I'm relatively new to the site. I have been searching older threads and haven't seen my exact question answered so here it goes:
I am hoping to set up a backup communications system so in the event of an emergency, I will be able to communicate with my parents who live about 12 miles away and my in laws who live about 16 miles away. We are all in northern Dallas area suburbs, in a highly developed, and fairly flat area.
I have my technician license and GMRS. I haven't done much with either. That will change. But for now, it is what it is. A fellow CERT member programmed my BaoFeng UV5R hand held. If it weren't for that I would have zero experience w/ HAM. Thanks to his assistance I have been listening to several DFW repeaters, and jumped in on a couple of CERT nets.
It looks like we have several GMRS repeaters in the area, some of which could potentially cover an area that should reach all 3 households.
The Baofeng is the only radio I have at present. From what I've read on these threads, I should not be using that for GMRS bands. Good to know!
My family members have zero chance of getting a technician license, otherwise our distances would not be an issue. My reading of GMRS rules indicate they could probably be covered under my license but just to make sure there are no issues, I plan to pay for each house to get their own GMRS license.
I also plan to buy each house their own radio. I'm leaning toward the Midland MTX400.
My hope is that with these fairly powerful radios (40 watts), and some decent antennas we will all be able to communicate in an emergency via repeaters, and hopefully via simplex.
So I guess what I'm hoping to get from posting is some ideas from some of you who are much more experienced then me on the feasibility of my plan. Does anyone have any experience getting these newer midland radios to link up with repeaters? Is it complicated? Does anyone have any experience using MTX400 radios for simplex communications in a comparable environment? If so what kind of range can I expect? I don't know if I should expect 3 miles or 20. Any suggestions on an affordable off the shelf antennae that will work well but be easy to set up?
2 new licenses, 3 radios, and 3 decent antennas is a significant investment for me. Any recommendations on cheaper or more importantly better radios to meet my objective?
Simplicity is the name of the game here. I am pretty new to the radio world, and my family members know even less than I do. Any ideas you could pass along would be much appreciated!!!