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GMRS on a Road Trip?


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I wouldn't worry too much about the lack of HK models. I have a mix of both and after doing field tests , whether it's in a mobile or base/home unit setting, the biggest difference I notice is temperature of the units heatsink when transmitting. 

 

That' not to say that their isn't any difference in transmission performance but it's not as big a difference as I would have hoped the extra 15 watts added. 45 watts does give you a slightly louder voice, but it doesn't make your ears anymore sensitive.

 

Or put another way who cares if you can yell father if you can't hear any farther?  ;)  

How warm does the heat sink get (too hot for carpet or plastics?) Thinking of where to mount in a already crowded Jeep, thanks

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I have looked at and most likely will get the TK 8180 also looking at my Chirp software see that it is now supported. Admittedly I can not comment on how well it works but just an FYI.

I'm not sure how the CHIRP software works with the Kenwood radios, but I would suggest springing a few bucks for the Kenwood software, so you can change all the other stuff in the radios, including zones. I found my software for $15 on ebay, worth every penny.

 

How warm does the heat sink get (too hot for carpet or plastics?) Thinking of where to mount in a already crowded Jeep, thanks

My TK-8150 doesn't get hot enough to melt anything at 50W. I have a pop up blind in a nylon bag that rests against my radio in the trunk, has not melted yet.

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I'm not sure how the CHIRP software works with the Kenwood radios, but I would suggest springing a few bucks for the Kenwood software, so you can change all the other stuff in the radios, including zones. I found my software for $15 on ebay, worth every penny.

 

My TK-8150 doesn't get hot enough to melt anything at 50W. I have a pop up blind in a nylon bag that rests against my radio in the trunk, has not melted yet.

On the software I had just found that it is listed on Chrip, will look at it if I buy the Kenwood and let you know the money is not the issue, on the heat that really helps thanks for the reply  Mike

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How warm does the heat sink get (too hot for carpet or plastics?) Thinking of where to mount in a already crowded Jeep, thanks

It is by no means dangerously hot. But there is a noticeable difference between the 30W and the 45w models. 

 

Put it this way: The 8180-K would make a wonderful hand warmer when you are talking for awhile. The 8180-HK gets a bit too warm too be a handwarmer. But if your asking if it will set anything on fire? No.

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Heat has not been an issue with my Kenwoods. They will not get hot enough to set anything on fire, or melt plastic. They will need a bit of airflow around the heatsink however, so don't bury them under anything, or mount them in an enclosed area without ventilation.

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Channel 20, with a CTCSS tone of 141.3 (Midland "privacy code" #22) is sort of the "official/not quite official/depends who you ask" traveler's channel for FRS/GMRS, so that is where like-minded people should hang out if they want to have a chance at talking to someone else on a road trip.

 

I wish this was publicized more. How did you find out that information?

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I wish this was publicized more. How did you find out that information?

It’s been discussed here many times before in other threads. And many of the GMRS frequency charts that can be found with an internet search show this info for Channel 20, both simplex and repeater.

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I wish this was publicized more. How did you find out that information?

All it takes to publicize it more is for you to tell your friends, and tell them to pass it on.  CH-20 (462.675) w/ 141.3 CTCSS is not written in any law, it has just been accepted as the travel channel long before I even got into this part of the hobby.  It was part of the original "Open Repeater Initiative" - Google it.

 

So go ahead, tell everyone interested.

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On the software I had just found that it is listed on Chrip, will look at it if I buy the Kenwood and let you know the money is not the issue, on the heat that really helps thanks for the reply  Mike

So Chirp will download from the radio and upload but it seems like programming the repeater channels does not function right or I may be doing something wrong. What I get when done adding the 8 repeater channels I get a continuous squelch when I select any of them? Going to try again tomorrow! And there are no help files specific to the radio for programming.

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So Chirp will download from the radio and upload but it seems like programming the repeater channels does not function right or I may be doing something wrong. What I get when done adding the 8 repeater channels I get a continuous squelch when I select any of them? Going to try again tomorrow! And there are no help files specific to the radio for programming.

I would recommend you use the official Kenwood software to program the radio. I’ve had problems with Chirp and the TK-270G/370G wide/narrow band 128 channel radios, VHF and UHF. For the older TK-370 wide band only 32 channel radio it seems to work OK. Reporting Chirp bugs is fine, just don’t hold your breath waiting for them to get fixed. Seems some never do get addressed.

 

One of the main problems with Chirp is not all of the radio’s features are accessible. That’s why the manufacturers software is necessary. Before I even consider buying a used radio I’ll search for a downloadable version of the programming software. Second is getting the programming cable. If I can’t get both I won’t buy the radio.

I don’t know about other people but I’ve had much better luck finding the above for Kenwood radios verses Motorola radios. 

