Radio information guide

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Hey guys/gals, thought I would start a thread on radio information to contribute to the cause. I will try to help someone the best I can. Whatever I don't know, I simply start researching and learning whatever it is that I'm not familiar with.

Anyways, the first, second, and third posts will be dedicated to updated information so it doesn't get buried in the thread (i.e. links, pictures, etc). I will try to update the thread as best I can.

Finally, there will be information on, for example, GMRS/FRS, CB, HAM, Scanners, etc. I will try to categorize/group topics.

I will briefly describe each category and then append some wiki links if one wants to learn more... So, here it goes:

GMRS/FRS:
General Mobile Radio Service and Family Radio Service are technically two different beasts. 1) GMRS, you actually need a license to operate, but there is no testing required. You basically just get in touch with the FCC, throw some cash their way (approx. $85, from what I remember or thereabouts), and they mail you a license that is good for 10yrs (it used to be 5yrs, but I just heard recently that they changed it to 10). The max wattage output varies from 0.5-50W depending whereas, 2) FRS you do not need a license and is literally meant as a free usable family radio service. see links below for more info

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Mobile_Radio_Service
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Radio_Service

CB:
Citizens Band has a very rich history that I am NOT about to get into because even "I" get lost in the mayhem of its history and changes??? So anyways, not many people like CB mainly due to the fact that the max wattage is only 4W and that doesn't help matters regarding being able to really "reach out there" to your buddies that are miles away and hidden. I have various comm choices because I like to have back-up comms and on different bands. My truck has a setup to where I have a HAM, CB, and a "pigtail mount" antenna setup. The pigtail mount is simply an open access connector on the outside of my truck sitting on the back "rail" of the bed and then routes to the inside of my cab next to me so that I can connect just about any radio I want to... within reason. It is mainly meant to be an HQ (i.e. Head Quarters) type setup when the truck is stationary/camping. It just gives me quite a few options on how and what I want to connect to it and knowing what and what will not work, depending. Either way, CB's are basically cheap, for the most part, extremely easy to use/setup, and always just good to have back-up comms no matter what. There is also a thing called SSB (i.e. Single Side Band) and is 12W capable. I know the article states that they are not technically 3x separate "bands" or 120ch, but quite honestly, IT IS!!! I'm working with SSB equipment at my current work/job and you will be hard pressed to try to talk to someone on the "same freq", but on a different side-band. It sounds robotic or you won't hear at all. We literally treat them as separate channels, therefore... MORE CHANNELS!!! Anyways, as far as I'm concerned, they really are separate entities, but I'm not gonna get into a useless argument on the matter. Just know that it is also an option to have as a back-up comm, but a CB/SSB unit are around the +$200 range or more last I remember. The CB/SSB is in the link below for more info

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_band_radio

HAM:
Amateur radio can be fun and extremely useful to have. I have a Tech Class license, but I don't venture on it as much as I should. Plus, the stuff I want to do I don't have the radios anyways as well as the cash. Anyways, being able to jump onto a repeater and/or utilizing repeater systems, again, can be extremely useful depending on the situation and/or what you want to do.

Radio Scanners:
to be edited later

NOAA Weather Frequency: (ALWAYS a good thing to be able to monitor, especially when out in a desert area)
Nationwide Station Listing Using Broadcast Frequencies
162.400MHz
162.425MHz
162.450MHz
162.475MHz
162.500MHz
162.525MHz
162.550MHz

Please understand that you will not necessarily hear all of the frequencies. Depending on what "tower" you're closest to is the frequency/information that you will hear from for that "area". As you move away from that area, another frequency will cover THAT area and so on. In short, they "overlap" one another, if you will. As stated, the frequencies are the same throughout the U.S. I believe there are a few more, but these are the most common ones that I know of...


