Switching from CB to GMRS radios

GreatCJ8

Charter Member
City
Lynchburg
State
VA
#22
First, it sucks that we lost that thread :banghead: there was great discussion in there. Thanks for bringing it back though.

Second, FYI, there's a Verizon tower that's going up at Silver Lake that's supposed to be active early next year, so the cell phone issues should be permanently cured, HOWEVER, for general group comms and trail rides these will still be awesome.

Third, it's interesting to point out that the antennas that all of the non-handeld units discussed here run are simple, tiny 6" magnetic base mounted antennas with a very small wire running to it. No giant coax, no antenna mounting effort (I actually just slapped the antenna on top of one of the metal toolboxes on by rear storage shelf for the SandBlast weekend)

I had a meeting with Midland at SEMA about a new radio that looks like a KILLER choice for Jeeps. It's a new 15-watt unit that has all the keys and readout on the hand unit like the ever-popular Cobra 75 so you can mount the box out of sight. The interesting thing is that there's a speaker in both the hand unit and the base unit and you can use one or the other or both. They're sending me one to test when it's available along with an external speaker to compare what's possible with one speaker or the other, both speakers and then the external speaker.

View attachment 59787
you only need one per "family" to use these.
That's true! I've been studying for my HAM license & that's covered. I'm big into vhf & uhf radios. I even listen to the ISS as they fly over, pretty cool.
 

GreatCJ8

Charter Member
City
Lynchburg
State
VA
#24
WHOAH! Mike, welcome back! Long time no see!
Thanks Eric, Hi :wave:
I peek my head in the door from time to time ;)
Never truly been gone.
This thread caught my eye, though. A pair of cheep Chinese radios can be had for $50 bucks & would tie-in well with the above radio if/when you & or a passenger leave the jeep. Baofeng UV5R is the radio I use. It has gmrs, frs, uhf & vhf along with FM
 

IAFFCJ

Scrambler Junkie
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City
Manassas
State
VA
#25
Whoo hoo more radio people.

Hi Mike. I used a set of UV5Rs out at one of the nationals and liked them pretty well if I didn't get the bubble pack midland handhelds with my credit card points i would have a few for sure.

I have been looking at the BF-888S radios mainly because they sell sets of 10 pretty cheep on ebay. Any insight on these? thinking about making a wheeling radio bank for loaner radios and these seem inexpensive enough i wouldn't be heartbroken in one got run over or something.
 

masscj2a

Rebuilding America's Jeep
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City
Chester
State
Ma
#26
Eric, you mentioned you had one from Midland to evaluate. I think it was the radio with controls on the mic. Did you get a chance to test that one yet ? I'm trying to decide on which one to purchase and following this thread. Let us know if you have tried that one yet.
 

GreatCJ8

Charter Member
City
Lynchburg
State
VA
#27
Whoo hoo more radio people.

Hi Mike. I used a set of UV5Rs out at one of the nationals and liked them pretty well if I didn't get the bubble pack midland handhelds with my credit card points i would have a few for sure.

I have been looking at the BF-888S radios mainly because they sell sets of 10 pretty cheep on ebay. Any insight on these? thinking about making a wheeling radio bank for loaner radios and these seem inexpensive enough i wouldn't be heartbroken in one got run over or something.
Hi! IAFFCJ Is it I Am Freaky For CJ's or I Am For Fast CJ's?? LOL
Anyway, yes, I subcontract for a Gov't contractor who supplies RF radios to PD, FD, Military & Space so everyone here is all about radios.
As far as the idea for a bank of loaners I think the radio you mentioned would be a great one. They can be programmed with the free software found online -here- called CHIRP. It's updated frequently, always try to use the latest update.
That's the short answer :thumbsup:
Here's the long answer :popcorn:
This radio is not Part 90 (commercial land mobile) or Part 95 (FRS/GMRS, etc.) certified. If you use it as received from the factory, you'll be transmitting on commercial and public safety channels, so you 'could', technically, get in trouble. Licensed HAM operators like to triangulate illegal transmitters & report them. It's like a game for them. Now, If reprogrammed for ham radio 70cm band and you're licensed, then yes, it can be used legally. If reprogrammed for FRS, then you'll be illegal due to power levels and the removable antenna. If reprogrammed for GMRS AND you have a license, then you'll be on shaky ground, but the chance of getting caught is VERY small. If you're looking for a good "family" radio and don't want to get a license, then just use FRS channels and stay off the GMRS channels (Channels 15-22 on Motorola radios).
These are awesome radios for the price and can easily be programed with CHIRP (just google it its is FREE) and if you're computer literate enough to read the install directions for CHIRP you CAN use CHIRP. It's a little frustrating at 1st getting the right port for the radio but after that it's smooth sailing & you can then "clone" the 1st programmed image onto all of the others. With chirp you can program these radios to FRS, and MURS (both legal without a license). If you want to really use these radios to their full potential get your GMRS license ($65 for 5 years, and NO TEST AT ALL and this license covers your whole family) and use them with your local repeaters.
:) HTH
 

IAFFCJ

Scrambler Junkie
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VA
#28
Thank you for all the information it is appreciated. It is International Association of Fire Fighters CJ to answer your first question. first thought when i started the forum thing years ago and wasn't very creative. It stuck.

The break down you gave is awesome. I started this GMRS path because I was looking for something similar to the 800mhz radio system we use in the fire trucks. I currently do have a GMRS license and am running a mobile from midland which works awesome. I have yet to dabble in the repeater world as it hasn't been needed for what I am using them for but am interested just need the time to get into it.

I am working on a custom dash for the scrambler right now and have been looking to put a Motorola of some sort in it mainly so the mic is the same as the Engine I am assigned to but as easy and simple the Midlands are to install I may end up with another one of them as they work great for Car to Car when on the trail.

