2-way radios? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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cowboy1964
09-10-2011, 13:23
These seem like would be a good idea for BOBs, or even for hunker-down-at-home scenaries in case someone has to go out and the cell networks are down. Neighborhood watch would also be a great use for these, even if power and cell networks are still up, so it may be worth having extras on hand.

What do you have/like? Recharging would be my main concern with these so something that takes standard batteries may be a good idea. Any other features that would especially applicable to preparedness usage?

BillJ
09-10-2011, 13:50
I highly recommend that you buy one that is GMRS. It is not legal to use the GMRS channels without a license, however you can use the FRS channels (built into all GMRS models) and talk the 1 mile or less legally. And once you get a license or shtf you could talk up to 5ish miles....(yes they say 35 miles but its full of crap)

GMRS pair will run you around $50 ish, Motorola midland cobra all make them.
Do some surfing on amazon. I know the midlands I bought can use AA or the factory rechargeable battery


For the situation your talking about adding a base station down the line would be a good idea. Midland makes one that has the GMRS am/fm clock/radio flashlight. That is hand crank charged for emergency use.

cowboy1964
09-10-2011, 14:00
For the situation your talking about adding a base station down the line would be a good idea. Midland makes one that has the GMRS am/fm clock/radio flashlight. That is hand crank charged for emergency use.

Thanks, awesome info.

The Midlands look interesting.

http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-37697109791737_2176_27464080

Lone Kimono
09-10-2011, 14:15
They are worth having, but keep in mind if something happens the FRS/GMRS channels will probably be flooded with people. In addition to those I'd look into getting a HAM license.

Akita
09-10-2011, 20:13
Actually usuing the FRS bands at higher than allowed power will piss off the FCC and those hams that never succeeded in life and spend their time protecting 'their' airwaves.

Stay legal. If you are in an emergency. you may use any band (within reason, eg no one with half a brain will use the airline band) without ANY license.

bdcochran
09-10-2011, 22:03
Thanks for the suggestions. I took a couple of older radios out of storage today. Then I decided to buy a total of 4 Midlands that have privacy codes and take rechargable as well as non rechargable batteries. Printed out 6 manuals (one with each radio in ziplock, 2 for cabinet manual file) and downloaded the manual into the manuals subdirectory in the computer.

Javelin
09-10-2011, 22:10
Thanks, awesome info.

The Midlands look interesting.

http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-37697109791737_2176_27464080

That is a really good idea!

cowboy1964
09-10-2011, 23:56
I like that these have the rechargeable battery packs (which also can be recharged with the hand crank) but can also use AAs. Exactly what I'm looking for.

lawman800
09-11-2011, 00:45
I have a set of FRS radios at home. My main concern us radio discipline though. Hard to teach some people sometimes and maintaining discipline can be the difference between life and death.

bdcochran
09-11-2011, 10:40
Radio discipline

Lawman 800 questioned the subject of radio discipline
Some years ago, a person postulated a scenario. The girlfriend was downtown. Terrorists had stormed a few buildings. The police were not responding well. The girlfriend was panicking. What would you do? My response received a great deal of unthinking criticism. I wrote that by the time that you would arrive downtown with guns, any transforming events would have happened and now you would become part of the problem in the police response.

Radio discipline is established by adopting a simple protocol before shtf.
If there is an emergency and your family is separated, there is only limited assistance that can be rendered – and probably none except verbal support by having two way radios. Batteries deplete rapidly and this assumes that the batteries are starting fresh in the emergency. If the family is separated, the two way radio isn’t going to broadcast very far. You can establish a simple routine in advance of having communications at 7 am and 7 pm. Of course you can establish a different frequency of communication.

If you are caravanning and work off of the car battery, then you can jabber all day.

If shtf and you are using two way radios, you can establish a check in interval. You can even develop a nearly silent click the radio code with your partner.

In the First Chechnya War, the locals used cell phones that were far more reliable than Soviet military radios. Now that everyone has a cell phone and towers must be operating within a couple of miles of each other to be effective and have capacity, a cell phone is not a very good choice for shtf general emergency.

