Which Radio ?

Dirt Rider

Member
There has been much talk about which radio to get, but I am getting ready to take my ham tech test and it seems many Off Road people are using GMRS as well, so do I buy a combo radio that does both? heard it may not be legal, but would hate to have a CB, HAM and GMRS in my truck.
 

Billoftt

Active member
A lot of people just remove the jumper that restricts the transmit function, also known as the MARS/CAP MOD. Also, most of the Chinese radios such as the Baofeng, TYT, Anytone, etc... do not have jumpers restricting the transmit frequencies.

Of the name brand ham radios (Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom and Alinco) only Alinco will void the warranty for doing so.

DISCLAIMER: Transmitting on GMRS frequencies on equipment that is not 47 CFR Part 95 approved is not legal. Perform this action at your own risk.


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Billoftt

Active member
But for the record, Amateur Radio is significantly more useful than GMRS and the repeater density is orders of magnitude greater.


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Billoftt

Active member
For example, Repeater Book found 290 on-air, open for public use repeaters within 50 miles for both 2m and 70cm bands (the two most common dual-band radio setups).



A search for GMRS repeaters in the same area on my GMRS.com found two, one of which is a closed system. Albeit myGMRS does not have the capability to define your search radius like Repeater Book does. Also, GMRS repeater tends to be privately owned, as such some owners are not keen on leaving them open to everyone and they rarely have the resources that amateur radio clubs do at their disposal, i.e. most tower owners will lease space to an amateur club at discounted rates and membership dues and donations help fund those repeaters. In other words, GMRS repeaters (in my area) usually only have a radius of 10 or so miles compared to up to 50 or more for the 2m and 70cm repeaters. One club I pay dues to solely because I use their repeater so much is a designated SKYWARN NET repeater so it gets to sit for free over 800 feet high.


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dreadlocks

Well-known member
Ive got a mars/cap moded Kenwood D710G for my mobile rig.. it does APRS on the left and GMRS or VHF Simplex on the right.. mostly GMRS when we are out, because I've got a family of 4+.. I dont rag chew, use Ham Repeaters are more for gathering some local info, like hey whats that smoke off in the distance about?

Ive got a half dozen handheld GMRS Radios, most field comms for me are all GMRS.
 

Billoftt

Active member
I bought a second-hand Kenwood TM-V71 and the MARS/CAP was already done on it.

I programmed a GMRS frequency in it to show how it wouldn’t transmit and it did! Took it apart and sure enough, the jumpers we off. So I programmed the local aviation frequencies to demonstrate.

Turns out I live close enough to the airport that I can hear both sides of the conversation.


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Dirt Rider

Member
Still on the fence, don't want a forest of antennas, would like just the CB and GMRS/HAM combo. Looks like most trail rigs are using GMRS, maybe I can go with a mounted HAM and handheld GMRS? Trying to keep things simple.
 

Billoftt

Active member
If it’s any consolation, unlike CB’s 8.6 foot tall quarter wave, GMRS quarter wave antennas are only 6 inches.

I know Midland sells lower powered (as in 15 watts, not 50) GMRS radios with mag-mount antennas and cig-plug power cords. They have a running 20% off discount code too.

You would still get the most versatility out of a modded dual-band Ham radio. I ended up convincing just enough people in my circle to not use CB again. I sold it almost a year ago.


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dreadlocks

Well-known member
it was hard enough installing one radio into my rig, two was not on the table.. so a moded dual band ham radio was by far the best option..

IMG_20190609_212903.jpg
 

ZMagic97

Explorer
I have a Baofeng UV25X2 ham radio. I have it for emergencies and occasional chat on long drives.

It can get on many frequencies, similar to the UV5R (which I have a couple of) which is nice for different scenarios. Of course, I do not transmit on any that I shouldn't and do not recommend doing so.

Ham and Sirius Install Final.jpg
 

lugueto

Adventurer
If you're going to get both licenses anyway, then buy a name-brand radio and do a MARS/CAP mod and you'll have way more options than just staying with a GMRS channel-based radio.

As mentioned, chinese radios dont have a frequency restriction. But the quality of name-brand radios is on another level.
 

mep1811

Gentleman Adventurer
My plan is to have a CB, Ham and GMRS . While the CB is not being used much on the trail anymore, I like the CB for highway driving to listen into the truckers and keep up with traffic conditions. That saved my butt driving back from expo east last year hearing about the Interstate being closed we were able to exit and save a few hours of being stuck .
I use the ham mostly when out on a trip. I added the GMRS when, on a trip, we met some folks who only has GMRS.

I wanted interoperability across all means and GMRS radios are very inexpensive. I don't like playing with handhelds. For them really work well in a vehicle, it needs a cig plug, external antenna and mike. An octopus of wires.

I'm building a new truck (2013 200 Series Land Cruiser) so I'm working on the installs. To make it all easy, the radios have remote controllers so the GMRS and CB radios just have mikes up front and the ham a small face-plate.
 

Billoftt

Active member
And use NMO mounts. That what when you are not using the CB you can unscrew it and cap it with an inexpensive plastic cover. Also, NMO will give you the broadest choice of antenna selection.
 

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BigDaveZJ

Adventurer
I have CB and GMRS in both Jeeps and the tow rig at this point. Trying to move my wheeling group away from CB as much as possible and GMRS has been a good way to do that. I still planning on getting my Ham license eventually, but only one guy in my group has his, and nobody else really wants to get theirs. For me, it all depends on who you're wheeling/travelling with and what they have.
 
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