New guy here with a few new guy questions

Joined
Aug 5, 2020
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3
Hi all and greetings from somewhere in Virginia!

Planning on jumping on the ham radio bandwagon and after doing some research it seems this is the best place to hang out to learn about these radios and exchange information with others since COVID puts local meets off. I've done some research and have purchased a BTECH MURS V-1 with a Nagoya 8in whip and a BTECH programming cable, as well as a Baofeng UV-5r+ which will allegedly be here Monday. I got the MURS V-1 with the intention to learn on it whilst studying for my licensing test to use the UV-5R+ because as I understand it you don't need any licensing to use MURS frequencies. Please correct me on this and anything else in this posting if I'm wrong.

I'm happy to upgrade to better and more expensive systems but figured I'd learn the ropes with a cheaper setup.


Having said all that, I've got a couple questions:

Is MURS reliable and strong enough to stick with for use in the hills and mountains with thick foliage within a mile or slightly more of another receiver(transceiver? transmitter?thing?)
I'd like to be able to use it for hunting when we go out in pairs or more.


Is there any specific MURS etiquette, or radio etiquette I'm general should pay attention to or need to know? Ideally when we hunt we'd have our own channels but I know there's a small assortment of them and it's possible to accidentally walk onto someone else's channel as I understand it.

The lingo! Would someone mind breaking down some of the slang or terms used on here? I understand what FRS, GMRS, MURS and CB are, as well as the UHF and VHF but could use help with some other terms I've seen that seem common.


Is GMRS worth getting licensed for, and if so would it be better to use than MURS for what I want to use it for? I'm happy to get the license as is my usual hunting buddy, but I don't want to jump the gun if it's not going to be beneficial.

Thank you all in advance and I'm looking forward to being a contributing member here!
 

alcahuete

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Good luck on getting your license! There are a lot of groups that do online testing now during Covid, so once you're all studied up, seek one out, take your test, and you're good to go. :)

Is MURS reliable and strong enough to stick with for use in the hills and mountains with thick foliage within a mile or slightly more of another receiver(transceiver? transmitter?thing?)
I'd like to be able to use it for hunting when we go out in pairs or more.
Yes. In fact, MURS (VHF) is probably your best option under those conditions. A mile may or may not be doable, really just depends, but most likely it will be fine.

Is there any specific MURS etiquette, or radio etiquette I'm general should pay attention to or need to know? Ideally when we hunt we'd have our own channels but I know there's a small assortment of them and it's possible to accidentally walk onto someone else's channel as I understand it.
There is no such thing as having your own channel. They are shared channels. So accordingly, you can't accidentally walk onto someone else's channel, because it isn't theirs. There are 5 MURS channels available for shared use, and as long as you are not near a WalMart, I would put the chances of not being able to find a clear channel for your use at zero. MURS is extremely underutilized.

The lingo! Would someone mind breaking down some of the slang or terms used on here? I understand what FRS, GMRS, MURS and CB are, as well as the UHF and VHF but could use help with some other terms I've seen that seem common.
What specific terms?


Is GMRS worth getting licensed for, and if so would it be better to use than MURS for what I want to use it for? I'm happy to get the license as is my usual hunting buddy, but I don't want to jump the gun if it's not going to be beneficial.
What GMRS gets you over MURS is more channels, the ability to run higher power (which really isn't going to apply to handhelds), and the ability to use repeaters. GMRS (UHF) is not likely to work as well in the thick woods.
 

mmckenna

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Hi all and greetings from somewhere in Virginia!

Planning on jumping on the ham radio bandwagon and after doing some research it seems this is the best place to hang out to learn about these radios and exchange information with others since COVID puts local meets off. I've done some research and have purchased a BTECH MURS V-1 with a Nagoya 8in whip and a BTECH programming cable, as well as a Baofeng UV-5r+ which will allegedly be here Monday. I got the MURS V-1 with the intention to learn on it whilst studying for my licensing test to use the UV-5R+ because as I understand it you don't need any licensing to use MURS frequencies. Please correct me on this and anything else in this posting if I'm wrong.
"Don't need any licensing" is sort of incorrect. No, you do not need to apply for an FCC license to use MURS, FRS, or CB. However, these radio services are referred to as "license by rule". The FCC considers you 'licensed' if you are following all the rules that apply that radio service. I'd advise you to get comfortable with FCC Part 95 rules that apply to MURS:

When you get your amateur radio license, be sure to read and fully understand the FCC Part 97 rules that apply to the amateur radio service:

Be aware, the FCC rules can be confusing and hard to read, so take your time. But you'll find it answers a lot of your questions. Also, MURS rules only apply to MURS frequencies, and amateur radio rules only apply to amateur radio frequencies. Don't make the mistake of confusing the two. Your amateur radio license only grants you permission on amateur radio frequencies, no where else. Same with MURS.