Also see an old NY tag in your sig. Where abouts in NY. Grew up outside of Syracuse before transplanting to VA in 2004
 

GreatCJ8

Charter Member
City
Lynchburg
State
VA
#29
Thank you for all the information it is appreciated. It is International Association of Fire Fighters CJ to answer your first question. first thought when i started the forum thing years ago and wasn't very creative. It stuck.

The break down you gave is awesome. I started this GMRS path because I was looking for something similar to the 800mhz radio system we use in the fire trucks. I currently do have a GMRS license and am running a mobile from midland which works awesome. I have yet to dabble in the repeater world as it hasn't been needed for what I am using them for but am interested just need the time to get into it.

I am working on a custom dash for the scrambler right now and have been looking to put a Motorola of some sort in it mainly so the mic is the same as the Engine I am assigned to but as easy and simple the Midlands are to install I may end up with another one of them as they work great for Car to Car when on the trail.

Also see an old NY tag in your sig. Where abouts in NY. Grew up outside of Syracuse before transplanting to VA in 2004
The NY tag is from when I got out of the Army. I went back home. Jeep literally in tow from Italy! I was stationed there for 3 years & had my cj8 with me. I have a picture of it with the leaning tower in the background. I'll dig it up & post it here. I grew up in Orange County NY, Near the Shawangunk Mountains.

That radio you asked will be a fine gateway drug er I mean you'll like it :) Once you start getting used to it you'll learn about repeaters & that's where the magic starts. Repeaters are huge antennas on a radio site connected to a base radio setup which takes in your transmission on frequency aaa then repeats your message on frequency bbb with greater power & via the sites more awesomer antenna. Then there's privacy tones which are cool too & on & on :D

Mike
 
City
Huntsville
State
AL
#30
Like the info here. Most of us here in our club still use CB, but there are several of us with HAMs in our rigs. I've even been out in Big Bend TX and been able to hit the repeaters in the remote spots with no problem. I do like the GMRS idea as it is easier for anyone to get a license. Most folks don't understand the blister pack FRS/GMRS radios aren't legal on the GMRS channels without a license. We've had to explain it to several folks using what they thought were FRS, but wanting to use the GMRS channels (I've seen a few clubs use FRS rather than CB).

As to the antennas, the stubby one with the lower powered radios is probably the equalivent of a "rubber duck" antenna on a hand held. Let me tell you, a good antenna will make or break you when it comes to radios. I used a 2M J pole on my motor home run to my hand held and folks couldn't believe I was just using a hand held. I've swapped to a longer wavelength antenna for all my hand held HAMs and it makes quite a difference with the updated antennas.

Those little Baofeng hand helds are "gateway drugs". Can't believe they preform as well as they do for the price. I found some instructions online to manually program them and it really isn't difficult. I've got two programmed for my NOAA weather station and the local repeaters as well as the repeaters where we travel the most. I still like my Yeasu for serious use, but to throw in the console of the Scrambler, you can't beat the Baofeng UV5rs. I have my Icom 208H mounted in the Scrambler with a Mag mount 5/8 wave on a bracket over the taillight.
 

gr8dain

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Ashburn
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#31
Jake, I think you just sold me on putting one of these radios on my Christmas list. While I am not sure if anyone in my local club is using them, I would not mind leading the way. And it will be handy when I wheel with you and Dustin again. I might have to hit you up for info when I start investigating.
 

IAFFCJ

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#32
DO IT! Spread the word to all those NOVA folks el presidente keep the movement going.
 

gr8dain

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#33
How much is the license? Did I miss that in the info above? I quickly found this one on amazon.

A7EAA19A-479F-42FC-B833-29E14DB1FF1C.jpg
 

IAFFCJ

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#34
That’s the radio I am running. License is $75 and good for 10 years now I think.
 

Jeeper_4_Life

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Kingman
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#35
I got a Midland MXT115 for Christmas. Would going to a 3db or 6db antenna be worthwhile? Does it help with range, signal quality, both etc. I have been trying to read up on it, but without going through HAM study guides I am not getting a good idea of what the benefits are vs the antenna that came with the radio.
 

93_Fummins

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Edmond
State
OK
#36
I'm radio dumb... How do the GMRS radios compare to a Business Band unit? A group I wheel with (mostly farmers/ranchers) run business band units in their rigs. They only have like 4 presets on the units, and I believe have to be programmed to their signature channels? I was curious if the GMRS would pick up the Business Band units or if the frequency ranges/licenses are different...?
 

MrBeep

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City
Dillsboro
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IN
#37
I need to get on the wagon also. I do know a place to install a repeater at Sand Blast. :thumbsup: :wave:
 

masscj2a

Rebuilding America's Jeep
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#38
I just checked Amazon and the 15 watt is marked down to $133.74 as a prime item. The 5 watt has also been marked down. Talking about the Midland 115 and 105 models. Now might be the time I make the purchase.

The MXT115 $133.74

The MXT105 $91.29
 
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IAFFCJ

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Manassas
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VA
#39
I'm radio dumb... How do the GMRS radios compare to a Business Band unit? A group I wheel with (mostly farmers/ranchers) run business band units in their rigs. They only have like 4 presets on the units, and I believe have to be programmed to their signature channels? I was curious if the GMRS would pick up the Business Band units or if the frequency ranges/licenses are different...?
From what I have read Business class seems to have frequencies all over the place. There are a few that are the same as GMRS but it would come down to what Frequencies your group is using.
 

IAFFCJ

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#40
Also going to have to buy a few more mobiles I think. I just transferred the one out of the 7 into the scrambler. We used some handhelds when caravaning home from sand blast and i think another mobile for the tow rig is in order.

IMG_2720.jpg
 
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