I am a ham radio operator. It isn’t the end all or be all. If your favorite repeater is down, you have a problem. If all of the electricity to the area is gone (and your multiple repeaters do not have power on the mountain tops), you have a problem. If you are getting “news” and speaking to people hundreds of miles away, it doesn’t help your problem in your neighborhood. Once, I was on top of Mt. Baden Powell north of Los Angeles and hit San Diego about 110 miles away. Then I thought what was the value if there was an emergency? Help would be 110 miles away.

If you an untrained observer and a two way radio, it is probably worth something, but not much.

You have think and prepare in advance.
Key 1 – radio check
Key 2 – radio check response, things are ok.
Key 3 – radio check response, things are not ok.
Key 4 - I need to be relieved.
Key 5 – Emergency – people advancing on your location
Continuous keying – I am in deep doo doo.

BarrySDCA
09-11-2011, 11:13
nice post bdcochran

lawman800
09-11-2011, 11:29
Good post, bd. The thing is when untrained people panic, they go crazy on the radio. Heck, it happens to some of the officers I work with.

kirgi08
09-11-2011, 11:42
I'm on the radio 40hrs a week,we have problems with m/ms.Keep it short and to the point.'08.

M1A Shooter
09-11-2011, 13:10
i like the midland base station shown above.

i have also been looking at TriSquare radios with a frequency hopping ability.

fourdeuce2
09-12-2011, 11:48
They are worth having, but keep in mind if something happens the FRS/GMRS channels will probably be flooded with people. In addition to those I'd look into getting a HAM license.

Before I worry about the radio frequency being flooded with people, I'd have to be in a place that was flooded with people. With less than 10 people living in about a square mile from me, I doubt the FRS/GMRS frequencies will get too crowded.:supergrin:

RED64CJ5
09-12-2011, 13:49
Before I worry about the radio frequency being flooded with people, I'd have to be in a place that was flooded with people. With less than 10 people living in about a square mile from me, I doubt the FRS/GMRS frequencies will get too crowded.:supergrin:


To top that one, I'd have to be in a place where someone using FRS/GMRS would even be in range. Get down the road a few miles from me and those little AA-powered China-radios are worthless. At my house, it's ham or CB if you want to talk to anyone.

cowboy1964
09-12-2011, 14:22
To top that one, I'd have to be in a place where someone using FRS/GMRS would even be in range. Get down the road a few miles from me and those little AA-powered China-radios are worthless. At my house, it's ham or CB if you want to talk to anyone.

What's the typical range of a handheld CB? I'd venture to guess it's no more than GMRS, and maybe even less, but I'm just guessing. I do know that FRS/GMRS suffers less from interference issues than CB does.

If you put a big antenna on anything it's going to go a lot further. We're talking handhelds here.

RED64CJ5
09-12-2011, 16:44
What's the typical range of a handheld CB? I'd venture to guess it's no more than GMRS, and maybe even less, but I'm just guessing. I do know that FRS/GMRS suffers less from interference issues than CB does.

If you put a big antenna on anything it's going to go a lot further. We're talking handhelds here.

I realize you stipulated "handhelds" here, so I will try to use general figures since not all handhelds are created equal.

CB Handhelds - 29 MHz - Maybe 1-3 watts maximum output
FRS Handhelds - 450 MHz - 1/3 or 1/2 watt maximum output
GMRS Handhelds - 450 MHz - Typically 2 watts maximum, some a little more
Ham handhelds - 50/144/440 MHz - Typically 3-5 watts maximum

All of the above will advertise ranges in very, very favorable conditions. I communicate regularly with satellites from my home using less than 1/2 of a watt covering distance between me/earth and the satellite (1500 miles.) That is because there are very little objects in between me besides water vapor in the earth's atmosphere. When you are talking terrestrial radio, there are tons of things that can interfere -- trees, mountains, etc. etc.

My opinion? Typical range of a CB handheld to another? Probably somewhere in the 2-5 mile range under ideal conditions. Under average conditions, probably 1-3 miles. I rate the FRS very similar, GMRS/MURS only slightly better. Ham, having the benefit of multiple frequencies, many portable antenna options, and typically 5 watts, is going to be your best bet. You can probably push beyond the 5 mile limit of the others. I use them all and know their capabilities. I have all in my bag of tricks. Of course, if you live in a hole (low elevation) or the proverbial "black hole of RF" you are SOL anyway.

fourdeuce2
09-13-2011, 01:36
To top that one, I'd have to be in a place where someone using FRS/GMRS would even be in range. Get down the road a few miles from me and those little AA-powered China-radios are worthless. At my house, it's ham or CB if you want to talk to anyone.