NOTE:
I keep hearing that one can use a HAM radio for emergency situations and NOT get into trouble with the FCC??? Well, try telling that to the FCC!!! Oh, you will likely be able to jump on, but do not be surprised if they come back at you wondering if there was other means of communications that you could have done??? Anyways, believe what YOU want to believe and YOU take that risk. Just something I learned from my HAM teacher and a few stories, true stories, where people used radios, not licensed to do so, in "emergency situations" and then got into trouble for it. see link below for more info

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio

NOTE:
Regarding SWR (Standing Wave Ratio), all radios are affected by, essentially, this performance/matching factor. Put in SUPER simple terms, you want, as much as possible, to transmit 100% of your transmission with maximum efficiency. If your antenna system is not "tuned" to transmit within a certain "frequency range", then you will get reflection of that non-transmitted energy back to the output of your radio, which is essentially unused reflected Power that will fry your RF finals or amplifiers on the back of your radio... essentially destroying your radio. Within SOME reason, you can TX with an antenna not meant for a particular frequency range. But this is something of a discussion that can go on with ENDLESS PAGES to try to explain and go into to detail on. But anyways, here is a for example, using your Baofeng radio to communicate to the GMRS/FRS radio, the Baofeng antenna is technically really only meant to transmit within the HAM band and not outside of band. You can TX outside of freq band within reason, but you should also connect a SWR meter when doing so. I have always been curious on what the SWR looks like utilizing a HAM antenna and TX'ing slightly out of band with said antenna just to see what the SWR reading will look like??? Anyways, there are antennas out there that have a wider freq TX coverage that you can buy. I just wanted to quickly point this out.

hint#1:
Did you know that if your HAM radio, for example, is able to TX (transmit) "off-band", meaning out of the HAM frequency range that it is normally locked with, you can communicate to other different types of radios. For example, if you have a Baofeng radio and you have a GMRS/FRS radio, you simply punch the frequency into your Baofeng to whatever channel/freq that the GMRS/FRS radio is set to. Channel 8 on the GMRS/FRS radio is freq: 467.5625 and by punching in the numbers into your Baofeng, you can now communicate to Ch8 of the GMRS/FRS radio. This just opens up some options with what you can do. Just know that the wattage output is the deciding factor with regards to range. The person with the HAM radio (i.e. typically at higher wattage output) will be able to talk to the GMRS/FRS radio, but "at distance" the GMRS/FRS might not be able to talk back to the HAM operator due to the fact that the GMRS/FRS radio has lower wattage output. Again, the wattage output varies depending, but just keep this in mind, regardless.

hint#2:
Regarding HAM radios, try to go more for a dual band type radio as it gives you greater options... regarding other frequencies and such. For example, if you get a 2m (2meter=144-148MHz) dedicated radio, then you're are limited to only in/around those frequencies.

This post will likely be updated with mainly links to more information? I'm still trying to figure out how I want to "organize this thread" with, hopefully, helpful information and hints/tips

Also, I will likely edit some info here as it comes along. I'm just typing down content to get things started here. Any input/suggestion is welcomed for sure!!! :thumbsup: Also, if pictures pop up or a really helpful post, I will post a link to that post on the main page or one of the first couple of OP's at the beginning of this thread and simply trying to preserve info that won't get buried.
 
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NOTE:
I'm posting links for now, because I just tried posting some pictures and they came out to be HUGE on the screen??? I don't know about posting pictures on/in one post with, eventually close to a hundred pictures crammed into a single post??? I don't think so. I think likely I will just state the model number and one can Goog le it from there???

Here are some units that actually pretty sweet to have:

A very nice CB radio that can be converted into a "mobile", well sortof, and back to a handheld.
https://www.amazon.com/Midland-75-822-Channel-CB-Way-Radio/dp/B00000K2YR

These Btech mini mobiles are very nice and compact:
https://www.amazon.com/BTECH-UV-25X...&qid=1551411155&s=electronics&sr=1-1-fkmrnull

For now, I have to call early quits because of work tomorrow and I've been fighting a cold/flu the past few days. It's been a miserable past few days thus far, which is why I was up so late last night constantly blowing my nose and going through a whole tissue box within a matter of hours.

Give some suggestions as they are welcomed in helping me organize something to where it doesn't get buried in the thread... as much as possible. I have the first four posts that I can utilize and edit accordingly. :thumbsup:
 
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4runner DOA

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@MonkeyProof I'd hope you show up. :thumbsup: I know you don't care for CB, but please obviously feel free to spill some knowledge.

I'll be updating more after work.

Thanks for getting this going. I know we had a thread with some radio stuff in it, but it never hurts to have a dedicated thread. Plus those of us that know you, know how passionate you are about this stuff.
 
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xplore.offroad

Instagram : @xplore.offroad
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@WrenchnWheel and I (as well as the rest of the group we Offroad with) got CB’s.

