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How popular is GMRS (in subjective terms)?


krvw
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Berkinet had mentioned that: "GMRS power output limits are specified as power output from the radio (I.e. at the antenna connector) rather than ERP."

 

Based upon 95.1767 GMRS transmitting power limits, here is how I understand the rules and hopefully explains my earlier comments:

 

On the eight main/repeater 462/467 channels 15-22, GMRS stations are allowed to operate up to 50 watts output. 

 

On the seven 462 interstitial channels 1-7, GMRS mobile, hand-held portable and base stations must not exceed 5 watts ERP.

 

On the 467 interstitial channels 8-14, only hand-held portable GMRS units may be used and they must not exceed 0.5 watts ERP.

 

That is why channels 8-14 would not be found on legal GMRS mobile and base rigs since that type of equipment are not allowed on those channels. The hand-held units are allowed to operate on those channels under GMRS rules.

 

Even on the seven 462 interstitial channels 1-7, many of us may be exceeding the ERP levels since we may use higher gain antennas with low loss feedlines and I suspect most transmitters are typically preset for 5 watts output.

 

I wish the FCC had allowed GMRS stations to always use output power.  Imagine how difficult this is to understand for the casual GMRS operator. 

 

This is why we tend to operate on the main channels when using GMRS equipment.

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...On the seven 462 interstitial channels 1-7, GMRS mobile, hand-held portable and base stations must not exceed 5 watts ERP.

 

On the 467 interstitial channels 8-14, only hand-held portable GMRS units may be used and they must not exceed 0.5 watts ERP....

You are indeed right. I was thinking of the old regulations (pre-2017). I stand corrected.
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I just got back into it after 20 years. I had GMRS radios back around 2000 and used them for keeping track of my daughter in the neighborhood.

 

I recently got back into them because of the problem of text messaging while driving. I will go out with my daughter and her family and we'll follow each other in our cars to some site for a hike and text messaging is: 1) unsafe 2) a PITA to do while driving

 

GMRS radios fit this bill for this. You can just pick up the mic and say, "I think the trailhead is just ahead on the right," or, "We need to stop for a break - Exit 31"

 

That's much easier than trying to SMS the message. Also, you get into areas where maybe you don't have mobile service or maybe one of you has mobile service and the other doesn't (ie. Verizon vs AT&T).

 

GMRS make a lot of sense.

 

If I'm not caravanning then the radio just stays off and it's not of much use to me. I'm not looking to talk to randos on the road like how it was back in the CB days. As such, the GMRS channels seem pretty quiet, which is good. CB, back in the day, was always kind of a pain to use because of: 1) chatter 2) noise 3) limited distance. I think GMRS wins on all of those fronts.

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  • 4 months later...

IF the GMRS Radios had a camera on them they'd be more popular.

 Back in the late 90's - Kenwood offered ( I never actually sold one, but saw a few units being demo'd) a radio that transmitted pictures via UHF frequencies.

 

I believe it was one like this: http://www.acicommpact.com/kenwood/kvt10.html

 

I remember that it was fairly slow data speeds for transferring a low resolution picture - but I can't remember exactly how slow it was. I do remember making a comment during the presentation that I could probably snap a Polaroid & walk it over to the intended recipient before the Kenwood camera would have made half it's transfer - and not tie up the channel during the whole picture transmission.

 

But yeah, in today's world, it seems every phone has a camera, and plenty of the lower end CCR's have options like a flashlight and an FM radio receiver built into them. If you had the ability to transfer picture/video over WiFi it might serve some purpose.

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 Back in the late 90's - Kenwood offered ( I never actually sold one, but saw a few units being demo'd) a radio that transmitted pictures via UHF frequencies.

 

I believe it was one like this: http://www.acicommpact.com/kenwood/kvt10.html

 

I remember that it was fairly slow data speeds for transferring a low resolution picture - but I can't remember exactly how slow it was. I do remember making a comment during the presentation that I could probably snap a Polaroid & walk it over to the intended recipient before the Kenwood camera would have made half it's transfer - and not tie up the channel during the whole picture transmission.

 

But yeah, in today's world, it seems every phone has a camera, and plenty of the lower end CCR's have options like a flashlight and an FM radio receiver built into them. If you had the ability to transfer picture/video over WiFi it might serve some purpose.

