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Legal License Free (Or Easy To Obtain Licnese) Radio Choices

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JASII

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I have not been paying much attention lately to the various choices available in the U.S. for either license free, or easy of obtain license, communications choices. Both my wife and I are licensed amateur radio operators, BUT neither of our sons have shown much interest, so I will rule that out for now. Anyway, I just want to do a re-cap here, just in case something else is out there that I am unaware of. I am mainly focusing on something for an upcoming cruise, but these may be used other places as well. This is what I am currently aware of:

-Citizens Band (CB): I used it 35 years ago. I am not a big fan of AM.

-49 mHz: Is there ANYTHING here any longer? Was it all junk?

-Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS): I like this. I think 2 watts on VHF-FM may be a good option.

-Family Radio Service (FRS): I think 500 milliwatts on UHF-FM is okay, but too many other nuisance users when I have tried it. Both PL and DPL help, but only so much.

-PMR446 (Private Mobile Radio, 446 MHz): Can these be legally used while on the high seas and in some ports in the Caribbean? I suppose I could legally use these as a ham radio operator here in the US, but I don't recall if they are in the right part of the 70 cm band here in the US.

-General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS): I like that it allows more power, but much like FRS, there seems to be too many nuisance users. Again, both PL and DPL help, but only so much.

-900 MHz ISM License-Free Band: I think there are more choices today than ever. The Motorola DTR650/DTR550/DTR410 look interesting. It looks like TriSquare is still around, as well. I have several old Motorola (Nextel) units now that work on Direct Talk (AKA: Moto Talk and LINC Around)

-2.4 gHz ISM License-Free Band: It looks like European Motorola DTRT2430/DTR2450 has very low power! Just out of curiosity, does anybody happen to know if these could be used legally in the US? Not that I would want to, mind you, but I am just wondering. I assume that they could be since it is a legal, license free band here in the US, as well.

Anyway, that is all that I am aware of right now. From my perspective, I like the idea of MURS because if I get the right VHF unit, it could legally be used for amateur and MURS. However, when it comes to going on a cruise, I think MURS is for the US only.

Similar to MURS, I like GMRS, since the proper transceiver could be used for amateur and GMRS. Again, when it comes to going on a cruise, I think GMRS is for the US only.

So, I guess by process of elimination, that suddenly narrows the choices to Direct Talk. I guess I am not completely certain that they can be used legally while at sea or in port, but I guess from the standpoint of not "sticking out like a sore thumb", using Nextels may blend in a bit better than traditional walkie talkies.



http://www.trisquare.us/images/media/press/10-FeatureDigitalTwo-Way.pdf

http://www.trisquare.us/tsx300.htm

http://www.trisquare.us/images/SS212920508-300 Trisquare.pdf

Even though it is too expensive for my blood, the Garmin Rino 655t, which is both a 5 W FRS/GMRS radio AND a GPS, looks really sweet! https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=146&pID=82799

Motorola r765IS Nextel iDen Cell Phone Two Way Radio - Intrinsically Safe # | eBay

http://www.engadget.com/2009/04/17/motorolas-r765-and-r765is-could-crush-your-phone-with-their-bar/

http://www.motorola.com/web/Business/_Documents/Specifications/Static Flies/R765_Spec_Sheet.pdf
 
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KD8DVR

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We use the TriSquare radios for our family comms. Worked great on a cruise ship too :) No having to deal with unlicensed fools on GMRS and annoying call tones and folks talking over one another at large venues. MURS is good too; but suffers indoors. No license for either. I let my GMRS license expire, since there is too much pirate activity. Sold all my radios.
 

JASII

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Thank you very much for the reply. I am wondering if you have ever done any range testing. Can you talk 1 mile with these or is that pretty unlikely? I tested my Direct Talk Nextels this weekend and I can get a little over 1/2 a mile. Maybe 6/10th of a mile.
 