Is MURS reliable and strong enough to stick with for use in the hills and mountains with thick foliage within a mile or slightly more of another receiver(transceiver? transmitter?thing?)
I'd like to be able to use it for hunting when we go out in pairs or more.
MURS allows 2 watts on 5 VHF frequencies. 2 watts on VHF can work pretty well in that sort of environment, but no one can tell you with 100% certainty that it's going to work. Only way to know for sure is to try it. Local topography, RF noise, etc. can all impact coverage.
As for hunting, be sure to check with the state fish and game enforcement/rules. Some states do not allow use of two way radios when hunting. It varies by state, so find out for sure from the source.


Is there any specific MURS etiquette, or radio etiquette I'm general should pay attention to or need to know? Ideally when we hunt we'd have our own channels but I know there's a small assortment of them and it's possible to accidentally walk onto someone else's channel as I understand it.
Read the FCC rules as they apply to MURS.
Use plain language.
Understand that it is a shared radio service and you do not have your "own channel". You must share the resources with others.
But, yeah, MURS can be lightly used and it's relatively short range, so if you hear someone on the channel you want to use, just pick one of the other 4.
Also, understand that the 5 MURS channels do have grandfathered licensed users that are still permitted to use the channels. It's not uncommon to hear some retailers and even fast food drive throughs using some of the channels. They all have the same rights to those channels you do, and often do not have the ability to change to a different channel if you are interfering with them.

The lingo! Would someone mind breaking down some of the slang or terms used on here? I understand what FRS, GMRS, MURS and CB are, as well as the UHF and VHF but could use help with some other terms I've seen that seem common.
Well, it's an entire area of technology and industry that not only has it's own language, abbreviations and terms, but it's own slang. Very difficult to cover it all. Best to ask questions as well as read the FCC rules that will cover some of the acronyms.


Is GMRS worth getting licensed for, and if so would it be better to use than MURS for what I want to use it for? I'm happy to get the license as is my usual hunting buddy, but I don't want to jump the gun if it's not going to be beneficial.
It's like the adult diapers: "Depends".

Since you have already purchased a MURS radio, there's part of your answer. Investing in more radios gets costly, and when you get your amateur license, there's a LOT of places to spend money. If you recently won the Lotto, then, yeah, buy them all.
If not, stick to what you have.

As for GMRS, it does have some benefits:
One license covers your entire family, aunts, uncles, inlaws. That's pretty useful.
Your GMRS license will not cover your hunting buddy. He/She will need to get their own license unless they are a direct relative of yours.
GMRS allows up to 50 watts on some specific UHF channels, and 5 watts on others. 50 watts and even 5 watts can outperform the 2 watts on VHF/MURS. While VHF can work well in the hills and heavy foliage, UHF can bounce around well and penetrate buildings a bit better. GMRS allow repeaters, which can be useful, however there are not as many GMRS repeaters as there are amateur radio repeaters.
Decent GMRS and MURS radios can be hard to find. The Cheap Chinese Radios are not great at what they do. They are sort of bottom of the barrel stuff. Many people like them, but usually it's because they haven't had the opportunity to use higher grade gear and don't know what they are missing.

I'd say stick with the MURS radios for now. When you get your amateur license, you'll want a better radio. Then work on getting your friend interested in getting their license.
 

AK9R

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Planning on jumping on the ham radio bandwagon...
You say you want to get into amateur ("ham") radio and then you talk about MURS and GMRS.

MURS, GMRS, FRS, and CB are not Amateur Radio.

Amateur Radio in the U.S. is covered by FCC rules in what is known as Part 97. There are specific rules for amateur radio licensing and there are specific parts of the radio spectrum available for use by licensed amateur radio operators starting with just above the AM broadcast band all the way up to microwaves.

MURS, GMRS, FRS, and CB are covered in Part 95 of the FCC rules. GMRS is a licensed personal radio service, but GMRS is limited to specific channels in the 462 and 467 MHz frequency ranges. MURS is a licensed personal radio service limited to specific channels in the 151-154 MHz range. CB and FRS are personal radio services that are "licensed by rule" as mmckenna describes above. CB is limited to 40 channels in the 27 MHz range and FRS is limited to 22 channels in the 462 and 467 MHz frequency ranges.

Generally, radios marketed for Amateur Radio use cannot legally be used on MURS, GMRS, FRS, or CB as the FCC requires that radios operating in those services meet FCC rules and be FCC certified for those services.
 

KC5AKB

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Aug 8, 2010
Messages
319
Location
North Texas
Hi all and greetings from somewhere in Virginia!

Planning on jumping on the ham radio bandwagon and after doing some research it seems this is the best place to hang out to learn about these radios and exchange information with others since COVID puts local meets off. I've done some research and have purchased a BTECH MURS V-1 with a Nagoya 8in whip and a BTECH programming cable, as well as a Baofeng UV-5r+ which will allegedly be here Monday. I got the MURS V-1 with the intention to learn on it whilst studying for my licensing test to use the UV-5R+ because as I understand it you don't need any licensing to use MURS frequencies. Please correct me on this and anything else in this posting if I'm wrong.

I'm happy to upgrade to better and more expensive systems but figured I'd learn the ropes with a cheaper setup.


Having said all that, I've got a couple questions:

Is MURS reliable and strong enough to stick with for use in the hills and mountains with thick foliage within a mile or slightly more of another receiver(transceiver? transmitter?thing?)
I'd like to be able to use it for hunting when we go out in pairs or more.


