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Thread: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios

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    Default Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    Not to hijack the tread but been looking at getting a decent radio. Anyone have a link or model number that has worked well for them?

    ===========
    Admin edit:

    The first few posts in this new thread originated in the "FR4x4-default-radio-channels-what-shall-we-use" thread.

    I created this thread for both FRS and GMRS radios as they often crossover. If a recommended HAM radio thread is desired, it can be started (or if reasonable, they may be mixed in this thread)

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    Default Re: FR4x4 default radio channels - what shall we use?



    TjMike previously posted:
    "Not to hijack the tread but been looking at getting a decent radio. Anyone have a link or model number that has worked well for them?"

    FRS, GMRS, CB, Ham?
    Mobile, Handy Talkie?
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    Default Re: FR4x4 default radio channels - what shall we use?



    TjMike previously posted:
    "Not to hijack the tread but been looking at getting a decent radio. Anyone have a link or model number that has worked well for them?"

    I second Mike's question...I would be considering a handheld unit (5W GRMS?)....I like the idea of the more powerful dash mounted unit, but then it wouldn't be transferable to my truck when I use that.
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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    someone from here recommended these to me, they were cheap and work well


    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SLHM0PC...roduct_details

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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    I'd be in the market too. Leaning towards GMRS. Leaning towards mounted in the jeep (vs battery powered, hand-held).



    If folks have not seen this guy's "5 Things to Know About GMRS Radio", it was posted in a thread here:

    www.frontrange4x4.com/forums/showthread.php?28731-5-Things-to-Know-About-GMRS-Radio

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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    Jim previously posted:
    "Leaning towards mounted in the jeep (vs battery powered, hand-held)."

    I will be getting this after I emotionally and financially recover from my SAS project. I was targeting this at some point and then when I confirmed this is what Shane has in his rig it made the choice easy for me

    EDIT: I linked to the wrong Midland unit from the amazon search meant to post this one:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FN2FBML...ZEPCRTRNV?th=1


    I already tossed out my CB and took out the antenna wire I had run for it

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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    For "Mobile" radios, which is the jargon for dashboard mounted radios like your typical CB, as opposed to handhelds... On paper those midland micromoble radios seem to be the way to go. I only say "on paper" because I have not had a chance to play with one personally, but its a decent company, a good price, and there are tons of positive reviews out there.

    Other than that you have a few chinese radios imported by small US companies. These are your Rugged Radios GMRS units, and there is one by BTech. I'm sure there are more. buytwowayradios.com sells a $370 GMRS chinese unit made by Wouxun (sounds like Ocean when pronounced). Having their Wouxun GMRS handheld and comparing that to a Btech/baofung handheld, I think the Wouxun products are much better... but I don't think many people here need the feature set that offers. Midland radios probably make the most sense for the typical use in this group. Hopefully when some users of those units chime in here we'll see if their experience supports this.

    The only other legit category out there that I am aware of is that there are some old public safety radios that were part 95 certified (the FCC certification for GMRS radios) in addition to part 90 certified (the FCC cert for business band radios). They can be bought on Ebay pretty cheap and reprogrammed for GMRS use and should be perfectly legal. This can be a bit of a project however, often involving tracking down or making programing cables and the software is pretty old... DOS old. At the end of the day these are probably some of the most durable units out there being made by companies like Motorola, Kenwood, or Icom for police, fire, taxi services, etc.

    Antenna mounting on soft-top jeeps is always a troubling compromise. I have accumulated a small pile of VHF, UHF, and one dual band antenna in tinkering with my Ham radio setup. I would like to try and summarize this more clearly at some point. I had some problems getting a 1/4 wave UHF antenna to tune properly on the edge of the cowl on my TJ. I could get VHF 1/4 wave whips to work but I suspect my bracket was not well suited for UHF frequencies.

    I think the little magnet mount antennas that Midland ships with their radios are probably good enough for their 5 and 15 watt units. I would be hesitant to run 50 watts through one however. On a TJ or similar jeep one would have to place that farther inboard on the cowl or hood to get the magnet to stick and that kind of location would have probably solved my UHF 1/4 wave antenna issue.

    I concluded that a 1/2 wave end-fed antenna worked the best for me. Actually I am running two, one for VHF on the cowl and one for UHF on roll cage, along with a duplexer (like a speaker crossover, but it works at radio frequencies). 1/2 wave antennas are less sensitive to having a really good ground plane under the antenna and at UHF Ham and GMRS frequencies they are still pretty small. If I can get away with it up on my roll bar, on a bracket hose-clamped to the fabric roll bar cover, then I would expect it to work on the top of a spare tire carrier.

