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Thread: Land Mobile Radio?

  1. #1

    Default Land Mobile Radio?

    I am newly licensed, shopping for a 2m/70cm radio for mobile use. My intention is to have something that will be useful in an emergency, and maybe also on the job site. It seems that all radios advertised as "amature" have a very wide RX but their TX is limited to amateur bands. It's great to be able to scan and monitor a large range, but in an emergency I want to be able to communicate on any frequency that may get me in contact with the help I need. If I'm broke down in a forest and my radio picks up some hunters on GMRS it would really suck to not have the ability to reach them. Obviously you would need to act responsibly with this ability, but that's why I got licensed and continue to learn.

    This thinking led me to land mobile radios. I currently have my eye on the TYT MD-9600. Has anybody used this model?

    I can't be the only HAM with this thought, so what other products are out there that will do what I'm looking for? Maybe there's a mod for a radio that is sold strictly as HAM?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Lakeland, FL.


    LMRS requires another license to operate in the business band. Do-all radios aren't typically type accepted because the radio requirements and restrictions conflict with each other. For instance, popular Chinese radios CAN transmit on FRS but because they have a removable antenna it is not legal to DO so.

    If you want to work every frequency get the licenses that allows you to do so and the appropriate radios.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    With my wife


    There is no "One Knob To Rule Them All" and I'm not sure where this notion comes from, but I see it with more regularity on many forums. The only way to get even remotely close is to have the proper licensing and separate radios/antennas for all the different services, which is impractical at best.

    Choose to get your General and work with HF on 40 meters which in a typical mobile install will easily get you out within a few hundred miles NVIS (Near Vertical Incident Skywave - google it) which will be way more distance reliable than a GMRS rig will be. A cell phone is a radio too, about as distance reliable as a UHF radio is. Besides, why are you venturing into the "forest" without a friend in another rig to be backup? I live in a forest and never go anywhere alone, because where I go it wouldn't be prudent to be alone should something go horribly wrong mechanically or medically. Common sense will get you out of more scrapes than a radio will....

    Have a fun, safe trip and look over this website for solid info on the mobile radio craft.

  4. #4


    I wonder slightly differently. There seems to be an expectation that worldwide, there is some kind of 'emergency' radio system, when the reality is - there isn't! Most of the emergency services are going digital and many, like all in the UK, encrypted - and the very last thing any they want are people popping up in an emergency. If people want to be able to access other people's systems and networks, they need to be coordinated. If you have a transceiver that can operate anywhere - who exactly would you be talking to? The systems just don't cater for this kind of approach any longer - practically or legally. People cite the fact that in many jurisdictions you can use any radio available to you where there could be genuine loss of life - but technology nowadays means this gets less practical every month as the user base migrates to systems resilient to interference and interception, which is how they consider random access by non-approved users. It also gets embarrassingly non-emergency. People who have broken down large at night saying this is an emergency, so need to be able to any system available, but in reality, this is not a loss of life situation and an inconvenience in most cases. In addition - not every user has the technical competence to programme the radios. Large area trunking for example. I still have real trouble configuring my hire stock business radios to work properly on them for short hires, because there are so many parameters, and little time to test.

    If you want long range get out of trouble radio - spend the money on a sat phone and pay the bills. Becoming a radio ham may well give you permission to transmit, but getting a response relies on luck to a large degree. If you are near the sea, maybe marine band might work - but the Coastguard rarely appreciate non-marine calls unless your car is dangling over a cliff edge. Calling the Coastguard and saying you have broken down is not going to cut it!

  5. #5


    I am making an assumption based on your call sign, KD9LSZ....

    In Wisconsin, pretty much anywhere in the whole state, you should ALWAYS be in range of at least one 2m repeater (probably several). If you equip your vehicle with a 25w mobile rig, a repeater book and install a decent 5/8" vertical, you should NEVER have trouble reaching someone.

    As for attempting to use a ham radio outside the ham bands, there's just two things that matter... 47 CFR 97.403 "Safety of Life and Protection of Property" and 47 CFR 97.405 "Station in Distress". As you HAVE an amateur license, you have the privilege of using ANY MEANS at your disposal to get help (assuming a real emergency). Even if that means putting a ham radio on GMRS or a police repeater! If you abuse that privilege, your license will disappear and the FCC will crawl deep up y.... In the extremely unlikely event that such a situation should happen with no 2m repeaters in range, you would likely be looking for an "open" radio like the Baofeng UV-5RV2+, a commercial radio that is front-panel programmable like the Kenwood TK-705D (assuming it has the programming chip inside, some didn't) or otherwise a ham radio capable of a "mars cap" mod like the Yeasu FT1XD. My favorite dual-band mobile rig that was mars cap modifiable was the Yeasu FT-7800R, I think it was a 50w radio. Such modifications usually involve the removal of a small capacitor from the circuit board which unlocks tx on the frequencies the hardware is actually capable of transmitting on. Just remember, if you cant hit a ham repeater, its highly unlikely you will be able to hit a public service repeater either. Most of them are digital P25 trunking nowadays. As for hunters.... that's a small window, not exactly a reliable option. Ive never heard of anyone around here using the land mobile radio service, so trying to use it in an emergency would be about as useful as ch9 on a junk cb. If the true intention is to have the "coolest" GMRS radio, just don't do it!

    Paulers makes a good point. A sat phone is a great alternative. From my understanding, there are sat phone plans that charge per call (ideal for legit emergency use). Another option is an EPIRB. You pay a hefty fine if you cry wolf with it though. One thing I've recommended to others is to buy a cheap 5 or 10mW green laser pointer (with lithium batteries for cold weather use). At night, any plane in the sky will see it, get pi$$ed off, and report your location to the local authorities. Just be respectful and flash ...---... in front of the aircraft rather than at their cockpit directly. Some might cry about this idea, but technically, a laser is merely a high gain transmitter with a frequency above 275Ghz and is thus covered under your license as well (hehe).

    The radio options really depend on what part of the country you plan to get stranded in. An unlocked VHF radio will do you little compared to a purely 2m radio. Anywhere in Wisconsin, a 2m rig and repeater book is all you will ever need. If you drive to the heart of Alaska or break a leg at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, those an entirely different situations. Where in the country/world do you anticipate getting stranded?

    BTW, A commercial/business agenda on ham radio is absolutely not allowed. You can NOT use amateur frequencies for any type of profitable service.
    Last edited by brandon lind; Today at 17:16.

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