Single band vs dual band value

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
@dreadlocks, I'm not familiar enough with GMRS in practice, so the question of repeaters and equipment in general has been a mystery to me. I knew repeaters were allowed and knew they existed, so my assumption was that they were repurposed commercial gear.

It's pretty much what I was supposing in my diatribe, that GMRS could really fill a niche since it's already defined to work how the majority of people in expo/overland/4wd (e.g. channelized appliance operators) use 2m FM with the one additional technical allowance that the a radio carries an equivalent Type Acceptance like Part 90.

Otherwise, I think the main thing is backcountry travelers can leverage the installed infrastructure of ham repeaters and use of APRS, which can and will exist with GMRS but it's nowhere near the decades jump start hams have on it.
 
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dreadlocks

Well-known member
I agree, in general GMRS license holders should be given the same freedom on that band as HAM operators do in their bands, there is a band plan that is allocated with power and bandwidth requirements just follow it, thats the way the more advanced GMRS users have been handling it.. If your using anything more than off the shelf FRS radios, you needa license up and support the band and its continued existence/development.

It was intended for these uses we are using it for, dont let a little semantics get in your way.. and honestly the device certification thing is more applicable for those selling radios than those of us using em and I think thats what catches people up.. using a non certified device in the FRS/GMRS bands is not really a problem if your following the bandplan and not abusing it, its manufacturing and distributing FRS or GMRS radios that require the certification and thats why the HAM loophole exists.. FCC does not go after station operators for using uncertified equipment, only for violating license restrictions.. if they do, unfortunately in the city here most FRS/GMRS usage seems to be illicit commercial activity, I hear the old folks home, a few night time office security and cleaning crews more than I do private individuals.. GMRS has no self-policing of the band that HAM has, If you throw a pirate/rouge/broken station up on any HAM band around these parts and the'll fox hunt your ass down in no time at all.. just for fun.
 

crazysccrmd

Observer
I like having a dual band radio. For friends without ham licenses I have used it to communicate with them by lending them a Baofeng HT. My dual band (710G) is set to monitor whatever GMRS frequency they want to use and transmit on a 70cm frequency that is never used around here. They transmit on the legal GMRS frequency/power and hear me on the ham frequency. For anyone listening to one side of the conversation it would sound quite strange but is a mostly legal workaround to using non-compatible radio frequency groups.
 

ultraclyde

Observer
I agree, in general GMRS license holders should be given the same freedom on that band as HAM operators do in their bands, there is a band plan that is allocated with power and bandwidth requirements just follow it, thats the way the more advanced GMRS users have been handling it.. If your using anything more than off the shelf FRS radios, you needa license up and support the band and its continued existence/development.

It was intended for these uses we are using it for, dont let a little semantics get in your way.. and honestly the device certification thing is more applicable for those selling radios than those of us using em and I think thats what catches people up.. using a non certified device in the FRS/GMRS bands is not really a problem if your following the bandplan and not abusing it, its manufacturing and distributing FRS or GMRS radios that require the certification and thats why the HAM loophole exists.. FCC does not go after station operators for using uncertified equipment, only for violating license restrictions.. if they do, unfortunately in the city here most FRS/GMRS usage seems to be illicit commercial activity, I hear the old folks home, a few night time office security and cleaning crews more than I do private individuals.. GMRS has no self-policing of the band that HAM has, If you throw a pirate/rouge/broken station up on any HAM band around these parts and the'll fox hunt your ass down in no time at all.. just for fun.

dread, your post is most in line with how I'm seeing this whole thing, plus I've gained a lot of insight from the other posts here.

Let me preface this next part with this: I UNDERSTAND CURRENT HAM LICENSING DOES NOT COVER ACTIVITY ON GMRS. I get it. That wasn't my point in the first place.

So, having said that...

In a perfect world, if the government trusts ham licensees to build their own equipment and operate at 1500 watts within frequency bands that can transmit for 1000s of miles (under the right conditions and license level), then why aren't they trustworthy to operate at 2 watts on shorter-distance GRMS frequencies? Why not include legal access to GMRS in the ham license? Keep the GMRS-only license for people or groups that only want utility communication. In fact, drop the cost of GMRS to a test-free $30 and make the tested ham tech license $40 instead of free. Make General and Extra license upgrades tested but free. This could then allow legal use of non-certified (ham) equipment to expand and support GMRS use as long as it was done by a ham licensee since they have demonstrated the knowledge required to do so appropriately. It would also help regulate the GMRS world given that hams are such self-police sticklers. I think this would encourage people to get a GMRS license but would also increase the number of people getting ham licensed, and grow what has been a declining hobby.

