I think you may have missed why I mentioned the election. As has been discussed on this board, many of us believe that when Trump wins, the left is going to lose their minds even more so than they have recently. I expect that we will see BLM/ANTIFA BS in all of the major democrat controlled cities and that the destruction from their protests will spill into the close suburbs.
I am in the burbs of a major democrat controlled city (Columbus, Ohio).
So... my concerns have nothing to do with prices or availability or anything like that. If I am going to get something, I want it soon so that I can learn the system and set up frequencies with friends and family that already have similar setups (not Baofeng necessarily, but portable HAM units that will Tx/Rx in the same frequency band as what I have).
The 2 GMRS radios and the 1 HAM portable radios will be for comms with close friends and relatives should we need to form some type of protective unit for our homes and property.
We will use the GMRS for general stuff around our house and when we go to our family farms, for road tripping, and for the stupid stuff most people use GMRS for.
The portable HAM is there if things get really bad and we need more comms horsepower (relatively more) to communicate with a larger group of people on a spectrum that is not as busy as the GMRS/FRS/MURS frequencies.
Also, I am interested in becoming a licensed HAM operator at some point in the not to distant future. The hobby aligns nicely with some of my other hobbies (GA flying, low level electronics tinkering, etc.).
Thanks for your perspective though...
Thank you very much!
You get what I am trying to accomplish.
So, you are suggesting that I drop the GMRS only radios and get 3 fully functional portable HAM units. Then, programming in the GMRS, FRS and MURS frequencies for general approved and licensed use (under my GMRS license). Then, if things go south, start using the other bands responsibly even though I may not have my HAM ticket by then?
Also, the Baofeng units are adequate as a "CCR", but you also like the Retevis RT87. I will put the 2 side by side and see how they compare.
I think I would still like the option of having units that will accept or have a back that can accept common battery types. I get what you are saying, but I really do not think I would be using these for any distance greater than a mile with our plan. So, we can pull back on the power level to conserve batteries (both the lithium or common type alkaline/lithium AA's or whatever).
I have been reading for a week on GMRS, FRS, MURS and the HAM frequencies and what is required for each. I have found it fascinating and has sparked a real interest in HAM.
Again... Thank you.
While I doubt there is much likelihood of getting in trouble for it, transmitting on FRS, GMRS, or MURS bands with a radio that is not specifically approved by the FCC for those bands is illegal, and basically any radio that is capable of operating outside those bands can't meet the approval requirements (meaning buying a Baofeng ham radio and programming it to operate on FRS, GMRS, or MURS frequencies is illegal because Baofeng ham radios are not "type accepted" for those bands - although Baofeng does make some GMRS radios).
I have a few Baofeng handheld radios and they do pretty good.
I talk to Sigforum member drill sgt everyday on some linked UHF repeaters we have in our part of Louisiana. I'm on my Yaesu 3207 and Keith (drill sgt) is on a Baofeng handheld sitting in his living room. He's 10 miles from the repeater.
And no, junior not being able to hold still for 5 seconds is not a disability.
Charlie 12... Thank you. Good info. Are you both licensed HAM operators?
Maladat... I just watched a very informative video that stated exactly what you pointed out. I will post a link in a minute, but the gist of the video was that it is illegal to use a radio that is not part certified, but if you are smart about using it, the FCC is never going to come after you for using a Baofeng HT for GMRS. And, in emergency situations, you can use these radios in a limited capacity even if you are not licensed (fire, flood, tornado... things that wipe out cell towers and telephone poles). Even in those situations, you need to be careful not to interfere with other transmissions by those with licenses.
I looked for this video specifically because of the information you provided. Thank you...
Using a HT for GMRS, FRS or MURS
|Telling cops where to go for over 25 years|
Exactly that, and don’ forget to program FRS freqs to use Low TX power.
Yes, except Retevis is also a “CCR”. I have already compared the Retevis (several models) and BF (several models). Retevis RT87 is better than any BF in my opinion. There are other Retevis models (RT5 for example) that are similar in quality and essentially clones of BF radios.
The RT87 is is a higher line than the “base” models, better materials and construction.
I get your reasoning but I will offer that there are a few things you aren’t taking into consideration.
1. Even over short distances always better to have more power. It isn’t just about range it is about signal strength and clarity. A radio needs at least 4x the output power to double the range.
2. AA batteries are inefficient and don’t deliver high energy, as such AA batteries limit the power output or use time before they are dead.
