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Thread: Brand new to radio - a few questions - please be gentle :)

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Chicago
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    Default Brand new to radio - a few questions - please be gentle :)

    Hi all, I am just getting into amateur radio, in fact one of my resolutions for 2019 is to get my technician and general licenses. So apologies for all the newbie questions.

    That said, I have a few questions that I'm hoping someone can help me with. if this is the wrong place my apologies, please feel free to tell me where to go

    I want to get a radio so I can get started with HAM, listening now, and transmitting WHEN I pass the tests, plus I want to be able to use handhelds.

    We camp, hunt and ATV in Kentucky and I want to be able to use handhelds with the wife and son while we are out playing, so I bought 3 of the $30 Baofeng UV-5R handhelds, and I've read all the nastiness about them, so I don't plan to use them until I'm legal on the HAM bands, but have some questions about those and a mobile unit.

    I've used FRS blister-pack radios in the past, and I have used MURS radios (don't remember the model, I know they were 95? compliant) and I would like to be able to get a mobile unit for my truck and our campsite that can do GMRS (I paid and got a license already), MURS (not sure if I'll need it since I have GMRS) as well as the licensed HAM bands with the technician and general licenses. That said, I know my wife and son won't take the tests, so they're probably going to have to use my GMRS license on handhelds.

    Ok, sorry, so here's the questions

    1) I was recommended the Yaesu FT-8900R, but I cannot seem to figure out if I can do GMRS, MURS as well as the HAM bands on that unit. Is this a good mobile unit for getting stared under $400? I know I have to get an antenna etc.. as well

    2) Is there any other option for the handhelds other than GMRS for my wife and son, can I use the Baofengs for GMRS legally?

    3) Another recommendation was the Midland Mobile MST400, but it appears to me that's GMRS only, and I'd rather be able to put the radio in my truck for general use, but also be able to pull it out when we are camping and use with a powersupply as a base unit if my wife stays at camp and my son and I are on the ATVs.

    4) Is there any other recommended starter unit that would allow me to do HAM as well as GMRS that is better than the Yaesu?

    I am sure I will have more questions, and appreciate any feedback in advance. Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default

    From a legal standpoint, you cannot use a Baofeng (or any ham radio) on FRS or GMRS as those frequencies are covered under part 95 and the Baofeng is a part 90 radio. The obvious reason for this is because even the most law abiding operator would have a hard time resisting the temptation to utilize the power capabilities of part 90 gear on GMRS/FRS frequencies. So rather than allowing part 90 radios on GMRS/FRS and attempting to enforce the power limit, they limit the radio options for part 95 to those with fixed output power, non-programmable RAM PLL circuitry, and fixed antennas. I don't know for sure, but I would suspect that an attempt by a ham to reprogram or modify a GMRS/FRS radio to work the ham bands (which would be legal on the ham bands) would disqualify it for use on GMRS/FRS.

    If your intentions are to operate within the confines of the law, you will need to carry 2 radios.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    2

    Default Ok, so to clarify...

    Thanks Brandon, that helps. So if I read your reply correctly, even the Yaesu that was recommended, because it's a HAM radio, wouldn't be permitted on GMRS.

    That said, since I have the GMRS license bought and paid for, I would need something like the Midland MXT100, 105, 400 for a GMRS base radio, and some Midland handhelds for the wife and son to be 100% legal. Then if I (when I have a tech license) wanted to use HAM bands I COULD use the Baofeng, just not for GMRS, MURS, FRS etc...

    So basically the answer is buy more radios There's no way to have one for both.

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 30362 View Post
    Hi all, I am just getting into amateur radio, in fact one of my resolutions for 2019 is to get my technician and general licenses. So apologies for all the newbie questions.

    That said, I have a few questions that I'm hoping someone can help me with. if this is the wrong place my apologies, please feel free to tell me where to go

    I want to get a radio so I can get started with HAM, listening now, and transmitting WHEN I pass the tests, plus I want to be able to use handhelds.

    We camp, hunt and ATV in Kentucky and I want to be able to use handhelds with the wife and son while we are out playing, so I bought 3 of the $30 Baofeng UV-5R handhelds, and I've read all the nastiness about them, so I don't plan to use them until I'm legal on the HAM bands, but have some questions about those and a mobile unit.

    I've used FRS blister-pack radios in the past, and I have used MURS radios (don't remember the model, I know they were 95? compliant) and I would like to be able to get a mobile unit for my truck and our campsite that can do GMRS (I paid and got a license already), MURS (not sure if I'll need it since I have GMRS) as well as the licensed HAM bands with the technician and general licenses. That said, I know my wife and son won't take the tests, so they're probably going to have to use my GMRS license on handhelds.

    Ok, sorry, so here's the questions

    1) I was recommended the Yaesu FT-8900R, but I cannot seem to figure out if I can do GMRS, MURS as well as the HAM bands on that unit. Is this a good mobile unit for getting stared under $400? I know I have to get an antenna etc.. as well
    The FT-8900R is strictly a ham radio, operating in the 10 meter, 6 meter, 2 meter and 70 centimeter bands. It will not operate on GMRS or MURS without an illegal modification.

    Quote Originally Posted by 30362 View Post
    2) Is there any other option for the handhelds other than GMRS for my wife and son, can I use the Baofengs for GMRS legally?
    As answered above it is illegal to use the Baofeng on GMRS.

    Quote Originally Posted by 30362 View Post
    3) Another recommendation was the Midland Mobile MST400, but it appears to me that's GMRS only, and I'd rather be able to put the radio in my truck for general use, but also be able to pull it out when we are camping and use with a powersupply as a base unit if my wife stays at camp and my son and I are on the ATVs.
    This is a viable solution, but the Midland cannot be used on the ham bands.

    Quote Originally Posted by 30362 View Post
    4) Is there any other recommended starter unit that would allow me to do HAM as well as GMRS that is better than the Yaesu?
    There are no combined GMRS/ham radios because of certification requirements for GMRS radios.

    Quote Originally Posted by 30362 View Post
    I am sure I will have more questions, and appreciate any feedback in advance. Thanks!
    Let's talk about licensing for a moment. An amateur radio license, because there is an examination required, is only good for the individual who takes the exam. It is not usable by family members. If you wish to communicate with your wife and son through the amateur frequencies, they both will have to take and pass the exam. GMRS also requires a license, but there is no exam involved. Once you pay the appropriate fee and obtain a GMRS license, it is usable by all the members of your immediate family. This includes spouses, children, aunts, uncles, etc.

    Another aside... During the current government shutdown in the US, the FCC is not issuing any new amateur licenses, even though the exams are still being administered. I suspect the case is the same for new GMRS licenses as well.

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