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Thread: Looking for hand held radios to communicate between cars

  1. #1

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    Default Looking for hand held radios to communicate between cars

    Hi

    I am looking for radios so that we can communicate between cars when touring.

    The cars often get stretch out and can sometimes be up to 10 miles apart.

    I am looking to buy 8 radios so need to be mindful of budget.

    I am happy to buy a licence as I would think I will need 5w radios.

    I keep seeing the name baofeng being mentioned and as being a reasonable budget units. However there seems to be quite a bit of choice.

    What is the best channel to use to give maximum range but also decent transmit and receive quality

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Super Moderator 5B4AJB's Avatar
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    Probably C.B's, they should be good enough.

    Amateur radios need a license to operate, that means passing a course...

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    M0WAO's Avatar
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    73 de Biton - m0wao - echolink 633710
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5B4AJB View Post
    Probably C.B's, they should be good enough.

    Amateur radios need a license to operate, that means passing a course...
    And everyone having one of the radios would have to do this...

  5. #5

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    PMR446 might struggle with a few hundred metres, let alone 10 miles - to do ten miles needs a decent antenna on each vehicle, and even then topography will make it pretty unreliable 10 miles car to car is possible, but move one car just a small amount and it will die.

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    I think reliable communications between cars with up to ten miles separation would be more in the cell phone arena than amateur or commercial radio's arena. It's certainly possible, but probably more trouble than you/they will want to go to.
    Paul

  7. #7

    Default Actually you can buy car radios

    Actually you can buy car radios. There are proffesional car radios in the market. The front panel can be separated from the main body. Generally the trasmitting range of car radios are longer than hand hold ones. They are specially designed for self-driving tours. I suggest you buy a car radio. But they may be more expensive than hand hold ones. There is a brand named Zastone. They produce car radios with the transmission range of 12kms or more.

  8. #8

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    No they don't! vehicle mounted radios have a bit more power, but the key to the greater range is the antenna. A 5W handheld only gets a tiny bit less range than a 15W mobile - on the same antenna! Vehicle antennas on the roof, connected to portable radios inside are almost as good distance wise.

    12Kms is perfectly possible travelling across a flat desert, 20Kms if both vehicles are on his ground with a valley between, and if both are in the valley either side of a peak, then even 1Km can be impossible. Terrain is key, not power. Higher powers, proper antennas will be best.

    Your sig doesn't say where in the world you are - so licensing could be easy or complex. Many rallies here in the UK have their support units on high ground with repeaters that help increase range.

    Allen's perfectly right about the radios - but range is mega variable. To put in into context - I have a repeater here, and I can drive nearly fifteen miles out in a southerly direction and the link is solid. If I drive north, my range with a 25W mobile to my repeater is 5 mile - no more, simply because there is a hill that means at 5 miles, you go down into the shadow - and this is with a high antenna on the repeater.

    Distance is always vital. There is plenty of software you can have a play with on the net to show you likely ranges between two points, but be prepared for a shock.

    car to car, I'd guess maybe 3 or 4 miles would be a reliable best guess, but in hilly areas, or in towns, far less. Power makes very little difference, it's antennas and geography.

  9. #9
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    So to sum up some of the questions asked here and to add a few of my own:

    1. Are you a licensed ham radio operator?
    2. Will there be a licensed ham radio operator in each car?
    3. Where will these cars be going?
    4. How long will you be driving?
    5. What is your budget?
    6. What is the need for hand held? Can you have a car based with an external antenna (that would really help)?
    N5MKH - The only thing that separates man from animal is our affinity for toilet paper. Once we as a society lose that affinity we begin to descend back into the animal kingdom, and after three or more days you will find the food chain beginning to invert on itself. Up is down and down is us and man is no longer an alpha predator.

  10. #10

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    I suspect many people do forget this forum is ham radio only. It does though always make me realise that we take basics as so basic we don't think about them. Anyone who has done the foxhound type ham games we play in the UK, and I'm assuming the US, know how valuable they are in teaching you about range, road geography, topography and how useless power often is in these circumstances.

    I remember one guy who had bought a 50W mobile getting very cross because while people could hear him a little further away, it didn't work the other way around and he could not hear them! I seem to remember that 10W was deemed about even - TX and RX being about balanced at that power level.

    Expectations from outside the ham arena are always far to high - especially with things like our PMR446 half-watt, no external antenna band. With my decent outside wideband antenna I'm amazed how busy that band is in this quiet town, yet none of them hear each other!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulears View Post
    I suspect many people do forget this forum is ham radio only. It does though always make me realise that we take basics as so basic we don't think about them. Anyone who has done the foxhound type ham games we play in the UK, and I'm assuming the US, know how valuable they are in teaching you about range, road geography, topography and how useless power often is in these circumstances.

    I remember one guy who had bought a 50W mobile getting very cross because while people could hear him a little further away, it didn't work the other way around and he could not hear them! I seem to remember that 10W was deemed about even - TX and RX being about balanced at that power level.

