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Old 05-06-2020, 05:42 PM #16
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Originally Posted by PaulC4 View Post
Full disclosure - I have a BaoFeng UV-8HP and a UV-5R on the way. I also have my GMRS license, and will be taking my Ham test on Saturday (before I transmit on a Ham frequency...). I'm not saying don't use these radios - just know the rules and regs so you can make an informed decision.
You will have to post your reviews on these radios. Honestly a one stop shop handheld would be nice, even if it is legally questionable.

Do you need different antenna types to transmit/receive on so many different bands/frequencies (Ham, GMRS, etc)? Or is it just the wizard inside the radio being able to make it happen?

My new SAR group is using Yaesu VX-6T, but a cheaper option with the same functionality would be great.
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Old 05-06-2020, 05:59 PM #17
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There website seems to indicate that if you use their pre-programmed frequencies then it is legal without a license.

Quote:
Rugged Two-way radios operate on radio frequencies that are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). A license is required to transmit on these frequencies.

To ensure our customers are operating in compliance of FCC Rules and Regulations, Rugged Radios has licensed:
• 10 nation-wide commercial band frequencies (35 Watt)
• 60 area-specific commercial band frequencies (60-Watt)

These frequencies/channels are available to transmit for business, recreational, or race use. For a list of channels and areas licensed, please click here:
Edit: Called them. They said they got the licensing for this last year:

• 10 nation-wide commercial band frequencies (35 Watt)
• 60 area-specific commercial band frequencies (60-Watt)

It is legal to use these channels on only Rugged Radios without having to get an FCC license for yourself. If you buy a BaoFeng, you will have to get a license even if you use the same channels on that radio as you do with the Rugged Radios. Also, here is what I got for $120 which you will not get with the BaoFeng unless you get a bundle I guess. So maybe not that much more expensive considering. I think the reason you would want to get Rugged unless they are just lying about it is you can buy these radios and get more range than FRS without having to get a HAM radio license. If that really is it, you would think they would just say this. But if they did I guess they might have to admit that these are the exact same radios as BaoFeng. I don't think they would want to say yea, these are BeoFangs without the need for a license.
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Old 05-06-2020, 07:14 PM #18
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GMRS requires a license. Ham requires a license. You are required to use a call sign when transmitting. A GMRS license is $70 bucks for 10 year license, ham is $15 and pass an exam for a 10 year license. The two are not interchangeable.


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Old 05-06-2020, 07:30 PM #19
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Probably best to go with Motorola or Midland for a dedicated FRS radio. Much easier to use.

The Baofeng UV5+ ($38) can be used on FRS frequencies but it's lowest power is 1W which means you can only use channels 1-7 and 15 - 22. FRS channels 8-15 are 1/2 W only.

The UV5+ will need to be set for 1W, narrow band and a privacy code can be used.

It can also be used for amateur 2 meter and 440 if you have an amateur license. I use a Baofeng F8HP for FRS on 1W as my third FRS radio at times and use it for 2 meter repeaters when needed. The UV5R will do the same. The newer UV5R will not transmit below 145MHZ so it may not be good for 2 meter amatuer. I listen to a repeater on 145.29 with an input of 144.69

A dedicated FRS would be easier.
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Old 05-06-2020, 07:50 PM #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeltaWhiskey View Post
GMRS requires a license. Ham requires a license. You are required to use a call sign when transmitting. A GMRS license is $70 bucks for 10 year license, ham is $15 and pass an exam for a 10 year license. The two are not interchangeable.


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This is the response I got from Battleborn. Bold mine.

Quote:
You do not need an individual license if you use Rugged & PCI Radios preprogrammed business band channels. To use HAM channels, you need a HAM license. To use GMRS channels, you need a GMRS license. The radios are capable of operating on multiple bands and depending on what you are using, may require different license.
Rugged and PCI Race Radios work with the FCC to allocate and program in licensed frequencies that fall within the business band section of VHF. The licenses for this level are issues to an organization (PCI, Rugged) and as a customer you fall under their license. They own the rights to the frequency regionally and allow their customers to use them. You do not need an individual license to use these channels as long as they are nationwide or approved in your area. Ive attached a list showing which channels you may use and were.
Rugged Radios has licensed:
• 10 nation-wide commercial band frequencies (35 Watt Power Limit)
• 60 area-specific commercial band frequencies (60 Watt Power Limit)
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Old 05-06-2020, 08:00 PM #21
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Originally Posted by mteolus View Post
I got these on sale for $120 total at Battle Born. I haven't used them yet. I'll review when I do. If you get on their email list you can get deals and they don't spam, I receive very few emails from them.