I always smile when I read the posts by the same people who say the FRS/GMRS radios have almost no range when they say they'll be cluttered up by all the people for miles around.:rofl:
Sounds like they're not listening to themself.:tongueout:

RED64CJ5
09-13-2011, 07:06
I always smile when I read the posts by the same people who say the FRS/GMRS radios have almost no range when they say they'll be cluttered up by all the people for miles around.:rofl:
Sounds like they're not listening to themself.:tongueout:

It's funny, the busiest time I have ever noticed on FRS when living in a city was just after Christmas. All the neighborhood kids around the city got them a pair of FRS handhelds and were using them until the batteries were dead.

I have noticed if you go to national parks and some localized events, you will hear a fair amount of traffic, but by no means congested to the point you can't use them.

It's hard to predict what people will do come SHTF.

I know that during the Dayton Hamvention which is one of the largest ham radio conventions in the world, finding a simplex channel can be difficult. Most are in use or have some kind of interference. This is a VERY unique situation because when do you typically have 10,000+ ham operators squeezed in a 1 mile radius? Even at that situation, I have always been able to find a place for my buddies and I to chat and keep in touch.

Bilbo Bagins
09-13-2011, 08:05
Now a days FRS radio are not too expensive and are a great backup to cell phones.

If the Cell phone towers are still up, and you can get a signal, I think today's cell phones are a better communication tool.

quake
09-13-2011, 09:13
For the downside to frs/gmrs, check out a tourist spot - Branson, Disney, whatever. Everybody and his dog seems to be using those few channels all the time, all at once, all day long. I thought we were being smart the first time I thought of using them at Branson years ago, and then we discovered that everyone else had the same brilliant idea. It goes from frustrating to amusing to annoying, constantly hearing other people's babble.



...i have also been looking at TriSquare radios with a frequency hopping ability.

We use those in our work - the techs use them on job sites and customer facilities when installing cabling, testing systems, adjusting cameras, etc. I forget how many 'channels' they offer, but it's thousands or millions; much more than absolutely necessary imo. IIRC, ours are the 300 series. Range has been good, at least as good as the frs/gmrs, which is what we used to use.

Main advantage is that they're much less common than the frs, gmrs, and cb radios; so we're left alone on our frequencies, and don't have to hear everybody else talking all day long.

Only real problem we've had is that the charging bases can be finicky. Best way to recharge is to remove the batteries at night and put the batteries standalone into the charger, rather than insert the entire radio. Little bit of a hassle, but not a major one. We've also had one broken antenna, but that was more of a human issue than a radio issue.

kirgi08
09-13-2011, 09:28
The thing with that is that most stands are designed for the "unit" not just the batts.I use 2 ways 40hrs a week,base and mobile.'08.

prism
09-13-2011, 09:54
I'm on the radio 40hrs a week,we have problems with m/ms.

what is m/ms ?

mac66
09-13-2011, 10:09
The typical FRS/GMRS bubble pack radios are good for short range (within a mile) communication. No matter how far they say they can reach they components inside the radio are cheap and terribly inefficient. In addition the short fixed antennas limit range. Not that they aren't a bad choice I use mine on my hunting property all the time.

To get the most out of GMRS, you should buy good radios. Radios that are programmable for repeaters. Most people don't know that with a GMRS license you can operate hand helds up to 5 watts, use more efficient antennas (ie. a mobile antenna on your car with a hand held) and you use mobile and base station radios up to 50 watts. You can even set up your own repeater system if you want to.

Since GMRS operates in the UHF band, the same as many businesses, public safety, security companies etc, operate in, there is lots good quality equipment available as good prices. New radios are also available just for GMRS and the Chinese have some good mulitiband programmable radios at real good prices.

The point is, if you are going to depend on radio communications in an emergency it pays to get better quality radios with more range and capacity.

