to investigate whether there are an GMRS repeaters in your area. One place to start is the following website: https://www.mygmrs.com If there are, and you can get permission to use them, you're effective range could be increased significantly. Also, you can get some used, Part 95 radios (legal for GMRS) for pretty reasonable prices. Depending upon your choice, you may even approach the cheap, Amazon radio pricing A Kenwood TK-880 mobile radio can likely be found on E-Bay for around $50. Other brands and models will work as well.
 
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