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Thread: Two-Way Radio Choices???

  1. #1
    ChipnDianne Guest

    Two-Way Radio Choices???

    OK guys and gals, We want to be able to hear the banter on these runs. What is the two-way of choice? Where have you purchased? Price range?
    Input will be appreciated!

    ChipnDianne

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Canyon Lake, TX
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    First and foremost, If You Like Your Radio You Can Keep Your Radio. Nothing is changing!

    If you are interested in a more powerful radio with a much improved battery and clear communication then continue reading.

    Okay, so the Midland radios work pretty well but what about going to the next level like they described above? Here is the Midland comparable radio to the one I will show you below. https://midlandusa.com/product-category/accessories-two-way-radios/

    Check out the prices of accessories below the radio. Keep reading, we have a better solution.

    We need a radio that has more power out with a better antenna and receiver? I started researching this, so I have some info to share. This is not so that everyone goes out and gets a new GMRS radio. Those that do want to upgrade to the GMRS radios or the higher power output can with some knowledge of the law and what the benefits are going to be.

    This is about the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) level instead of the Family Radio Service (FRS).

    I know it is against the law to transmit in the FRS frequency in high power which in reality is operating in the GMRS band since channel 5 is shared by FRS and GMRS.

    So, if you are worried about the radio police, get a license, there is no test of any kind. It is kind of expensive at $85 but it is good for 5 years (comes out to $17 per year). The price is dropping soon to $65. A couple of us did, I was approved and had my call sign the next day. There is an online licensing service at http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=home. In the list you are looking for ZA-GMRS for your license. Once you have a license, all members of your family are also covered. Bluebonnet members, if you get your license let me know and I can create a couple of laminated cards with your information. They keep talking about dropping the GMRS license but haven't yet and it looks like after August 15, 2015 there will not be a charge and possibly soon no regulation. It is too expensive to keep the requirement in effect.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    These are the GMRS rules.

    This is the Wikipedia explanation of GMRS.

    Now with my license, I can transmit up to 5 watts, which using different frequencies enables me to use repeaters (powerful radios that pick up your transmission and re-broadcast it so you can talk 20 to 30 or more miles) and I can now change antennas that can increase my transmit and receive capabilities. A side benefit is that the voice frequency is not so compressed and sounds more natural if you use the wide band instead of narrow (25 kHz versus 12.5 kHz).

    Normally, the GMRS radios are quite a bit more expensive at over $100 per radio but one company has been making a very affordable GMRS radio that works well. The Baofeng (pronounced bow fung) UV-5 or UV-82 are two of the radios that I would recommend, there are plenty of variations. I just purchased 2 of the UV-82s while Paul in Austin purchased the UV-5 and a UV-82. We will have to experiment and see just how far of a range we can get with the more powerful radios. Some people are reporting the Midland radios get about 1.6 miles and in the same area, the Baofeng radio getting 3-5 miles. People are reporting hitting repeaters from over 20 miles away. The newest Baofeng UV-82HP (high power) can hit a repeater over 50 miles away.

    I live in a bad area for reception, my house is in a valley surrounded by hills, cell phones barely work here so I tried my Midland radios from inside my house to the mailbox and it was starting to break up (300 ft), then I tried the UV-82's again inside the house and I was able to still talk from the entrance of the subdivision over 1.3 miles away. I think car to car in a straight line they will be a lot more impressive.

    These radios are programmable with up to 128 channels of changeable frequencies - the FRS/GMRS radios have 22 set channels. The UV-82 can transmit and receive on 2 different channels without changing anything, it has 2 push-to-talk (PTT) buttons. One channel could be for the group and another could be to talk to the run leader or sweep directly if they have dual transmit and receive capabilty. The radios charge in about 5 hours and can last up to 30 hours in standby mode and the battery is more like a cell phone battery. The UV-5 costs about $30+ while the bigger UV-82 costs about $40. They come as single radios so if you want a set you have to buy 2. They do communicate with the bubble-pack FRS/GMRS radios that we currently use, they just work better.

    Amazon has the radios, extra mics, earpieces, antennas, etc. at great prices and Amazon is starting to stock the radios and accessories so they come fast, 2 days if you use Prime. I got one of the security earpieces for $3 (Midland's price is $39.99), 2 extra Nagoya antennas for $5 and $11 as well as a microphone/speaker like the police have on their shirt for $8 and a spare battery for $14. One thing that I have found since I received the radios is that they are very loud and I can adjust the volume to suit what I want to hear. The squelch works very well with 9 levels of adjustment. The UV-82 is the same size as the normal Midland GXT-1000 FRS/GMRS radio but feels more sturdy and well made, much like what firefighters or police would carry. It is more of a professional or commercial quality radio.

    You can program the radio from the keypad or by computer and upload your channel sets to the radio. They also receive the FM band 65-108 Mhz and can transmit & receive VHF 136-174 Mhz (marine radio) and UHF 400-520 Mhz (amateur radio). To talk to the FRS/GMRS radios - FRS is 462 Mhz and GMRS is 462 & 467 Mhz. Channel 5 which we use exclusively is 462.6625 Mhz. This opens up a whole new world for the handheld radio to do more than just be able to communicate with the car club and if you are a prepper then you will have a better radio for communication in an emergency.

    My goal is to keep the radio simple to use, but work like we want them to.

    Here is a video that introduces the radio.

    Here is a link to Amazon where the radio is selected. The UV-82L is the same radio as the UV-82 but will have a dual transmit earpiece with it also. The battery is marked as 3000 mAh but is really a 1700 mAh like the rest. Current price on 2-4-2015 is $37.99 and free shipping. The price seems to change due to different sellers.
    The price keeps changing as Amazon keeps changing the vendors. Watch out because there is a new radio called Poufang that may not work as well as the Baofeng. It may also not program the same. Stay away from the UV-82X and UV-82C also as they are for different frequencies.

