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How many people really use the VHF radio MURS service?


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#1 Lscott

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 09:01 AM

Other than a few local businesses, seldom heard, I almost never hear the frequencies used for voice communications by private individuals. There are a number of old Part 90 radios that predate the creation of MURS so they could be used, grandfathered in, and a number of new radios that are reasonably priced and Part 95 certified for it.

 

So the question is just how many people really use it other than businesses or for a wireless intercom/data applications?

 



#2 BoxCar

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 02:24 PM

The MURS channels originally were common business/construction frequencies. Many of our dealers will tell you they had hundreds of radios on the colored dot frequencies. One company I worked for had a bunch of "red dot" handy-talkies.


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#3 GuySagi

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 04:46 PM

Farm just south of me uses the same MURS frequency I set my family up on for emergency hurricane use. Polite folks who know how to use the radios right, and it's nice to know we can get in touch with each other in a pinch. That's all I've ever heard, other than Walmart staff when we head into town or head to a campground.  



#4 Lscott

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 05:38 PM

It seems to be a shame MURS doesn’t get more use by private individuals. You get to run 2 watts, like FRS which also doesn’t require a license, and external antennas which are not allowed on FRS. In fact any legal FRS certified radio the antennas can’t be removed. I’ve run across dual band mobile antennas specifically tuned for MURS and GMRS. Used with a cheap duplexer one can operate a MURS radio and a GMRS radio, if you’re licensed. The radios can be operated one at a time or at the same time with the duplexer providing the isolation between the radios. The duplexers are cheap costing as little as $30 not counting adapters and patch cables.

#5 marcspaz

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 08:05 PM

I have a set of Motorola radios I use with the family, and occasionally for outdoor stuff.  I drive around with them on once in awhile too.  I hear people (mostly businesses) using them pretty regularly.



#6 Lscott

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Posted 29 July 2020 - 11:22 PM

IMO business use should be prohibited. That's done for GMRS currently. There should be plenty of UHF business exclusive frequencies available for licensed use. With only 5 MURS channels it won't take much business traffic to make them unattractive for private individual voice communications. If businesses say that UHF is too congested for licensed UHF frequency and that's why they use MURS on VHF perhaps the crap below is one reason.

 

I just can't understand why a business like a shopping mall needs to run a 35 watt repeater. It's only used by the mall security detail.

 

https://wireless2.fc...?licKey=3354643

 

I'm about 5 miles away per Google Maps and I pick them up clear as a bell using a simple HT on a table top in my house. Does everybody in a 5 plus mile radius really needs to hear them chasing shoplifters out the door and through the parking lot?



#7 marcspaz

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Posted 30 July 2020 - 12:18 AM

@Lscott... There is a Hobby lobby near my house that was/is using MURS channels. I can hear them at my house, 11+ miles away.  No way are they running legit power or equipment.  Many businesses are doing the same thing on the FRS/GMRS frequencies around me, too.

 

It's mind-blowing that the mall has an ERP of 70 watts.  What on earth could they need that kind of power for?  Around here, I can talk 10+ miles, full quiet with 2 watts on a 50' mast.


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#8 Lscott

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Posted 30 July 2020 - 06:35 AM

@Lscott... There is a Hobby lobby near my house that was/is using MURS channels. I can hear them at my house, 11+ miles away.  No way are they running legit power or equipment.  Many businesses are doing the same thing on the FRS/GMRS frequencies around me, too.

 

It's mind-blowing that the mall has an ERP of 70 watts.  What on earth could they need that kind of power for?  Around here, I can talk 10+ miles, full quiet with 2 watts on a 50' mast.

Exactly my point!
 



#9 BoxCar

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Posted 30 July 2020 - 09:27 AM

Marc,

 

You may want to check when that mall's license was first issued. It's entirely possible the original grant was a B/ILT and grandfathered in when the band was reallocated to unlicensed.


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#10 jimndfw

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Posted 30 July 2020 - 03:20 PM

I hear a lot of farm irrigators systems on MURS 5 in my area. 



#11 kb2ztx

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Posted 31 July 2020 - 06:08 AM

I use MURS alot. Both in NY and now in VA I rarely hear anyone on it. Granted I am in the country. Its an excellent option especially when FRS/GMRS may be active in a certain area.



#12 Radioguy7268

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Posted 31 July 2020 - 07:06 AM

IMO business use should be prohibited. That's done for GMRS currently. There should be plenty of UHF business exclusive frequencies available for licensed use. With only 5 MURS channels it won't take much business traffic to make them unattractive for private individual voice communications. If businesses say that UHF is too congested for licensed UHF frequency and that's why they use MURS on VHF perhaps the crap below is one reason.

 

I just can't understand why a business like a shopping mall needs to run a 35 watt repeater. It's only used by the mall security detail.

 

https://wireless2.fc...?licKey=3354643

 

I'm about 5 miles away per Google Maps and I pick them up clear as a bell using a simple HT on a table top in my house. Does everybody in a 5 plus mile radius really needs to hear them chasing shoplifters out the door and through the parking lot?

MURS is for Multi-Use. Business or Individual, pleasure or purpose.

 

I'd agree that there's no need to run 35 watts (70 watts ERP!) for an on-site system talking back with 4 watt portable radios - but the FCC allows it. I'd also just about guarantee that they're not actually running 35 watts output on the rinky-dink Mall repeater that they're probably using - most small repeaters burn up quickly under a heavy load running that kind of power. 20 watts is probably closer to what's actually being run.

