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Ham Radio vs CB
February 21, 2018
8:26 am
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Tyler - K6TLR
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Not really a "review" of a product... but I am on a mission to get rid of CBs lol so this is being posted here. I would just copy and paste it here, but it won't let me with the pictures, and I am too lazy to edit the pictures out... so you will have to do one extra click. Sorry

 

https://myoffroadradio.com/2018/02/17/ham-radio-vs-cb/

 

TL:DR.... VHF/UHF/Ham works soooooo much better than CB on every level... Easier to setup, better range, better sound quality, more people within range of your signal for emergencies. Sure, you have to know a little bit more about what you are and are not allowed to do, but the benefits of having that knowledge far outpace the drawbacks of CB. So get a VHF/UHF radio! And, if you want to be a prepared off roader, get your ham license 😛

February 21, 2018
12:57 pm
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kris_olof
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Cant agree more about ditching CBs.  $25 hand held radio has better reliable range.  CB is finicky to tune and for some reason costs over $100 to get a full setup.  Kinda like comparing halogen off road lights to LEDs, they worked well in their time but it's time to move on.

I will also mention that in my rollover with my CB antenna laying on the ground it had an effective range about as far as I can throw.  $25 baofen reached about 2 miles without line of sight to the rest of the group.  My CB has never reached that far in those conditions, let alone with the antenna laying on the ground.  At a minimum the $25 radio saved a 2.5 mile hike in the snow at night after a rollover, money well spent in my book.

February 21, 2018
3:38 pm
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JohnDF
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I stick with a CB because I know for sure that I'm not breaking any federal regulations when I use it and I don't need a degree in radio frequencies to operate it. Simple is as simple does...

I used to wheel a lot. . .

February 21, 2018
4:08 pm
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k-jeep
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JohnDF said
I stick with a CB because I know for sure that I'm not breaking any federal regulations when I use it and I don't need a degree in radio frequencies to operate it. Simple is as simple does...  

Check out one of Kris' race radios. Correct me if I'm wrong, but no license needed as they are limited to certain frequencies, but can communicate with HAM users on those frequencies.

I picked up a HAM handheld (I plan to get a license) and was communicating with the other guys on the race radios this last snow run. MUCH clearer than CB. 🙂

February 21, 2018
5:01 pm
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JohnDF
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k-jeep said

Check out one of Kris' race radios.   

At this point, I'd need somebody to say, "Buy THIS radio".

It would have to be simple, legal to use, and cheap-ish.

I used to wheel a lot. . .

February 21, 2018
7:07 pm
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Tyler - K6TLR
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k-jeep said

Check out one of Kris' race radios. Correct me if I'm wrong, but no license needed as they are limited to certain frequencies, but can communicate with HAM users on those frequencies.

I picked up a HAM handheld (I plan to get a license) and was communicating with the other guys on the race radios this last snow run. MUCH clearer than CB.   

It could be illegal... there are essentially 5 different radio allocations that benefit off roaders:

- CB (citizens band) (No license required)
- Ham (License Required - $15 and a test)
- MURS (Multi Use Radio Service) (This is where the American "VHF" frequencies are, and most of the "race radio" frequencies (After doing a little more digging, it looks like a lot of Race Radio frequencies are actually Private Land Mobile Radio Service frequencies ... commercial frequencies and thus require a license. Sorry for the misinformation.) (MURS channels require no license)
- FRS (Family Radio Service) (This is where the American "UHF" frequencies are) (No License Required)
- GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) (This runs on the exact same frequencies as FRS, but you are allowed more power than FRS) (License Required - 65$ no test)

 

There technically isn't any radio spectrum allocation for "Race Radios". The problem with "Race Radios" is that they are setup to transmit and work mainly on the same frequencies that KoH Race Teams use. Some of those are legal to transmit on with no license whatsoever (MURS). Some of them are actually in the commercial band... so, you could possibly be disturbing some poor delivery driver's route re-transit information. Highly improbable... but you never know. I finally got a certain company to send me a list of frequencies that they program all of their "race radios" with, and quite a few of the pre-programmed frequencies are in the commercial band... so use at your own caution. Like I said... highly unlikely that you will get caught, but you don't want to be "that guy"... unless you do lol

February 21, 2018
7:15 pm
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Tyler - K6TLR
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JohnDF said

At this point, I'd need somebody to say, "Buy THIS radio".

