Trail communications for club

Discussion in 'PA- Keystone Cruisers' started by caz, Jul 18, 2015.

  1. fireball

    fireball SILVER Star

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    Jon that was my question above. What unit would one need to run both ham and GMRS? Will I need one or two antennas?
     
  2. jonheld

    jonheld

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    The least expensive way to do both is with the Baofeng. It can do both right out of the box.
    If you want an external antenna, get a dual band.
    A dual band mobile radio will be upwards of $300.
     
  3. fireball

    fireball SILVER Star

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    How easy would it be to use the beofung with a hard mount antenna?

    What dual band radio would you recommend? Not too worried about cost as long as it works well.
     
  4. Jakes40

    Jakes40 IH8MUD Poser SILVER Star

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    It wouldn’t be bad. But the mic isn’t that loud. At least not for the 40. I have thought about using a mounted antenna on mine.
     
  5. Von Hayek

    Von Hayek

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    @emorth would have some good input here. He set up the radios for the CLCC, and he set up communications in his professional life.
     
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  6. jonheld

    jonheld

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    This is going to be a bit of a dissertation, so please bear with me. I'm a little hung over and only 1 cup of coffee down.

    There are folks who have done the mobile setup using the Baofeng radios. Do a search in the "Communication and Navigation" forum.
    You'll need to come up with a mount for the radio and an external handheld mic. Then it's just a matter of unscrewing the antenna and attaching your external cable. Baofeng makes a 12 volt adapter that replaces the battery.

    As far as a mobile unit, I like Kenwood, but the feature set and cost on all 3 of the big name brands (Yaesu, Kenwood, Alnico) are almost identical for the single band and dual band radios.
    I have the TM-V71A dual band in my Lexus and I'm very happy with it. However, I would do the research on each brand to be certain that they will TX/RX on GMRS frequencies. Most will be able to listen but not broadcast due to FCC regulations. I've not tried this on my Kenwood, but it does work on the Baofeng.
    There are also cheaper Chinacom mobile units on the market now, in line with Baofeng which blur the FCC rules as well.

    Strictly speaking, ham radios are not supposed to cross over to FRS/GMRS frequencies. The FCC band plan is pretty clear about this. FRS/GMRS frequencies are just slightly higher than the amateur 440 band (70cm) so most 70cm radios can reach them easily.

    My personal view on all this is to stay within the rules of the game. I am not one to preach rules and regs, but the bottom line here is that any entry level 2m ham radio will outperform any FRS/GMRS unit. So from a practical point of view, it just makes sense to go with ham radio. A handheld Baofeng unit is a great way to dip your toes in the water, but the mobile performance will be limited until you go with an external antenna. Even then the tx power is only 5-8 watts depending on the model, while most mobile units are 50-60 watts.
     
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  7. Cass007

    Cass007 SILVER Star

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    FFS sake ... all those replies and I still have zero idea on what to buy. I just want to be able to communicate with our group. If I have to buy 2 things I will, but was hoping for a single purchase solution.
     
  8. Jakes40

    Jakes40 IH8MUD Poser SILVER Star

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    My single option was a Bofang. It doesn’t transmit very far but for what we do you can do GSMR and HAM. And it’s cheap enough if you are carrying it and it falls off in the mud no huge deal.
    I have 1 VR5 and 2 VR8’s. I want to get a remote antenna for the 8’s and see if they are better.

    And you are not breaking the bank at $50 for the radio and an upgraded antenna.
     
  9. fireball

    fireball SILVER Star

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    Jon - thanks for your answer. FWIW, I am planning to get Ham license and GMRS license. I am willing to break the rules and transit GMRS on my Ham radio as long as I know I am doing no harm. Sort of like doing 70mph in a 65 speed limit zone.

    I am looking for a mobile unit (i.e. one to mount in the truck) with a single antenna that will do everything. Is that possible? Maybe I need to do more research to figure it out, but I was hoping someone who was already an expert would send me a link to an amazon cart!

    I have the Beofung handheld and am not interested in trying to jerry rig it into a better solution with permanent power wiring and antenna connection. I'd prefer to have something designed for the task. I personally don't care how much it costs, within reason (say <$500 all in), because I want to have a hard mount, permanent solution that can RX and TX over long range. I am tired of being the guy who isn't sure if anyone heard me and not sure if I heard everything being said!
     
