5watt GMRS radios. Any opinions?

8 06 2005

I’m considering replacing my el cheapo 1 watt FRS radios that I use for conventions and shows. They’ve been okay, and 2 years ago they were fine, but the headsets are terrible, and they don’t have enough ‘oomph’ to carry beyond a couple hundred feet, particularly in hotel buildings.
I’ve noticed that Midland Radio now has a full 5 watt GMRS radio (they’re marketing it as ’14 mile’, which is fine, as they say, across open water or perhaps chatting on a playa somewhere *grin*.
Anyway, they also have a very nice set of headphoens – including a ‘behind the head’ headset, which sounds perfect for extended wear (the ‘in the ear’ units for me get uncomfortable after an hour or two).
They also have a ‘stealth’ clear plastic version – just like the secret service uses. If you really want to be talking into your cuffs, this is the setup for you πŸ™‚
Anyway, thoughts on these? Price on midlandradio for a pair, with chargers, with the cheaper of the headphones is $94.99. I’m seeing them on eBay for around $75 for a pair.

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4 responses

10 06 2005
dbs

After much discussion on various mailing lists, the answer seems to be “Don’t do this, it’s illegal.” πŸ™‚ GMRS radios require a per-family license (about $75), so if we decide to use them for any event where it won’t just be my family, it would be illegal.
So, we switched to MURS stations. MURS is a set of 6 channels in VHF (around 150mghz) that are often referred to as the “CB for FM radios”. There’s no licnese, and very few restrictions on use. However, there are restrictions on the type of equipment needed, which is basically MURS-rated equipment.
The FCC does document all the details of what constitutes a MURS-valid use, and I feel that I can either adapt commercial VHF radios to these channels, or I can use ham radio equipment. I prefer the former, because that’s keeping more with the intent of the MURS restrictions.
I’m doing research and will most likely start picking up some radios shortly. I’ll let folks know how it turns out.

12 06 2005
Dwight

GMRS radios require licensing. I have a license. See http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/personal/generalmobile/
I think GMRS would be a very cool option for cohousing and for our cool yet-to-be-organized Cohousing Community Commuting Shuttle (CCCS). πŸ™‚

21 06 2005
Marc

You might be interested in a GMRS/FRS frequency antenna I recently made and put instructions up so that others could do the same.

http://blog.mecworks.com/articles/2005/02/27/gmrs-j-pole/

Remember, it’s illegal to modify FRS/GMRS radios so you need to buy radios that have removable antennas such as the Midland G-28 like I used in the article. The antenna should also work well with the Ham 70cm band.

5 12 2006
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