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Offline Flyin6

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GMRS: Who is using them?
« on: October 03, 2014, 08:08:20 AM »
The GMRS radios are out there everywhere and have lots of frequencies available

How well are they working for you? Mine seems to have a pretty limited range.

Is there a way to scramble the frequencies for secure comms, or frequency hop? Anything commercial available?

I can tell you it is pretty easy for some folks to get on freq pretty quick and listen away without you knowing. If I'm giving my wife my birthday wishes, I'd prefer to keep it private!

Thoughts...Experiences???
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Offline BobbyB

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2014, 08:20:40 AM »
The GMRS radios are out there everywhere and have lots of frequencies available

How well are they working for you? Mine seems to have a pretty limited range.

Is there a way to scramble the frequencies for secure comms, or frequency hop? Anything commercial available?

I can tell you it is pretty easy for some folks to get on freq pretty quick and listen away without you knowing. If I'm giving my wife my birthday wishes, I'd prefer to keep it private!

Thoughts...Experiences???

Only thing I have are the walkies you can get at Fleet Farm/Cabelas/Gander Mountain or etc. I don't think there's any commercial FH/secure options for civilians.

When dad and I were hunting, we used the radios and yes people would hit scan and see whats up and etc. To fix that dad and I just used the squelch code and talked in code. That's easy when both parties were military/LE or have an established code.
So, Bobby...being the calculating trained warrior NCO that you are.  Take the appropriate action, Execute!

Offline TexasRedNeck

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2014, 10:22:01 PM »
Not familiar so I went to the FCC site and licensing is currently required for GMRS but no testing.  They are low powered but higher than the FRS (walkie talkie).  There is a proposal yet to be ruled on that would eliminate the license requirement (doubt they will remove it since that is a revenue stream)  If you apply for a license, the rest of your immediate family members can operate under your license.  Think of it as a higher powered more well constructed walkie talkie.  Range is likely to be about 1-5 miles depending on antenna height.  Hand held is likely 1-2 miles.
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline Flyin6

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2014, 10:55:22 PM »
Probably something we need to keep tabs on...as all available means of communication should be available and exploited
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Offline W4WN

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2014, 10:56:14 PM »
Speaking of encryption, it makes me feel really old to see some of the early '80's equipment I used to service on ebay for pennies on our tax dollars. The same hardware the Full Bird Colonel kept the manuals for in his safe. Made me turn my back when he dialed the combo, sign a hand receipt, and everything.

Offline Nate

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2014, 01:39:59 AM »
w4wn nice to see you over here, I think you would be an awesome asset to the communications area of this site since you are already licensed.
Nate

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Offline cudakidd53

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2014, 06:41:48 AM »
Not familiar so I went to the FCC site and licensing is currently required for GMRS but no testing.  They are low powered but higher than the FRS (walkie talkie).  There is a proposal yet to be ruled on that would eliminate the license requirement (doubt they will remove it since that is a revenue stream)  If you apply for a license, the rest of your immediate family members can operate under your license.  Think of it as a higher powered more well constructed walkie talkie.  Range is likely to be about 1-5 miles depending on antenna height.  Hand held is likely 1-2 miles.

I'm pretty sure the 3 I have (lost one hunting Grouse) had no "license" notation or application when I bought them.  Have also used them pheasant hunting, deer hunting and running field trial events with great results.  Motorola models, small, easy to carry (loose) and tune.

Of course, just because I don't recall any license form, doesn't mean there isn't one; MOST people
 I know with the same, probably have never broached the topic either.

Mike
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Offline TexasRedNeck

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2014, 11:39:26 PM »
w4wn nice to see you over here, I think you would be an awesome asset to the communications area of this site since you are already licensed.

