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Is There A Road Channel For GMRS?


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On several recent road trips, I scanned all GMRS channels looking for other drivers. My radio mostly hit what sounded like couples traveling in two vehicles and they were predominately on channels 1 or 2 discussing routes, other drivers or where they were getting off for gas. I reached out to them. some would come back, most wouldn't. Unless we were traveling in the same direction the talk window was always a minute or two at most as they were on handhelds and I was on my Kenwood TK mobile.

This has been asked before on this forum, but after searching the responses I've not found an answer to the road channel question. I know it's cultural thing and not an official one, but I still wonder if there is any group, online or elsewhere that is advocating for GMRS use on the road. I believe this is one of the best potentials for GMRS. A lot of folks are in it for the hobby aspects, like Hams, but the traveling aspect seems to be overlooked right now. I know that off-roaders and Jeep people have made the switch to GMRS. I recently used it with several friends on a railfanning trip. We chase and photograph trains. We're kinda like birders but our hobby is much noisier.

As I said earlier, I run a Kenwood TK8180 mobile and my friends all have Midland or Motorola blister pack handhelds. While we all have VHF scanners for listening to railroads, MURS is not an option for non-radio folks unless they use Bao-Fengs, Wouxuns or that ilk.

Thanks,

Danny Harmon

Tampa

 

Edited by railfandanny
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The reason you’re able to hear people and not able to talk to them may be due to them using “privacy codes” (tones). Some radios can scan and “grab” that tone (I have it assigned to one of my programmable menu buttons) but with other radios you’d need to know what frequency corresponds to the channel displayed on their little radio and then manually program it.

Sometimes they vary by radio brand. For example here is a list published by Midland:

https://www.manualsdir.com/manuals/124284/17/midland-gxt720_775-page17.png


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A couple internet sites said truckers/travelers use channel 7 but I've never tested it.

I've heard that truck drivers now use an internet based thing with their cell phones.  It uses the GPS in the phone to determine what general area they are in and even which interstate they are on. ( I believe they can specify some of these things.)   Then it puts them all in a chat room of sorts with other drivers in their area. So it's like virtual CB radio.  I believe it is a subscription service that they pay for.  So not just wide open to anyone..... and of course you have to have cell service. 

Here's another data point..... If you go to a truck stop and look in the display case they still have quite a few CB radios but I have not noticed any GMRS radios.  If they had any GMRS it was just one or two.  It's been over a year since Ive been in a truck stop though.  So it may be changing.   When you see truck stops carrying more GMRS radios you'll know they are changing over.

I also checked Camping World to see what they sell.  They have a bunch of little FRS hand-held sets and one pair of GMRS hand-helds.  They do not sell any GMRS mobile rigs.  I think this is a good indicator of what people are NOT using out on the highway. 

Vince

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22 minutes ago, OldRadioGuy said:

Here's another data point..... If you go to a truck stop and look in the display case they still have quite a few CB radios but I have not noticed any GMRS radios.  If they had any GMRS it was just one or two.  It's been over a year since Ive been in a truck stop though.  So it may be changing.   When you see truck stops carrying more GMRS radios you'll know they are changing over.

I would not want that for the GMRS service. The truckers that use CB end up running illegal amps not all but you would be shocked by how many will openly admit it.  Quite a few users  splatter across adjacent channels, rendering them useless. Or they free band into Ham 10m bands, because of course no one is using them right?

Now imagine that mentality in the beloved GMRS service. Where the 1kwatt amp is splattering across all the frequencies. In the sake of getting more distance out of a service that was implemented as a hassle free close coms. The biggest problem would be the FRS/GMRS bands are in most places adjacent to  license business operations or EMS/Police/Public sector bands.

The service is awesome for short distance coms. The ability to walk into Target or Walmart and pickup a radio for a caravan without going through the installation of a mobile or any real training on radio operations is incredibly awesome.

As far as the FRS in the campground shops. Makes sense. Kids can play with it. Mommy and daddy can keep tabs on Billy without having to stare at him. You start to see GMRS mobile units in off road shops. Where the user normally doesn't want to fumble around with an HT while being tossed around in a truck. Been there done that, no thanks.

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We hear the same thing on the roads.. A lot of nothing and people that dont respond (probably using privacy codes)..