PS, I have a ham and GMRS license.

bdcochran
09-13-2011, 10:46
"For the downside to frs/gmrs, check out a tourist spot - Branson, Disney, whatever. Everybody and his dog seems to be using those few channels all the time, all at once, all day long. "

Absolutely true. Conversely, after the first few hours of wide spread shtf, how many of those people will continue to buzz buzz (requires new batteries or a way to recharge the rechargable batteries)?

The foregoing is why you figure out your radio discipline now (it really doesn't take too long to discuss it, write it down in large computer print, place the plan in a zip lock plastic bag and put the bag with each radio.

The foregoing is why you buy too many batteries, sigh when you throw them out, and regard an investment in a large supply of batteries a non-refundable insurance premium.

Ok. I can put my knock in on the dinky radios. Imagine that you are in straight line between two people. In one instance, there is a bunch of native chapparel. In another instance, there is a small hil. You cannot get through. No more than 50 yards. Had it happen. And, then you think about 2 meter handhelds and realize that you will not be hitting repeaters either why shtf and electricity is denied to a repeater or it requires a special code, unknown to you, to get into the repeater.

Well folks, having something is better than having nothing. Like the [B] best" gun, caliber or ther item, the best radio doesn't exists.

Sizzler tv commercial. Three shop girls walking down the street discussing lunch -
[I] want a lot of choice, I don't have much time, and I don't want to spend much money. You make the compromise,

kirgi08
09-13-2011, 11:11
I'm on the radio 40hrs a week,we have problems with m/ms.Keep it short and to the point.'08.

what is m/ms ?

Motor mouths,I need miles and money.Nothing more or less.'08. :supergrin:

RED64CJ5
09-13-2011, 13:06
The real question is which is the better SHTF combination:

1. AR-15 & Ham
2. AK & Ham
3. AR-15 & FRS/GMRS/MURS
4. AK & FRS/GMRS/MURS
5. AR-15 & CB
6. AK & CB

cowboy1964
09-13-2011, 13:19
Is there such a thing as FRS/GMRS/CB/(ham) all in one unit?

I like the small form factor of FRS/GMRS. In a bug out scenario (Katrina comes to mind) I don't want my family members to have to lug around a big heavy handset.

lawman800
09-13-2011, 13:24
:crying:The real question is which is the better SHTF combination:

1. AR-15 & Ham
2. AK & Ham

Mmmmm... HAM!!!!

RED64CJ5
09-13-2011, 13:50
Is there such a thing as FRS/GMRS/CB/(ham) all in one unit?

I like the small form factor of FRS/GMRS. In a bug out scenario (Katrina comes to mind) I don't want my family members to have to lug around a big heavy handset.

Good concept, but NO. Almost all ham handhelds are modifiable to work in FRS, but legality is another matter. It is very simple to make it work.

FRS-type radios are FM and so are typically ham handhelds.

CB is AM. Most handhelds do one or the other, predominantly FM.

I don't know anyone who carries around a big heavy handset. I have several ham rigs that are smaller than most of the tiny, off-the-shelf FRS. I've got a Yaesu VX-2R and a Baofeng UV-3R. Both are very, very small but yet put out 1.5+ watts on both VHF and UHF... And yes, they can double as an FRS/GMRS radio, too. Just not CB (again, it's AM not FM)

fourdeuce2
09-13-2011, 14:11
"For the downside to frs/gmrs, check out a tourist spot - Branson, Disney, whatever."

Right. So anybody who lives in Branson or Disney World, best bug out if things get bad. Since I don't live in Branson or Disney World, I have yet to pick up ANY other traffic on my handheld radios. I have used my handheld FRS radios at a tourist spot once, and while I did hear some traffic once in a while, there was no problem using any channel I wanted to use to talk to my wife.
Sometimes I think about getting a ham license just to see if my knee starts jerking every time I see a thread on a survival board about any kind of commo.:rofl:

Javelin
09-13-2011, 14:13
After reading this I am wondering....would a CB radio be better you think for a SHTF situation?

http://www.amazon.com/Midland-75-822-Channel-Way-Radio/dp/B00000K2YR

Atomic Punk
09-13-2011, 14:46
some good info. i like th look of that midland basecamp radio.

quake
09-13-2011, 14:57
The thing with that is that most stands are designed for the "unit" not just the batts...