Yes! indeed welcome.  Other perspectives from licensed hams are welcome!!
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline TexasRedNeck

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2015, 10:36:37 PM »
OK, for the sake of research and reporting, I just applied for the GMRS license on line at fcc.gov.  Side note, the site is completely reflective of the bloated bureaucracy that our government has come to be.  The fee was $90 and now I wait.  In the mean time I'll start researching radios for the family.  My license will cover my wife and kids who will never be HAMs more than likely.  Stay tuned!
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline Flyin6

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2015, 09:25:54 AM »
$90!!!!!!!!!!!

I was thinking

Being a commercial pilot, one is required to have a FCC license. Because we, well, talk on radios quite a bit...go figure

But a lot of those pilots never bothered to get the FCC license. The only catch I know about is when you actually start flying for a highly regulated company, like a part 121 airline such as Delta. Then during the hiring process you are asked to produce the FCC license before starting in the sim or aircraft training.

I hired pilots to fly in the contractor world for me before, and I never asked for a FCC license. I was definitely interested to know they could talk on both regular ATC channels and tactical ones as well with fluency. So it sometimes perplexes me when the license subject comes up...Speaking on a radio seems like an implied mandate to free speech (Although I know it isn't)
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Offline TexasRedNeck

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2015, 08:48:39 PM »
Yes, more and more the grip of the government control, driven by either the egomania of the behemoth or  the insatiable desire for revenue, is all around us.  Lest we forget the downfall of Mr. Capone, an excuse, however small, is all the government needs to persecute you.  I try to dot all my "i"s and cross all my "t"s
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline W4WN

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2015, 07:01:00 PM »
90 Bucks, I hope that covers the whole family?
The way I read the rules you have to use GMRS "Certified" equipment - no reprogramming ham or commercial radios to GMRS channels?

Offline TexasRedNeck

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2015, 07:19:47 PM »
Well, I just received my GMRS license in the mail today.  Time to get serious about the details so I will report back.  Yes $90 covers the whole family and for 5 years.  More to come
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline BobbyB

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2015, 07:13:20 PM »
Por favor any news Sr. Tejas ?
So, Bobby...being the calculating trained warrior NCO that you are.  Take the appropriate action, Execute!

Offline wyorunner

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2016, 11:20:23 PM »

Well, I just received my GMRS license in the mail today.  Time to get serious about the details so I will report back.  Yes $90 covers the whole family and for 5 years.  More to come

Sorry about bringing back such an old thread, but comms is the one thing I worked with in the past but have none of now. Would be curious about an update on your GMRS experiences thus far. Think it would be an easy and viable option for wife and I as I can see her office building from my porch, albeit several miles away.


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Offline Flyin6

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #15 on: February 29, 2016, 08:40:16 AM »
I found my midland set to be poor performers. Range is very limited. On the plus side there are lots of frequencies so a somewhat secure communication is possible, but not against any sophisticated intercept apparatus...
I think if one could juice up the power and then add a scramble or frequency hoping capability it would (Might) be great
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Offline husker77c

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #16 on: February 29, 2016, 05:57:17 PM »
I have used the cheapie midland radios for vehicle to vehicle communications on road trips.   I've never got more than a mile or two out of them on the interstate.   If you can still see the other vehicle you can talk.  When it gets out of sight it gets sketchy.   For wandering around a property or neighborhood though they can't be beat. Especially with some of the motion detectors and things you can do with a MURS system.

My Baofeng UV5Rs can go a tiny bit further than that but handhelds are going to be limited to a mile or two unless one of you is standing on a big hill.    The bubble packs advertise up to 14 miles or whatever but real world is far less than that.  As Don said though if you can up the power of them you can increase that. Most handhelds are 5watts or less.

If you are serious about radio communications , especially longer distance comms then ham is the only way to go.  On the pipeline we use 70cm UHF And sometimes 2m VHF mobiles.  With a good mobile you can go 10-30miles depending on conditions.  Mobiles range from 15-30 watts or more.  If you know repeaters in the area the range can go up significantly.  I've had UHF radios in MT going well over 300 miles. Granted that was with a 100' base tower and several repeaters but still shows the capability.    When you get into HF radios you can talk around the world depending on conditions. 