It would have to be simple, legal to use, and cheap-ish.  

If it would help you make the jump, I would be willing to re-program one of my leftover radios and just set it up with frequencies that are only legal to use with no license. Then lock up the radio. I wouldn't charge you for the programming... just the radio so I don't lose money $30.

 

Let me talk to el Presidente before I do that... I think I have a viable solution for the club... so let me chat with him before I setup a radio for you. That way we only have to set it up once if you are interested.

February 21, 2018
7:18 pm
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Josh
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kris_olof said

I will also mention that in my rollover with my CB antenna laying on the ground it had an effective range about as far as I can throw.  $25 baofen reached about 2 miles without line of sight to the rest of the group.  My CB has never reached that far in those conditions, let alone with the antenna laying on the ground.  At a minimum the $25 radio saved a 2.5 mile hike in the snow at night after a rollover, money well spent in my book.  

Hmmmm 

Interesting case here Kris. Makes me lean towards getting one. 

Semper Fi

February 21, 2018
8:29 pm
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JohnDF
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Tyler - K6TLR said

If it would help you make the jump, I would be willing to re-program one of my leftover radios and just set it up with frequencies that are only legal to use with no license. Then lock up the radio. I wouldn't charge you for the programming... just the radio so I don't lose money $30.

 

Let me talk to el Presidente before I do that... I think I have a viable solution for the club... so let me chat with him before I setup a radio for you. That way we only have to set it up once if you are interested.  

Cool. Let me know, it may be an option for me.

Wouldn't the other people I'm running with need the same radio for us to communicate?

It'll be weird if some of us are using radios and others are using CBs. At least I know everybody has a CB.

I used to wheel a lot. . .

February 21, 2018
10:01 pm
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k-jeep
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Thanks for the clarification, Tyler.

February 21, 2018
10:09 pm
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Josh
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Tyler - K6TLR said

If it would help you make the jump, I would be willing to re-program one of my leftover radios and just set it up with frequencies that are only legal to use with no license. Then lock up the radio. I wouldn't charge you for the programming... just the radio so I don't lose money $30.

Hello Tyler,

I will buy one from you if the same offer above is open to others? Let me know please. 

Semper Fi

February 21, 2018
11:32 pm
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buckallred
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This thread has some very good info re: which ham radios (and antennas) are recommended for vehicle-mount (not handheld) use:

http://posse4x4.org/forum/writ.....-vehicles/

February 22, 2018
7:31 am
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Jamie
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I did a snow run with Tyler a couple weeks ago and borrowed one of his radio's, I was impressed how much better than CB it was. With all the chatter i have heard in this group about using the radio's even on the frequencies that do not require a HAM license I went ahead and picked one up, I bought this one https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PTJ43FU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

From what I read in BaoFeng's product comparison it is the latest generation of the UV-5R at 8 watts, I think the UV-5R is the one most people seem to be referencing for the $25 handheld radio at 4 watts.  This one is about $50 but I like the look a bit better and more power, with a magnetic external antenna & external speaker/mic it was still cheaper than my CB setup and I didn't need to buy a SWR Tuner box (which I still have if anyone needs to tune their CB antenna).

Hoping to be able to try it out at the snow patrol Sunday 🙂

February 22, 2018
9:44 am
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Jeff_R
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Tyler - K6TLR said

If it would help you make the jump, I would be willing to re-program one of my leftover radios and just set it up with frequencies that are only legal to use with no license. Then lock up the radio. I wouldn't charge you for the programming... just the radio so I don't lose money $30.

 

Let me talk to el Presidente before I do that... I think I have a viable solution for the club... so let me chat with him before I setup a radio for you. That way we only have to set it up once if you are interested.  

Tyler, Kris is or was planning to set up some race radios for a few of us. If it isn't too much work I propose we order identical radios for those who are interested and have you tech savvy people program them identically for those who want to purchase one. I would be happy to pay extra for the trouble of programming it.

February 22, 2018
10:00 am
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Tyler - K6TLR
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JohnDF said

Tyler - K6TLR said

If it would help you make the jump, I would be willing to re-program one of my leftover radios and just set it up with frequencies that are only legal to use with no license. Then lock up the radio. I wouldn't charge you for the programming... just the radio so I don't lose money $30.

