FRS GMRS recomendations

mjac

Adventurer
#1
Looking for recommendation(s) for a portable, rechargeable unit including charger but also with ability to operate with batteries. Must have NOAA weather alert capabilities and preferably be county/local area specific. Range not too important but greater rather than less will be of course, considered, and realize range can be dictated by terrain.

Use will be primarily for off road spotting, enabling spouse to assist (I know this can be risky) in campground site travel trailer positioning and of course when traveling to areas with no familiarity of local weather patterns.

VOX is not required but OK if available.

TIA
 
#2
Whichever brand, Make sure to get a new 2 Watt FRS with all 22 channels.

I have used Motorola and Midland in past. Other have used Uniden, Cobra and they work fine too.
 

mjac

Adventurer
#3
Whichever brand, Make sure to get a new 2 Watt FRS with all 22 channels.

I have used Motorola and Midland in past. Other have used Uniden, Cobra and they work fine too.
Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately manufacturers are not offering much info regarding the 2 watt spec. Or at least Amazon is adverse to noting it. Then again I have only been looking at bubble pack radios. Do you know of a Midland/Motorola model that does 2 watts?
 
#5
I've been looking as well and it looks like no radio manufacturer has had time to respond to the new rules. Right now FRS/GMRS radios are permitted, but in the future they will not be, no more riding the fence for the manufacturers. I think they have until sometime in Sep. 2019 (If I read it right) before they must absolutely stop selling dual units.

Doesn't really sound like you need GMRS though, FRS would be perfect, now that they give you a whole 2 watts and not a measly .5 watt.

In response to the new regs I finally went for a GMRS license myself, waiting to get it now in fact, but my goal is for family use and 15 watt mobiles and 5 watt HTs is a big plus for vehicle use and to establish comms across rural property where cell phones don't work. That is overkill for you from what you describe.

So it seems like it's either a really bad time, or a really good time, to get radios, I'm not sure. Personally even with my ham, and upcoming GMRS licenses, I still bet I'll still want some 2 watt FRS radios floating around.
 

mjac

Adventurer
#6
I have been looking into upgrading our frs/gmrs comma and I think this unit may just be what you're looking for...

https://midlandusa.com/product/gxt1050vp4/
Yes, It lines up very favorably with its non camo brother, the GTX1000VP4 and both are packaged 2x tho. A real plus for me then would the single pack version of the GTX1000VP4, a GTX1000AX at nearly half the price. I only need one as I have an older less featured FRS only to pair with a new one.

Thanks
 

mjac

Adventurer
#7
Doesn't really sound like you need GMRS though, FRS would be perfect, now that they give you a whole 2 watts and not a measly .5 watt.
Correct, FRS only would be the ticket and no license fee is Ok by me. My other radio is FRS only so I really don't need nor want GMRS. But to get the features I want, I can only find them in a combo unit. Unless I am not looking in the right places.

Oh well, maybe I'll bite the bullet and go all in for two new. It might be fun to listen GMRS. I donno.
 
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#8
Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately manufacturers are not offering much info regarding the 2 watt spec. Or at least Amazon is adverse to noting it. Then again I have only been looking at bubble pack radios. Do you know of a Midland/Motorola model that does 2 watts?
I am not aware of any yet. That is a respin on the circuit board. They can go to 22 channels on existing radios with just a firmware change. I imagine as soon as 2 watt radios come out, you will know it, it would be a huge marketing/sales point.
 

mjac

Adventurer
#9
I am not aware of any yet. That is a respin on the circuit board. They can go to 22 channels on existing radios with just a firmware change. I imagine as soon as 2 watt radios come out, you will know it, it would be a huge marketing/sales point.
Ok, thanks. I have a vacation trip coming up soon and was hoping to improve on comms. This hollering out the window stuff is wearing thin. Weather alerts would be nice too. I could go with a dedicated weather unit in the trailer but it won't help much in the cab while traveling.

I have a nice Kenwood 710 mobile sitting on the desk for sale. I suppose I could reinstall it to get by for now. (I traded trucks and the alum body thing became a nightmare antenna wise) and get a CCR but the wife is not going to test for anything or listen to a radio squawking away in the trailer. Gotta have the alert to wake us up if need be. SWMBO insists on this.