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Offline Flyin6

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #17 on: February 29, 2016, 08:10:59 PM »
Repeaters are a cure for sure

Made me think of the Taliban, those sneaky little devils

So maybe 2008ish over there, cell towers started going up all over. Well one day we were poking around one of the towers and low and behold there is another antenna there going to a makeshift shed. Yup, you guessed it, not supposed to be there. Taliban set up their own stuff on the cell sites to create their own comms system. We had hacked into their cell phones early on, so I guess they wanted a little privacy...
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Offline TexasRedNeck

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2016, 08:28:24 PM »
Totally sorry I missed replies in this thread.  Guess I was too busy DOTing up the place in other threads.

Husker has it right.  LOS (line of sight) they are good.  Terrain and other interference cuts it way back.  70cm and 2M is the way to go.  My home base has an 80ft antenna and I can communicate simplex across Houston 36 miles.  repeaters are in most areas and the good thing is that their operators generally set them up with multiple redundant systems to make sure in the event of a disaster they continue to operate.  In a major metro area, getting one placed on a tall building is a real challenge and they want to make sure they have bullet proof backups.

Here is a continuously updated database of repeaters

http://www.artscipub.com/repeaters/

Bottom line, the GMRS is a good step but limited.  Easy to obtain the license (no testing) but you'd be well served to get a tech license and a 70cm/2M radio
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline wyorunner

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2016, 12:26:36 AM »
That's kind of what I figured I would get in response, obviously was hoping someone had found something that works great as far as GMRS, but ham is the best solution because you can always improve your comms abilities of desired.

I looked at the tech license back in 2011 shortly after I got out of active duty, would have been able to pass it with minmal studying as a lot of it was still fresh on the brain. Yea I think wife and I will have to add this to the to do list.


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Offline OldKooT

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2016, 08:55:28 PM »
Ummm......

The FCC has eliminated the regulatory fee required to obtain a license for the GMRS. In a Report and Order released May 21, 2015

Never owned one myself (GMRS), we have the farms FM stuff and CB that gets the job done around here. In a SHTF situation I would say 2M will be important but the freebanders will likely be where the actual Intel is. Just a guess but that community is very active and full of down home folks. And some have some very "large" stations that are not regulated, no address on file and very capable of operating without anyone's permission....as per usual lol

I might even have a old moonraker sitting about 100' in the air ready to roll if it had to.



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Offline TexasRedNeck

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2016, 11:33:52 PM »
Are you telling me I wrote a $90 check in January only to have the fees waived in May??

SMH
Kids today don't know how easy they have it. When I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.

Joshua 6:20-24

Offline husker77c

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2016, 03:51:06 PM »

That's kind of what I figured I would get in response, obviously was hoping someone had found something that works great as far as GMRS, but ham is the best solution because you can always improve your comms abilities of desired.

I looked at the tech license back in 2011 shortly after I got out of active duty, would have been able to pass it with minmal studying as a lot of it was still fresh on the brain. Yea I think wife and I will have to add this to the to do list.


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You might as well study a little more and get your general at the same time you get your tech.  I got mine while I was laid off a couple winters ago.  Found a local club that was having a test.  Had a week to study and I crammed it all in and passed both tech and general in one sitting.  General opens up pretty much everything you could ever want as far as frequencies go and it's not that much harder to study for both.

There are some apps out there that quiz you and a lot of free resources for study material.

I've done close to nothing with my license since I got it but it's on my list when I go back to work to set up a good HF system.  I have a couple 70cm mobiles I'm going to install in the zombie ford and my wife's jeep and set up a home station.   I also would like to build an emergency box with a couple radios and battery power in case I have to abandon my house in an emergency.   I WILL have to bug out if anything happens so mobile is the key for me anyway.


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Offline fenriswolf039

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2016, 11:35:34 AM »
I'm licensed for GMRS, callsign WQVH815 (ATL-807 on North Georgia GMRS network).

A great resource for anybody that wants to get involved is www.mygmrs.com where you will find forums and maps showing locations and the basic information for repeaters all across the country.