 

I've got Business customers in Construction and Contracting who run MURS radios, mainly because it's quick and easy, with no need to bother trying to license individual site locations. VHF does have a few specific "itinerant" frequencies (151.505 comes to mind) but if you listen in on those channels - you find some of the largest construction firms in the area have camped out on those channels and effectively run off any other co-channel users. They're also using those licensed VHF frequencies with high power mobiles (I've seen more than a few 110 watt Maratracs running Narrowband kits) - so MURS still gives them a place to run a low power portable for job-site use. Quick and easy.



#13 berkinet

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Posted 31 July 2020 - 09:16 AM

IMO business use should be prohibited. That's done for GMRS currently. ...

That is not exactly the case. While licenses can only be issued to individuals, there is no prohibition against the use of GMRS for business purposes. If you had a business and each of your employees had a license, you would be perfectly legal.

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

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#14 Lscott

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Posted 31 July 2020 - 08:04 PM

That is not exactly the case. While licenses can only be issued to individuals, there is no prohibition against the use of GMRS for business purposes. If you had a business and each of your employees had a license, you would be perfectly legal.

I should have been more specific. FCC will not issue a new GMRS license to a business. If the owner and his employees have their own that’s OK as you correctly pointed out. Then each person can use the service under their individual license of course.

 

What I was trying to get across if enough businesses end up using MURS that would likely crowd out those who want to use it for personal use. There are only 5 channels after all. If a business really needs radio communications I think there are better choices, such as getting licensed and one or more frequencies assigned for their use by the FCC.

 

Around me there are a significant number of businesses using FRS radios, which seems to be on the increase. Mostly the old 1/2 watts models. Fortunately those don’t travel that far. The newer radios at 2 watts are more of a problem. 
 

Given that MURS allows up to 2 watts it won’t take many frequent users to occupy those 5 channels, and for some distance as well. Which gets me back to the topic of just how popular is MURS? From some of the posts, and my monitoring in my area, it hasn’t caught on with that many users yet.



#15 marcspaz

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Posted 31 July 2020 - 10:25 PM

I'm not sure if any of you ever got a communications license for a business before, but it is really expensive and time consuming. I charge customers around $3,000 per site, for a single frequency, and I'm not even the final coordinator. They charge as much as another $500 per application.

I have seen applications take months... even beyond a year in some cases, if the FCC asks for changes or amendments in order to come into compliance.

And you can't legally operate until the license is approved. That means all of the engineering documents are submitted, surveys are submitted, etc. You could spend $10,000-$15,000 for a small, local commercial radio system for just one frequency and a few radios. Many businesses find it much easier and cheaper to stick to free services like FRS and MURS for that very reason.
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#16 Lscott

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Posted 31 July 2020 - 11:42 PM

I'm not sure if any of you ever got a communications license for a business before, but it is really expensive and time consuming. I charge customers around $3,000 per site, for a single frequency, and I'm not even the final coordinator. They charge as much as another $500 per application.

I have seen applications take months... even beyond a year in some cases, if the FCC asks for changes or amendments in order to come into compliance.

And you can't legally operate until the license is approved. That means all of the engineering documents are submitted, surveys are submitted, etc. You could spend $10,000-$15,000 for a small, local commercial radio system for just one frequency and a few radios. Many businesses find it much easier and cheaper to stick to free services like FRS and MURS for that very reason.

Humm... That makes all the difference. Given the costs you mention it does explain why businesses are jumping on the free radio services. I knew there were some costs but had no idea it was that expensive.

 

Given the numbers above isn’t the likely outcome FRS and MURS will become primarily an unlicensed business radio service?



#17 BoxCar

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 05:38 AM

Business, or B/ILT frequencies are all shared with few exceptions. There aren't many using trunked radios which do require exclusive use of channels in an area. The distribution of available frequencies among the many different coordinators is also an issue. All coordinators have their fees but there is an additional inter-coordinator fee charged if you go through one coordinator and the only channel they can find is assigned to another. That means the frequency is coordinated twice. The licensing coordinator and the consenting coordinator both have to agree on the channel selection. Also, certain channels that may show as available in a frequency search by a dealer may be reserved by the coordinator for a particular use such as a specific class or type of business. Each coordinator sets their own fees to the customer so coordinator shopping is worthwhile. When I left the business there were two public safety coordinators that had agreements with business coordinators allowing them to assign both 90.20 and 90.35 frequencies. APCO was the only PS coordinator that couldn't handle business frequencies in house. 


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#18 marcspaz

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 08:45 AM

Given the numbers above isn’t the likely outcome FRS and MURS will become primarily an unlicensed business radio service?


Yes... in fact, I have had some potential customers that were using CB radio and opted to stay on CB after the sticker shock. Very few of my non-government customers actually follow all the way through. I've all but stopped servicing private business because the penetration rate was under 20% for more than a year.

#19 captdan

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Posted 02 August 2020 - 12:47 PM

We use it here along the Gulf Coast of Florida. About 8 miles inland, the area is mostly Florida Pine Forests and we get a little better penetration & distance while using MURS over GMRS.  Additionally, because MURS is generally not available it gives us just a wee bit of security if you will over using a bubble pack GMRS/FRS frequency.



#20 Durake

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 06:05 PM

Sorry for bringing back a semi-older thread, our Boy Scout camps here used MURS for the staff/rangers, also some of the troops used them too. Now the camps have their own frequency and repeater pair. I got my troop licensed to all the possible itinerant frequencies, before then we were using MURS, blue dot and green dot.


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