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#1 Guest_Darius K_*

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 11:44 PM

Greetings!  I am a recently retired Army civilian with quite a bit of military radio experience.  VHF through the C-band.  Mostly handheld and mobile.  I plan on acquiring a GMRS license and perhaps later an amatuer technician license.  Why?  Why not?  Well, I also have a few friends within 4 miles (rural like) that are interested in non-cellular comms.

 

With a military radio, let's say an AN/PRC-117G, I could program it anywhere in its frequency range (30 - 2500 MHz), obviously sticking to frequencies allowed to me.  I see that in the commercial/amatuer/family radio world, the FCC frowns on that sort of thing.  Meaning if I picked up a commercial radio and programmed it to do MURS, FRS, and GMRS; that is a bad thing.  I get it.  I also get significant rule changes in 2017 and an end to certifying certain combination radios this September.

 

Since I'm not likely to acquire some used AN/PRC-152A radios, I'm looking at used commercial radios.  So far, I'm partial to a few of the Kenwoods that can be acquired for about $130.00.  Is this a good way to go?  It's my understanding if a radio was once certified for Part 90 and 95, it can still be used for part 95.  Correct?  Manufacturers that don't put out full specs, such as transmit power, annoy me.  Bubble packs and the like.

 

Am I thinking along the right track?

 

More about me . . .

 

In my pre-retirement life as an Army civilian, when not managing computer software and hardware projects, I became sort of a network geek.  Before widely available network broadband access, we built a dedicated wide area network, east coast to west, on leased lines.  It connected federal, state, and local facilities.  I had been asked to take over "communications" as we called them, meaning radios and such.  I resisted, but did learn a bit to get interested.

 

About a decade later, I managed a project where mobile ad hoc networks (MANET) and radio voice communications were a large part.  I became quite good with various military radios (SINCGARS, AN/PRC-152, PRC-148, PRC-117G, etc.) and a few commercial radios of military utility (WaveRelay, Trellisware, Motorola).  When in the field doing trials, we often scanned amatuer frequencies just for grins.  FM radio too.  I know how to set up a retrans with two PRC-117G radios.  I know waveforms (we called VHF/UHF "VULOS").  I know how to program the things using Army and commercial software.

 

I'm looking forward to joining as a regular member.



#2 Jones

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 11:00 AM

First: Welcome. Second: Thank you for your service to this great country. Third: Many of us on this site use and love our Kenwood gear, and think you're on the right track.



#3 WRAK968

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 12:24 PM

Thank you for your service and Welcome to MyGMRS. When you get into ham radio you may be interested in getting your HF privileges, (180M-10M) This would also allow you access to join MARS which I think is still kicking around. While most ham gear cannot be used for commercial/FRS/MURS/GMRS use there are some commercial radios that can be tuned down to access both ham and part 95 bands.

 

One thing to do before you build your radio empire is to figure out what you want to do with it. I have a 2 repeaters, one of which is linked and can connect to other repeaters in the US. One is portable for use during camping and special events. I picked up several mobiles and portables, one for each person/car that uses the system. Everything, aside from the linked repeater, is Kenwood. I mostly use 880/380's as they were reasonably cheap at the time. Some radios have features that others don't. Just figure out what you want in a radio and go from there. Sometimes you wont even need to spend over $100 per radio. Aside from the repeater, all of my radios were under $55 and all of them work just as well as the newer models just without the bells and whistles like 2tone paging or trunking or encryption or digital modes. (the last three aren't even allowed on GMRS so why pay more if you cant use them?)

Look forward to your formally joining the MyGMRS family. Im sure you have some interesting radio stories to share with us here :)



#4 Lscott

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 07:48 PM

Greetings!  I am a recently retired Army civilian with quite a bit of military radio experience.  VHF through the C-band.  Mostly handheld and mobile.  I plan on acquiring a GMRS license and perhaps later an amatuer technician license.  Why?  Why not?  Well, I also have a few friends within 4 miles (rural like) that are interested in non-cellular comms.

 

With a military radio, let's say an AN/PRC-117G, I could program it anywhere in its frequency range (30 - 2500 MHz), obviously sticking to frequencies allowed to me.  I see that in the commercial/amatuer/family radio world, the FCC frowns on that sort of thing.  Meaning if I picked up a commercial radio and programmed it to do MURS, FRS, and GMRS; that is a bad thing.  I get it.  I also get significant rule changes in 2017 and an end to certifying certain combination radios this September.

 

Since I'm not likely to acquire some used AN/PRC-152A radios, I'm looking at used commercial radios.  So far, I'm partial to a few of the Kenwoods that can be acquired for about $130.00.  Is this a good way to go?  It's my understanding if a radio was once certified for Part 90 and 95, it can still be used for part 95.  Correct?  Manufacturers that don't put out full specs, such as transmit power, annoy me.  Bubble packs and the like.

 

Am I thinking along the right track?

 

More about me . . .

 

In my pre-retirement life as an Army civilian, when not managing computer software and hardware projects, I became sort of a network geek.  Before widely available network broadband access, we built a dedicated wide area network, east coast to west, on leased lines.  It connected federal, state, and local facilities.  I had been asked to take over "communications" as we called them, meaning radios and such.  I resisted, but did learn a bit to get interested.

 

About a decade later, I managed a project where mobile ad hoc networks (MANET) and radio voice communications were a large part.  I became quite good with various military radios (SINCGARS, AN/PRC-152, PRC-148, PRC-117G, etc.) and a few commercial radios of military utility (WaveRelay, Trellisware, Motorola).  When in the field doing trials, we often scanned amatuer frequencies just for grins.  FM radio too.  I know how to set up a retrans with two PRC-117G radios.  I know waveforms (we called VHF/UHF "VULOS").  I know how to program the things using Army and commercial software.

 

I'm looking forward to joining as a regular member.

Going for your Amateur Radio license, great!

 

About commercial radios for GMRS use. Look carefully at the FCC certification. If you can find the FCC ID you can look up the different FCC parts the radio is certified for operation. Some have Part 95 which means they are legal to use. There are various opinions about if Part 90 radios can be legally used. That's covered elsewhere.

 

For example I have a couple of Kenwood TK-370G-1 radios with an FCC ID of ALH29473110. I also use a Kenwood TK-370-1 with an FCC ID of ALHTK-370-1. You can look up the FCC ID's at:

 

https://fccid.io/

 

The next issue with commercial radios is there could be several sub models that cover different frequency ranges. Be sure the one you are looking at will work over the 462 to 467 MHz range.

 

The final big issue is the programming software, AND the cable. For many radios they are NOT front panel programmable. Thus the only way to set them up is with the manufacture's software. If you're really lucky the open source software "CHIRP" may work. In my experience it works great for some radios and others it's very buggy.



#5 mainehazmt

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Posted Yesterday, 02:14 PM

Hmm you might be just the person to talk to about what to look for in a military man pack radio for ham....





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