Been recently watching and reading more about VHF radios and people seem to love them so much they don’t ever consider switching back.

Never used a VHF, but would wanna hear the difference first hand
 

AssBurns

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@WrenchnWheel and I (as well as the rest of the group we Offroad with) got CB’s.

Been recently watching and reading more about VHF radios and people seem to love them so much they don’t ever consider switching back.

Never used a VHF, but would wanna hear the difference first hand
I use both CB and HAM. Depending on how much you want to invest, you can get a cheap Baofeng VHF/UHF radio for less than $40 and it's ready to operate right out of the box. Just charge it and punch in your frequency and it's just as capable as a cheap CB, if not better. I've gotten some of the guys in my group to make the switch to HAM and it's usually better than CB. I still keep my CB for redundancy and for when I go wheeling with guys that don't have a HAM. I love having a handheld so I can walk up the trail and still keep in contact with the group. I would like to invest in a decent mobile unit HAM radio though. I think both are good to have, but if I were to choose one, it would be HAM. Some folks get all weird about Amateur Radio Licenses, but I don't get all caught up in it. If you are going to be spending time on repeaters and have a high wattage, then I'd maybe consider a license, but also #FucktheFCC.

Also, if you do get a cheap Baofeng, I suggest upgrading the antenna and get a battery eliminator as a backup in case your battery dies.
https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Elim...+batter,mobile,184&sr=1-1-catcorr-spons&psc=1
 
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Anybody know if there’ll be interference issues with stacking a Ham below a CB? I have a CB in the ashtray location and the best place space wise for me is right below that.

Here’s the current setup
1551459040693.jpeg
 

4runner DOA

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T

That’s cheap as hell. I’ve been meaning to keep the Baofeng for a loaner and upgrade to a mobile unit for some time now.

If I didn't already have one I'd grab that one just because it has 4 power level settings. Mine is only 25w or 65w. We're also usually on a 151.xxx channel and unless that one can be programmed you can't transmit on channels within that frequency.
 

AssBurns

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Anybody know if there’ll be interference issues with stacking a Ham below a CB? I have a CB in the ashtray location and the best place space wise for me is right below that.

Here’s the current setup
View attachment 4678
Good question. I'd like to mount mine in the same location if possible.
If I didn't already have one I'd grab that one just because it has 4 power level settings. Mine is only 25w or 65w. We're also usually on a 151.xxx channel and unless that one can be programmed you can't transmit on channels within that frequency.
I'm on the same boat as you. We are usually on the same frequency range of 151.xxx. Anyone know if that can be programmed to allow greater frequency range?
 

MonkeyProof

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Good question. I'd like to mount mine in the same location if possible.

I'm on the same boat as you. We are usually on the same frequency range of 151.xxx. Anyone know if that can be programmed to allow greater frequency range?
The short answer is yes it can and be easily done so. Long answer is that it will make that radio not legal to transmit in the new extended range.
 

AssBurns

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The short answer is yes it can and be easily done so. Long answer is that it will make that radio not legal to transmit in the new extended range.
I can't legally transmit without a license anyways, so I don't really care about the legality of it. I just wanna know how to do it.
 
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Anybody know if there’ll be interference issues with stacking a Ham below a CB? I have a CB in the ashtray location and the best place space wise for me is right below that.

Here’s the current setup
View attachment 4678
I have my CB in the ashtray location as well. My Yaesu FT-1900R is just above it. You shouldn't experience any issues in stacking those radios. Now as far as antenna placement, you shouldn't put the antennas too close together.

Other than that, I've never had issues with my setup.

Going from driver to passenger:
1) pigtail mount (that is a scanner antenna that was attached at the time of this picture)
2) CB antenna (never mind it being short, just using it as a "place holder", but that is a CB antenna). I typically run a 4ft Francis Hot Rod
3) my HAM antenna in a slightly modified CB mount... I just had to drill the hole a bit larger to accommodate a barrel adapter
antenna_bed.jpg

Just a quick picture showing my pigtail... I can be at the front of the truck with an HT... or inside...
HAM_HT_PigTail_hood.jpg

I can be at the back of my truck with an HT... for whatever reason... or, again, inside with an HT
HAM_HT_PigTail_bed.jpg
 
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