Which Radio ?

Billoftt

Active member
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.
I can appreciate your situation. At least you got them moved away from CB and into something that opens them up to higher quality radios and more manageable antennas. There should be quite a bit of NMO base, no ground plane 1/2 wave and collinear antennas on the market with a much more manageable height that one could mount on the fender on a Jeep and just forget about.

There is a Jeep club near me that another ham and I convinced to switch from CB to GMRS. The other guy (due to his profession) actually has the programming cables and licensed software to program Land Mobile Part 90 Kenwood and Motorola radios which can be had for pretty good prices used. That helped A LOT with the transition.



Sent by electrons or some crap like that.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
There is a Jeep club near me that another ham and I convinced to switch from CB to GMRS. The other guy (due to his profession) actually has the programming cables and licensed software to program Land Mobile Part 90 Kenwood and Motorola radios which can be had for pretty good prices used. That helped A LOT with the transition.
Old business radios are often cheap, the problem is it can be costly to get setup with a Motorola account and get the CPS software. But for a club it can be manageable. Say it costs $300 for a software license for 3 years but you get a dozen or two surplus radios that you program in bulk with the same image the per unit cost is $10 or $20. That works fine for GMRS since it's the same everywhere so you don't have to worry about different channelization or repeater details like ham that might make each radio unique to some extent.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
Hardest part of programing my part 90 commercial kenwoods was getting a computer I could bootup FreeDOS on.. even a decade ago I didnt have anything w/cdrom's.

Ive been using reprogramed radios for GMRS for decades now, was not until very recently that any off the shelf GMRS radios even gained full duplex transmitting capabilities... I got all 6 of my Zastone handhelds, and a 6gang charger for less money than buying one pair of nice Midlands.
 

Dirt Rider

Active member
Past my Tech test, I am now a HAM! Thinking I may buy one of the cheap Chinese HAM radios and go with a hard mount GMRS. The reason being the GMRS will be for trail driving and the HAM portable for hiking or SAR work.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
Those cheap Chinese HAM radios are such a great way to start, not a big investment to learn the ropes.. I hadda hittup garage and estate sales looking for radios because it was so expensive for a new one that would get such limited use.

They make good backup and testing hardware later once you've figured out exactly what capabilities and range you need, so hang onto em even if you outgrow em.
 

Oilbrnr

Active member
I have a Yaesu FT-60r and FTM-100DR. Both mar/cap'd and also a President McKinley CB that's been tuned. All bases covered, and with the Yaesu you get a quality built in Japan radio.

OP congrats on the ticket. Getting a tech license is way to easy not to just get it done.
 

MOguy

Explorer
The only radio that is any good is one that has somebody listening on the other end. Get what the group you run with uses. If you run with multiple groups using different radios you may need more than one radio. It is nice to haves radio that are hard wired and mounted. I have one of those little Baofengs and the work fine but last time I went to use it the battery was dead. I have it "just in case" so does my buddy. The just in case happened, his CB didn't work, mine did. His little Baofeng worked fine, my baofeng was dead. I knew I charged it but that was like 2months ago.
 
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Recommended books for Overlanding

Dirt Rider

Active member
Noticed on the Australian overland shows that they mount antennas on the front bumper, any advantage to this?
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
your hood is a nice ground plane and you can see if anything is gonna knock the antenna off.. but seems more suited for that kinda scrubby desert environment where most foliage goes under the vehicle not over it.. any thick woodland environment that needed branch risers for would just expose it more than off the back where the branches already been lifted.. you also gotta work around it if yeh gotta pop the hood.
 

Billoftt

Active member
I think most of those are NGP antennas.

I legit have no idea why they aren’t more commonly mounted higher. When I was thinking about moving down to Adelaide I was looking into it. Australian CB uses (in addition to the legacy 27 MHz AM) UHF FM in the 476-477 MHz range and a lot of repeaters are scattered about. UHF is line of sight and for whatever reason they have a lot of high-gain antennas mounted low on their bumpers. Whatever gains they had would be negated by the lower height.

Admittedly, many of their antennas marketed for off-road application have “risers” in them and the antenna element doesn’t actually begin until further up the “radome” as they call it.

Alas, the company that submitted my package to the Office of Home Affairs for immigration approval was not chosen to be involved with that particular project at the shipyards and my dreams of a turbodiesel V8 70 series Land Cruiser were shattered.


Sent by electrons or some crap like that.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Roof top tents and racks with gear make roof-mounted antennas less desirable. Since those are common in the 4WD community I figure it's a matter of market for that style. Most 4WD enthusiasts in Australia are not amateur radio operators, who would likely be more similar to us in willingness to drill holes and worry about performance. Their UHF CB is essentially GMRS, so it's not a hobby per-say.
 

Frdmskr

Adventurer
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.
I wrote a long thing on this a while ago if you search through this forum. Some key points for your specific question...

1) Always buy what your buddies have. If you travel in a group just get what they have for a service (FRS, GMRS, CB, Ham) as it will work for talking to them. This ensures you also have someone to help troubleshoot it when it goes wonky.

2) If you want to have ham radio and GMRS you need to buy a commercial radio that is both Part 90 and Part 95 type accepted. They exist but there are not many. Food for thought, most Part 90 radios are far more strictly controlled than any Part 95 radio because 90 is more strict.

3) Don't buy cheap Chinese HTs and ask why it wont last long or work (its a cheap Chinese radio.) Spend a few bucks on a ham radio or a used commercial radio. There are plenty out there at good prices.

4) The antenna is critical. Don't play the gain game its a waste of time and really a bad plan. Buy a Larsen NMO270 for ham or a Larsen or similar high quality commercial antenna cut for GMRS (not a cheap Chinese one.) Gain means lobes of radiation which also mean nulls in your radiation pattern. You want to balance gain with minimal number of lobes to ensure coverage through mountains.

Good luck!
 
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