The way I see it, the recent upswing in ham adoption would largely have been negated if people had access to good, fully developed GMRS equipment like dread mentioned. IF the equipment was in the market and the repeaters were on the ground, I can't imagine the growing overlanding/adventure world choosing to go through testing, get ham licensed, and operate on different frequencies. GMRS could easily kill the ham world. But instead, why not leverage GMRS use to help expand the ham hobby? By adding it into the ham license you capitalize on the strong knowledge base of the hammers to facilitate easy general use, and you would inevitably draw more of those casual users deeper into the hobby.

I agree with Dreadlocks, the testing and certs on the equipment is a manufacturer/FCC issue, not a user issue. If the FCC allows a radio to be sold that can TX on frequencies that it's not certified for, that's an enforcement issue and should be addressed.

EDIT: And incidentally, I'll be getting a GMRS license now as well. You have to play by the rules even if you think they're dumb.
 
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ultraclyde

Observer
Why does ham have to die?
I'm not saying it has to or should. I'm saying that most of the growth in ham right now is due to adoption in the adventure travel realm. If GMRS offered fully supported solutions for that, most adventure users would go that route. BUT there's an opportunity to use that to grow ham even more. Someone said on a different forum that he'd gotten his ham license but "the only people on the air were old folks who wanted to talk about their radio equipment" but he didn't find it useful enough to continue. Now, I know that's an important part (indeed, the origin) of the hobby, but including a widely-accessible, practical "on-ramp" into the game leads people into that side of it.

I admit I'm new to the ham world. But the ONLY people I've met or talked to that are under 40 and have licenses are overlanders/adventurers. No hobby continues to exist unless new people get involved, and the younger they are the more the hobby grows. I sail, and it's a similar thing there.

Ah hell, if people don't get what I'm trying to say here, nevermind. Calcification is comfortable. I'm just the FNG who doesn't understand I guess.

73
 

lugueto

Adventurer
A Dual Band Dual Receive radio can be very helpful for mobile operations, and more fun if you're into HAM as a hobby. I'm the former.

Personally I wouldn't buy a mobile dual band radio that didn't have dual receivers. I don't need 70cm or 0-1ghz receive, 70cm coverage here is negligible, but dual receivers does change the way you use your radio.

I seldom travel alone. I'm always with at least one more vehicle, and all my friends have their licenses and VHF equipment. As with most remote travel, cell reception is hit and miss, VHF coverage is usually found where cell reception might not be. So I have my radio running on VHF on both sides most of the time. One side running the convoy frequency and the other side running the local repeaters. If I'm driving on my own, then I have one side on the local repeaters and the other on the call channel just in case.

FWIW, I did have a more powerful 2m monoband before, and it worked fine for convoy use or dedicated repeater use. But having dual receive considerably improves the radio as a tool. I haven't seen a decrease in distance although I rarely use my radios on high power anyway.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
FCC dont give more spectrum to the public, they take it away.. so basically file that idea under wont fix because they wont give HAM users a single Mhz more than we already got.

General Mobile Radio and Amateur Radio are 2 completely different uses, GMRS cant put a dent into HAM with that lil slice of spectrum they have.. the 70cm band HAM's have is huge in comparison.. GMRS is already at capacity in many areas and you couldn't put a repeater in if you tried.. Besides, 70cm UHF Propagation is better in the city and does rather poorly in the back country.. 2M VHF propagation is poor in the city and better in the back country (partly because UHF reflects better but is also absorbed easier by vegetation).. This is why you can find 70cm used heavily here in the metro but its silent once you get into the mountains.. same thing for GMRS.

HAM Licensing is cheap, the tests are easy.. if you want to explore the back country in a party/group and use the existing repeater sites get your party licensed up and get a bunch of 2m radios.. the barrier of entry is not that huge, put more peer pressure on being a HAM in your group, dial up a repeater and show em all how far you can communicate.. a little bit of education and money is a barrier to keep HAM bands from becoming crap like CB and FRS.. but if you want to use it, its there for all of us.. I dont see any reason why my Wife and Sons cant be license holders in the next few years.. Most of the Wheeling Clubs in Colorado you'll find almost 100% amateur license holders among the ranks, any who dont have a license are working on getting one because everyone is giving em shade for not having one..
 
If an accredited survey was done that measured usage in the ham bands, the majority would be DXers and Contest. Has and always will be. Next on the list is the casual user or the older retired segment that use it as a connection to society. One of the reasons you see new users are from the overlanding crowd is because that is who you surround yourself with. If you were interested in contesting and dx work then you would say you see more coming into the hobby for that. They are a very small portion of users, maybe in the single digit percentage. They would probably be behind the prepper community not counting the emergency response community. Emergency usage overlaps from several groups. There is growth in Ham Radio coming from all different directions. You can look up new licensed issued everyday and see it is growing or keeping pace with expirations and SKs.

