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Is it still worth getting a GMRS eqiupment(Base station)?

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#1 Guest_wayne_*

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 12:28 PM

I've recieved my license, but now I'm thinking twice about purchasing a GMRS base station.  I'll be the only one in my family and associates that will have a lic or equipment.  What ecomm would I be able to reach or use.  Reading about the rule changes is it better or worse now. Thinking of a Midland 400?  any suggestions?  Don't want to invest in equipment that will be a dust collector. Any insight is highly appreciated!

#2 Jones


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Posted 29 July 2019 - 04:03 PM

Your associates would not be able to use your license, and must get their own. However... Your family, including all first-removed relatives can use YOUR GMRS license, and be perfectly legal in doing so.


All spouses, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, cousins, aunts, uncles.... anyone related to you by family can use your GMRS license and call sign with your permission.

#3 Former-Member



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Posted 29 July 2019 - 07:37 PM

if I was going to spend any real money on equipment, I would get a full ham radio and spend a few days studying to get the ham Technician license (as I am currently doing) .. Around here where I live, GMRS is dead and all the kids are hanging out CQing on 2-Meter..

#4 marcspaz


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Posted 29 July 2019 - 08:32 PM

I can't stress this enough... Radio is not something to do (generally speaking).  Radio is a tool you integrate into other aspects of your life to either make those other activities easier, more entertaining or safer.  If you are buying a radio as a source of entertainment, you are likely going to be very disappointed unless you're a ham and can find people to chat with around the world.


As far as picking a base or a mobile, there are some serious restraints for UHF (GMRS/FRS/70cm Ham/etc.).  One is, its a line-of-sight application.  If you don't have an antenna that is at least 50 feet higher than the terrain around you... your not talking very far.  100+ would be better.  Trees, buildings, hills, etc all cause interference.  At ground level, you will get to the horizon line, which is about 3 or 4 miles depending on how tall you are (and what's between you and the other station).  As you get higher in elevation, the better your coverage will be. If you're mobile, you can drive to an area where you can get better performance.


Some examples would be, at 1200 feet I got a solid 50 miles on GMRS mobile with 40 watts, mobile to mobile.  At the same elevation I can also talk to a repeater in northern Virginia with an antenna at ~980 feet, while I am in central Pennsylvania with my 40 watt mobile.  Same 40 watt GMRS mobile, but on the blind side of a commercial building, I experience high static mobile to mobile.  Normally I can only talk about 2.5 to 5 miles car to car. 


Just some food for thought.  I love GMRS and really enjoy having radio comms as part of my life.  I wouldn't discourage anyone from getting into the hobby.  You just need to be realistic about expectations.

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#5 marcspaz


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Posted 29 July 2019 - 10:22 PM

Forgot to mention... There are very good, legacy radios that are capable of being legally used on GMRS frequencies.  However, an overwhelming majority are used.  You can find them in good working condition, but likely in need of some minor programing.


There are several members who have posted many threads on them.  I would recommend joining the forum, reading some of threads and ask questions where/when appropriate. 


The second generation MXT400 is a good "new" radio, in my personal opinion, compared to other "new" options on the market.  However, there are some things to be aware of as far as its limits are concerned.  Again, that is discussed in detail in several threads too.  Keep in mind that there are two generations/revisions and the first one was lacking reliability in the opinions of many.  Myself included.

#6 axorlov


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Posted 29 July 2019 - 11:40 PM

Radio is a tool you integrate into other aspects of your life to either make those other activities easier, more entertaining or safer.

I can sign under this. I use GMRS on the trails and on camping trips. Our family outings are safer and more entertaining because of the use of GMRS radio.


Thinking about "doing radio" as a hobby? Get a HAM ticket, get a part 95 or part 90 UHF radio that can also work on HAM bands. TK-880-1 (part 95) works just fine on 70cm, I'm sure other Kenwoods and Motorolas do too. There are (were?) a dual-band Part 90 Alinco mobiles out there.

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- Alex

#7 Guest_Rob_*

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Posted 10 December 2019 - 11:45 PM

I’m located in the Puget Sound region. I purchased a Midland 40 watt mobile. It is a bit short ranged, no doubt. However, even with a HAM License with wife and kids they won’t be able to use the HAM equipment. Although GMRS is shorter ranged our hobbies are lots of camping and find GMRS is perfect for staying in touch as everyone wanders around. My longest need is between Seattle and my home 13 land mikes after the signal crosses the water. Hoping to set up antenna to be able to reach between, in the case of emergency.

#8 n4gix


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Posted 12 December 2019 - 01:18 PM

Put up a UHF Yagi as high as possible and pointed in the direction of the closest repeater and/or base station. I use a yagi here in NW Indiana to reach several repeaters on the north side of Chicago (about 43 airline miles) reliably.

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