Now where is the crying in my beer forum? I am off to fleabay for something simple.
 
#10
I am not aware of any yet. That is a respin on the circuit board. They can go to 22 channels on existing radios with just a firmware change. I imagine as soon as 2 watt radios come out, you will know it, it would be a huge marketing/sales point.
Ok, thanks. I have a vacation trip coming up soon and was hoping to improve on comms. This hollering out the window stuff is wearing thin. Weather alerts would be nice too. I could go with a dedicated weather unit in the trailer but it won't help much in the cab while traveling.

I have a nice Kenwood 710 mobile sitting on the desk for sale. I suppose I could reinstall it to get by for now. (I traded trucks and the alum body thing became a nightmare antenna wise) and get a CCR but the wife is not going to test for anything or listen to a radio squawking away in the trailer. Gotta have the alert to wake us up if need be. SWMBO insists on this.

Now where is the crying in my beer forum? I am off to fleabay for something simple.
I just thought of this, Baofeng now has certified MURS radios now, no test, no license, 2 watts, 5 channels I think. Probably be about $120 for a pair. They are nice HTs and will have a lot of options for battery packs and hand mics.
 
#11
This discussion is of great interest to me. Sorry for butting in I am new here and new the Expedition community. I have decided to go with GMRS over basic CB and/or Ham stuff. I have CB's with SSB on them in my vehicles and motorhome, they work great but as pointed out some of the content heard is questionable at best. GMRS is inexpensive enough I can get the kids units for their vehicles and handhelds for the grandkids. The units I have contain "secure encryption" channels, not sure how secure they are, but if it keeps some of the garbage out of my grandkids ears, it would be worth it. My question is, do they make "loaded" antennas or at the least high performance antennas that can be used instead of the stock little tuned coat hangers that come with most the radios I have looked on Amazon but like most the information is questionable? I have my eye on the Midland MXT275 if they ever release it to put in all my vehicles and buy a few for the kids vehicles as well. I do not mind the licensing fees to keep everything on the up and up. Thank you for any help.
 
#12
The units I have contain "secure encryption" channels, not sure how secure they are, but if it keeps some of the garbage out of my grandkids ears, it would be worth it.
That is likely some marketing BS but if it's actual encryption it's not a legal GMRS radio, or at least not per current rules that I'm aware. More likely it's just tone squelch, which can be effective at keeping unwanted traffic out. However you risk talking over other users on frequency without knowing it, so I usually run open frequency so I could hear others if they are there. Anyone can hear you by the way, that blocking out is one way, anyone listening to open frequency will hear you regardless unless they set their own tone/CTCSS code to block you out.

One solution would be put the kids on tone squelch send & receive, the adults transmit a tone but leave your receive open. (Midland unit may not allow that, I have BTech handheld units for now.)

I have been scanning GMRS lately just to get a feel for it's local use and haven't heard anyone. That is here in Bowling Green, 3rd largest city in Kentucky. I'd say in most places, except large metro areas, it's pretty sparsely used overall. Not to say the bubble pack radio crowd has died down yet, they won't, but I've been surprised how little I hear on that band.

You can get nice mobile antennas for GMRS, the band is higher than 70cm(440) HAM, so look for stuff tuned to 450+ Most stuff labeled as commercial or land mobile will likely be in that range, but check. GMRS is mostly in the 460's but it seems antennas are labeled by the low end of the frequency range they are tuned for. Someone please correct that if I'm off.

I'm eyeing that Midland MXT275 also. Midland is currently more concerned with pushing overpriced battery packs it would seem than the radios they are kinda known for.
 
#13
Thank you for the response that is good to know.. I just looked at Amazon for the handhelds I already have and it says: "142 Privacy Codes
Gives you up to 5560 channel options to help you block other conversations." Guess I just figured they were encrypted for more secure communication. If nothing else I am sure the truckers are not suing the channels as much and hopefully the conversations with be a bit cleaner for the younger ears.