While the FCC increased allowable power for FRS from 500mW to 2W many (if not most) of the FRS radios still go nowhere near the 2W limit. With simplex GMRS allowable 5W, many (if not most) of the “Bubble pack” GMRS radios (Midland, Cobra, etc.) are no where near 5W, usually in the 1-2W range. One Midland model claims a vague “Almost 3W Power output”. Some of the higher end claim 5W, but don’t expect it in the real world.
Big reason for this lack of TX power is those radios are powered by AA batteries and they just can’t provide the juice to do it for any extended time. TX power is throttled in favor of battery life.
My experience is HAM radios are much more likely to hit their claimed output. Retevis RT87 claim 4w and all three of mine put out 4W or better depending on specific frequency.
If you are are concerned about power outage, I’d recommend a small solar power bank or if you are dead set on AA, a power bank that takes AA batteries and provides USB output for powering the charge cradle by USB cord.
In regards to Maladat’s reply, not to split too fine of hairs but there is NOTHING illegal about buying or programming a CCR to any frequencies.
What IS illegal is transmitting on a frequency using equipment not approved for that radio service or not being licensed to do so.
FCC approves different equipment using different factors and requirements. FRS are limited to 2W and a fixed, non-removable antenna. GMRS are limited to 5W simplex/50 wattsand allow removable antennas.
To be approved by FCC, both FRS and GMRS radios have to be pre-programmed, not user programmable AND the manufacturer has to submit through the FCC process and be approved and given an ID number in addition to meeting the requirements.
That BTECH GMRS-V1 is the same radio as the Baofeng UV-82 VHF/UHF HAM handheld. All BTECH did is turn off VHF, preprogrammed the GMRS channels and lock down the ability of the user to program it otherwise then send it off to FCC for acceptance. Oh, and raise the price from $24 to $60
Other than the equipment acceptance requirements, if you were to operate a “HAM” handheld radio within the appropriate FRS/GMRS service limits for power output, on the appropriate frequencies, and following license/ID rules no one would be the wiser or show up at your door wanting to see the FCC sticker on the back of your radio.
Now if you are on an FRS frequency, pumping 10 watts of power from a rooftop antenna and being heard 20 miles away, or conducting business on GMRS frequencies and never providing a legit GMRS callsign, you might catch someone’s attention.
True SHTF situation, all bets are off - do what you gotta do.
What part of "...Shall not be infringed" don't you understand???
Again, thank you. I am looking very closely at the Retevis RT87. As it is waterproof for 1 meter for 30 minutes, that alone may put it as the winner over the Baofeng.
With the waterproof rating, that then disqualifies extended batteries I assume as I cannot find anything online concerning them. I would want at least 1 extra battery for each radio (will probably get 2 to start out with). Can you direct me to the correct part number for the RT87 battery?
Also, I am seeing that the manual may be poorly written. Can you tell me if you found that to be true? The complaints I saw were dated, so they may have rewritten the manual.
Again... THANK YOU!!!
PS - the video I referenced in my reply to Maladat is pretty good.
PSS - What book would you recommend for preparation for taking the Technician exam? I found one from ARRL that received good reviews on Amazon.
Yep we are both hams.
And no, junior not being able to hold still for 5 seconds is not a disability.
Do a search on Ham Radio or Amateur Radio on this forum. Lots of very good information has been posted on your base topic. JALLEN (SK) gave some excellent information.
Get the ARRL tech license book. It covers all the material. You need 26 of 35 questions correct to pass. Well worth it.
As far as transmitting without an Amateur Radio license on Amateur Radio frequencies. True you can transmit, but do not forget that unless your transmission involves a true life-death issue, a licensed Amateur Radio op is not allowed to transmit to you.
And yes, I'm an amateur radio operator.
-.-. --.- -.-. --.- -.-. --.- -.-. --.-
It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.
"He gains votes ever and anew by taking money from everybody and giving it to a few, while explaining that every penny was extracted from the few to be giving to the many."
Ogden Nash from his poem - The Politician
I speak jive.
In an Emergency, no one cares, which is why the cheapo Baofengs are popular.
Everyone should have one or two, IMO. Having the capability to Tx on those Bands is worth it.
Icom... Thanks. Yes, I have done that and have read some good information. With this be an area of potential federal enforcement action, I wanted to see what the current opinions were on the subject.
I am also scouring the CFR, FR and other government sources for information on the various regulations, letters of interpretation, and enforcement actions.
