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Radio For A Cruise

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JASII

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My family and I will be going on a cruise. There are times when it would be nice to stay in touch with one another while aboard ship when our cell phones won't work. I have some Motorola DTR550s currently. Are they about the best choice currently or is there something better these days?
 

ecps92

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Most FRS/GMRS work well, as should a DTR
As with any radio, metal does impact reception

The DTR might be the best, as most people run the FRS/GMRS, or if lots of foreigners they bring their own FRS Equiv (PMR for Europe)

My family and I will be going on a cruise. There are times when it would be nice to stay in touch with one another while aboard ship when our cell phones won't work. I have some Motorola DTR550s currently. Are they about the best choice currently or is there something better these days?
 

Rred

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Bear in mind that the rules for radios vary in each country. One extreme is China, where you can be arrested for espionage (!) simply for having a transmitter without a Chinese license/permit for it. In the Carib and the EU they're more liberal but you still run into oddities. (I think it is Barbados where simply wearing camo clothes of any type will get you arrested on the spot.)

So you might ask some cruisers, or the cruise line, what's legal where you are going. And whether the Captain of the ship also has any say in the matter. (Odds are they won't care, but one never knows.)

FWIW.
 

mmckenna

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Many years ago I went on cruise to Alaska with family. I had a 2 meter VHF hand held in my carry on bag. When boarding, the bag was searched and the radio was temporarily confiscated. I got it back a few hours later, after it was likely checked by the radio officer. Not a problem, didn't offend me at all, in fact I was glad they were being proactive and doing their job. So, be prepared, although with a basic FRS/GMRS hand held, you probably won't have an issue.

Ultimately it is up to the ships master as to what you can use on board.
Since most large cruise ships are registered outside the USA, the country of registry rules would -technically- apply when in international waters, but this is rarely reality.
The country you are in would be able to dictate the rules, so be careful and pay attention to where you are and what rules apply. Doesn't matter if you are from the U.S.A., in another country their rules apply and you must abide by them. It's -always- best to ask.
The fact that some tourists may not run into issues in a foreign country does not mean that it's legal or rules are not enforced. It just means they maybe were lucky and didn't get caught.

Important thing to remember is that different countries have different frequency assignments than the USA. What might be GMRS in the USA could very easily be public safety in another. While you may not hear any traffic, it doesn't mean you are not operating on a repeater input frequency and causing major interference. Don't assume that because you do not hear anything on a frequency that it's free to use.

On board the ship, you'll find that the higher frequencies tend to work better than lower frequencies. I've heard people have had good results from a GMRS/FRS radio on board. I've also heard that the Motorola DTR 900MHz radios work well, also.
 

n5ims

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I agree with the "check with your cruise line" suggestion. Often they will rent you the correct radios for use in the area you'll be visiting and you should have no problems. Still, you should be careful using the radios, especially when off the ship, since their use could easily be misunderstood as something illegal.

This is based on my experience while cruising to Mexico. We were on busses going to visit some ruins on a cruise sponsored side trip. On our bus were part of a group that had others on the second bus following us. We were stopped at a checkpoint and someone in that group radioed (looked like a standard US FRS radio) a party in the other bus, which was overheard by the military manning the checkpoint. They checked us all and pulled those with radios and their party off the busses and into the building. The rest of us had to wait until they sorted things out.

They indicated that those folks would be arrested and once things were processed we could continue on to our side trip. The cruise company sent local managers to the checkpoint to help sort things out and finally worked out a solution where the radios would be confiscated, the folks involved wouldn't be arrested, but had to be returned to the ship and not let back on shore and the rest of us were then free to continue to the ruins.

All this took about two hours and when we returned (much later than we expected) the others had indeed returned to the ship. Talking to them, they said that the military told them that those radios were not legal in Mexico and it wasn't allowed to warn others about a checkpoint or discuss what was being done since it could allow smugglers an advantage. The military was quite strict about that and if not for the cruise company's assistance (they have power there due to the amount of money they bring to the area) those arrested would've been held for several months until the courts sorted things out.
 

KD8DVR

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My family and I will be going on a cruise. There are times when it would be nice to stay in touch with one another while aboard ship when our cell phones won't work. I have some Motorola DTR550s currently. Are they about the best choice currently or is there something better these days?
I'd use the DTR radios. We use the old trisquare eXRS radios, that are also 900 Mhz. Better ship penetration as well as no interference from other cruisers.

AntiSquid Disclaimer: All comments are personal opinion only and may not indicate a claim of actual fact.
 
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