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Listen to all GMRS / FRS on Wouxon

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cdabilly

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I just got my first radio, a Wouxun KG-UV6X.

The primary purpose for purchasing it is I wanted my own radio, rather then using unit radios when I am out with my Search and Rescue team.

I have it programmed and it's up and running fine on our SAR frequencies. I even have all of the GMRS and FRS channels programmed in and that works fine and I even understand how to put in the privacy tones so that I can program in a GMRS / FRS channel with privacy code.

So now for the million dollar question:
Is it possible to make it so that I can program the FRS / GMRS to hear all privacy codes?

For example I have FRS channel 9 programmed in. If someone talks on FRS channel 9 I hear that no problem. But if they go to channel 9 / privacy code 11 - my unit lights up and I can see that they are transmitting but I don't hear anything.

Now I can see how to program in the privacy codes and if I program in the privacy code for channel 9 privacy code 11 I can hear that transmission fine.

I understand how privacy channels work, and that it is just a tone that is transmitted and the radio makes the decision to ignore anything with the tone sent if you are not set to listen to the privacy channel using that tone. I would love to make it so that if anyone broadcasts on a GMRS / FRS channel my radio ignores the tone and I can hear the transmission.

The main reason for this is not to be nosey, but so that while on missions I can scan the GMRS / FRS frequencies and maybe locate the subject if they are transmitting.

Thanks in advance.
 

robertmac

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Just don't put a tone decode in. Leave your radio CSQ and it will pick up everything, whether they are transmitting a tone or not. The tone decode is so that you do not hear everything.
 

pyro424

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I find it is almost better to use a standard FRS / GMRS radio for this purpose. Like one of the small bubble pack ones that include both FRS and GMRS. Those allow you to scan and will lock onto a channel and right away give you the privacy code. Be it DCS or CTCSS. Then you can go ahead and put that code into your wouxon if you so desire. I feel so strongly about this that I actually only bother programing a couple of the FRS / GMRS channels into my radios. Usually FRS channels 1-3 with no codes just wide open. If anyone knows what they are doing they will call for help on either channel 1 or 3 with no code. For the people that do not know what they are doing, well then I feel it is best to listen for them on either a scanner or a FRS radio itself. Also of course I will program in all the MURS channels. Most models of radio's will allow you to do a CTCSS / DCS code search on any given frequency. This feature is useful on the ham bands when trying to find out how to access a repeater you are unfamiliar with. But it takes time to enable that function and then you are limited to checking for codes on just that one frequency. This is why hands down I say your best option is one of the FRS / GMRS radios itself. That way you are checking all channels and privacy codes while scanning. Now in the city it can be a real ***** and real noisy with all the traffic on there. But for in rural areas or out in the bush this is a good option. (where I assume you would be doing SAR activities out of cell phone range) It really couldn't be that big of a deal to throw one of those in your pack. Also as far a legalities go you are not technically supposed to be transmitting with any radio on the FRS / GMRS band on any radio that is not approved. However I am sure a lot of people have been breaking this rule. But heck the more radios the better! Just my thoughts on this.
 
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krokus

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Ignoring the legal issues, there is also the problem of the Wouxon radio being configured for different deviations than the FRS radios.

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cdabilly

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I find it is almost better to use a standard FRS / GMRS radio for this purpose. Like one of the small bubble pack ones that include both FRS and GMRS. Those allow you to scan and will lock onto a channel and right away give you the privacy code. Be it DCS or CTCSS.
I currently do carry a blister pack radio with me as well. But since I can have the Wouxon locked on one channel (i.e. my SAR channel) and scan simultaneously I was hoping to dump the blister pack radio and just carry one radio. Jut less batteries to carry, less weight, less stuff on my chest pack, etc.