 

Let me talk to el Presidente before I do that... I think I have a viable solution for the club... so let me chat with him before I setup a radio for you. That way we only have to set it up once if you are interested.  

Cool. Let me know, it may be an option for me.

Wouldn't the other people I'm running with need the same radio for us to communicate?

It'll be weird if some of us are using radios and others are using CBs. At least I know everybody has a CB.  

They don't necessarily need the same radio... they just need the ability to talk on the same frequencies. CBs are highly regulated by the FCC, and as such, are very difficult to modify to be able to talk on any other frequencies other than CB. I haven't actually tried to mod one of these handhelds to talk on CB frequencies yet... I would imagine that the frequencies are too far apart to work. But you would also burn up the handheld's antenna trying to do it as well. Might be a fun experiment 😛

There are far more options available to talk on VHF, UHF, and Ham than there are CB if that makes sense...

In my other club, we usually have about 3/4 of the people on a run using Ham. And the other 25% either have a radio that they can listen to the rest of the group on, or I loan them a radio for the day that they can listen in on. If they need to talk, we still have a few people in the club with a CB that will relay information back and forth between the 2 media. But fewer and fewer people are even using CB in the club anymore, and a lot have started taking out their CB and selling them off lol. I usually carry a small fleet of radios whenever I go off roading with others so that I can ensure I am always in communications with them. And I have them programmed with ham frequencies, as well as open use MURS and FRS frequencies so that no matter who I am with, we can still communicate from larger ranges than CB.

It really started by requiring the trail boss, and caboose to have ham so that they can always be in contact with each other. And it took off like wildfire from there and now, more than 65% of the club are ham licensed in under 3 years. But we do a lot to help people get their licenses, and get their radios setup so that it is as easy as possible for people to make the switch. Which is what I am gonna try and do for this club as well 😛

I am working on a couple of solutions with Greg atm that will work for the club, and will allow everyone to get over on at least VHF or UHF without the need for a license of any kind... but hams will still be able to use their equipment while on club runs. This way everyone will be on a universal radio coms solution, and hopefully more people will get their ham license and eventually we will have at least 1 ham licensed person on every club run in case of emergencies 🙂 So, that's the goal... just working on the details currently.

February 22, 2018
10:06 am
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Tyler - K6TLR
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Jeff_R said

Tyler, Kris is or was planning to set up some race radios for a few of us. If it isn't too much work I propose we order identical radios for those who are interested and have you tech savvy people program them identically for those who want to purchase one. I would be happy to pay extra for the trouble of programming it.  

If we want to go that route, I can get a great deal on the BF-8HP radios from Baofeng through my business (like, 50$ or less... better than amazon's prices for sure). Let me see if we can get a "club radio plan" set first before we do that... But I think that is a great idea and would be willing to program open use frequencies for free at club meetings for club members. Then, if people got their ham license, we can unlock those radios and set them up on ham frequencies as well as people go at their own pace. But let's wait up on the equipment until we figure out what the club wants to do, so that we can get the correct equipment to match it. I might have a few options that we can go over at the next meeting...

February 22, 2018
11:22 am
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k-jeep
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Tyler - K6TLR said

If we want to go that route, I can get a great deal on the BF-8HP radios from Baofeng through my business (like, 50$ or less... better than amazon's prices for sure). Let me see if we can get a "club radio plan" set first before we do that... But I think that is a great idea and would be willing to program open use frequencies for free at club meetings for club members. Then, if people got their ham license, we can unlock those radios and set them up on ham frequencies as well as people go at their own pace. But let's wait up on the equipment until we figure out what the club wants to do, so that we can get the correct equipment to match it. I might have a few options that we can go over at the next meeting...  

How does the BF-8HP compare to the GT-3TP (which you also recommended)? Just curious as I got the GT-3TP. 🙂

February 22, 2018
11:41 am
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kris_olof
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Jeff_R said

Tyler, Kris is or was planning to set up some race radios for a few of us. If it isn't too much work I propose we order identical radios for those who are interested and have you tech savvy people program them identically for those who want to purchase one. I would be happy to pay extra for the trouble of programming it.  

