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GMRS Radios

It seems like GMRS is all the rage with off-roaders the past few years. Some groups do not even use CB radios anymore. I have a HAM radio in my Explorer that can tune into most GMRS frequencies but I do not have a license for either because I haven't gotten around to studying and taking the HAM test. The GMRS radio requires a registration license with the FCC, but does not have a test. Apparently, they are going to drop the $70 fee for ten years down to $35 sometime this year. I have done zero research.

What are the pros / cons of GMRS vs HAM, besides range?
 


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Stic-o

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RJ use to rave about these. He used one on the trail.

Jeep Jamboree just made the switch to these vs CB

Other than that I have no knowledge of these.
 




Rick

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Ham radio has access to linked repeaters, often with autopatches which allow you to make phone calls through the repeater. Not as "cool" as it once was due to cell phones, but there are still places you can reach via radio that you could not reach by cell phone. Most ham radio operators are trained in emergency procedures and will definitely get you help should the need arise.
 




Brian1

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My favorite feature of Ham is APRS which is a tracker and messaging system. Tracking is similar to a SPOT device and then you can also send short text messages or emails through the system to anybody as long as you can reach a tower. Just this past weekend I used it to see where my other friend was on our way to a wheeling trip and saw he was behind me 10 miles so I dialed back my speed so he would catch up.

Another plus for Ham is the repeater network, I can talk and can be heard across the entire state if desired plus there are some other repeater networks in popular wheeling areas like Moab and Colorado's San Juans. If I'm out alone I will usually be on one of the repeater frequencies in the area. GMRS can also use repeaters but the repeater infrastructure isn't nearly as wide spread as the Ham network as far as I know.

Ham was really starting to take off in popularity for the 4x4 crowd several years ago and then, it seems like to me, GMRS zoomed right past it and took over as being the popular radio platform of choice. I blame Midland and getting their GMRS radios out in the hands of off-road "influencers" who raved about how great they were and then the trend followed. Smart on their part! I think that coupled with the no test required -just pay money- is why it is becoming so popular.

Ill be sticking with Ham radio.
 




Gary Crist

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With GMRS one is stuck @ 70cm or 1 frequency. Ham have the WORLD!
A hand held antenna and one is communicating to "our" satellites, talking on
repeaters, sending digital data via computer or talking world wide on 1 radio!
1 radio from 500kc- 1.2GHz.
Ham radio, get your license it is easy and NO CODE!
 




gmanpaint

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I did a tiny bit of research on the GMRS the other day, and I'm sold on it for a few reasons.

$35 for an entire family up to 100 people, and good for 10 years, and no test.

Repeaters are being constructed more and more right now, at least in my area. People in the boonies are erecting them like crazy, and you can use them if your in range.

Just about every group I have been with lately, use GMRS now.

The costs of these units are down, and just as affordable as a decent CB, but are much much more powerful. 15w all in one units, and 40w base units are on the low end of the spectrum. The UHF bands can use HAM radio antennae, and there is already a massive market out there for them, so the costs are cheap.

You can set up private groups on them. So if we have 15 rigs on a meet, we can set them up so only they hear us talking.
You can call an individual privately, using a pass code you each programmed.
They have a SOS (911) feature, and Weather channels built in.
You can communicate with mobile handhelds.
They have hands free Voice control, with headseats/microphones.
You can set the power range on them, and have about 50 channels available, and dozens of private frequencies.

General GMRS use is NOT enforced. Not like the HAM enforcement is done by citizens reporting users. It's pretty much a money making thing for the FCC, with license fees.
Repeater use is however a little different. To access them, you have to give your registered call sign. This call sign is listed on a public FCC page, along with all your personal information given when you paid for the License. To some that doesn't matter, but to others it might.

I understand that HAM is superior in every way, but going from a rinky dink 5w CB, the GMRS is leaps and bounds better. For the casual user, these are perfect in my opinion.
 




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