Also as far a legalities go you are not technically supposed to be transmitting with any radio on the FRS / GMRS band on any radio that is not approved. However I am sure a lot of people have been breaking this rule. But heck the more radios the better! Just my thoughts on this.
Two questions on this as I am really new to a lot of the radio stuff:
1.) As long as I was only transmitting in an emergency - i.e. responding to a person asking for help then isn't it legal?
2.) I know the Wouxon is an FCC approved commercial radio and the FRS / GRMS frequencies are within it's range. So I thought it was perfectly okay to transmit with this (I know I would need a GRMS license to transmit on GRMS), but it sounds like the fact that it can work on those ranges and that it is FCC approved doesn't mean you can actually use it for that...is that correct?
 
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2.) I know the Wouxon is an FCC approved commercial radio and the FRS / GRMS frequencies are within it's range. So I thought it was perfectly okay to transmit with this (I know I would need a GRMS license to transmit on GRMS), but it sounds like the fact that it can work on those ranges and that it is FCC approved doesn't mean you can actually use it for that...is that correct?
It's FCC Part 90 Approved. GMRS is governed by Part 95. If staying legal is the plan, you're only good transmitting from it on Amateur or Part 90 freqs, and covered by a license for each. Your SAR group license would protect you on the SAR freqs. Amateur is Part 97, but there is no requirement for type certification of equipment due to the experimental nature of Part 97 operations. Many hams love the Wouxon and use it on 2m and 70cm.

That the radio will do it so it's OK, is like saying it's OK to drive 125 in a 50 because the car will do it. Same stuff, different machine.
 

krokus

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1.) As long as I was only transmitting in an emergency - i.e. responding to a person asking for help then isn't it legal?
No. In a nutshell, a ham that is a Novice class license holder would be talk on Extra class allocations, to answer a MAYDAY call. Outside of that, you are not legal. Being part of a SAR operation is not responding to a MAYDAY directly, unless the missing person is in direct contact with you.

There are multiple threads on the topic on this site, and most other radio forums.

2 .) I know the Wouxon is an FCC approved commercial radio and the FRS / GRMS frequencies are within it's range. So I thought it was perfectly okay to transmit with this (I know I would need a GRMS license to transmit on GRMS), but it sounds like the fact that it can work on those ranges and that it is FCC approved doesn't mean you can actually use it for that...is that correct?
Certain models are Part 90 approved, if locked into channelized operations. FRS and GMRS are not Part 90 services.

Once again, there are multiple threads on the topic.

All of that said, do what your conscience tells you. Personally, I will answer a MAYDAY call on any frequency I can, and fight the infraction later.

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cdabilly

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Awesome feedback guys.

Thanks for all the fantastic info!

Looking forward to learning a lot more and getting into some of this radio stuff!!!
 

Kirk

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Another tip: If you're working a SAR callout and need to monitor a particular frequency that your SAR team is on, putting the radio in scan will almost certainly result in missing calls. The Wouxons have very poor scan speeds and no priority scan.

As a former SAR volunteer dispatcher, there was nothing more frustrating than trying to find someone when they're off on some other frequency.
 

cdabilly

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Another tip: If you're working a SAR callout and need to monitor a particular frequency that your SAR team is on, putting the radio in scan will almost certainly result in missing calls. The Wouxons have very poor scan speeds and no priority scan.

As a former SAR volunteer dispatcher, there was nothing more frustrating than trying to find someone when they're off on some other frequency.
Thanks! The Wouxon I have allows you to listen to two channels simultaneously. Not sure what that feature is called, but you use the A/B button to flip between which channel is active and that you can transmit on.

So I was going to leave my SAR channel active with the secondary channel in scan mode.
 

apleschu

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Just to be clear: you can LISTEN all day long and that is perfectly legal. Transmitting is a different issue.

But as has already been said in this thread: if life or limb is at risk, I too care less about rules at that point. Or in other words: would you rather die or let someone die because somebody might feel its not OK to transmit with this radio on frequencies it was not approved for? For *ME* the choice is an easy one. Cavalier transmissions on unapproved bands are entirely different issues. (try to avoid)
 
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