    Expectations from outside the ham arena are always far to high - especially with things like our PMR446 half-watt, no external antenna band. With my decent outside wideband antenna I'm amazed how busy that band is in this quiet town, yet none of them hear each other!
    Something else to consider, even as it relates to amateur radio. If the individual posting doesn't indicate where they are located, it's sometime makes giving concise answers difficult. For instance, PMR446 doesn't exist in North America. It's common to the EU and Great Britain. In the US we have FRS and GMRS. Also, amateur radio licensing requirements differ in the US and the UK.

    A couple more thoughts about using handheld radios in vehicles: In the US, an increasing number of states are enacting stricter laws regarding distracted driving. In California, for instance, it is now illegal to hold your cell phone in your hand, no matter what you're doing with it. I has to be mounted on the windshield or dash and can only be activated with a tap of swipe of the finger. Mobile radios with a wired microphone have been exempted from the law, but holding an HT type radio is still illegal.

    Also, the use of an external antenna is almost mandatory with any type of radio due to the way auto glass is manufactured today. The federal government has mandated that all auto glass have low transmission of infrared and ultraviolet radiation, so now auto glass is "passivated," meaning it has minute metal particles imbedded in the glass. Well, You can imagine what that does to RF transmission.

  12. #12
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    Considering our friend, young PetrolHead hasn't posted up since July of 2017, I decided to go on a bit of an electronic journey and assemble a larger picture.

    Here is his first post from June 25th:
    https://www.hamradioforum.net/threads/7805-Hi
    The context of which leads me to believe he is not licensed and the term "petrol" while used in the USA is not a common reference. We call motor fuel Gas or Gasoline. This would indicate he is either a UK based member or that he is a more refined American.

    The second post of PH is the one we are discussing and reading here, dated June 25th as well.

    Third, on July 1st he posted up this thread:
    https://www.hamradioforum.net/thread...82-Not-working
    Apparently he logged in to let us know that he had purchased a Baofeng radio and that it wasn't working as expected - yet he ignored five responses to his earlier message on the thread you are currently reading. I'm not saying that he didn't follow the advice given, just that folks answered up and he never responded.

    Fourth, on the same day of July 1st, just minutes later he had this post:
    https://www.hamradioforum.net/thread...feng-uv-82-PMR
    Mentioning PMR, used in Europe and not the US, leads me to further conclude that he is looking to take a trip through ye ol' English Countryside.

    All of this rolls together to lead me to the conclusion that PH is a Brit, not a Licensed Amateur Radio Operator, not going to be licensed, looking to purchase Ham-Capable gear and then possibly use it in violation of local laws (I'm not familiar with UK laws on PMR wattage and antenna type but the UV-82 is NOT allowed on FRS/GMRS channels in the USA). I'd also hazard a guess that he has already purchased his radios and that the trip in question has already occurred.

    Given that we have all participated in several of his threads in an earnest attempt to assist PH, and several others who have posted similar traffic here, I'll ask the admins - Is it possible to create a Kiddie Pool or Sandbox that unlicensed members can have access to to post their questions in? Let them have read only access to the whole forum but until they post up a call sign, they can only play in the shallow end of the pool? I'm seeing far too many new members hop in, ask around (the same questions every time) about using Ham Radio to solve problems that cell phones have already solved or to solve problems that PMR/FRS/GMRS can't because bigger radios and more wattage requires a license and some capital investment. And almost NONE of them start of with "I'm considering Ham Radio and have some questions to see if this hobby / lifestyle is right for me." They almost read like "I'd like to take a lot of shortcuts and abuse the public airwaves, will you help me?"
    N5MKH - The only thing that separates man from animal is our affinity for toilet paper. Once we as a society lose that affinity we begin to descend back into the animal kingdom, and after three or more days you will find the food chain beginning to invert on itself. Up is down and down is us and man is no longer an alpha predator.

  13. #13
    travis.farmer's Avatar
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    what about people like myself? i don't have a license yet, though i fully intend to get one. but i am fully responsible enough to not touch the PTT button, until i have a license?
    I am just doing my research to have things set up correctly and responsibly, so that when i have my license, then and only then will i push the PTT. I would find it offensive to be stuck in a "kiddy pool" until i get my license. the action would also likely drive me away from even wanting a license anymore.

    ~Travis
    PASSED Tech exam on 09-09-2017 (awaiting callsign)
    Equipment:
    Kenwood TS-430s, Bucket-base 20 foot vertical antenna
    Kenwood TH-K20a, stock antenna

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by travis.farmer View Post
    what about people like myself? i don't have a license yet, though i fully intend to get one. but i am fully responsible enough to not touch the PTT button, until i have a license?
    I am just doing my research to have things set up correctly and responsibly, so that when i have my license, then and only then will i push the PTT. I would find it offensive to be stuck in a "kiddy pool" until i get my license. the action would also likely drive me away from even wanting a license anymore.

    ~Travis
    BINGO! You, sir, are the kind of people I LOVE to interact with. Creating the Sand Box would still give you access to interaction and an avenue to ask and research information. Don't get wrapped around the axle on the name - We could call it the Elmer's Corner. But I'm just looking for a way to filter out good people like yourself from people that are looking for a hall pass from a ham radio operator like "this guy who is a licensed ham said on the internet that I could use the Baofeng on police channels and it would be OK..." But they aren't looking to immerse themselves as you have. They really aren't interested in obeying the law so much as they are looking for a loop hole.