I'm using Baofeng UV-5R (and their variants) radios for handheld units, which can be had for about $30.00 on Amazon.  They are great working radios, fully programmable.  You can hear all the NOAA weather frequencies as well as use these for 70cm / 2m ham.  I replace the stock antennas with Nagoya NA-701 for an additional $15 and you got yourself a great radio that can be used almost anywhere.  In my vehicles I have Icom IC-F621 units that can really reach out and touch someone.

North Georgia GMRS network covers almost all of Georgia north of the Macon line, and most repeaters are solar with battery backup.  The repeaters are free to use for licensed transient users, but regular members are asked to donate.  When I travel, I do some homework ahead of time and program the local repeaters for the area I'm going to, and we have found this to be very useful at Disney in Orlando, the mountains of Southern California, Northern California, as well as around the racetracks in Indianapolis and Austin.

It is illegal for the repeaters to be cross linked to work like a cell phone, although there are some areas in the country where people are doing this because... let's face it, who is actually enforcing any of these laws?  I listen in on ham bands all the time, and have a lot of frequencies programmed that I'm not allowed to talk on, "just in case".  Myself, I follow the rules, but I hear a lot of people who are not.  Then you get Joe Hambone talking back on the frequency that "this is my repeater and I will find you and you will be prosecuted..."

Yeah, right.  I get it, it's yours and you want to be in charge, in control, whatever.  My opinion, if the unlicensed user is polite and not hogging the airwaves, I don't really care. 

I have a portable repeater that I built out of two radios in a Pelican case so I can sling it up in a tree and change out the batteries every 12 hours to have an emergency system in place.  Also very useful for camping trips.  Sometime soon I'll be getting a small solar setup to put on the outside of the Pelican box so it can stay in the tree for the whole trip instead of taking it down to change batteries.  Bottom line, it's a portable waterproof repeater that works for 12 hours and gives me a solid 20-30 mile radius without needing pure line of sight between transceivers.

Offline JR

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2016, 01:19:01 PM »
More,,,,,,,,,,,,,
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Offline husker77c

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2016, 05:11:39 PM »

More,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Yep. Post a thread on your repeater.  I'd like to see it.   

The UV-5Rs are great little radios for the money.  I have a couple that we use for road trips. 

But seriously I'd love to see your repeater set up.


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Offline fenriswolf039

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2016, 06:25:25 PM »
OK... I'm embarrassed to say that my garage is in disarray and it would probably take me an hour to get to it right now... BUT:

Here is a quick youtube video that shows how it works.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9faCP4rZbg

The interface used to connect the two radios is $24.99 on Amazon, http://smile.amazon.com/SainSonic-RPT-2D-Two-way-Repeater-Transceivers/dp/B00ITN0T0G?ie=UTF8&keywords=baofeng%20repeater%20interface&qid=1459980186&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

The antennas need to be at least 5 meters apart for it to work well without a duplexer, so the way I solved this problem is by putting the second antenna on the end of a 20 foot cable.  It can be tricky getting that second antenna up in a neighboring tree.  I use fishing line tied to a rock, throw it over a branch, and pull it up with the line.

Now that I saw that post in the other thread about the tennis ball launcher, I'm going to have to build one of those so I can get this rig WAY up in the air, increase my range!

Offline Flyin6

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2016, 09:04:40 PM »
One of those is going up in that tower I plan to build!

I like it!

What sort of range could one get between radios with that repeater half way in between? Let's say rolling hills topography...?
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Offline fenriswolf039

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Re: GMRS: Who is using them?
« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2016, 08:15:56 AM »
Bearing in mind that line of sight is needed, the higher you get the repeater radios in the air, the farther you will be able to reach.

In theory, these radios putting out 4 watts should be able to get you a solid 20-30 mile range without any trouble.

If you're building a tower, you'll want to look into some real repeater gear.  This outfit is for intermittent use only, and is not what I'd call robust in terms of standing up to heavy radio traffic.  It works well for camping trips and such.