 

I was implying that the camera crowd would buy them even without  being able to transmit.

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  • 1 month later...

I live in the San Juan Mtns. in SW Colorado. I chase around in an '85 LandCruiser. 
I got GMRS because people are starting to dwindle in CB and I want to be able to call someone should I come upon or become involved with a desperate situation. Just got my license and the radio (Midland MXT275) should be here Tuesday, so I can't tell you how it's working for me yet. I still have the CB, just got a new one, matter of fact, because my crew is still using them. I'm wondering about repeaters up in the mountains where I go, out of Silverton CO. 

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Repeaters make the service a very powerful tool. There is a repeater 22 miles away from me, about 1100 feet higher than me, with no obstructions. I had a 5 minute conversation with someone, yesterday, using a 5 watt handheld. Peer to peer (simplex) can be kind of tough, though, depending on the terrain where you are.

 

Have fun!

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As to Krvw's original post - 

 

My family all used to be into Citizen Band radios for mobile communication when on the road mobile to mobile and mobile to base units. Then the ' nutjobs ' all got into CB's and turned that world into a ' toilet bowl ' and my family got out of it because of that and cell phones. Also, I moved to Florida after college because of work, so I was not able to be involved in local family communication. 

 

After I retired I moved back to NW Ohio to be around family ( yeah, go figure - I moved North when all other retirees moved South. Long story. ) I have lived through Tropical Storms and Hurricanes and know that one of the first things to go out is power and cell phones, So I'm trying to get my family into the GMRS community in case of emergencies. We have a repeater in the area that is free to use by all and should meet our requirements.

 

With that being said, I hope GMRS does NOT get as popular as Citizen Band because that will attract the ' nutjobs ' like CB did. I know Krvw wants more people to be able to talk to, and I did too when I first got into CB, but I learned to be careful what I wished for.

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  • 3 weeks later...

lol yup - so many Jeep guys want the 3 foot Firestick antenna mounted way down low on the bumper or spare tire mount, then they wonder why they get next to no range on CB..

Works OK in the woods and running the roads with a couple friends.  I do understnad your comment tho.  Getting out into the woods and wet environments create oxidation on any exposed metal and rust just keeps a-creeping.

 

I constantly have to clean my antenna connections for better TX RX power.

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  • 2 weeks later...

How popular is GMRS with the people that you communicate on a regular basis? I think that is the important thing to consider. Think locally. Out here, my girlfriend and I get a lot of use in non-cellular areas. We also find it easier to use for a quick call while in a store.

 

I like GMRS because it is not amateur radio (I am licensed in amateur radio). GMRS gives us some utility that the whole family can use beyond what amateur can offer. GMRS roots are commercial. Amateur is great, but it is more hobby centric in my opinion. I have used both services in an emergency situation. I am glad to have both licenses.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Back to the OP ... Jeep clubs are using GMRS more nowadays ... clearer comms than CB ... range is a bit more reliable ... Midland sponsored an annual Jeep event ... so, here’s a group where GMRS popularity is increasing.

And now JJAMUSA recently stated the FRS/GMRS radios will used going forward in 2021.  That is why I got into this.

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lol yup - so many Jeep guys want the 3 foot Firestick antenna mounted way down low on the bumper or spare tire mount, then they wonder why they get next to no range on CB..

Well there is a good reason for that low antenna.  Keeping it out of the branches while off-road keeps it from getting broken as most are constructed from fiberglass.  And as you know, better made antannas aren't cheap. Adding a spring just whips the antenna back into the body or top and either scratching body components or again, breaking the antenna.

 

Many new off-roaders (first time radio owners) see and try to emulate others without understanding why their gear isn't as effective on the roads as in the woods....  It is a trade off they don't understand right away and like you say, might complain about their setup ignorant on why they can't reach longer distances out in the open. 

 

My CB antenna is as low as I can get too but I understand the SWR and reduced effectiveness and live with that as it serves the purpose I need it for.  It's OK if you snicker at me when you see me driving down the road with my low-riding antenna but; don't try following me where I go, you won't make it. 

 

So far my GMRS setup isn't as good as my low riding CB either.  In the rain traveling down different roads we got better distance and clearity out of the CB's than we got from GMRS radios.  But I am on my own and new to this so I can't snicker at anyone while I am still in the learning phase...

 

Not all that wander are lost!

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