Professionally, I am a compliance officer that deals with government agencies all of the time (EPA, OSHA, DOT, DHS, etc.), so I am comfortable with reading and interpreting law.
Law vs. real application of the law are often different.
Thanks for the info. I am ordering the ARRL book today.
46and2... Thank you.
I will be careful and only use the amateur bands in extreme emergencies until I am licensed (natural disasters, man-made disasters, civil unrest, etc.).
Okay... My thinking and budget has evolved again...
At my wife’s urging, she would rather that I get a mid-tier set of radios rather than the entry level Chinese radios.
So, I am willing to go as high as $150-$175 per radio (I want 2) with battery and charger.
I would like something that is widely supported through the manufacturer, YouTube and online forums. I would also like quality accessories to be available for the HT's, like programming cables, software, antennas, shoulder speaker microphones, extra/extended batteries, etc.
With accessories, I would like to stay within $500.
Currently, I am looking at (based on price alone... not features or accessories):
Really, it looks like Yaesu is the dominant manufacturer in this price range. I did not find any Icom or Motorola dual or triband programmable HT’s in this price range.
I would also like (but not require) the units to be waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
I like the Retvis RT87's as it appears to meet these requirements, albeit as a low cost option. However, programming cables are currently unavailable online and I cannot find a source for factory batteries.
I guess the cheap options is still there (Baofeng). It has everything but the waterproof rating, but it and all of its accessories are available now. Then, I would probably move up to a Kenwood TH-D74 once I get my ticket…
So... knowing my new budget and requirements, what would you guys suggest?
If you are talking about sheltering in place then an external antenna should be a very high priority. Even if home made, like a j-pole. I can't express this enough.
I do like sweet potatoes with my possum.
Thank you... Yes. I have plans on a external antenna. I have fairly easy access to my 2nd story roof, which is taller than all of the surrounding terrain and most of the vegetation.
However, I have been looking at how to fashion an antenna out of stuff I have around the house that I can put up quickly in an emergency. I have an extendable painting pole that I would use as the riser/spire on which the antenna would be attached and I already have the clamps to secure it to the side of the house (second story, extended above all of the surrounding homes and vegetation.
I am unable to permanently affix and antenna to the house due to HOA and other covenants. I do plan on purchasing a new home and moving sometime after the election where there will be no such restrictions.
The Yaesu line is available with a 12 volt car adapter to allow in car use, just plug in to cigar lighter and go.. A car battery will last a long time with a HT . Avoid the cheap stuff.
Have a couple Yaesu HTs--FT-2 and VX-6. They are a good price point in my opinion.
Regarding the FT-70, might want to check what digital modes are in use in your area. For example, if there is no C4FM in your area might want to consider an HT with DMR,D-STAR, etc. instead.
Regarding antennas, could certainly build your own, but in the $35 range there are some portable/stealth options. Search N9TAX, WB6IQN, etc.
Regarding AA/AAA batteries in lieu of battery pack, output power may be reduced. Respective owner's manual should have this information.
|Telling cops where to go for over 25 years|
Being waterproof and solid construction is what sold me on the RT87. Extra batteries are not listed on Amazon, I have an email into the seller to get a price for them. With radios as low as $50, I am guessing extra batteries can be had had for $20-$25.
To be honest, never even looked at the manual I imagine it is the usual quality Chinese to English translation. As far as programming though, very simple. Download the free program, fill in the boxes, connect the programing cable and send. It is very similar to the "Chirp" program, but "Chirp" doesn't work with most Retevis radios.
I would consider the RT87 to be a mid-tier radio, while it is Chinese, it is not the same league as the "CCR" Baofengs.
**IMPORTANT** - If you buy Yaesu or Icom you will only be able to transmit on HAM band frequencies. They CAN NOT be set up to TX on FRS or GMRS. You can listen to those freqs as well as weather or aircraft but they are locked down for TX to only official HAM UHF/VHF freqs.
For your stated purpose I would STRONGLY advise you to reconsider this idea.
There are basically TWO standard accessory interfaces for Speaker mics - 1 Pin (looks like a stereo headphone plug) and two-pin (chunk of plastic with a big headphone plug and little headphone plug). Different manufacturers use one or other (and in some cases both depending on radio model)
The branded Yaesu/Icom/Kenwood speaker mics are not very different from the Retevis/Baofeng/BTech/etc. as long as you pic one with the right interface, it'll work.
