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Any simple GMRS two-way handhelds that have more than 2W of power?


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#1 drabina

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 03:23 PM

I have the super basic Midland LXT118 two-way radios. Bought them when FCC required license for the GMRS channels. The license was renewed couple of years ago and also there was a change by the FCC pushing my LXT118 radio into the "license free" gear category.

 

Since I do own the GMRS license and don't mind renewing it when it expires 8 years from now, I thought about upgrading my radios to use more than 2W which my license allows. Otherwise the license has no value and it just a $70 piece of paper. I did some research, few hours of reading and it looks like all the mainstream gear from Midland, Motorola, Cobra seem to have max 2W radios for which license is not required. Then there are the Wouxun KG-805G and BTech GMRS-V1 radios that are programmable and have tons of features but are a bit intimidating for a simple user like me.

 

So finally I got to my question: Are there any GMRS handhelds that have more powerful radios (>2W) but are somewhat basic (no programming, repeater, etc)? I would like to get a radio with a decent range and something I could grab from a charging base, set a channel and use. I do not see myself programming or messing around with a radio. Use would be for hiking, kayaking, skiing and camping with the kids so less buttons and features the better.



#2 OldRadioGuy

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 04:07 PM

The Wouxun 805G is not that intimidating.

If you don't use privacy codes there is almost no setup required.

You can just use them right out of the box pretty much.

 

The bigger deal than the 5W is the antenna connector allowing use of an different antennas.

So you can put a mag mount on it for in the car or get a Smiley GMRS super stick or a Nagoya 14" flexible whip antenna.

These better antennas really do help.

They are very nice radios and I like that you can have spare batteries and switch any time.

 

If you are going to use repeaters you will want to change the display so the chan Freq is displayed rather than just channel #.

This is pretty easy.  Menu item 19 takes care of it.

 

There is no power level control so if you wan to save batteries at close range you need to switch to the low power channels.

That's about my only complaint.

 

Vince


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#3 mbrun

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 04:19 PM

Hello Drabina. Welcome to myGMRS.

I own the KG-805G and three other HT models. The 805 has 5 watts of power (max you are going to get on GMRS HT). It is usable right out of the box and does not require software until or unless you need it to do something beyond the basics. It is nearly as simple to set up and use as the Midland radios. On top of that, it is proving to be a pretty high performing radio for its cost. You can also use it with a mobile antenna in you car or external antenna at your home or campsite if that is appealing.

It has fewer controls on the front panel which removes most of the intimidation factor often associated with other radios. It is repeater capable, but there is nothing that says you have to take advantage of that. That feature however is, IMHO, what drives most people to GMRS.

Midland sells a GXT1000 radio. Back when I bought mine years ago they were nearly 5 watts. But since I bought them midland has decreased the power down to just over 2 watts for unknown reasons.

Do not expect your simplex range to be dramatically better because you switch from 2w to 5w. However, the combination of improvements in radio quality, antenna quality and power together may cause you to experience a little bit better range. But don’t be disappointed if it only amounts to 5-15% increase. I live in a semi rural area that is 60% trees and I can only achieve 100% reliable communication range out to .6 miles with GRMS HTs (ranging from $35-$700 each). Yes they will go further in different directions and environments, and you experience may be different. Just trying to provide tempered expectations.

One feature of the 805 that you may like is the ability to lock it to prevent accidental changes. This can be done via the radio if necessary. If you need a more advanced lock, you can use the software it so the user cannot make any changes except volume and channel. Perhaps that will be of some benefit to you.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

I have the super basic Midland LXT118 two-way radios. Bought them when FCC required license for the GMRS channels. The license was renewed couple of years ago and also there was a change by the FCC pushing my LXT118 radio into the "license free" gear category.

Since I do own the GMRS license and don't mind renewing it when it expires 8 years from now, I thought about upgrading my radios to use more than 2W which my license allows. Otherwise the license has no value and it just a $70 piece of paper. I did some research, few hours of reading and it looks like all the mainstream gear from Midland, Motorola, Cobra seem to have max 2W radios for which license is not required. Then there are the Wouxun KG-805G and BTech GMRS-V1 radios that are programmable and have tons of features but are a bit intimidating for a simple user like me.

