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Sharp Shooter!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Me and a couple of buddies are looking for long range walkie talkies. Were lookin for 20+ miles. Anyone have any experience and suggestions.
 

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Premium Member
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I know a lot of guys on the board do. They'll chime in, i'm also interested.
 

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The Sysop
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FRS:

http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-MH230R-23-Mile-22-Channel-Two-Way/dp/B001UE6MIO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1333379434&sr=8-2

I have a pair and they work TERRIFIC!

..and NO you do not need a license to purchase/use. If you operate a radio that has been approved for both FRS and GMRS, and if you limit your operations to the FRS channels with a maximum power of ½ watt effective radiated power, you are not required to have a license.

http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/family-radio-service-frs

It's the best 40 bucks I spent on walkie-talkies.

Longer range ones:
http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-MR350R-35-Mile-22-Channel-Two-Way/dp/B001UE6MJ8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1333379434&sr=8-4

---I have not tested this one.
 

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The Sysop
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The Family Radio Service (FRS) is in the 462 - 467 MHz spectrum range
Channels
There are 14 FRS channels and each channel is 12.5 kHz.

462.5625
462.5875
462.6125
462.6375
462.6625
462.6875
462.7125
467.5625
467.5875
467.6125
467.6375
467.6625
467.6875
467.7125

If you operate a device under the rules that apply to GMRS, you must have a GMRS license. GMRS devices generally transmit at higher power levels (1 to 5 watts is typical) and may have detachable antennas

The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is in the 462 - 467 MHz spectrum range as well.

Channels
There are 23 GMRS channels and each channel is 25 kHz.

462.5500
462.5625
462.5750
462.5875
462.6000
462.6125
462.6250
462.6375
462.6500
462.6625
462.6750
462.6875
462.7000
462.7125
462.7250
467.5500
467.5750
467.6000
467.6250
467.6500
467.6750
467.7000
467.7250

Here's the break down on the units 'channels' and which ones are FRS vs GMRS. Rule of thumb is not to use the GMRS channels (even though you are not restricted on the unit) unless you have a license. I personally havent heard of any enforcement in the last 10+ years..

Channel Frequency Description Channel Frequency Description
1 462.5625 MHz GMRS/FRS
2 462.5875 MHz GMRS/FRS
3 462.6125 MHz GMRS/FRS
4 462.6375 MHz GMRS/FRS
5 462.6625 MHz GMRS/FRS
6 462.6875 MHz GMRS/FRS
7 462.7125 MHz GMRS/FRS
8 467.5625 MHz FRS
9 467.5875 MHz FRS
10 467.6125 MHz FRS
11 467.6375 MHz FRS
12 467.6625 MHz FRS
13 467.6875 MHz FRS
14 467.7125 MHz FRS
15 462.5500 MHz GMRS
16 462.5750 MHz GMRS
17 462.6000 MHz GMRS
18 462.6250 MHz GMRS
19 462.6500 MHz GMRS
20 462.6750 MHz GMRS
21 462.7000 MHz GMRS
22 462.7250 MHz GMRS

In 2010, the FCC proposed to remove the individual licensing requirement for GMRS and instead license GMRS "by rule" (meaning that an individual license would not be required to operate a GMRS device). This proposal is still pending.
 

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Sharp Shooter!
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The Architect said:
FRS:

http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-MH230R-23-Mile-22-Channel-Two-Way/dp/B001UE6MIO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1333379434&sr=8-2

I have a pair and they work TERRIFIC!

..and NO you do not need a license to purchase/use. If you operate a radio that has been approved for both FRS and GMRS, and if you limit your operations to the FRS channels with a maximum power of ½ watt effective radiated power, you are not required to have a license.

http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/family-radio-service-frs

It's the best 40 bucks I spent on walkie-talkies.

Longer range ones:
http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-MR350R-35-Mile-22-Channel-Two-Way/dp/B001UE6MJ8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1333379434&sr=8-4

---I have not tested this one.
I was looking at the first pair. What's the range you've tested on long island?
 

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The Sysop
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Duke99 said:
I was looking at the first pair. What's the range you've tested on long island?
On LI I tested it about 5 miles. No issue
 

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Premium Member
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The HAM Bands and the GMRS (not FRS) all require a license to operate within. The GMRS license has no testing, pay your $85 and talk away. The HAM license requires some studying and a test, not difficult if you put a little effort into. Anything else will not get you any real distance. FRS is limited to 1/2 a Watt as our host stated and the radio cannot have a removable antenna as per the FCC. Realistically maybe a 1/4 to 1/2 mile, not useless but not long range communications.

The key to FM is the height of the antenna. FM is basically line of site communications. The more your antenna can see as far as height goes the further you can communicate. Any small handheld operated from the ground is limited in it's distance unless the object is much higher and can see it. But two person talking on the ground will not give you much distance regardless of the wattage of the device.

Most repeaters require permission to use and will unlikely give you access unless you have the FCC call letters for the service you are trying to access. So basically you are going to be talking Simplex (1 to 1) with two walkie talkies. The distance will not be great.

The best way to go about long range communications is to get one or both of the licenses. This will allow you to legally use advanced and powerful radios with high wattage and within repeater systems that will increase your distance substantially. For instance, a basic 4 or 5 watt HT (walkie talkie) from the ground on UHF will allow you to talk about 2-3 miles depending on height to another HT. That same HT talking into a repeater that is several hundred feet in the air can now be heard at double that distance and will rebroadcast that transmission at a high wattage (say 50 for GMRS) to 20 to 50 miles away depending on the repeater.