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I would recommend you use the official Kenwood software to program the radio. I’ve had problems with Chirp and the TK-270G/370G wide/narrow band 128 channel radios, VHF and UHF. For the older TK-370 wide band only 32 channel radio it seems to work OK. Reporting Chirp bugs is fine, just don’t hold your breath waiting for them to get fixed. Seems some never do get addressed.

 

One of the main problems with Chirp is not all of the radio’s features are accessible. That’s why the manufacturers software is necessary. Before I even consider buying a used radio I’ll search for a downloadable version of the programming software. Second is getting the programming cable. If I can’t get both I won’t buy the radio.

I don’t know about other people but I’ve had much better luck finding the above for Kenwood radios verses Motorola radios. 

I agree but I needed to get the repeater channels in and working which Chirp (based on a ham friend having limited time to help) and that did work but I have the software recommended above found and will order it. Question does the Kenwood software allow you to set the default volume mine starts on power up at 8 would prefer 3? Thanks

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I agree but I needed to get the repeater channels in and working which Chirp (based on a ham friend having limited time to help) and that did work but I have the software recommended above found and will order it. Question does the Kenwood software allow you to set the default volume mine starts on power up at 8 would prefer 3? Thanks

If it is configurable the Kenwood software will let you change it. I think on some of my portables I have that option in one of the menu tabs.

 

The reason why it is an option is so a user doesn’t accidentally turn the volume control all the way down thus missing messages. Setting a min volume level prevents that from happening. With a radio hanging on a belt its easy twist the volume knob and not realize it. At least for the channel selector it has detents so that’s less likely to happen.

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I agree but I needed to get the repeater channels in and working which Chirp (based on a ham friend having limited time to help) and that did work but I have the software recommended above found and will order it. Question does the Kenwood software allow you to set the default volume mine starts on power up at 8 would prefer 3? Thanks

Yes. The default volume(s) can be set.

 

It's in the Common Page 2 tab in the Optional Features screen.

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Yes. The default volume(s) can be set.

 

It's in the Common Page 2 tab in the Optional Features screen.

Found it looks like minimum audio volume is set at 8 in the Chirp software will set it at 3 and see if that function works, still will get the Kenwood software. Thanks.

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I'm not sure how the CHIRP software works with the Kenwood radios, but I would suggest springing a few bucks for the Kenwood software, so you can change all the other stuff in the radios, including zones. I found my software for $15 on ebay, worth every penny.

 

My TK-8150 doesn't get hot enough to melt anything at 50W. I have a pop up blind in a nylon bag that rests against my radio in the trunk, has not melted yet.

The Kenwood software arrived late yesterday and yes I am glad people here told me it was better I was able to set the function keys for what I wanted. Chirp did let me put in frequencies and pl codes but that is about it. The software from Kenwood is great and the help files give you the meanings on the terminology so you can program and use the radio, again thanks. Mike 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So the Kenwood 8180 is installed programmed and working great, I was able to talk through a repeater near Seattle that is 52 air miles away clearly. Appreciate all of the input from this group that made this possible as we still travel a lot and the ability to add frequencies with different PL codes was the one reason I went with the Kenwood, Now I need to figure out how to get only my 36 channels to scan properly using the Kenwood software. Thanks for all of the information!!!!! Mike

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So the Kenwood 8180 is installed programmed and working great, I was able to talk through a repeater near Seattle that is 52 air miles away clearly. Appreciate all of the input from this group that made this possible as we still travel a lot and the ability to add frequencies with different PL codes was the one reason I went with the Kenwood, Now I need to figure out how to get only my 36 channels to scan properly using the Kenwood software. Thanks for all of the information!!!!! Mike

Good to hear. I am getting ready to purchase one of these used.

 

How easy was the programming?

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Not that difficult the help files are in alphabetical order so as you use the software (or browse around in it)  you can open the help file and see what the abbreviations really mean, that is a big help. Not everything is logical to me for example using wide band versus narrow band does some weird things on my radio. An example is using GMRS 6 and experimenting with the two bands the narrow band works fine but if I change it to wide band then GMRS 6 goes into squelch mode and stays there (very annoying). I am most likely missing something or the Kenwood 8180 only works in NF except on repeater channels. It is a good quality radio and it does work!! Enjoy it but as stated in other posts get the Kenwood software on eBay as Chirp does not have all of the radio functions available. Hope this helps Mike

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I recently went on a 5 hour road trip in the Pacific Northwest. There was not a lot of activity on GMRS. Occasionally I would hear FRS users talking to each other or kids goofing around with the radios. I did pick up a few conversations on some repeaters that I am not familiar with along the way. One of the repeaters that I am familiar with I called out but did not receive any responses back. I was not really surprised about this.

 

My experience with GMRS is very similar to amateur radio along the same route on I-90. There is not very much radio chatter on repeaters or the calling frequencies for amateur radio.

 

Next time I might have a few magnetic decals that I can stick to the back of my vehicle that show the channel on GMRS that I am monitoring or the frequency that I am monitoring for the amateur radio service.

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The term legal is a misnomer. The correct question would be: is a given radio certified for GMRS operation. 