KD8DVR

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Thank you very much for the reply. I am wondering if you have ever done any range testing. Can you talk 1 mile with these or is that pretty unlikely? I tested my Direct Talk Nextels this weekend and I can get a little over 1/2 a mile. Maybe 6/10th of a mile.
My range tests indeed exceeded a mile range outdoors. In actual use, we were able to communicate from the parking lot and entrance to Magic Kingdom to past the Castle, when my wife had to be taken to our car for insulin reloads.

They also made it through 90% of a cruise ship! Surprised me. Our cabin was on the bottom passenger deck, and I could communicate half the ship away and 8 decks up. With my wife on higher decks, we could make it across from bow to stern.
 
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Call it a day and just purchase some of the 900 DTR radios or some older nextel phones for the direct talk *off network capability.

I have the DTR radios and they are phenomenal. Great battery life, great sound quality (gen 2), decent range (never less than 1 mile but never more than 2 in my experience) and privacy.

2.4 ghz won't work very well at all, its way too high frequency

I have a set of MURS radios and usually get less than the DTR radios in a semi urban environment. I think there is just too much interference in the VHF band to make sense of it unless you are on a farm, skiing or somewhere far off the beaten bath.
 

prcguy

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I have some Selex PRC-343, 50 milliwat 2.4GHz transceivers and they get about the same range as the Trisquare 1w 900MHz radios.
prcguy




Call it a day and just purchase some of the 900 DTR radios or some older nextel phones for the direct talk *off network capability.

I have the DTR radios and they are phenomenal. Great battery life, great sound quality (gen 2), decent range (never less than 1 mile but never more than 2 in my experience) and privacy.

2.4 ghz won't work very well at all, its way too high frequency

I have a set of MURS radios and usually get less than the DTR radios in a semi urban environment. I think there is just too much interference in the VHF band to make sense of it unless you are on a farm, skiing or somewhere far off the beaten bath.
 

connscan

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I love my DTR 900 Mhz radios. With 1 watt RF output, they talk just as good if not better than a 5 watt HT on GMRS. They cost a bit more, but they don't suffer co-channel issues like FRS/GMRS/MURS and the other mass marketed HT's out there on other bands. I have TriSquare HT's also. I like the DTR's better. The only drawback is cost. The DTR's are also much more durable than the TriSquare. Mil Spec 810 C, D, E, F. Better range as well. Audio output on DTR's is 1 Watt. Much louder than the TriSquare. And best of all, 900 Mhz NO FCC LICENSE REQUIRED! (Unsure of laws or regs outside of the US).

Call it a day and just purchase some of the 900 DTR radios or some older nextel phones for the direct talk *off network capability.

I have the DTR radios and they are phenomenal. Great battery life, great sound quality (gen 2), decent range (never less than 1 mile but never more than 2 in my experience) and privacy.

2.4 ghz won't work very well at all, its way too high frequency

I have a set of MURS radios and usually get less than the DTR radios in a semi urban environment. I think there is just too much interference in the VHF band to make sense of it unless you are on a farm, skiing or somewhere far off the beaten bath.
 
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gm991

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Call it a day and just purchase some of the 900 DTR radios or some older nextel phones for the direct talk *off network capability.

I have the DTR radios and they are phenomenal. Great battery life, great sound quality (gen 2), decent range (never less than 1 mile but never more than 2 in my experience) and privacy.

2.4 ghz won't work very well at all, its way too high frequency

I have a set of MURS radios and usually get less than the DTR radios in a semi urban environment. I think there is just too much interference in the VHF band to make sense of it unless you are on a farm, skiing or somewhere far off the beaten bath.
Sorry if this seems like a dumb question, but new to this......;)
When you say get some old nextels and do direct talk off network, do you mean I could pick up to old Nextel phones and us them as two way radios without activating the phones on a service plan??

Thanks
 

JASII

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Legal License Free (Or Easy To Obtain License) Radio Choices

Sorry if this seems like a dumb question, but new to this......;)
When you say get some old nextels and do direct talk off network, do you mean I could pick up to old Nextel phones and us them as two way radios without activating the phones on a service plan??

Thanks
Yes, that is what it means. Not all Nextels have, or had, Direct Talk, but the ones that do have it can be used even without the unit being subscribed for regular service.
 
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