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Still confused on FRS vs GMRS

SargeDiesel

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Required, yes. Do people actually bother to get licensed? I'd be surprised. Just look at how many off roaders use ham bands unlicensed.
I did . Initially I was going to get my Ham... but wanted something emmediate, so I purchased the GMRS. I might still work on the HAM, because I have a nice handheld. Both types could come in handy in the right situation, so IMO, nice to have both.
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SargeDiesel

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Quite a few out here do. While we have some really good 'open' repeaters, the best high altitude ones are private. To get permission to use, you must have a verifiable call sign. When you're 40 miles out in the desert, you want access to as many repeaters as possible, just in case.

Also, the Zello app requires a call sign to use the repeaters on thier network. And as more repeaters are adding themselves into it, you are beginning to see a nation wide network built around the better GMRS repeaters. Shoot I had a conversation from my mobile unit with a guy in Jersey who was on the repeater through the zello app. It's becoming a solid workaround of the HAMM system as you won't need to pass a test for nation wide comms.
How do you like the ZELLO app ? Do you mind me asking... how are you using it, under what circumstances ? Is it the main source for communication or used as backup ? TIA
 

Ahre

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Required, yes. Do people actually bother to get licensed? I'd be surprised. Just look at how many off roaders use ham bands unlicensed.
Hey Smokey, broadcasting with or without a license that is FCC required is a very personal choice. Are you trying to convince Josh to operate a GMRS radio illegally?
 

smokeythecat

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Hey Smokey, broadcasting with or without a license that is FCC required is a very personal choice. Are you trying to convince Josh to operate a GMRS radio illegally?
Nope! It was a not so subtle dig at rule breakers. But I guess rules are for people that don't feel inconvenienced by rules. :LOL:
 

REAWS6

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Is there a way to pay and do the form for the GMRS license online or do you have to send it in?
 

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Speed331

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Ahre

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Is there a way to pay and do the form for the GMRS license online or do you have to send it in?
Hey Reaws, use the "FCC 605 Main Form" and the first entry 1) Radio Service Code is ZA for GMRS. The rest is pretty much self explanatory.
 

GrayWolf.Overland

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GMRS usage beyond 2w (and >0.5w in some channels) are not allowed in Canada. If you are canadian reading this thread, get a handheld FRS radio for group trail runs and start preparing for HAM radio license tests so that you can have a proper UHF/VHF Ham radio to operate in the Forest service road channels.

While you are prepping for the HAM license, you can get away with using a low (<5w) Baofeng or equivalent handheld. There are some models that now come with IC (Industries Canada) approval number behind the battery - just to stay on the legal side of things
https://baofengradio.ca/products/baofeng-uv-5r-dual-band-two-way-radio-black
 

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Right, super easy. Give FCC your $35 and info and you're good for 10yrs. Plus that license covers the whole fam-damily!

At OP, I prefer GMRS over FRS. They are the same exact radios except that GMRS has longer reaching capabilities. Any person with an FRS radio can chat with someone on GMRS radio assuming they are on the same channel and within range. And also vice versa. I like the added comfort of knowing I can reach/hear further out with GMRS than FRS. To me, no brainer to buy a GMRS handheld and just do the $35.

I went with the Midland MXT275 - Whip for longer range, but the standard Midland MXT275 is equally great.
Using a GMRS radio to talk to an FRS radio will work (on the FRS frequencies of course) but there will be a volume mismatch due to wide band vs narrow band. So while it works, it can be frustrating to have to volume be either too loud or too soft depending on which radio is talking. - Info from radio folks on the web ... not personal experience.

I agree that GMRS makes more sense for the range and power. Note - don't use more power than needed - it drains your battery and clogs the airwaves. If you know you are going to be close together use a FRS channel.

But it might also make sense to have a pair of $20 FRS radios in the glove box for spotters, for the kids to use, etc.
 

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Speed331

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But it might also make sense to have a pair of $20 FRS radios in the glove box for spotters, for the kids to use, etc.
That is exactly what we do on trail runs. Spotters use hand helds to talk to the moble units - better than shouting and hand signals. It's also usefull to have 5 watt GMRS (as opposed to the 2 watt FRS) handhelds for any side hikes away from camp, while using the moble unit for a base. They are somewhat more expensive, but the extra versatility is worth it....
 

Speed331

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How do you like the ZELLO app ? Do you mind me asking... how are you using it, under what circumstances ? Is it the main source for communication or used as backup ? TIA
It's mostly for getting on networks in other areas. I'm signed into networks in Cali, Arizona, Colorado and some back east just for fun. I use the regional ones to get trail updates and road conditions from locals ahead of traveling.
 

Ruby21

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Hi I have a ham license and in my Jeep I keep a handheld Yaesu radio for amateur radio frequencies. I also enjoy QRPing with amateur radio. Ham is great because it’s not as limiting power wise and there’s more frequencies. The only problem is the radio is only for my use since I’m the one with the FCC call sign. To sort of get around this limitation I keep a pair of 5 watt Baofeng dedicated GMRS radios and keep the license under my name. This way when on the trail I have a better chance to keep in contact with others that doesn’t involve the ham radio. GMRS has better power and it’s a great way to get better power as well as ability to utilize repeaters without needing a radio license. I think it’s a much better option than FRS. I also have a pair of FRS radios but to be honest I haven’t used them in years.
 

Apples491

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Let's not forget about one of the most useful features on GMRS/HAM. CTCSS, aka privacy codes. Without getting technical, sub frequency settings that act like limiters on the main frequency to cut down on cross chatter. They're not truly "private" but you're far less likely to run into someone else running the same code.

I suppose it's possible for FRS radios to offer access to them on the FRS channels but I've never seen one.
 

PaulW

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* Buy a radio that has VHF, HAM, GMRS, and FRS. Problem solved. When you program the radio choose the appropriate power level for each channel to keep the guys you talk to happy. Yes, appropriate tone codes are applicable for GMRS.
* Do not use VHF frequencies that are licensed to commercial businesses in your area without permission. For sure if you do the Fed's will find you.
* Find VHF frequencies that are licensed and open to all users in your area or for national use.
* Get a license for HAM or GMRS is you want to. I don't think the Fed law enforcement will ever find you if you do not have it.
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