I had used Motorola FRS radios. Horrible when trying to communicate from one vehicle to the other if there is any distance between the two. I hope these new ones are better.
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Those are HAM radios, are they not? I remember reading somewhere long ago you can hack a HAM to transmit on GMRS frequencies, but it didn't sound like it was for the casual user to attempt. If the rest of his group already utilizes GMRS, then picking up HAM wouldn't be any good unless he's willing to modify his set to work with them.
Yes, they are HAM radios. While they ship unlocked, it's technical illegal to use on GMRS, FRS, and MURS because it's not type accepted equipment by the FCC.

Even on sale he overpaid by a lot... it's just a BaoFeng UV-5R with a blue case. They cost $22 shipped brand new.

Amazon.com: BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio (Black)

It's good for the price, but it's also a complete piece of shit if you are actually used to using decent HAM equipment. That said, I have 4 of them myself... it's literally a disposable radio to me.
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Old 05-06-2020, 08:07 PM #22
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Originally Posted by BobsTrail View Post

The Baofeng UV5+ ($38) can be used on FRS frequencies but it's lowest power is 1W which means you can only use channels 1-7 and 15 - 22. FRS channels 8-15 are 1/2 W only.
Still illegal to use... per FCC ruling FRS radio must have a permanently fixed antenna which this radio does not.

This is why you never see FRS radios with removable antennas.

This if course doesn't stop people from doing it anyway... just don't get caught, the fines are steep.
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Old 05-06-2020, 08:13 PM #23
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Originally Posted by mteolus View Post
Also, here is what I got for $120 which you will not get with the BaoFeng unless you get a bundle I guess. .
That accessory package, chargers, clips, ear phone... are identical to what comes in the BaoFeng kit for $22

Also, nothing stops you from using their pre-programmed frequencies. There is nothing special about their radios aside from the color.

All you did way pay for someone to program it for you.

I would just get a $22 BaoFeng, get this software which is free, and clone it. Then return it because it's literally the same thing.

Home - CHIRP

If you take a look at the listed compatible radios...

Rugged Radios
RH5R, RH5R-V2 (use Baofeng UV-5R)
RH5X (Variant of Baofeng BF-A58)



Edit: I didn't mean to pile on you... I just didn't read page 1 of this thread. I see much of this has already been said. Either way, lots to learn in the world of radio. To answer your question about HAM licence, you would need a "Technician" licence to operate that equipment on HAM bands. With all this Covid stuff going on, the first time in history the FCC has allowed testing online. Its super convenient and there isn't a better time than now to get your licence. If you can memorize a multiple choice test and have $15 in your pocket, you have access to the most powerful coms gear a civilian can own.

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Old 05-06-2020, 08:31 PM #24
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Originally Posted by PaulC4 View Post
[*] If you plan on transmitting on both Ham and GMRS/FRS frequencies, you need both licenses, and have to remember to keep your call-signs straight, depending on which band you are on... .


I use a Baofeng F8 on 2 meters and FRS and sometimes use the dual scan feature. While listening to amateur one day, wife called me for lunch and I transmitted an inappropriate response on the wrong band. I identified with my call sign and made apologies for my transmission on the amateur repeater. A few came back and asked me about lunch.

As @PaulC4 said -- Keep your call-signs straight
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Old 05-06-2020, 09:00 PM #25
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Edit: I didn't mean to pile on you... I just didn't read page 1 of this thread. I see much of this has already been said. Either way, lots to learn in the world of radio. To answer your question about HAM licence, you would need a "Technician" licence to operate that equipment on HAM bands. With all this Covid stuff going on, the first time in history the FCC has allowed testing online. Its super convenient and there isn't a better time than now to get your licence. If you can memorize a multiple choice test and have $15 in your pocket, you have access to the most powerful coms gear a civilian can own.
O no, I am pretty much an idiot for buying it. But lessons learned so others won't make the same mistake. Maybe the blue dye for the plastic is more expensive.

I will definitely get the technician license. Long time ago I learned Morse code (still pretty fast at it) but I hear now you don't need it.
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Old 05-06-2020, 09:18 PM #26
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@mteolus No worries man, perhaps I got a little too excited. I rather enjoy this ham radio stuff.

You don't need Morse code for a Tech licence and they ditched the code requirement for General which is a level up from there. I'm working towards that myself.

Either way, enjoy your radio.

On a side note, if you are trying to use it at longer distances you should consider an external "mag mount" antenna which is easy to install/remove. Getting the antenna out of the cab makes a huge difference.

