Will this radio transmit on GMRS frequencies?

rnArmy

Adventurer
I'm getting ready to go on an overlanding trip in October with a group, and they're wanting us to communicate via GMRS. I have a little dual-band 5W BaoFeng UV-5R mounted in my Jeep (with an external antenna), and I believe it gets the GMRS frequencies (I punched them in to see, and it does). However, I'm wondering if I'd be better off with a slightly larger dual-band radio (or maybe I'm just looking for an excuse to buy one).

I have both a GMRS license, and a HAM radio license (KI7TSP). And just because I have my HAM license doesn't mean I know a lot.

I'm looking at one of these: https://baofengtech.com/uv-25x2 A small dual-band 25 Watt HAM radio. My questions are:

1. Will this transmit on the GMRS frequencies, and will it transmit at 25 Watts (or whatever max the radio is designed for)?

2. Is that even "legal" for GMRS (25 Watts even if you have a HAM license)?

It says the range goes up to 520mHz (VHF: 136-174 MHz(Rx/Tx). UHF: 400-520 MHz(Rx/Tx). I've read where some radios have locked-out the GMRS frequencies.

Thanks! I'm still trying to google this, but not finding stuff related to those with a HAM license, etc.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
UV5R would do a fine job, 5W is plenty of power for typical LoS operations.. but to answer your questions.

1. Yes
2. Its not type certified for GMRS, so technically its not legal.. 25W is fine tho for GMRS license holders (ham is inapplicable) on select frequencies.. cant blast that on all channels tho.

Generally, if your license holder of HAM and GMRS using a HAM radio on GMRS would be "socially acceptable", if not completely legal.. providing you know how to operate your gear in such a manner that it always conforms to the GMRS Bandplan and other various rules... see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Mobile_Radio_Service

If yer a complete newb unfamiliar with configuring everything correctly, it may just be best to get some off the shelf GMRS radios that come out of the box ready to go and are always legal if you hold a license.
such as: https://midlandusa.com/product/mxt275-micromobile-two-way-radio/
 

Frdmskr

Adventurer
I’d get one of the midlands or some other radio that has part 90 or part 95 certification. Baofengs throw spurs all over the place meaning you could be doing harmful interference to other users. Used Kenwood or Motorola rigs are a dime a dozen and really high quality.


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DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Another reason I think people who mix and match sound bad and create interference @Frdmskr has to do with not understanding when to use 12.5KHz, 20KHz and 25KHz bandwidth on which channels. FRS is like just about every other service except GMRS and ham in being narrowband all the time. On the ham side we default to wideband except when we don't and GMRS mostly uses 20KHz except for the shared FRS channels.
 
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rnArmy

Adventurer
I’d get one of the midlands or some other radio that has part 90 or part 95 certification. Baofengs throw spurs all over the place meaning you could be doing harmful interference to other users. Used Kenwood or Motorola rigs are a dime a dozen and really high quality.


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When you say "harmful interference to other users", so you mean actual physical damage, or just being a pain?

Do the dedicated GMRS radios automatically decrease their output depending on frequency selected? My thinking is these GMRS radios are about the same price as the inexpensive 25W dual-band HAM radios, so why limit myself to just the GMRS frequencies when I could have those AND full UHF/VHF (2M and 70cm) HAM frequencies.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
Do the dedicated GMRS radios automatically decrease their output depending on frequency selected?
Yes, if they are certified for GMRS, they will always follow the GMRS rules.

My thinking is these GMRS radios are about the same price as the inexpensive 25W dual-band HAM radios, so why limit myself to just the GMRS frequencies when I could have those AND full UHF/VHF (2M and 70cm) HAM frequencies.
Are you going to use them? and know how to use them such that you wont be causing problems for other users?