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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    This review page keeps coming up in my searching. One item I give focus - is their CONS listing for each device:
    https://www.hamtronics.com/best-gmrs-radios/


    For a GMRS mobile radio antenna, I'm thinking of a metal mount above the spare tire (typical - center rear of the jeep spare tire). Is some horizontal ferrous plate needed for ground plane / what considerations are needed for antenna mounting (non-magnetic)? Would I wish to mount it high - at or slightly above roof-top to get above the metal rollcage / would a lower mounting (hood) result in signal being blocked / reduced by the roll cage?

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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    Trevor? previously posted:
    "Rugged Radios"

    I read from one of the guys who was picked for Ultimate Adventure one year, that he got a free Rugged Radio and that it was beastly

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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    one thing Shane pointed out to me was he loved about his is that he had all the controls on the actual handheld, which was something my CB lacked and was quite annoying

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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    I have a Retevis RT86. Got it free. Its a UHF radio with 16 frequency storage locations. Its built like a tank but you have to program it with their software on a computer. It has a really good audio output circuit. Really loud and clear. Makes my cobras look and sound like toys. 1 watt low power 10 watt high power.

    Technically not legal for frs or gmrs but I figure the fcc will never find me while wheeling.

    I noticed on Jim’s link that one handheld supposedly had 50watts output power. That would scare the bejesus out of me. That much power near your head could fry your brain.
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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    Tom previously posted:
    "It has a really good audio output circuit. Really loud and clear."

    This is a large issue for me. At trail speed I can hear the CB (volume is always at max) but I have difficulty hearing the handheld - even when holding near my ear. For most any unit, I'd be looking to see if has an option for an external speaker (that could be mounted on the roll cage near my head / ear).



    TDash previously posted:
    "all the controls on the actual handheld"

    Midland MXT275
    https://www.amazon.com/Midland-Micro...dp/B07FN2FBML/

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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    Ty and I both have the MXT275. Works great. I will mount mine eventually but currently it just sets in my passenger seat when I use it and plugs into my cigarette lighter plug. The cable is so thin to the antenna I close my car door on it and throw the mag antenna up. Works great.

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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    Thanks for moving this to a new thread. I think this will be really helpful to other people new to this. 20 years ago I used a typical under dash CB that worked fine for back then but cross chatter was always an issue. Im not really interested in getting another CB if I can avoid it but just looking for a good hand held. I read the other thread with tons of good info and learned a lot. I dont know HAMs and honestly not really interested in learning at this time... no free time...

    Jim previously posted:
    "This is a large issue for me. At trail speed I can hear the CB (volume is always at max) but I have difficulty hearing the handheld - even when holding near my ear. For most any unit, I'd be looking to see if has an option for an external speaker (that could be mounted on the roll cage near my head / ear)."

    Jim previously posted:

    I might be interested in something like that and you make a good point about the clarity and 'loudness' of the unit. Im already hard of hearing so this will be an issue. Just ask the wife
    Bottom line is I will purchase something good that works with the group, whatever that is.

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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    Jim previously posted:
    "This is a large issue for me. At trail speed I can hear the CB (volume is always at max) but I have difficulty hearing the handheld - even when holding near my ear. For most any unit, I'd be looking to see if has an option for an external speaker (that could be mounted on the roll cage near my head / ear)."

    I think it does. It has the same connection that Baofeng, and Kenwood use for external mic/speaker.
    I think this one would work with it. I have one, loaned permenantly to my son, that I used on my baofeng. Its a speaker mic with an external speaker port. I plugged a bluetooth device to it and to my rollbar speaker and it worked pretty well.
         
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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    A lot of the GRMS radios are sold in pairs or more...I only need one...someone want to go in together and split the set? i am interested in handheld 5W GRMS....
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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    FINOCJ previously posted:
    "A lot of the GRMS radios are sold in pairs or more...I only need one...someone want to go in together and split the set? i am interested in handheld 5W GRMS...."

    I have an old set of cobras. You are welcome to one if you want it James.
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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    I understand James likes to travel super light in his rig, but for those of you with a little more space keeping a spare handheld around has proven quite useful for me. I end up handing out one or two nearly every time I go out. I also go out a fair bit that I don't go with this group or post up, just feel the need to get out and hit the trails. The last couple of times I did that I ended up just falling in with someone and handed them one of my Midland handheld units.

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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    Tom previously posted:
    "I have an old set of cobras. You are welcome to one if you want it James."

    Sounds promising - how does it charge, or is it typical alkaline battery operated?
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    Default Re: Recommended FRS & GMRS radios



    FINOCJ previously posted:
    "Sounds promising - how does it charge, or is it typical alkaline battery operated?"

    They have rechargeable batteries, but the charging jack broke years ago. One must remove them and throw them in a charger. They have 4 aaa batteries. I will bring it to the cleanup run and you can try it out.

    Manual can be read here. I have a hard copy
    https://www.manualslib.com/products/...x-1786936.html
    ___________
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    -.- . ——- .— - -.-

    Life is just better in 4-Low!

    https://m.youtube.com/user/wcrosman/videos

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