If you are just following people on the trail in close proximity, it's not needed.

If you end up getting into it, you will look like the rest of us in no-time.

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Old 05-06-2020, 10:26 PM #27
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Having just gone through this I might be able to help. Let me put on my nerd hat.

Short story
My experience is that Midland GRMS hand held radios work better than the programmable Baofeng (8W simplex mode) radios in urban areas. I've gotten about 1 mile in suburbia from GRMS hand held and from a 8W Baofeng. The cheap GMRS sounded better. In general no low power radio (hand held or mobile FRS/GMRS, Ham, CB) will work well a obstructed (hills, houses, trees) areas, they need line of sight to get the range stated. So the 32 mile radio, is on a boat in open water in the crow's nest talking to a mountain top on shore in clear weather, with 68% humidity, at dusk on the 5th Saturday in February. Using repeaters works very well and requires a requires a license as well as line of site to the tower.

Licensing
FRS and GMRS share frequencies. Provided the transmission power is less than channel's designated FRS power level and the equipment is certified for FRS/GMRS, it is considered FRS and you do not need a license.

The FCC changed the GMRS rules a few years ago. You can no longer buy a FRS/GMRS combo radios. They are only FRS and must operate at the correct power levels for each channel. Older radios are exempt.
6 Things You Should Know about FCC Changes for FRS and GMRS Radios | Midland Radio

All of the new inexpensive GMRS radios are really expanded FRS and do not require a license (see Midland, I'm not a lawyer)

The use of programmable radios as GMRS, presents a gray area with respect to transmitting. It is illegal but not really enforced (so I'm told - still not a lawyer). Receiving on a programmable radio is 100% OK, with exceptions.

Reality
Here is the part people mostly ignore; although, one might be licensed to transmit on a GMRS frequencies, you still are not allowed to use non-certified equipment that does not meet the FCC regulations (FCC part 95). I will let you read the government drivel if you want. I'm not condoning this but, my experience has been that for the most part people ignore this and do use programmable radios on GMRS frequencies. It's a hefty fine if you get caught and they can catch you if they want to. Besides the programmable doesn't sound any better. i.e spend $30.

Programmable radios (aka Ham radio) comply with FCC part 90. Your ham license allows you to build radios and GMRS does not. A Ham license gives you a fair amount of latitude here. However, a Ham license does not include GMRS frequencies.

There are GMRS mobile and base stations that allow more wattage and better antennas than a hand held. It does require a license ($70 for ten years no test); however, you need to have a similar set up on the other end for it to be effective. The use of GMRS repeaters also requires a GMRS license. FRS cannot use repeaters.

My suggestion
1. Spend $30 and get a Midland radio. They are inexpensive, work very well, and you don't need a license.
2. Go take your Ham test. It's pretty easy, no Morse code not expensive. . . until you start going on a radio binge.

You can study for the Ham exam on line for free. Just memorize the answers. Do this everyday for 1 hour, for a week and you should be good.
HamStudy.org: Technician class Ham Radio practice tests, ham radio flash cards, and ham radio question pool.

Take the test. I think it's a $15 test?
Find an Amateur Radio License Exam in Your Area

Buy your radio
This works fine but no bells nor whistles. $22
Amazon.com: BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio (Black)
Or if you have money to burn, get the Kenwood. $550
Amazon.com: Bundle - 3 Items - Includes Kenwood TH-D74A 144/220/430MHz Tribander Digital Handheld w/APRS & D-Star with The New Radiowavz Antenna Tape (2m - 30m) and HAM Guides Quick Reference Card: GPS & Navigation
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Old 05-06-2020, 10:32 PM #28
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Still illegal to use... per FCC ruling FRS radio must have a permanently fixed antenna which this radio does not.

This is why you never see FRS radios with removable antennas.

This if course doesn't stop people from doing it anyway... just don't get caught, the fines are steep.
Correct! A license to transmit does not mean you have licensed equipment.

The FCC radio testing is well beyond a fixed antenna. They have to make sure that your spurious emissions don't cause Grandma's scooter to go crazy and take her for a ride.

Just buy the Midland and keep yourself out of trouble.
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:43 PM #29
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Thank you all for the information, very informative. I also hate all of you, and this forum, for convincing me to buy more and install more on the T4R. My wife tripled those sentiments.
Thank you @heptolisk for pointing out I already own handheld GMRS radios.

My plan as of this second is to install a MXT275 and buy some more Talkabouts, until you convince me otherwise.
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