Could very well be true for most; I just meant on our particular radios, I should have clarified that. These TSX300's (I checked the part number) let you drop the whole radio in the charger, or remove the battery and drop it in on its own, either one. For that matter, they can run on three AA's if you drain, damage, or lose the nimh battery. They have 10 billion channel combinations, and you can page & call another individual user's radio privately, without the other users hearing the conversation.

They're also surprisingly affordable, at least from a wholesale supplier. Don't know what they cost online, but we pay just $65 for the two-radio kit as pictured, including charging base, two nimh batteries, and boom microphones/earpieces from one of our suppliers. I've paid more than that for frs type radios in the past.

http://www.petra.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/300x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/T/Q/TQUTSX3002VP_3.jpg

I wouldn't claim they're the be-all, end-all (I earlier forgot one additional problem we had; we had an LCD screen 'bleed out' on one as well, but we use them fairly hard); but if a person wanted an inexpensive alternative to the crowded frs/gmrs channels, they could be worth a look.

RED64CJ5
09-13-2011, 19:24
After reading this I am wondering....would a CB radio be better you think for a SHTF situation?

http://www.amazon.com/Midland-75-822-Channel-Way-Radio/dp/B00000K2YR

Of FRS and CB, I will say that CB has the option of better antennas. Most of the FRS radios won't let you attach an external antenna. GMRS radios usually do, but cost and availability are an issue to the lay person.

If you rate communications as important for post-SHTF, buying the radios alone is the least of your concerns.

cowboy1964
09-13-2011, 20:05
After reading this I am wondering....would a CB radio be better you think for a SHTF situation?

http://www.amazon.com/Midland-75-822-Channel-Way-Radio/dp/B00000K2YR

That unit is still bulkier compared to the FRS/GMRS units. And 6 AAs is quite a battery requirement. OTOH, maybe the run time will be longer. I suspect CB consumes more power than FRS/GMRS though overall. I know some of the Midland FRS/GMRS units have low/med/high power selections.

mac66
09-15-2011, 17:40
Is there such a thing as FRS/GMRS/CB/(ham) all in one unit?

I like the small form factor of FRS/GMRS. In a bug out scenario (Katrina comes to mind) I don't want my family members to have to lug around a big heavy handset.

Yes, Puxing 777+ or Wouxun KG-UVD1P programmable to just about any freq within their band range. The Puxing can be had in either VHF or UHF, and can be programmed in the 2 meter ham band and MURS in VHF as well as marine and weather bands. GMRS/FRS and the 70 cm ham band in UHF. The Wouxun is dual banded in both UHF and VHF. Puxing is about $70, Wouxun is about $120.

The legality issues center around type certification. One is not supposed to use radios that are not certified for certain frequencies and bands. Consequently one is not supposed to use ham radios on non ham bands and vice-versa even if they capable of doing so. As long as you follow proper radio protocol it probably isn't make much difference in an emergency.

RED64CJ5
09-15-2011, 19:20
Yes, Puxing 777+ or Wouxun KG-UVD1P programmable to just about any freq within their band range. The Puxing can be had in either VHF or UHF, and can be programmed in the 2 meter ham band and MURS in VHF as well as marine and weather bands. GMRS/FRS and the 70 cm ham band in UHF. The Wouxun is dual banded in both UHF and VHF. Puxing is about $70, Wouxun is about $120.

The legality issues center around type certification. One is not supposed to use radios that are not certified for certain frequencies and bands. Consequently one is not supposed to use ham radios on non ham bands and vice-versa even if they capable of doing so. As long as you follow proper radio protocol it probably isn't make much difference in an emergency.

I hate to be a nit-picker, but neither of those Chinese radios will do 29 MHz AM, effectively putting them out of the "being able to do CB" business. They do a lot, I will give them that, but they can't do amplitude modulation.

The second paragraph I stand behind 100%

mac66
09-19-2011, 12:38
I hate to be a nit-picker, but neither of those Chinese radios will do 29 MHz AM, effectively putting them out of the "being able to do CB" business. They do a lot, I will give them that, but they can't do amplitude modulation.

The second paragraph I stand behind 100%

You are correct, I didn't see the CB thing.

Plus, not always good to put all you eggs in one basket. If you have a do it all radio and it goes goes down you've lost it all. Better to have resources separate if possible.