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 Post subject: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: February 13th, 2017, 7:18 am 
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I am looking for a good high powered (output) walkie talkie that does not require a license... what is/are your suggestion ? Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: February 14th, 2017, 2:01 pm 
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I'm a HAM, and have used Icom for years. Terrific radios, and they make a lot of radios that don't require an amateur license. Kenwood is another great manufacturer. As far as "high power", you are severely limited by the radio frequencies and power you can use without a license. If you want to be able to reliably talk at distances over a half-mile or so, you either need a completely open line of sight to where you want to talk to, or an amateur license/radio.

Getting a license isn't that hard - they even removed the Morse code requirement a few years back. You just need to know basic radio/power theory, and the rules of using a radio on the amateur bands. I received my first license in my teens with minimal study.

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 Post subject: Re: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: February 14th, 2017, 7:29 pm 
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I was also a HAM but not in this country. I used an icom 02AT handheld with a large battery pack and iC2000H base on my vehicle... ohhh I miss those days...
Anyway I am interested in getting a license if you say it is not that hard ... could you please point me in the right direction...

Thanks
======
Edit:
If I get a license, will my immediate family be allowed to use the rdo to communicate with me or does each family member need a license?
Thanks again

Vortex wrote:
I'm a HAM, and have used Icom for years. Terrific radios, and they make a lot of radios that don't require an amateur license. Kenwood is another great manufacturer. As far as "high power", you are severely limited by the radio frequencies and power you can use without a license. If you want to be able to reliably talk at distances over a half-mile or so, you either need a completely open line of sight to where you want to talk to, or an amateur license/radio.

Getting a license isn't that hard - they even removed the Morse code requirement a few years back. You just need to know basic radio/power theory, and the rules of using a radio on the amateur bands. I received my first license in my teens with minimal study.


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 Post subject: Re: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: February 14th, 2017, 9:36 pm 
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Anyone that transmits, has to have a license. The day I took my test, there was an 11 year old that passed the test. The test isn't hard, there are a lot a study resources available. From books to online to apps for smartphones.


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 Post subject: Re: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: February 14th, 2017, 10:03 pm 
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Each family member will also need a ham license. But it is relatively easy. I got my wife with minimal interest and my youngest brother who was 11 at the time to be able to pass with just a few hours of study using a practice test program. I wouldn't say it is the best approach if you really want to know what is going on because it basically just teaches you the answer to the questions and not so much why the answer is the correct one for the question. This is the one Program I used http://www.shenware.com/ It is a free program, though it is from 2014 so I am not 100% sure is it fully up to date. It basically has every question from the exam and can generate a practice exam. You can run through every question in every sub element and it will keep track of the ones you get wrong and allow you to run through the ones you missed to see if you remember the correct answer. You only need a 70% to pass so it is actually fairly easy. There are several other online test resources but I think some have a fee associated with using them.

But on the subject of hand held radios I honestly still like using FRS radios like you can find at just about any big box store. They are simple to use and and you don't have to worry about who can use them. The work great for talking between cars on a road trip or groups that tent to spread out on hikes. The frequencies are quite congested at public events or in the city. Most of them have crazy range advertisements that are not true and to be honest one is really just about as good as the other, about a mile reliably in most outdoor settings, less than half that in an urban setting.

The best free to use non ham radio option is MURS which is 5 license free channels in the 150mhz range. You are allowed to use external antennas and up to 2 watts of power. The problem is no one makes good affordable radios on these bands that are legal to use. Really the only good legal option is to get some certain models of older business radios that are FCC type accepted for use on MURS, like what the store employees at a big box store would use and have them programed for the MURS frequencies. That said the MURS Frequencies are very close the to 2 meter ham band and most ham radio equipment can be easily modified to work well in the MURS band. Though it is not legal to do it is very common.

You can get a $30 Baofeng and use it for ham radio and whatever else you felt was appropriate. They are amazing radios for the cost but that is not to say they are amazing radios. The firmware is a bit Chinese and the receiver is about the worst I have ever seen on any radio so that is going to limit your range especially in contested areas.

Edit: I guess I should also mention GMRS It is $65 for a 5 year family license. You can use more power full radios with external antennas which has a better effect on range than adding power. A few channels you are allowed to go up to 50W and more importantly there are a few repeater pares. But there would need to be a repeater in the area where you were operating and the owner would need to grant you permission to use it. They are UHF frequencies in the 460mhz range and some of the channels are co shared with the FRS radios. Most of the blister pack radios at the big box stores are actually GMRS radios as they cover more channels than the 14 FRS ones and most will put out more than 1/2W on the channels that allow them to. I know many who use old decommissioned public safety radios Motorola, Midland, Kenwood radios that are reprogrammed for GMRS. there have also recently been some really interesting micro Mobil consumer oriented GMRS radios for use vehicles or home base station use with external antennas. https://midlandusa.com/micromobile/


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 Post subject: Re: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: February 15th, 2017, 7:12 am 
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thanks for your guidance guys. I went to wallyworld yesterday to look for the blister packed consumer radios and saw the GMRS unit that has a 5 year license for $65. Since taking the HAM test is not an option for the whole family right now, I am looking to just get the GMRS.