When you say "harmful interference to other users", so you mean actual physical damage, or just being a pain?
This thread along with statements like this concern me, personally I desoldered a resistor and modified my HAM radio to operate on GMRS and do what your wanting to do all the time.. but I know my way around a radio, and thus anyone listening could not possibly tell I was using a radio that was not certified.. however, for you this does not seem to be the case.. so you got two options:
  • Level up on your Radio use a few times and learn the rules and regulations for GMRS and HAM bandplans, how to operate your radio, how to use programs like CHIRP, how/what/why and all that.. this way you are confident in your operator capabilities.
  • Stick with decent off the shelf Radios that keep you out of trouble, require no programming, and just work.. imported china radios are basically out of the question.
Another piece of advice, once you start transmitting on HAM bands.. be prepared for actual enforcement of rules/regulations.. other HAM's have the skills to track you down physically if your being a bad/negligent operator, and the'll do it just for the the fun and challenge.. they are called fox hunts, we make a game out of it.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Unlikely to be physically damaging to another radio. Harmful in the sense that it can cause interference, e.g. transmission and reception issues to other users. That may range from mildly irritating to immediately local adjacent channels up to widespread annoyance or actual communication issues perhaps if it affects a repeater frequency.

If you cause issues to other hams or GMRS users and get caught the FCC will probably just slap you on the wrist, take your radios and order you to desist for 6 months or whatever. It's relatively unlikely but these Chinese radios that flooded the market are a sore spot with the FCC and the target of recent enforcement, so it's on the radar so to speak.

Now if you happen to cause issues with police, fire or military radio users you will very likely face a significant fine and a years-long order not to operate 2-way radios. If you continue to persist in whatever evil against humanity you're committing after that the FCC does have the power to have you arrested for willful intentional interference. Now I'm not aware of anyone who's sitting a Federal pen for that but I imagine interfering with the FBI or DoD might test their patience.
 

rnArmy

Adventurer
And that's why I started this thread... to find out what's legal and proper. I'm not wanting to blast the airwaves.

This was referenced earlier - the frequency table. I'm assuming under the column "GMRS Power" that is the maximum output allowed? If that's the case, then if I had a dual-band radio, even if it had a high-low option for transmit power, on some of the GMRS frequencies it still would be too much?

Or I could just continue to use my little BaoFeng UV-5R which puts out like 4 Watts no matter what (you can select a 1 Watt low power) so even if I was transmitting in full 4 Watts on a frequency that was regulated for 0.5 Watts (if I am thinking this correctly based on the chart below), I don't think I'd be overpowering anyone.
Frequency Table.PNG
 
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Frdmskr

Adventurer
When you say "harmful interference to other users", so you mean actual physical damage, or just being a pain?

Do the dedicated GMRS radios automatically decrease their output depending on frequency selected? My thinking is these GMRS radios are about the same price as the inexpensive 25W dual-band HAM radios, so why limit myself to just the GMRS frequencies when I could have those AND full UHF/VHF (2M and 70cm) HAM frequencies.
The Baofengs are notoriously dirty. More than being a pain when you transmit it does not suppress harmonics of your transmission. So if you are on 2m chatting away people have actually been found with significant spurious emissions in public safety bands and even on 220 and 440! Unless they are part 90 certified they are not legal for sale in the US.

Honestly, the midlands are really good. The good commercial stuff, while not always part 95 certified, will not rip up spectrum elsewhere.

I think others answered the other questions here.



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dreadlocks

Well-known member
If your non GMRS radio will not go to low enough power setting to properly operate on a frequency, simply do not operate on that frequency.. I dont even have those half watt channels programmed into my HAM rig, because I cannot do that low of output.. the party you are communicating with will need to choose a higher power frequency.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
If your non GMRS radio will not go to low enough power setting to properly operate on a frequency, simply do not operate on that frequency.. I dont even have those half watt channels programmed into my HAM rig, because I cannot do that low of output.. the party you are communicating with will need to choose a higher power frequency.
So do legal GMRS mobiles (like maybe an MXT400) go down to 1/2 watt on channels 8 to 14 or do they skip over them?
 

Frdmskr

Adventurer
Under the new rules gmrs cannot talk to FRS for new radios. I’d stick to high power channels or buy a separate FRS handheld.


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dreadlocks

Well-known member
Under the new rules gmrs cannot talk to FRS for new radios. I’d stick to high power channels or buy a separate FRS handheld.
I suppose you are right, guess I never looked close enough:
Screen Shot 2019-08-27 at 12.02.53 PM.png

Nobody licensed would wanna use half watt anyhow, so no big loss.
 
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