Is there any specific MURS etiquette, or radio etiquette I'm general should pay attention to or need to know? Ideally when we hunt we'd have our own channels but I know there's a small assortment of them and it's possible to accidentally walk onto someone else's channel as I understand it.

The lingo! Would someone mind breaking down some of the slang or terms used on here? I understand what FRS, GMRS, MURS and CB are, as well as the UHF and VHF but could use help with some other terms I've seen that seem common.


Is GMRS worth getting licensed for, and if so would it be better to use than MURS for what I want to use it for? I'm happy to get the license as is my usual hunting buddy, but I don't want to jump the gun if it's not going to be beneficial.

Thank you all in advance and I'm looking forward to being a contributing member here!
Yes I would be glad to drop me a msg.
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2020
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3
WOW! Y'all are fantastic!

I very much appreciate the information and corrections. I had no idea that amateur radio "ham" was different from MURS, GMRS, FRS or CB, I thought those were all under the amateur radio umbrella. Thank you all for the FCC links as well, those help greatly. I'm thinking I'll type up some cheat sheets for each one I use to help me remember all of the different rules and regulations.

It now seems to me that I may not have a use for amateur radio at all and might just stick with MURS and possibly GMRS for my purposes, since I'll be using handhelds almost exclusively though I may do a vehicle mount for my hunting truck.

How will I know when to upgrade setups if I'm not able to get hands on with the better equipment first? Should I do so when I'm comfortable or is my equipment "good enough"?
 

mmckenna

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It now seems to me that I may not have a use for amateur radio at all and might just stick with MURS and possibly GMRS for my purposes, since I'll be using handhelds almost exclusively though I may do a vehicle mount for my hunting truck.
Amateur radio is great for making random hobby style contacts with others. It can be used for talking with your friends, but only if they have their licenses. Getting others to go through the learning/testing process can be a challenge. It takes some time, dedication and desire. Not everyone wants to do that.
It can be an expensive hobby, or not. Depends on what you want to do.

I think for what you want to do, GMRS may be your best bet. Easier licensing and 50 watts on GMRS can work pretty well.
You can always chase your amateur license later if you find you are interested. But for just general communications back and forth with family and friends, it's really hard to beat GMRS if you have the right equipment.

How will I know when to upgrade setups if I'm not able to get hands on with the better equipment first? Should I do so when I'm comfortable or is my equipment "good enough"?
Try using what you have now and see if it fits your needs. If it works, it works.
As you get comfortable with the radios, you may find your desire to have some higher tier equipment makes sense.

I've personally found that jumping into a hobby and immediately spending a whole bunch of money doesn't always work well. Start slow, figure out if it's what you want, then slowly upgrade. There's just too many options to try and buy the right stuff now.
 
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Mmckenna, that's probably what I'll end up doing is getting GMRS licensed after I get a better understanding of the FCC guidelines.

I spoke with Ric (KC5AKB) at length yesterday and he got me straight on some things I never would have known would be possible with an amateur radio license and may pursue that at a later time just for fun.
 

mmckenna

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Mmckenna, that's probably what I'll end up doing is getting GMRS licensed after I get a better understanding of the FCC guidelines.

I spoke with Ric (KC5AKB) at length yesterday and he got me straight on some things I never would have known would be possible with an amateur radio license and may pursue that at a later time just for fun.
Good deal.

GMRS is a great radio service and often gets overlooked. One of the big issues is that the market is flooded with cheap quality GMRS radios, and that usually results in consumers getting the wrong idea. GMRS is much more than a 2 watt radio you buy at Target.

Amateur radio, on the other hand, is the perfect place to learn about radio, experiment, talk with other like minded people, and generally build your knowledge.

I've had my amateur license for a long time. I tried for years to get others in my family involved, but no luck. Back in the late 90's, I applied for my GMRS license, which covered the family, and started buying used commercial UHF radios and programming them for family. I started off with a few hand held radios and we used those while riding ATV's. They were really a hit since they made our riding much safer and more enjoyable. After a while, I started moving them off CB and over to GMRS on UHF commercial mobile radios. That worked out very well, gave us more reliable range and was safer for young ears. I eventually received access to a high level GMRS repeater that covered a wide area. That gave us reliable communications for day to day use within about 50 miles of home.

After a few years of using GMRS, I brought up amateur radio again, the lure there was access to more repeaters. That worked. By then I was able to get pretty much everyone in my family and extended family to get their ham licenses. At first, I programmed the commercial UHF radios that we were using for GMRS to the amateur radio 70 centimeter band. That was cheap and easy since they already had the radios. We then slowly switched over to the VHF 2 meter band which gave us some more options.

So, GMRS will fit your needs well if you get the right equipment. It can also act as a very effective gateway into amateur radio when you are ready.

Good luck and welcome to the hobby.
 

KC5AKB

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MMCKENNA has some excellent points.
The knowledge you will find on this forum is a great asset. Ask questions lots of different backgrounds and experience with all types of radios and antennas.
 
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