So finally I got to my question: Are there any GMRS handhelds that have more powerful radios (>2W) but are somewhat basic (no programming, repeater, etc)? I would like to get a radio with a decent range and something I could grab from a charging base, set a channel and use. I do not see myself programming or messing around with a radio. Use would be for hiking, kayaking, skiing and camping with the kids so less buttons and features the better.



Michael
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#4 drabina

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 06:35 PM

Thanks guys. I will look closer at the KG-805 and read its manual to get better understanding of how it works. Maybe it is not as complicated as it looks. :-)

 

Asides from the KG-805, is there anything else I should be looking at? I guess I would need to drop my 2W+ requirement but I could add waterproof as we ski sometimes when it snows so the radios do get wet.



#5 captdan

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 06:53 PM

Waterproof is a tough benchmark - there are some water resistant radios.

The big plus when looking at GMRS radios is the ability to change out the antenna's. 



#6 drabina

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 07:00 PM

Waterproof is a tough benchmark - there are some water resistant radios.

The big plus when looking at GMRS radios is the ability to change out the antenna's. 

 

Water resistant would do.



#7 mbrun

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 07:00 PM

Thanks guys. I will look closer at the KG-805 and read its manual to get better understanding of how it works. Maybe it is not as complicated as it looks. :-)

Asides from the KG-805, is there anything else I should be looking at? I guess I would need to drop my 2W+ requirement but I could add waterproof as we ski sometimes when it snows so the radios do get wet.


I do not know of any step-up “Waterproof” or submersible radios. Perhaps others do. The 805 is IP55 which means it would likely handle light rain. I walk daily and have used it in light and freezing rain this past winter, no issues. There is another model I have that is IP66 which should handle light water spray, but not submersion (withholding model until a technical issue fixed) . I have learned there is an IP67 unit that may be coming later this year that should handle 1-meter submersion. No facts on features or price yet.

If repeaters are of no concern to you, have you looked at the Dewalt-branded FRS radios available at Home Depot since GMRS and FRS share 22 of the same frequencies? If I needed short distance, low cost but job-site tough, I think they may be worth considering.


Michael
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Michael

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#8 MacJack

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 07:41 PM

drabina, let me weight in... I'm a newbie and my first two HT was the 805G with reviews I read from mbrun and others, it is the great radio... BUT then I got a data cable and use CHIRP on my Mac and the world of making life easier to setup radio was so helpful.  I added several personal channels on the end of the radio channel list as well as for several repeaters and channel our family uses to most to be able to use with older FRS Cobras etc around the house or campground with the kids and G kids.  

 

So that was back in Nov/Dec and reading this forum, asking questions in post as well as PM to my mentors and coaches.  Well I got a KG-905G from BTWR https://www.buytwowa...un-kg-905g.html with a 15.5 antenna and it great distance... I'm still formulating and writing a reviews.  So far the feature I like the most is it is more beefer, great battery life, more water resistant as I have a Jeep top off from Spring-Summer-Fall.  But the best feature is channel scanning by groups... I have made up so many groups like my repeater group with favorite channels, FRS channels, Just GMRS repeater channels to hear or monitor the repeaters that I do not have the PL code.  

 

So what I'm saying is I was like you, KISS at first but after getting involved in GMRS and where I'm at now, I would purchased a KG-905G over the 805G... no regrets as the 805G works for the family, light weight and easy to use but for me where I'm at the 905G is the answers.  My cost justification is I can still use my 6 FRS with the G Kids without a license and teaching them to do radio correctly.

 

Have fun, you will get what is best for you and family, so let us know what you pick and why.  O I should say since I'm a fellow newbie I offer help to you, just PM me and will help if you pick and get the data cable with software or other accessories...  (This offer goes out to all newbie with a 805G or 905G as well.)  I found the secret sauce which will make sense and you will be up and running quickly.

