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Motorola MR350R Radios

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Thunderbolt

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A friend of mine recently purchased a pair of Motorola MR350R FRS radios. The marketing information says that it has a range of 35 miles, but for an FRS radio, I find this hard to believe. Are the antennas coupled on these radios, or uncoupled? Also, what is the maximum power on these radios?

73's

Ron
 

methusaleh

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I would guess that such a range would refer to repeaters that the radio may be capable of TXing into...I know some of those "bubble pack" radios have repeater offsets accessible in them.

As far as the power output, I would run the FCC ID and see what the ERP is that was submitted in the documentation to the FCC. I think most of those store-bought radios have lossy antennas-- though the package may state 4W PEP, I would bet it is putting out closer to 1-2W ERP.
 

krokus

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If they are just FRS radios, they have half a Watt. 35 miles is possible, mountain top to mountain to, or from aircraft.

Sent via Tapatalk
 

KB7MIB

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I believe the MR350R's are FRS/GMRS hybrids, with the capability to operate through repeaters on the GMRS pairs, hence the 'R' suffix.
They most likely put out not more than 2 watts on channels 1-7 and 15+, and are limited to 0.5 watts on channels 8-14.
Your range will vary greatly, based on how far away any repeaters are, how good of a receive antenna they have to hear you, local topography (flat? hilly?), type and amount of vegetation (lots of trees, especially evergreens, can absorb UHF radio waves), and how built up your area may be (buildings can cut your transmit & receive range).
35 miles is a very generous estimate in many areas.
 

mformby

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FRS radios are limited to half of a watt per FCC Rules and Regulations. No FRS radio will talk anywhere near that distance. Now if you want to start a class action law suit all of them could be sued for false representation.
 

n1das

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I believe the MR350R's are FRS/GMRS hybrids, with the capability to operate through repeaters on the GMRS pairs, hence the 'R' suffix.
They most likely put out not more than 2 watts on channels 1-7 and 15+, and are limited to 0.5 watts on channels 8-14.
Your range will vary greatly, based on how far away any repeaters are, how good of a receive antenna they have to hear you, local topography (flat? hilly?), type and amount of vegetation (lots of trees, especially evergreens, can absorb UHF radio waves), and how built up your area may be (buildings can cut your transmit & receive range).
35 miles is a very generous estimate in many areas.
The "R" suffix denotes that they are rechargeable. The R suffix has been used on several TalkAbout models that aren't repeater capable.

I have owned a pair of these a couple of years ago. These are waterproof and can withstand being submerged in water at 1 meter depth for 30 minutes, IIRC, if I've got the model number correct. If it's the waterproof model I'm thinking of (yellow in color) they worked great and actually are well made as far as bubble packs go. I figured they had to be reasonably well made to have the IP67 waterproof rating.

35 miles is a bit generous but technically not a lie since it can easily be done between two mountain tops 35 miles apart. As usual YMMV.

I've actually communicated on GMRS simplex with a 4W commercial handheld (which has Part 95 in addition to Part 90 type acceptance) to a bubble pack a little over 50 miles away. Some friends of mine were hiking up a mountain in NH and I was also hilltopping up in the White Mountains of NH on the same weekend. We were 50-60 miles apart but were able to communicate. I had no trouble hearing the bubble pack being used.

The antennas on the Moto TalkAbouts actually are pretty good and the receivers are pretty damn sensitive from what I've found from experience. I'm comparing the bubble pack's performance with some of my commercial radios while listening to weak signals from distant repeaters in my area. I should bring one of the bubble packs into my work QTH and do some receiver senstivity measurements. I would have to open up the radio and connect a coax directly to the antenna input instead of using the antenna. The receiver's performance overall behaves a lot like my Baofeng UV5R portable, suggesting the TalkAbout uses an SDR (Software Defined Radio) type design. The TalkAbout receivers are type accepted as having a "digital direct IF" and doesn't have a local oscillator like a conventional superhet receiver would have....another reason I suspect the TalkAbouts use an SDR at the heart of its design and why they appear to have very good sensitivity.

The Motorola TalkAbouts are designed and manufactured in China for Motorola by Giant International (www.giantintl.com). Moto outsources their cheap radios as a purchase for resale deal but their higher end radios still are genuine Motorola.

EDIT: I just took a look on Giant International's website to refresh my memory. I was thinking of the MS350R yellow colored bubble packs that are waterproof and repeater capable. They are great radios and I've owned a pair of these. The OP asked about the MR350R radio and it's a different radio and not waterproof or repeater capable. The MR350R model makes the same 35 mile range claims as expected. YMMV.

Good luck.
 
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If it's anything like the MR355R (repeater capable version) it transmits FRS @ 380 mW and GMRS @ 1.32W.

Looking at the Moto page for the radios, the max is 35 miles, the average is 9 mi and the base is 2 mi. What I get from that, Moto says 2 miles as long as there is LOS.

From playing around with some numbers, I'm coming up with a RX signal of -85 dB to get a 35 mile range on what I would assume to be dipole antennas at the specified transmit power for GMRS. Now plugging different signal levels below -85 dB (down to -70 dB), I begin to see how they arrive at these numbers.
 

SCPD

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It's caller clever marketing. Sure it could possibly have a 35 mile range from mountain top to mountain top of the FRS freqs, but how often does that happen. In theory I could be on the observation deck on the Willis tower in Chicago and talk to someone in a tall building in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but who the hell does that.

That is what makes me ticked off with Motorola and other bubble pack manufactures to make these distance claims and users thinking the same. Those users are in for a big disappointment when it does not get the 35 mile range as listed on the package. More likely 98% of users are in the half mile range just due to the terrain and objects between point A to B and don't understand the technical aspects of two way radio. Want something close to that range, get a GMRS license, put up a repeater or get on an open / paid membership one.

The people who offer such services usually take great care in their system to have maximum range and quality. I once operated a GMRS repeater and it was a nightmare so it was pulled off the air. Kudos to the repeater owners who take pride in their systems and I have no issue supporting them financially or technically. GMRS is great for quick two way communications when cell service is iffy.

Just my .02¢ worth.
 
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