One quick question, will these GMRS handhelds allow you to program the units to use duplex ?

Thanks once again


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 Post subject: Re: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: February 15th, 2017, 8:53 am 
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By duplex I assume you mean a repeater pair split. I have never seen a blister pack set that supports repeaters.

I would recommend looking at the Micro Mobils I mentioned. The 15 and 40W versions support repeaters. All of them can talk to your hand helds and you will have significantly better range due to the antenna advantage.


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 Post subject: Re: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: February 15th, 2017, 9:45 am 
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Brlux wrote:
By duplex I assume you mean a repeater pair split. I have never seen a blister pack set that supports repeaters.

I would recommend looking at the Micro Mobils I mentioned. The 15 and 40W versions support repeaters. All of them can talk to your hand helds and you will have significantly better range due to the antenna advantage.



yeah it's sort of like a repeater pair split but without the repeater... like when I press ptt, the channel will change to my Tx channel (and that channel is the Rx channel of the person I am talking to, and when that person presses the ptt, his Tx channel changes to my Rx channel, so it's just a two way communication. I hope I am explaining myself clear.

I will look into those other options you mentioned..


Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: February 15th, 2017, 1:52 pm 
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If what you are saying is talking between 2 radios direct you transmit on say ch 3 and your partner transmits back on ch 5 and the radios automatically switch between channels when pressing the PTT, No that is not a feature of any GMRS consumer radio. It effectively congests 2 channels with one conversation. I assume you want to do this to try and make it harder for others to follow the conversation.

Fully frequency agil programmable radios like the Beofeng, Ham radios, or commercial radios can be programed this way but it is not recommended. You need to assume anything you say on the radio can and will be heard by others. I have followed many conversations listening to a repeater input or a trunked radio output channel without the ability to follow the trunking and you can still get the jist of what is being talked about only hearing one side of the conversation.


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 Post subject: Re: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: February 15th, 2017, 3:42 pm 
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Brlux wrote:
If what you are saying is talking between 2 radios direct you transmit on say ch 3 and your partner transmits back on ch 5 and the radios automatically switch between channels when pressing the PTT, No that is not a feature of any GMRS consumer radio. It effectively congests 2 channels with one conversation. I assume you want to do this to try and make it harder for others to follow the conversation.

Fully frequency agil programmable radios like the Beofeng, Ham radios, or commercial radios can be programed this way but it is not recommended. You need to assume anything you say on the radio can and will be heard by others. I have followed many conversations listening to a repeater input or a trunked radio output channel without the ability to follow the trunking and you can still get the jist of what is being talked about only hearing one side of the conversation.



Thanks, I guess I am asking too much functionality with the mentioned devices.

Anyway, one last question if I may...

If I buy the Baofeng UV5R (or other units) and just use it to "listen" (as I don't have a license yet), can I use an external antenna at home? Or will I violate FCC rules ?

Thanks once again.


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 Post subject: Re: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: February 15th, 2017, 5:02 pm 
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You only need a license to transmit.


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 Post subject: Re: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: February 15th, 2017, 7:17 pm 
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Listening to whatever it can receive is legal, Transmitting on most frequency requires a license. I think using it on GMRS is quasi legal because I don't think it is FCC type accepted for use on GMRS. Power level settings and deviation amount for appropriate GMRS channels should be observed if programing the Baofeng.

Due to the receiver being poor it does tend to suffer from in a seance overload due to much signal when attached to a roof top antenna in your house. A mobile radio with a receiver meant to reject strong adjacent signals will allow you to better hear weak signals you are looking for. The memory channel scan speed is slow like 2 channels a second. But for $30 bucks you are not going to find anything else to compete. Defiantly worth the money to get something to play with. Whatever you do don't get tempted by the BF-888 they are a UHF 16 channel radio that is in the $15 price range and the receiver is so bad I consider it unusable for anything but talking to someone that you can still see.

There is a open source radio programing software called Chirp which is nice because it supports just about every radio that can be programed with a computer and once you come up with one memory channel setup it is easy to port it over to other radios.


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 Post subject: Re: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: February 16th, 2017, 4:36 pm 
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thanks once again!

I went with the GMRS for now and have applied for the 5 year license.


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 Post subject: Re: walkie talkie - info needed
New postPosted: March 2nd, 2017, 2:25 pm 
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xd92013 wrote:
thanks once again!

I went with the GMRS for now and have applied for the 5 year license.



Also bought a UV5R just for listening, while reviewing for the Tech license. Now I need a not so expensive external antenna for it.


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