    Ask yourself this - Why would you join a Ham Radio forum to learn about non-ham radio communication when there are already GMRS forums, CB Radio Forums, Cell Phone Forums, et al. If you wanted to know about GMRS or PMR Radio, why not join a PMR Forum? I'm not on here asking about pottery and fine china because it is out of scope for the forum (also because I have no interest in pottery or fine china).

    So what I'm looking to do - and I'm open to suggestions - is keep and recruit people like you. All the while keeping people who want to exploit ham radio and not take the test from coming in and asking all of the same questions.
    N5MKH - The only thing that separates man from animal is our affinity for toilet paper. Once we as a society lose that affinity we begin to descend back into the animal kingdom, and after three or more days you will find the food chain beginning to invert on itself. Up is down and down is us and man is no longer an alpha predator.

  15. #15
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    How about an alternative: those that have proven that they intend to take, and have the ability to pass the exam, and use the knowledge responsibly, can move on to full member.

    I just took this practice test while i was waiting for a response (printed directly to PDF):
    http://tjfserver.ddns.net/misc/tech_practice_exam.pdf
    actually, i find it to be my personal best score. perhaps a fluke.

    ~Travis
    PASSED Tech exam on 09-09-2017 (awaiting callsign)
    Equipment:
    Kenwood TS-430s, Bucket-base 20 foot vertical antenna
    Kenwood TH-K20a, stock antenna

  16. #16
    GTGallop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travis.farmer View Post
    How about an alternative: those that have proven that they intend to take, and have the ability to pass the exam, and use the knowledge responsibly, can move on to full member.

    I just took this practice test while i was waiting for a response (printed directly to PDF):
    http://tjfserver.ddns.net/misc/tech_practice_exam.pdf
    actually, i find it to be my personal best score. perhaps a fluke.

    ~Travis
    NICE! I never got higher than an 80 on the practice - then I aced the exam with a 100%. You are GOOD TO GO!
    I think your proposal is MORE than reasonable and along the same lines and spirit of what I was talking about.
    N5MKH - The only thing that separates man from animal is our affinity for toilet paper. Once we as a society lose that affinity we begin to descend back into the animal kingdom, and after three or more days you will find the food chain beginning to invert on itself. Up is down and down is us and man is no longer an alpha predator.

  17. #17

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    I thought I'd compare the US questions with our specification for ham radio. The similarities and differences are quite unusual.

    Q2 - no UK equivalent to this one. Military comms and amateur stations not a feature of ours.
    Q3 - international goodwill is odd too - ours is to do with self-training.
    Q4 - picket fencing? We usually refer to this as flutter.
    Q7 - seems amazingly simple, when to do one of the others, you need Ohms law and resistors are mentioned there!
    Q9 - this one we'd get right here I think. We'd probably use RCD rather than GCI
    Q11 - we don't have any link with radio control kit at all
    Q12 - towers are not a feature of the exam here. Climbing them would come under a totally non-amateur set of regulations.
    Q15 - Oddly, we don't have any exposure figures here - we do have them in general advice to all people, but not anything legal or linked to licences.
    Q17 - we can talk to anyone who is in the approved country list
    Q18 - we would have got that, but I was unaware the ITU was linked to the UN!
    Q28 - ours is the same

  18. #18
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    I think on most of the practice tests i have taken, my biggest issues are remembering formulas, and what frequencies are in what band. I am glad that the requirement for knowing Morse code is no longer on the test. try as i might, i still only remember two letters ("S" and "O"). it is my hope that by immersing myself in listening to code, and responding, that i will eventually have it learned. I have software that will code and decode CW, but i am unsure how well it works decoding manual code sending.

    in the mean time, i can enjoy voice and digital communication (well, once i get my license).

    ~Travis
    PASSED Tech exam on 09-09-2017 (awaiting callsign)
    Equipment:
    Kenwood TS-430s, Bucket-base 20 foot vertical antenna
    Kenwood TH-K20a, stock antenna

  19. #19

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    Morse is like pythagoras - it rarely seems to have use, but later on it just pops up and works for you.

    I always used to practice when driving beeping out the vehicle in front's licence plate. Receiving is always harder, but the benefits of cw are that you get more options in busy bands, because a huge proportion of users can't understand it, so if you can, you have an advantage - and that is the critical bit. You may not have a tower, huge antennas and legal limit power, but you have a mode others don't!

  20. #20
    travis.farmer's Avatar
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    I always used to practice when driving beeping out the vehicle in front's licence plate.
    I think in the US, we call that distracted driving

    I may try learning Morse again, but some things are just hard for me to learn. i have a rather under-used drum kit i tried learning. that was an expensive disaster.

    ~Travis
    PASSED Tech exam on 09-09-2017 (awaiting callsign)
    Equipment:
    Kenwood TS-430s, Bucket-base 20 foot vertical antenna
    Kenwood TH-K20a, stock antenna

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