Programing cables may or may not be similarly standardized, depends on the radio. Important to note also that many of the name brand radio models require proprietary programming cables and some require special software ($40-$70 a pop depending on model). Very few of these radios can be programmed with free software.
If you are Amazon Prime, no risk giving the Retevis a try - they are free Prime Delivery and free returns. In fact I just checked and the 3-pack is free shipping and free return even if you aren't Prime.
Programming cable $13 on Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Batteries aren't listed on Amazon, I emailed seller (Retevis Direct) inquiring about batteries last night (after replying to your post). They replied today asking me for how many for pricing, I replied 2-3. Will advise once they respond with a price. This seems to be common for Retevis, not listing spare batteries. Lots of folks on Amazon ask though and they reply to contact via email.
I jumped on the Yaesu FT-2DR top-end HT when I got my ticket and regretted it. It is a LOT of radio with Digital modes, APRS, GPS, etc. similar to the TH-D74. Found that I had no real interest in a lot of that and spent a lot of money for stuff I wasn't going to use. Sold it off in short fashion, thankfully before the FT-3DR came out and the value dropped. Still took a loss on it though.
If you are interested in the Digital stuff, DMR seems to be quickly outpacing the proprietary Yaesu, Icom, and Kenwood formats. It is an "open" system based on Motorola tech and has many manufacturers making compliant radios. It opens up a WHOLE new thing to HAMs key up a 5W handheld and talk to damn near anywhere in the world - but you pretty much have to have a license to even get started on that.
- Seriously, it is a solid starter rig at a great price and for your purpose it checks ALL the boxes, especially being able to TX/RX FRS, GRMS, HAM all in one radio.
NO Yaesu, Icom, or Kenwood is going to do that. Wouxun might, but to be honest I hardly have used mine (hey, will give a good deal on it, radio spare batteries, charging cradle, programming cable...)
Yaesu you are going to spend $70 for a spare battery and charging cradle
Buy an "extra" RT87 ($60) and in addition to the spare battery you will have a second charging cradle (keep it at work or in a go-bag) AND a spare/backup radio, charging transformer, and antenna as well as still having $10 in your pocket (to go with the $110 that you didn't spend by getting your first RT87 instead of the FT-70DR)
I know I am sounding like a fanatic but seriously, you are thinking/re-thinking too much. I was exactly where you are almost 5 years ago. It was Oct 2015 (just checked my Amazon history) I bought my first "HAM" radio, the Baofeng BF-F8HP after going through the EXACT same process you are in. May of 2018 I got my HAM Tech license and followed that up July of 2018 getting my General.
Earlier this year I decided to get my GMRS license as my wife doesn't have enough interest in getting a HAM ticket. I figured we could use GMRS while traveling and not in cellphone coverage areas at campgrounds, etc. A couple months ago I went through "testing" about a half dozen options for GMRS radios before I settled on the RT87 - Trust me, it checks all the boxes for what you are interested in. We had a garage sale last week and I sold off my original Baofeng as well as a pair of Retevis RT5 handhelds I had been using on FRS and MURS freqs that are a lower build quality than the RT87.
If you do decide to get your HAM license, at that point you will find there are all SORTS of wonderful radios to spend money on (mobiles, base) as well as antennas and antenna analyzers, and on and on and on. I am a tech junkie and jumped in with both feet hard.
Shortly after getting my license my Dad came to live with use and I didn't get to use it much as we were taking care of him. He passed away earlier this year so starting to make time again for it but I imagine I will really get going in a few years when I retire and have more time to devote to the hobby.
What part of "...Shall not be infringed" don't you understand???
|Do No Harm,|
Do Know Harm
You want the best advice that I don’t think anyone has given you yet?
Search for your local ham groups and pick one and go to a few meetings and ask for advice.
You don’t know yet what you don’t know. But I guarantee you that they do. And they will help. Many answers to your questions are specific to your geography. And using this equipment, the ham radios specifically, isn’t something you’re going to figure out on the fly in an emergency. I also guarantee you that.
Even getting your license doesn’t instantly make you able to figure it out. You need to be using the equipment and frequencies etc. to understand what you’re doing.
Knowing what one is talking about is widely admired but not strictly required here.
Although sometimes distracting, there is often a certain entertainment value to this easy standard.
"All I need is a WAR ON DRUGS reference and I got myself a police thread BINGO." -jljones
Following this thread with interest.
Sigs: P220, P228, P239, P290
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