 

Jack


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#9 OldRadioGuy

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 08:48 AM

There is a place called aquapac.net that sells special radio bags to make them waterproof.

Or just use a ziploc bag and poke the antenna through.  Make a small starter hole first.

Not waterproof but pretty good.

 

The DeWalt FRS radio is listed as IP67 if you really need waterproof.

(Going from 2W to 5W is just a little more than 3dB.)

I think somebody mentioned that the KG 905 is more water resistant than the 805.

 

BTW, there are several different batteries available for the 805.

It's very practical to have a set of spares.

 

So, in my book the 805 has a lot going for it.

Of course the 905 sounds nice too.

I like the transmit power level switch for one thing.

But I'm happy with the 805's.

 

Vince


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#10 WRAF233

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 12:32 PM

Water resistant would do.

https://www.nrs.com/...vhf-classic-228


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#11 WRAF233

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 12:39 PM

 

 

If you are going to use repeaters you will want to change the display so the chan Freq is displayed rather than just channel #.

This is pretty easy.  Menu item 19 takes care of it.

 

 

Vince

 

 

FWIW:

 

I just select display as Name, name the repeaters with abbreviated location + last 3 of frequency (550, 625, etc.) then populate the name slot of the other channels with "CH 16, 17" etc.  Or you might get the frequencies in the Name slot.  So, when I scroll the channels via knob or keys it runs CH 1 - 7, CH 15 - 23, and then ELK 625, SPRK 675 for the repeaters programmed.  Not an intimidating radio once you play with it.  Instructions come with and if you are patient it will become intuitive with practice.  I much prefer the simplicity of the 805G over nearly any others I've played with:  Baofeng, Retivis, etc.

 

And as an aside, I posted 25 mi. LOS simplex conversation from the 805 to Kenwood 3170 HTs.


WRAF233

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#12 OldRadioGuy

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 04:09 PM

That's true.

You can program the names for local repeaters.

Then when you travel switch the display from "name" to "frequency" so you can easily select area repeaters by frequency.

 

If you don't have the cable and software putting the names takes some patience but it's not complicated. 

 

Vince



#13 n1das

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 01:09 AM

I have the super basic Midland LXT118 two-way radios. Bought them when FCC required license for the GMRS channels. The license was renewed couple of years ago and also there was a change by the FCC pushing my LXT118 radio into the "license free" gear category.

 

Since I do own the GMRS license and don't mind renewing it when it expires 8 years from now, I thought about upgrading my radios to use more than 2W which my license allows. Otherwise the license has no value and it just a $70 piece of paper. I did some research, few hours of reading and it looks like all the mainstream gear from Midland, Motorola, Cobra seem to have max 2W radios for which license is not required. Then there are the Wouxun KG-805G and BTech GMRS-V1 radios that are programmable and have tons of features but are a bit intimidating for a simple user like me.

 

So finally I got to my question: Are there any GMRS handhelds that have more powerful radios (>2W) but are somewhat basic (no programming, repeater, etc)? I would like to get a radio with a decent range and something I could grab from a charging base, set a channel and use. I do not see myself programming or messing around with a radio. Use would be for hiking, kayaking, skiing and camping with the kids so less buttons and features the better.

 

 

Check out the Retevis RB75 5W IP67 Waterproof long standby GMRS handheld.  4500mAh battery!  The standby time is around 300 hours (12.5 days).  The battery capacity is more than enough for plenty of talk time too.

https://www.retevis....-Two-way-Radios

 

Also check out the Retevis RB27:

https://www.retevis....h-NOAA#A9216AX1


David Sterrett, N1DAS

Nashua, NH, USA

Ham [HA] = N1DAS (2/1984)

GMRS [ZA] = KAE9013 (12/1992)

 


#14 brasda91

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 10:15 AM

I have to 2nd the comment regarding the KG-905g. This is the video that convinced me to order it: https://youtu.be/0jn_dewQM4I

I've also ordered the Lido Radio LM-300-EXT Seat Bolt Mount With Mic Holder For Mobile and Portable Two Way Radios




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