HAM, CB, FRS, GMRS, Etc... what is your setup?

What is your off-road comms setup?

  • HAM

  • CB

  • FRS

  • GMRS


Results are only viewable after voting.

JimLee

Well-Known Member
First Name
Jim
Joined
Mar 29, 2019
Messages
1,116
Reaction score
2,301
Location
Too damn close to Death Valley
Vehicle(s)
'19 JLU
Yes, thanks. I did read the online Manual after I posted. (Should have read it first). Interesting though, midland also says that these units are 2.8 watts not 5.

84CB8EA8-A489-46E1-8E53-4C729A491E4F.png
That may be, i'm not too hung up on it as I bought them just for trail communications. Whatever they are running they work better than CB's from my experience.





Advertisement

 

nostatic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2020
Messages
406
Reaction score
878
Location
central coast
Vehicle(s)
'20 JL Sport S PDN, '18 R1200GS Rallye
Occupation
chief bottle washer
Don’t get too hung up on power. The difference between 2.5 and 5 watts is about a 3 db signal increase which is about half an S unit (if you have a meter). You really only see serious improvement when you’re increasing like 4-5x. And terrain (and atmospheric conditions) will have the final say. For caravan, either GMRS or FRS should be fine. But as others have said, worth it to get the license and go GMRS, simply because there are more likely to be others running that with bigger antennas and more power. If you need to relay messages, you need to be running what others are running and find someone with more juice. Hence me installing all 3 but I’m nuts. :)
 

zouch

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
18
Reaction score
10
Location
Berkeley, CA
Vehicle(s)
XJ
what kind of SWR match did you get with that antenna so close to the roof and spare wheel?

Here's how I mounted my antenna. I used a fender mount that I bent up into the right shape to fit on the rear corner and used some self-tapping screws to hold it. I think this gives a better ground plane than a hinge mount. Not perfect but about as good as it gets on a Jeep. I can easily hit repeaters about 20 miles away with it and the antenna only sticks up a couple inches above the roof line so it doesn't get snagged on things.

IMG_20181222_122946.jpg


IMG_20181222_122955.jpg
 

zouch

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
18
Reaction score
10
Location
Berkeley, CA
Vehicle(s)
XJ
oddly, this isn't necessarily so.

for example, i have a set of older commercial-quality Kenwood handhelds that are both FRS and GMRS (TK-3101's), and the few Channel numbers they've got don't line up with any other FRS or GMRS transceivers i've ever seen.

you really need to know what the Frequencies are that your rig operates on, or be prepared for some incompatibility and guessing games trying to find out what channels your rigs might have in common. having a 'cheat sheet' on your HTs for reference can really help simplify things when you try to match up and find a common 'channel' with someone else's rig.


Also channels are channels so channel one on one GMRS is the same as channel one on another radio.
 

nostatic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2020
Messages
406
Reaction score
878
Location
central coast
Vehicle(s)
'20 JL Sport S PDN, '18 R1200GS Rallye
Occupation
chief bottle washer
oddly, this isn't necessarily so.

for example, i have a set of older commercial-quality Kenwood handhelds that are both FRS and GMRS (TK-3101's), and the few Channel numbers they've got don't line up with any other FRS or GMRS transceivers i've ever seen.

you really need to know what the Frequencies are that your rig operates on, or be prepared for some incompatibility and guessing games trying to find out what channels your rigs might have in common. having a 'cheat sheet' on your HTs for reference can really help simplify things when you try to match up and find a common 'channel' with someone else's rig.
evidently channels were changed up in 2017. Any newer radio should be consistent, older ones may not.

https://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/FRS/GMRS_combined_channel_chart

One reason I prefer ham hardware - I have a better idea what is going on. The Midland stuff seems to work fine, but they are black boxes.
 

zouch

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
18
Reaction score
10
Location
Berkeley, CA
Vehicle(s)
XJ
FWIW, i'm coming from an XJ i've had since i had it built for me in the '90s, and i had Ham Radio (Kenwood TM-742 w/ 2M, 220, and 440) in it before it had license plates. (those plates are Call Tags, and show my Ham Radio License; seemed the most apropos tag for a J**p!)
i only added CB years later when i decided to go on some organized events (like Easter J**p Week in Moab), because until then, all the people i 'wheeled with were also Hams.

Repeaters are great fun and super helpful when you're within range of them, but even without them the Simplex performance of Ham radios will far outshine anything you're normally able to do with 27MHz US-style CB for distance. (note: CB is on different bands in different parts of the world, so i'm referring from here on to strictly to CB in the USA.) this isn't due so much to the difference in power, but the difference in the quality of the receivers and modes. (Ham mobiles typically are in the 50W range for rigs in the most popular 2-Meter band, though full power is rarely needed/used, and is actually discouraged. most proper use happens around 5W, partly for reasons others have already covered, and partly because it's the law to use as little power as necessary.)
CB in the USA has the disadvantage of being in the edge of an HF band that allows you not just to occasionally talk to other parts of the world as you skip that signal off of the reflective layers of atmosphere, but also allows you to hear all the noise that is coming in from all those places. sadly, we also run into a lot lower common denominator of behavior on CB radio; it's the sad truth that any idiot can buy and operate a CB, and many do.