One thing most people do not realize is the entire RF spectrum and its' usage is segmented by international treaties. These treaties designate what frequencies are available for each country to use and what they are used for. The FCC is merely a regulatory agency. They decide how the frequency segment will be used for the purpose of the treaty. There are Ham frequencies in other countries that we do not have privileges here to use because of the treaties. The treaty will say something like you can use these band segments for Ham radio and then it is up to the FCC to decide how they are going to regulate it. The FCC says ok we are going to allow the users the ability to build their own radios, but commercially built radios must be Type Accepted. The treaty does the same for GMRS although they don't call it GMRS it is more like personal use. The FCC sets the regulations and say no user built radios as the user does not have the technical knowledge to built equipment that will not cause interference so all radios must be Type Accepted except it is a different Part of the regulatory code than Ham Radio.

We conjecture all we want about why the FCC does it the way it does. Only they really know, if there is anyone there that really cares anymore.

Offering free ham license testing is not the answer to a growth problem. The cost of the license is the cheapest part of the hobby.
There is a growth in the Maker and Stem Education in society now and ham radio is gaining ground in that area. Ham Radio has always tried to gain in the younger segment, but it has always had a stigma of nerdiness hung on it. In my era kids would rather be hanging out with friends or playing sports. It then shifted to video gaming. Then along came the cell phone and instant access to anyone or any info around the world. Why would anyone want to talk to someone on the other side of the globe when they have that in their hand. Well now the Makers and the STEM education comes along and introduction into building your own electronic and program coding takes off. Aha that include ham radio. Now it is sexy to have a ham radio and you built it yourself. Oh you mean you even wrote your own code to control that SDR that you built yourself. Now you have the seeds of growth. You have to make it sexy and interesting.

You wonder why there is no overlap of privileges of Hams to use GMRS? Well that is because a GMRS user is not suppose to need the technical knowledge as a Ham. I don't mean this in a bad way but GMRS is intended for appliance operators that can read numbers on a dial. GMRS is a stepping stone for the FCC to abolish the CB segment. Right now it is a vacuum. No regulation free for all. The problem was the 11 meters offered DX and wow I can talk around the world on a $50 radio. Most countries their so called CB is in the UHF range just like GMRS. 11 meters can end up worth big bucks for FCC to auction off for commercial use. GMRS will not suffer from the same problems CB has/had because it is a short range form of communication. You can hit it will 2000 watts and it is still not going to get you from coast to coast.

I have been a ham since 1978 and have seen it all. The threat to the bands from packet and APRS, HF plagued with store and forward message services now knows as Pactor. None of the threats of damage to the ham bands has ever happened. Our biggest threat is loss due to treaties which is highly unlikely or to big money commercial use. Look at the 220 band segment it has been in limbo for years.

My dad was a ham starting in the late 50s and during that time the threat was going from AM to SSB!!! SSB was going to ruin the bands. Didn't happen.

damn I have rambled enough guys. Two pots of coffee maybe too much.

But I will add that using a Type Accepted Ham Radio is illegal but who is going to know??? Do what you feel right. It is like speeding who is going to know if you are speeding if no one is on the road. Like someone said it is only illegal if you get caught. Ain't my place to judge you or condemn you for it. I can only advise you, the rest is up to you. Yeah if someone is using high power in the 50-100 watt range on FRS channels then it is going to be obvious. If you are using a Hhesam HT and it has a removable antenna no one is going to notice the difference in 1-5 watts. I wouldn't be adding a high gain antenna on that Ham HT and use it on FRS channels either.

This argument about the different uses of Type Accepted equipment has been around for ages. To me is like the warning labels that your fresh cup of coffee is hot and may burn you. You can do whatever you want to with it but if it hurts you it is your fault.
 

prerunner1982

Adventurer
Someone said on a different forum that he'd gotten his ham license but "the only people on the air were old folks who wanted to talk about their radio equipment" but he didn't find it useful enough to continue.
I'm not the "rag chew" with strangers type of person. I don't care what you had for breakfast, what doctor you are going to today, what radio equipment you are using, what the weather is like, that you had to learn CW to get a license, etc etc etc.
I do however like the short exchange of DX and contest as the ability to talk to someone half way around the World still amazes me. I may jump on a local repeater if the topic of discussion interests me but typically reserve the VHF/UHF radios for storm spotting or communication with friends/offroad.

Ham as a radio service is growing as there are more licensed hams now than ever, ham radio as a hobby may or may not be growing...it's hard to put a number on that.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Another reason amateur radio has the privileges it does is the ARRL advocates for us and does a lot to help the FCC within and beyond ham radio. If the GMRS people wanted to organize something similar I'm sure the FCC would love all the help they could get in regulating it.