  10. jonheld

    jonheld

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    You may be willing to break the rules, but your radio may not let you. The major manufacturers of amateur radio will stick to FCC guidelines regardless of what you want. You need to research the frequency limitations of the radios you are interested in. This is all available on the internets.
    In the end, a 2M radio is a 2M radio. A dual band is a dual band. They all do the same stuff.

    I would recommend a good 2M mobile unit (Kenwood TM-281A) with a good antenna and mount (I like Diamond, but there are others), and good coax. I like my dual band unit (Kenwood TM-V71A) because of the added flexibility of monitoring 2 frequencies at the same time or setting the unit up as a local repeater or doing cross band repeating. But that's me. Your needs are going to be different.

    If you want to play around with GMRS, then get a hand held GMRS radio and toss it in the glove box. Personally I think GMRS is not the way to go for trail comms. After using ham radio for the last several years, I wouldn't waste my time with anything else. Folks will say that GMRS or FRS is "good enough". So is putting a 6K pound winch on an 80 Series...until you really need to pull it.
     
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  11. Pacer

    Pacer SILVER Star

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    This is a viable solution for a handheld unit. It hangs over top of the glass of your window then you roll up your window and it locks it in.
    One could use the radio's antenna on this mount, or get a longer, better rubber duck antenna for it. The end of the cable simply connects to the antenna BNC connector on top of your radio.

    OPEK AM-801 - Window Antenna Mount - BNC Connectors

    OPEK-AM-801__88479.1314027865.jpg
     
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  12. jonheld

    jonheld

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    That's pretty cool. A simple solution. You'll need a BNC F to SMA F adapter to mate with the Baofeng SMA M antenna mount. Reverse that for the other end to mate with the antenna or get a BNC to NMO mount. All doable for a few sheckles.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
  13. emorth

    emorth

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    Some additional info:
    - All transmitters (with a few exceptions) except Amateur radio transmitters must be Type Accepted by the FCC. The FCC is to transmitters as the NTSB is to vehicles. Even your microwave oven (2.4 GHz transmitter in a metal box) is FCC Type Accepted. The FCC doesn't care about receivers other than they can't be tuned to cell phone freqs.
    - Amateur radio operators can build and operate transmitters in the Amateur (ham) bands. The transmitter is not required to be Type Accepted but it must meet FCC requirements for frequency stability, transmit power, modulation, etc.
    - Manufactured radios (Icom, Kenwood, etc.) for use in the ham bands are not Type Accepted by the FCC. As ham radios they don't need to be Type Accepted. It costs the manufacturer $$$$ to get a radio Type Accepted by the FCC.
    - If the radio operator can change the transmit frequencies, via the front panel on the radio, the radio can not be Type Accepted. The FCC doesn't want the bored cop/fireman/bus driver to be able to change the transmit freqs on their radio. Type Accepted radios can only have their frequencies (channels) changed via an external computer & software.
    - A modified ham radio that is capable of transmitting outside of the ham bands it not Type Accepted, therefore it is illegal to transmit a ham radio outside of the ham bands - with the exception of MARS (Military Auxiliary Radio System) and CAP (Civil Air Patrol) freqs when needed to support their activities.
    - If you want a cure for insomnia, read the FCC rules & regs.
    - The FCC enforcement bureau is primarily concerned with serious interference/denial of service situations to important radio communications infrastructures - like the idiot who transmits hate messages on police freqs. Or, the arcing insulator on a high voltage power line that is creating lots or RF noise and disabling a near by cell site.
    - If someone is in the middle of nowhere using a modified ham radio to transmit on a GMRS freq, is the FCC going to dispatch their enforcement agents? Probably not.
    - Sorry if this info is a bummer.

    Radio chart.jpg
     
  14. jonheld

    jonheld

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    FWIW, after reading your chart I looked up the specs of my V71A. I can RX the FRS/GMRS frequencies, but my TX tops out at 450 MHz. FRS/GMRS starts at 462.5+. I don't know what other radios are capable of.
     
  15. emorth

    emorth

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    There are two mods. Option 1 stops at 450. Do option 2 to expand to 470.
    ICanWorkThisThing.com
    Google v71a mod. There are YouTube videos as well.
    Hope you have a magnifying glass.
     
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  16. emorth

    emorth

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  17. mryanangel

    mryanangel SILVER Star

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  18. jonheld

    jonheld

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    Nope. I have never nedeed GMRS frequencies. I'll just use one of my Baofungs if I ever need to play with that.
     
  19. mryanangel

    mryanangel SILVER Star

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  20. fireball

    fireball SILVER Star

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    I see you picked a submersible unit. Looks like you won't need to stick to the easy trails!
     
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