I am not the communications police but I do want to say that it pays to do your research. A few extra dollars and some reading you can tailor a system to meet your needs and will not have to worry about violating any FCC rules.
 

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Sharp Shooter!
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I recently picked up these: http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-MR355R-35-Mile-22-Channel-Two-Way/dp/B001UE6MJI/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334256591&sr=8-1-spell

I did buck up and ge the GMRS license- it not only covers you but also covers your family.

Does anyone know of any active repeaters here on LI? I would respectfully ask permission to access them of course as well as make any required contributions.

Thus far I've used them for some skiing and off roading, sticking to the FrS channels. Think "line of sight" as far as range is concerned- the 35 mile range they advertise is ridiculous unless you are both standing ontop of mountains with no obstruction between you.
 

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jlk265, do those radios allow you to transmit duplex, do they have the GMRS repeater pairs.   I have heard that there are a few models that do, I am just not familiar with those.  Without the repeater pairs,   467.XXX TX and 462.XXX RX you will not be able to use the repeaters.  
 

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I have the UHF walkie talkies. They were rated for commerical use. 2 watt, and 5 watt. They are not even close to 5 miles, like they are rated. Lucky if I can get 2 miles from them.

The nice thing about UHF is there is no interference from 10 zillion other people on the ski mountain with FRS. But the distance is limited like every handheld I have tried.
 

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I am not sure what your application is but 20 miles does not strike me as walkie-talkie range. You can get unlimited range by renting a pair of Iridiums, I like Motorola 9505's, cost about $25/day for a pair, more if you go through  one of the" bend-over" adventure outfitters.
 

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Duke, what are planning on using them for? I ask only because as others have state, I don't believe there will be an adequate solution for you for simplex portables. Hell, even mobiles that push 65W don't get that kind of mileage unless their in line of sight.

If you're not going into the middle of nowhere and want a PTT solution, have you considered cellular PTT? Verizon, Sprint and I think even AT&T offer up PTT solutions. I'll admit it's a far cry from Nextel, but the nice thing is, typically they are features, you can add them when you need it, and take them back off when you don't.
 

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You can always get some Motorola radios and your FRS license, its just a fee to get it is all and allows you to use your own radio. Otherwise you have to buy those "family outting" type ones, and run the risk of sharing a frequency.

THere are a lot of FRS groups on LI who allow you to use their frequency.
 

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Sharp Shooter!
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willgrah said:
jlk265, do those radios allow you to transmit duplex, do they have the GMRS repeater pairs. I have heard that there are a few models that do, I am just not familiar with those. Without the repeater pairs, 467.XXX TX and 462.XXX RX you will not be able to use the repeaters.
Hey will-Im not exactly sure (i am relatively new to radios and dont have a full grasp as to the frequencys you referenced. However, the radios are listed as repeater capable...

"22 Channels With 8 Repeater Channels
Starting with the same 22 channels as the MR350, the MR355R adds 8 built-in repeater channels, which can work with a local repeater station to carry your signal further. Take advantage of this value-added feature by switching to GMRS channels 15R-22R, but don't forget you'll need a GMRS license and an accessible repeater station to take advantage. "

How can i determine if i have the ability to tap into a repeater? How would I then go about doing so?
 

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I used to use these radios all the time for hunting. We'd be lucky if they worked up to a mile in the woods. On open seas, you'll problaby get the stated ranges, but not in urban or wooded areas. What is the intended use?
 

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I can't see FRS reliably at 20 miles in legal wattages, a linear amp can getr you thrown in jail, and it's cheaper to rent satphones for a trip or vacation than it is to buy expensive radio gear.

I know evwerybody on this thread is trying to be helpful, but please raise your hand if you have ever done 20 miles with FRS, even under optimal weather and solar conditions (which we know currently suck).

"UP TO 20 miles" on a blister pack of walkie talkies means 2 miles.
 

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There is a lot of hype associated with the range of these radios.
Here is a good article:
http://www.popularwireless.com/gmrsrange.html

Get a decent one with the features that you think that you will need. I have the Motorola MR350R.
I need SILENT SIGNALS for hunting without spooking game so the silent vibrating ringer is useful.
I need the NOAA WEATHER CHANNEL because I have a problem getting local forecasts where I am in the Adirondacks and need to keep in touch with changing weather conditions. By the way, I am receiving the transmission from Gore Mountain about 14 miles as the crow flies but I bet they have 1 heck of an antenna.
I like the led light, it is a plus.
I like the 2 power level settings to save batteries when you are not far apart. (Push-To-Talk Power Boost)
I like the rechargeable batteries and try to keep all of my electronics to AA batteries and carry extras that will drop in place of the re-chareables.
I have never tested these beyond a mile or 2 but I hope this helps.
 

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A few years ago I looked into getting radios for use on a large farm. I learned that VHF is much better in the woods. Don't believe the mileage numbers on the FRS / GMRS radios.

I found the VHF radios that gave the best range, and did not require any licensing were in the MURS band.

Do a search on MURS Radios and you'll find what you need. A bit pricier, but dependable, durable equipment with the best range. They also have transmitters that can alert to your radio when a body crosses a monitored point.
 
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