When offroading, the official GMRS channel is 16.. This a scientific fact because is "offroading" = "4 X 4" and 4 x 4 = 16 .. so this is the scientific answer to the question - it is explained in more detail in this video made by some Youtube clown:

 

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Interestingly I have found the upper GMRS channels to be less crowded during busy off-road events (like TDS) than the 2m and 70cm bands (probably because of the “rugged radios”)


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In all my years of using GMRS and FRS radios and reading forums, I have not concluded there is any de-facto conventional channel for use when on the road for GMRS. Yes, you might hear an opinion, but nothing clear cut in practice.

Perhaps when you in a city that has high profile repeater that reaches the whole city, that repeater might be the go-to channel for that city.

Personally I do not assume nor expect GMRS communications with the general public when I am traveling except with the folks that might be traveling with, or perhaps with radio friends I have made via repeaters in other cities I frequent.


Michael
WRHS965
KE8PLM

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There are only eight high-power channels, seven 5W channels and seven 0.5W channels. Any half-decent radio can scan them all quickly. And from your mobile you can't legally use 467.xxx5 (because 0.5W), so why to worry about them. If there is an open repeater in vicinity, it's most likely will be on 462.675 with tone 141.3.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I too, just scan while on the road.  But it will be interesting to see what channels/frequencies JJAMUSA choses this year for the individual channels for the rides out in the forrest.  

I have been partial to 16 as that is what we used for years in off roading for club conversations in and out of the woods. 

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1 hour ago, H8SPVMT said:

I too, just scan while on the road.  But it will be interesting to see what channels/frequencies JJAMUSA choses this year for the individual channels for the rides out in the forrest.  

I have been partial to 16 as that is what we used for years in off roading for club conversations in and out of the woods. 

I'll be in UWARRIE this weekend for the JJ Academy. Will post my findings. Last year only 2 guys had GMRS and most of the chatter was on FRS channels. 

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13 hours ago, kb2ztx said:

I'll be in UWARRIE this weekend for the JJ Academy. Will post my findings. Last year only 2 guys had GMRS and most of the chatter was on FRS channels. 

Wish I could join ya but a pisol match takes presidence! 🤗

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On 5/3/2021 at 9:04 AM, railfandanny said:

On several recent road trips, I scanned all GMRS channels looking for other drivers. My radio mostly hit what sounded like couples traveling in two vehicles and they were predominately on channels 1 or 2 discussing routes, other drivers or where they were getting off for gas. I reached out to them. some would come back, most wouldn't. Unless we were traveling in the same direction the talk window was always a minute or two at most as they were on handhelds and I was on my Kenwood TK mobile.

This has been asked before on this forum, but after searching the responses I've not found an answer to the road channel question. I know it's cultural thing and not an official one, but I still wonder if there is any group, online or elsewhere that is advocating for GMRS use on the road. I believe this is one of the best potentials for GMRS. A lot of folks are in it for the hobby aspects, like Hams, but the traveling aspect seems to be overlooked right now. I know that off-roaders and Jeep people have made the switch to GMRS. I recently used it with several friends on a railfanning trip. We chase and photograph trains. We're kinda like birders but our hobby is much noisier.

As I said earlier, I run a Kenwood TK8180 mobile and my friends all have Midland or Motorola blister pack handhelds. While we all have VHF scanners for listening to railroads, MURS is not an option for non-radio folks unless they use Bao-Fengs, Wouxuns or that ilk.

Thanks,

Danny Harmon

Tampa

 

Years ago the PRSG recommended FRS Channel 1 at 462.5625. I would rather see 462.6375 become it as it is the exact center of the 462 band (462.55-462.725).

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  • 2 weeks later...
I scan while driving too. Usually don’t pick anything up.


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Scanned for 20 hours on recent trip. Only heard sporadic bubble pack radios probably totaling a few minutes. Could not tell if the were in cars or on foot.


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Scanned for 20 hours on recent trip. Only heard sporadic bubble pack radios probably totaling a few minutes. Could not tell if the were in cars or on foot.


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That sounds a lot like my typical experience on road trips. I still have yet to be able to figure out a repeater when I’m traveling as there are none near where I live


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That sounds a lot like my typical experience on road trips. I still have yet to be able to figure out a repeater when I’m traveling as there are none near where I live


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You know, that really does not bother me though. I truly do not expect to find (nor do I attempt to find) open repeaters along my route when I am traveling. While in-route I really only care about comms with whomever I might be caravanning with, which is very infrequent now. However, I may look to see if there is something open near my destination.


Michael
WRHS965
KE8PLM
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