@dreadlocks mentioned that hams are zealous about fox hunting illegal users. Some of that is the challenge but it's also because historically we saw what happens when you don't do that, e.g. the 11m CB mess. The FCC is trying to prevent that with FRS & GMRS, so rather than disparage hams for being who we are do something to help instead.

The only reason I would want expanded privileges in GMRS is because of overland use. As it is I don't need it, I have everything it offers plus tons more with ham radio. It would be convenient not to have buy another radio or pay for a license, but it's not something I actively think to myself that I wish the FCC would do.

Perhaps GMRS users should push on manufacturers and the FCC to let their radios have the ability to tune down to the FM part of the ham band, since their radios are already 100% legal to use for ham. Approach the dual-use from that perspective, then all a GMRS user needs is his Technician ticket.
 
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prerunner1982

Adventurer
But I will add that using a Type Accepted Ham Radio is illegal but who is going to know??? Do what you feel right. It is like speeding who is going to know if you are speeding if no one is on the road. Like someone said it is only illegal if you get caught. Ain't my place to judge you or condemn you for it. I can only advise you, the rest is up to you. Yeah if someone is using high power in the 50-100 watt range on FRS channels then it is going to be obvious. If you are using a Hhesam HT and it has a removable antenna no one is going to notice the difference in 1-5 watts. I wouldn't be adding a high gain antenna on that Ham HT and use it on FRS channels either.
I agree. I still try to make people aware of the rules because I have found many times they aren't aware, especially when using the business band with these "off road radios". The rest is up to them. I also agree that as long as the radio you are using is programmed with the proper bandwidth and wattage nobody is going to know that you aren't using a type accepted radio....unless you announce it of course. And with Midlands MXT-400 (40 watt GMRS mobile) running $200 you could get a Luiton LT-590 UHF radio for $120 and program it to GMRS. They look almost identical.
 
Dual use!!! Oh the nightmares of the dual use Ranger radios that were 10 and 11 meter. Now that was a mess. The bottom end of 10 meters, the cw and digital portion was at one time almost unusable because of CB crawl to the higher frequencies.

Taking a channelized radio and make it usable in the 70cm ham band is a stretch the filter circuits can't handle the increased bandwidth. It works the opposite way as well. Yes you can modify your 70cm ham radio and mod it to work GMRS frequencies but at a reduce performance on receive and transmit. Amounts to taking the old GE and Motorola commercial rigs into ham radios. Yes it can be done but it can't do both as equally well.

Overlapping the GMRS band into the ham band is going to be a nightmare. What is to keep those that don't want to learn anything technical from using the ham portion of their new toy. I say keep it seperate. If they want to get into Ham Radio then teach them let them learn then maybe they will buy a ham radio and convert it to use for GMRS. They now possess the knowledge to do it the right way. It is on them if they screw it up. GMRS is designed for non technical skilled persons to operate.

It is not about the cost of a license it is about spending the time learning! Some have no interest in learning anything outside of the blinders they are wearing. You can't teach a horse to drink if he don't want to.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
Perhaps GMRS users should push on manufacturers and the FCC to let their radios have the ability to tune down to the FM part of the ham band, since their radios are already 100% legal to use for ham. Approach the dual-use from that perspective, then all a GMRS user needs is his Technician ticket.
oh no, they did dual use with FRS/GMRS and it ended up killing 99% of the benefit of being GMRS license holder.. these consumer appliance devices should be locked down to their own frequencies.. They made unlicensed/licensed radios and all it ended up doing was us loosing all the band to unlicensed FRS use.. GMRS users were supposed to have a few channels for their own licensed use, but all the FRS users had no idea they were on licensed channels.. the only way to fix the mess was just give FRS the whole band, minus the repeater inputs.
 

brentbba

Explorer
My $.02. I originally purchased a dual band full well intending on purchasing a HT to use the crossband feature on the dual band while on overnight backpacking trips with my scouts for emergency purposes. HT to hit the truck and crossover to a reachable repeater in the area if needed. Never got around to doing that and am now retired from scouting. My usage is primarily offroad with the people I run with. I was sold on HAM back in '06 when I was out with a large group through Death Valley. The NP limits groups to 6 trucks so we split up. The group had comms between the very first truck and the last group/last truck some 30 miles back on simplex. CB - lucky to get 2 miles direct line of sight. I only have a relic CB in my truck for one person I've wheeled with that is not a licensed HAM. I have also given an HT I now own to a non-HAM to monitor only in the past. Some organized runs by groups still require CB as comms as it's the least expensive option out there. What I like about the dual band is that I can monitor 146.520 nat'l simplex and whatever band my group is on as well. Best of both worlds. My humble opinion.
 
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