I have a couple of extra 5rs. The plan was to put the race radio channels, MURS, GMRS/FRS channels on it, lock it, and call them good as non-licensed radios. This is what Tyler is saying to do as well though more accurately and with more technical language. Same type of radio, legal to use now and ready for ham usage in the future. I just haven't had time to use the software on the radios yet, just been carrying a frequency sheet and manually entering channels for each run. 

Tyler, if you get a discount through your business then let's look into the ones with the IP54 rating. For the price I would rather have waterproof over the increase in power. 

February 22, 2018
11:53 am
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Tyler - K6TLR
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k-jeep said

How does the BF-8HP compare to the GT-3TP (which you also recommended)? Just curious as I got the GT-3TP. 🙂  

2 differences:

1) GT-3TP is IP54 rated... much more practical for off road usage imo. But it runs the same 8 watts of power as the BF-8HP, and otherwise, same radios.

2) I can't get a deal on the GT-3TP... just the BF-8HP. The GT-3TP is technically not supported by Baofeng. So, they won't allow wholesale pricing on it.

 

I personally love the GT-3TP. It has become my go to handheld when I am off hiking or spotting people. So, if you got one of those, I would say stick with it.

 

And yes... Kris, that is exactly what I mean. Thank you for re-wording that for me... I often have troubles explaining things in a simple manner lol

February 22, 2018
4:39 pm
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kris_olof
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Tyler - K6TLR said
And yes... Kris, that is exactly what I mean. Thank you for re-wording that for me... I often have troubles explaining things in a simple manner lol  

I work almost exclusively with government employees, lots of time re-writing things in crayon.

February 24, 2018
11:16 am
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davesjk
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CB radios are sooooo 2017loser.  I ripped mine out of the Jeep already.  race radio or ham is the only way to go

[¯¯],[¯¯¯¯],
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():) ():)-----():)

Its a Gee(p) thing

February 24, 2018
12:56 pm
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Tyler - K6TLR
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Hey all, I just realized that I will be able to make it tomorrow now with the chainsaw class being cancelled. I finally will get 1 run in! lol

 

I will also bring all those radio things that people have been requesting.

I will also have my radio programming stuff with me, so if anyone wants their radios programed with open use, non-licensed frequencies, we can do that tomorrow.

February 26, 2018
10:58 am
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buckallred
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On this subject, I just finished listening to the High Sierra Podcast episode #301, in which Greg and the other guy (I forget his name, but something about "awe-inspiring foolsize") had Tyler on the show and they cover this subject in excellent detail. They did a very nice job of presenting this subject, which as we know can be quite technical and complicated, in layman's/understandable terms.

One confusing/complicated aspect of the subject is that, in addition to Ham radio/"technician" licensing and use, one can buy one of these "MURS" or "race" radios and use it without a license. My reaction to that is that it seems even more complicated to keep track of all these different types of radios and whether you are violating the law than it is to actually complete the HAM course, get a ham radio and use it. In other words, just get a Ham/"technician" license and a "real" Ham radio, and don't worry about all that other stuff.

It all reminds me a little bit of what you can and can't do with respect to carrying a firearm in your vehicle: is a trunk considered a "locked container?" What about the trunk area of an SUV? What does "loaded" mean, under the law? What about a vehicle center console, which the government/statute calls a "utility compartment?"  In the end I think it's simpler (meaning "not as stupidly complicated") to just go and jump through the hoops required to get a CCW permit. That way, you can feel reasonably secure in knowing that almost anything you do as far as keeping/storing/carrying the firearm is legal.

March 2, 2018
12:12 pm
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Gregulator

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Thanks for the feedback Buck!  Here is the link if anyone else wants to listen to it: http://www.highsierra4x4.com/e.....oad-radio/

Um...what?

March 8, 2018
3:37 pm
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Gregulator said
Thanks for the feedback Buck!  Here is the link if anyone else wants to listen to it: http://www.highsierra4x4.com/e.....radio/  

Great podcast. I was getting dizzy reading all the radio info. I'm still on CB. Actually bought it last year when I joined the club. So I'm hesitant to get a new radio and get licensed especially if something new comes out again. I loved the idea of a "Commercial" license/ frequency the club can give it's members to use. If we did this I'd definitely get a radio just to use our frequency. I'd be willing to help the club pay for the commercial license too. Maybe something g that can be discussed during next meeting. 

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