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OldRadioGuy

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  1. Our ham club discusses GMRS often and even has a GMRS repeater. Several reasons. 1 Radio is radio and we like them all. 2 It gets people interested in ham 3 The whole family can use it. 4 The whole family can use it. 5 The whole family can use it. Vince
  2. Looks like the scadacore tool believes in a flat earth! Probably the paid version includes curvature but the free version leaves it out. Vince
  3. The best way to get started in Ham is to join a local club. NE Ohio has several clubs to pick from. Of course covid has thrown a wrench into these things for now. Not much we can do about that. Maybe some clubs are offering zoom type classes on the internet. You'll have to explore the current options. Vince
  4. The online path analysis software scadacore.com shows that this was likely a "line of sight" path. So no surprise that it would work just fine. UHF works very efficiently over any direct path. I did experience "ducting" once on VHF and it can be amazing. I had moved to my new house in southern NH and tried the TV on rabbit ears to make sure I could still get Boston and Manchester TV.... but I also got Burlington VT clear as day. I was amazed....But the next day it was completely gone. Just a fluke thing. It was late November so not sure what actual conditions were at play. Vince
  5. You do have to be careful with a telescoping antenna fully extended but I've never had a problem. I keep it retracted most of the time until I really need a better signal. Of course you have to consider your own situation. That's why I also have the Nagoya 771 antennas. I choose what's best for each situation. But the Smiley telescoping wins 80-90% of the time. It just works good for me. Vince
  6. I have tested several of my 70cm ham antennas on my GMRS and the SWR looks fine on all of them. Under 2:1 in all cases and usually about 1.5 which is just fine. Most of them are dual band 2m/70cm. Many of the ham antennas are dual band so this gives you a lot to choose from. Since 465MHz is a shorter wavelength than the ham 70cm you probably could trim the antenna down very slightly to improve SWR but you'd want to be very careful and use a very short coax with a good SWR meter for your testing. I do not see the need for this. You only lose about 10% of your power or .5dB with a 2:1 SWR. There is a huge selection of 70cm ham antennas so it really is a nice option to have. Vince
  7. Being able to change the antenna is the best thing about GMRS - over FRS. I like the Smiley Super Stick 465MHz telescoping antenna. https://www.smileyantenna.com/product-p/46510.htm It can be used either fully retracted (about 5") or fully extended at about 17" and a lot more gain. The lengths are incorrectly stated on their website. It is NOT 48" fully extended. So you can keep it compact most of the time and just pull it out when you need more gain. I also have the Nagoya 771 and the performance (extended) is comparable but I like that the Smiley can be made compact and still work as good or better than the rubber duck. Be sure and check for the proper connector selection here. https://www.smileyantenna.com/Articles.asp?ID=253 I have a ham radio 70cm "440MHz" band mag mount that I use in the car. The SWR tests fine on my GMRS. Vince
  8. As others have said.....Check your antenna SWR with just a foot or two of coax if you can. Minimal loss coax will show the true SWR of the antenna but higher loss coax will hide a bad SWR. It can make a bad antenna "look" good (but not work good) If the SWR looks worse with longer or higher loss coax you probably have a connector problem... or the coax is not 50 ohms. Vince
  9. Another good alternative to the Nagoya is the Smiley super Stick 465MHz telescoping antenna. https://bettersaferadio.com/smiley-antenna-super-stick-iv-465mhz-gmrs-noaa-sma-m/ It can be used fully collapsed at just under 5" or extended to 17" to become a 5/8 wave. It is very comparable to the Nagoya when extended (I have both). When collapsed it is still better than a rubber duck and very compact. It only takes 1 second to extend or retract it. It can be very convenient and it's the antenna I use most often. You can also buy these direct from Smiley. Their website did have the extended length incorrectly stated. Not sure if they fixed that. The correct extended length is about 17". Vince
  10. You could use some heavier, lower loss coax for the middle section of the run where flexibility is not an issue. Keep the thinner more flexible coax for a few feet at the ends where you need it more flexible. This will keep your overall loss lower without make it unwieldy. I would try to limit coax loss to around 3db if you can. Lower is of course better. Vince
  11. Seems like you could just use your 440 MHz / 70cm ham antenna with a coax switch. I've tested several of my hamband UHF antennas on GMRS and all seem to match up well enough. Vince
  12. Are you mostly interested in the repeater for social reasons or to extend your range for necessary comms? If you are just interested in the social aspect of the repeater you may find that the internet would have some alternatives. I have found most GMRS repeaters are pretty quiet. Some ham repeaters are pretty busy but many are pretty quiet too. Ham radio has many more repeaters so you would likely be able to reach one of them. See repeaterbook.com for listings. The repeaters are often operated by radio clubs. You might want to check out joining one of these clubs. Most clubs will allow you to join if you are making some kind of reasonable effort to get a license. They will often have classes to help you get a license too. Vince
  13. On most radios it's easy to turn off but..... Our Cobra PX880 FRS radios do not allow the roger beep to be turned off. You're stuck with it. I couldn't believe there was no menu setting for it. I guess they figured lots of people like it.... or they're idiots. Vince
  14. I took my Ham 2M radio on a plane once and even got permission to use it in the air. But that was before 9/11. Not sure I'd try it today. I'd just put a pair of cheap FRS radios in the checked luggage. I wonder if they would ask you to demonstrate that the radio works. They were doing this at one time but I'm pretty sure they don't anymore. It's pretty fun to take an FM broadcast radio up in a plane. You get stations from ALL over. Every click has a station. Vince
  15. When we moved we just used a pair of decent FRS radios and they worked quite well. The key is to keep the truck behind the car because the car has a back window but the truck has a metal "wall" behind the cab. I guess some trucks have a fiberglass box but not too many. Most people would instinctively put the truck in front but that's backwards for radio purposes. Better to have reliable communication than to be able to see it. Even if you get a mobile radio you can not put a mag mount on top of the truck box which is probably aluminum. So you'll still have a problem there. Wouxun KG805G GMRS hand held radios can connect to external antennas and also can be used with a speaker mic. So that's sort of an in between option. That's what we use now when we take the camper van and the car. We put a mag mount on the van since is does not have a lot of windows. Vince
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