 

The specific requirement is stated in Part-95E

§ 95.1761 GMRS transmitter certification.

(a) Each GMRS transmitter (a transmitter that operates or is intended to operate in the GMRS) must be certified in accordance with this subpart...

If your radio is not GMRS certified then you are in violation of the rules. However, you are no more, or less, in violation than you would be if you did not properly identify.  Nobody can or should tell you it is ok to violate the rules, that is a decision you have to make for your self. However, I will tell you that many people have chosen to use high-quality non-GMRS certified (but often certified to the more stringent Part 90) equipment. I will also say, that there is no recorded case of anyone ever having been cited or punished for running Part-90 equipment on GMRS. In fact, there are no know citations for running any non-certified equipment on GMRS.

 

What I would advise is to always run quality equipment maintained in good working order and operate that equipment in accordance with the GMRS regulations.

 

Actually it seems Part 90 radios are OK to use on GMRS, this from my gmrs club:

 

Per n149 of FCC 17-57, the preceding serves to “clarify” the preceding/replaced 95.655(a):

– n149 Several commenters are concerned that the proposal to prohibit combination radios would prevent GMRS licensees from using surplus

Part 90 equipment in GMRS. ... This is not our intent. We will continue to certify equipment that meets the respective technical standards for

Part 90 (land mobile) and Part 95 (GMRS) in both services, if requested. However, we are amending the language in new section 95.1761©

to clarify the requirement in old section 95.655(a) that Part 95 GMRS radios will not be certified if they are equipped with the capabilities to

operate in services that do not require equipment certification, such as the Amateur Radio Service.

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Actually it seems Part 90 radios are OK to use on GMRS...

 

I think your radio club's interpretation may be incorrect. To start, we have...

47 CFR § 95.335 - Operation of non-certified transmitters prohibited.

§ 95.335 Operation of non-certified transmitters prohibited.

Except as provided in paragraph (a) of this section, no person shall operate a transmitter in any Personal Radio Service unless it is a certified transmitter; that is, a transmitter of a type which has obtained a grant of equipment certification for that service, pursuant to part 2, subpart J of this chapter. Use of a transmitter that is not FCC-certified voids the user's authority to operate that station. See sections 302(a), (b, and (e) of the Communications Act (47 U.S.C. 302(a), (b, and (e)).

(a) Exceptions. Under certain exceptions, non-certified Personal Radio Service transmitters, or transmitters certified for use in the land mobile radio services may be operated. Any such exceptions applicable to stations in a Personal Radio Service are set forth in the subpart governing that specific service. See e.g., §§ 95.735 and 95.1735.

 

​§ 95.735 is about radio-control services. But 95.1735 is in Part95R, GMRS. However, that section is [Reserved]. I.e.it is blank.  So, there is a place to allow exceptions, but it was never used.  Not a good sign.

 

Next, The statement quoted by the radio club is from a 2017 PowerPoint presentation and is not actual law. In other words, it is not in Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) which contains Part95, Personal Radio Services.

 

But, the biggest problem is the statement...

We will continue to certify equipment that meets the respective technical standards for

Part 90 (land mobile) and Part 95 (GMRS) in both services, if requested.

 

This does not say it is Ok to use Part90 radios in GMRS. It clearly says such radios can be submitted for GMRS certification (As long as they are not "...equipped with the capabilities to operate in services that do not require equipment certification, such as the Amateur Radio Service.")

 

Now, it is possible an individual or group, other than a seller of the radio, could apply for certification. But, as far as I know that has never been done. And, given the costs, it is not likely it will ever happen.

 

I, for one, wish your radio club's interpretation were correct, but it certainly seems it is not.

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I think your radio club's interpretation may be incorrect. To start, we have...

47 CFR § 95.335 - Operation of non-certified transmitters prohibited.

§ 95.335 Operation of non-certified transmitters prohibited.

Except as provided in paragraph (a) of this section, no person shall operate a transmitter in any Personal Radio Service unless it is a certified transmitter; that is, a transmitter of a type which has obtained a grant of equipment certification for that service, pursuant to part 2, subpart J of this chapter. Use of a transmitter that is not FCC-certified voids the user's authority to operate that station. See sections 302(a), ( B), and (e) of the Communications Act (47 U.S.C. 302(a), ( B), and (e)).

(a) Exceptions. Under certain exceptions, non-certified Personal Radio Service transmitters, or transmitters certified for use in the land mobile radio services may be operated. Any such exceptions applicable to stations in a Personal Radio Service are set forth in the subpart governing that specific service. See e.g., §§ 95.735 and 95.1735.

 

I think you need to reread the exceptions (a) again. It states: "transmitters certified for use in the land mobile radio services may be operated." Part 90 certified radios are allowed for use in GMRS under this exception to the rule. That does make the club's interpretation correct. The remaining gray area is which amateur non-certified personal radio service units are allowed as that portion of the exception does not list any specific units.

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