personally, while a CB is still rather de rigueur on the trail, i wouldn't bother with any CB that wasn't a Sideband unit, for a couple of reasons:
1- non-sideband operation is AM mode, and limited to a 4W carrier, with a maximum of 5W at full modulation. SSB operation transmits no carrier and is purely modulation, and permitted to swing to 12W.
so, not only will Sideband CBs be capable of producing more power due to beefier transmitters, they have more refined receivers, making it easier to pick out the signal.
bottom line, a little more expensive, but much better range when in SSB mode, especially in the convoluted terrain so many of us like to play in, due to the characteristics of SSB and the receivers that are designed to be better at picking out weaker signals.
2- best of all, although you may hear your friends sounding a bit like an X-Wing fighter from Star Wars if you're not tuned in perfectly, since there is no Carrier Signal transmitted when you key down on SSB, nobody 'covers' anyone else, and you can hear multiple people talking at once instead of only the strongest signal. good SSB CBs will even the volume out so you'll hear the strong signals at about the same volume you'll hear those weaker ones.

no matter what radio we're talking about, antennas are key. the better you can get your antenna setup optimized, the better you will hear and be heard.
this wasn't a big challenge on an XJ if you didn't have an aversion to punching holes in the roof, but i'm finding this a bit trickier on a Wrangler with no metal roof.

so, after that bit of a tome, this brings me to my own question for the group:

has anyone used the hole at the top edge of the Mopar tailgate reinforcement as an antenna mount?


EDIT: because my punctuation sucks.
 
Last edited:

zouch

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
18
Reaction score
10
Location
Berkeley, CA
Vehicle(s)
XJ

JoshuaaT

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2018
Messages
156
Reaction score
86
Location
Nevada
Vehicle(s)
2018 JLU 6 Speed
Vehicle Showcase
1
has anyone used the hole at the top edge of the Mopar tailgate reinforcement as an antenna mount?
I have seen it used two ways: grinding off enough powder coat for a solid ground connection and using a ground strap.

I use a Teraflex antenna mount at the tailgate hinge without any additional grounding strap. My multimeter tells me there is continuity between the coax ground and the Jeep chassis.
 

DirtRoad

Active Member
First Name
Brian
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
35
Reaction score
20
Location
Las Vegas
Vehicle(s)
2018 JLU
what kind of SWR match did you get with that antenna so close to the roof and spare wheel?
SWR is under 1.7 on 2m and 70cm and I didn't have to do any tuning on the antenna. It works pretty well. I guess a fiberglass top doesn't affect it much and the spare tire doesn't seem to do much to it either.
 

prerunner1982

Well-Known Member
First Name
Jon
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Messages
81
Reaction score
47
Location
Oklahoma
Vehicle(s)
XJ Cherokees

CoolTech

Well-Known Member
Rock Sponsor (Level 1)
First Name
Kendall
Joined
Feb 5, 2018
Messages
199
Reaction score
359
Location
Santa Clarita, CA
Vehicle(s)
2018 Rubicon
You can get NMO coax with a 3/8" center conductor so the hole doesn't have to be drilled out.
Midland's MXTA24 Low profile coax has the 3/8 hole compatible NMO mount on one end and this trick PL-259 adapter on the other so that the coax is much easier to route.

MidlandEnd.jpg
 

Whiskey 13

Well-Known Member
First Name
Steve
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
119
Reaction score
148
Location
North West Florida
Vehicle(s)
2020 Jeep JLU Black Rubicon, LOD Signature Mid Width Bumper, Smittybilt Gen 3 12000 Lb. Winch Syn. Rope, Teraflex 1.5" Leveling Kit, Weather Tech Form Fit Mats, ROAM MK 3 Frame Mounted Rock Rails
I have to give a shout out to CoolTech, bought my Midland MXT275 all-in-one set up from them. It comes with the radio, antenna, choice of tailgate or hood mount, and antenna cable. I installed the tailgate mount, antenna and radio in about 2 hours. Also picked up the two midland GXT1000 hand held radios to go with it. The hardest part of the entire installation was removing and reinstalling the spare tire, I almost kicked over my beer.
 

Hasaf

Member
First Name
Robert
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
6
Reaction score
6
Location
Kansas
Vehicle(s)
Jeep Compass
Right now I only have a Compass, but I am waiting to see the 4xe. Anyways, I have a ham 2M/70cm in the car. When travelling with others I will normally use FRS, because everyone can use it. I expect that with a JL I will add CB to the mix. I have always had a CB in my vehicles before this one.

I have an Anytone 2M/70cm that is supposed to do APRS, but I never got the APRS side to work.


Added:

I have noticed in this thread, and a few others, along with some information at the club "notarubicon" that some are using standard 2M/70cm radios for GMRS. I am an Amature Extra, I know the law on this. What I am asking about are social conventions, are jeepers likely to be offended if I were to use the same radio for both?

(really, the biggest concern about using the same radio for both is habitually saying my callsign on the wrong band)
 
Last edited:

Advertisement




Tazer JL - Z Automotive
 



Advertisement
Top