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Looked into GMRS but was disappointed


Guest Jeff
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I remember when FRS and GMRS first came about more or less. Lately since I retired I looked into it a little further. I've listened to Ham stuff, 2 Meter etc...since I was a teen long ago. Never cared for Ham stuff as it was always too formal and expensive for my liking. I've had an SDR for a few months and was surprised that listening to GMRS seems to be not much different than Ham Radio is. Pretty much the same as Ham radio with it formality, repeaters, clubs, nets etc...So are Hams running most of the GMRS stuff as well? Repeaters etc... I thought GMRS was certainly going to be a step above what CB was in it's heyday, but not the same as Ham radio is. Why have GMRS when there doesn't seem to be much difference from say a guy who is a Ham on 2 Meters. So what am I missing here? Must be something besides the license is easier to obtain. Thanks

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35 minutes ago, Guest Jeff said:

So are Hams running most of the GMRS stuff as well? Repeaters etc..

No.. 

Although many hams do slum on GMRS in many areas, the main use for GMRS is utilitarian communication - ie; when off-roading and in a group, hiking, traveling with multiple vehicles, etc.

Sadly, it sounds like in your area many of the rag-chewers have taken over.. But once you get out of reach of their basements, like out adventuring in the desert or mountains, all their noise goes away.

I run a repeater, partially run another repeater which is one of the largest/most used in Southern California, and run a group - not only am i not a ham, most in the group are not hams either.

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10 hours ago, Guest Jeff said:

 So what am I missing here? Must be something besides the license is easier to obtain. Thanks

GMRS is aimed for the non technical user. The idea is to just pickup the radio, pick a channel and press the button to talk. That's why the limited selection of channels and limited features available verses Ham radio that uses a "band" where one selects a frequency to use, different operating modes etc. The GMRS service is structured to facilitate communications between family members and to conduct family business. The idea wasn't for making random contacts or experimenting with equipment, however some do this.

Yes you'll find a significant number of Hams using GMRS too. Not necessarily a bad thing. One just has to keep in mind the differences between the services. What would be an acceptable topic on the Ham band maybe of little to no interest to a GMRS user.

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I remember when FRS and GMRS first came about more or less. Lately since I retired I looked into it a little further. I've listened to Ham stuff, 2 Meter etc...since I was a teen long ago. Never cared for Ham stuff as it was always too formal and expensive for my liking. I've had an SDR for a few months and was surprised that listening to GMRS seems to be not much different than Ham Radio is. Pretty much the same as Ham radio with it formality, repeaters, clubs, nets etc...So are Hams running most of the GMRS stuff as well? Repeaters etc... I thought GMRS was certainly going to be a step above what CB was in it's heyday, but not the same as Ham radio is. Why have GMRS when there doesn't seem to be much difference from say a guy who is a Ham on 2 Meters. So what am I missing here? Must be something besides the license is easier to obtain. Thanks
While our might disappoint right now it's worth having for when you need it. At least it pays to be legal.

Sent from my SM-T860 using Tapatalk

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Thanks for the replies. Maybe it was just the one channel I stumbled across on Sunday night. They were doing the "Net" and everyone checking in just like Hams do. If I hadn't looked at the frequency I'd have thought it was 2 meters I was listening too. I'm in a very large metro are in the Midwest U.S so maybe that had something to do with it.

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I am a Ham, but had my GMRS license long before my amateur radio license, going back to 1988.  It was an individual license back then and gear was primitive at best, but that is part of what made it easy.

Me and my Ham friends (whom actually do appreciate GMRS) very rarely use VHF/UHF ham frequencies anymore and are almost completely GMRS.  Many of us got sick of the club politics.  We just use GMRS to chat while we are heading to meet up, stay in touch on the road, and in touch while offroad.  Be it in 4X4's, on foot, small boats, etc.

Anyway, I wouldn't let it discourage you.  While some clubs have linked GMRS repeaters and have Nets, there are way more causal users and families with handhelds, mobiles, as well as base stations or repeaters in their garage so they can talk to family and friends.

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