    Here is a second location (in Kentucky) to purchase the UV-82 for $45. http://www.radio-mart.net/Baofeng-UV...SKU199961.html

    When on Amazon search for "Baofeng UV-82 accessories" and you will see plenty of options then select the best price for you. I have everything but the roof mount antenna and they are all quality pieces. What is really nice is that you can get about 4 of the accessories for less than what you pay for 1 earpiece from Midland Radio at $39.99.


    Below are some of the accessories that I purchased. The antenna is a SMA Female.

    Battery Eliminator with DC adapter
    (runs off the car battery instead of battery-not a charger) is http://www.amazon.com/Charger-Elimin...=Baofeng+UV-82

    The regular security mic is http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    This should be a better mic. Mine is on the way. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Z4X3MM6?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailp age_o00_s00

    This is a dual PTT mic with earpiece that is for the UV-82. http://www.amazon.com/Baofeng-PTT-Ea...Baofeng+UV-82L

    The dual PTT speaker mic with 3.5 mm speaker jack is http://www.amazon.com/Baofeng-Origin...feng+uv-82+mic

    Nagoya NA-701 8" antenna is http://www.amazon.com/Authentic-Genuine-NA-701-SMA-Female-BaoFeng/dp/B00KBZLOHC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449073849&sr=8-1&keywords=nagoya+701

    Nagoya NA-771 15" antenna is http://www.amazon.com/Authentic-NA-771-15-6-Inch-SMA-Female-BaoFeng/dp/B00KC4PWQQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449074000&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=nagoya+771&psc=1


    Baofeng UV-82 spare battery is http://www.amazon.com/Battery-Baofen...+UV-82+battery

    Just in case you would like a Bluetooth adapter. http://www.amazon.com/Pryme-BT-501-K...ng+accessories

    A clone cable for radio to radio channels only copy. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    It copies only the channels from one radio to another but not the program so it works for setting up a brand new radio from an older programmed radio.

    Nice military style case for carrying radio is http://www.amazon.com/Maxpedition-Ph...xpedition+cp-l

    The programming cable is http://www.amazon.com/Baofeng-Progra...1Z8AWJV8415VXH
    This is the better - no problem cable. If you get the cable you may need this software driver for the FTDI chip, select the driver appropriate to your system. The CD supplied didn't work. http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm See below for my radio image file link to upload to your radio. If you are running Windows 10 and having problems getting the radio to connect you may have to delete all other drivers and just load the Prolific Driver 3.2.0.0. It is on the Miklor site and describes the problem. I had to use it and I have the Baofeng cable that should have used the FTDI driver but would not work. Here is a link to the driver. http://www.miklor.com/COM/UV_DriverAlert.php

    Free Chirp software to program your channels and options on your PC and upload to your radio through the programming cable. http://trac.chirp.danplanet.com/chirp_daily/LATEST/ I put a link to my program for our club just below.

    If you want to upload your own file to your new radio and you have the cable to connect to your computer, here are my files set up for the free program CHIRP. There is a link above to download the free software. These are set up like a normal FRS/GMRS radio except one is for high power and wide band GMRS while the other is for FRS which is low power and narrow band - trying to stay legal and unlicensed. Download the files, open CHIRP then open the file you want to upload to your radio, also check the options for the radio. One option is the welcome message that you can change to your name. Save your new file and upload to your radio. When loaded Channels A & B will be set to channel 5. You are ready to go! If you press PTT button A or B you will be on Channel 5. That way you won't mess up!

    ***** Don's CHIRP radio image file for GMRS to upload to the radio - high power, wide band Baofeng UV-82 FRS-GMRS Wide.img Updated files down below.
    This is the one most of us will use.


    Low power CHIRP radio image file for FRS to upload to the radio - low power, narrow band Baofeng UV-82 FRS legal.img Updated files down below.
    This is more like a normal FRS/GMRS bubble-pack radio that we currently use. This is the more legal version for non-licensed users. It still works the same just not as powerful.


    I can help with the programming of the radio if you need help. There are lots of options.

    Don Privett


    The prices are quoted from the Amazon web site and can change daily. Click on an image for a larger image then cycle through the images.


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ID:	1061Battery Eliminator $8.99

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ID:	937 Nagoya NA-771 antenna - 15" length - $10.99

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Bulverde TX
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    Super

    WOW what a great amount of info!
    Thanks Don

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Hi Trey,

    As you know from being on many runs including long out of state runs, our radios are very important to our club members. They help to make the runs safe and fun. They are used to alert everyone of oncoming traffic on narrow roads, bicyclists approaching that usually don't follow traffic laws, animals on the road and all other problems that need immediate attention. (They also let us know when a celebrity has made a movie in the vicinity as Cheryl likes to share). The biggest problems with the bubble-pack radios are the clarity of the transmissions and the transmitter range. How often do you hear something said and you can't make out what was said either because the radio volume is too low even though it is turned up all the way or the voice is garbled.

    If part of the group gets too far behind because of traffic, they can get totally lost. Only if they have a second form of communication, usually a phone, can we get back together.

    This is just an attempt to try to see if there is a way to step up a level without going to CB's which require sticking on magnetic mounted antennas (scratching your trunk), installing radios under the dash or seat and putting up with all the congestion and skip on the channels, not to mention all the bad language. Been there, done that and the range isn't any better. I have tried a handheld and dash mounted CB's, neither worked well.

    The FRS bubble-pack radios work but are very limited. That is their nature, that is why there is no license required. They transmit on 1/2 watt of power. The GMRS radios that I mentioned above transmit with 4 to 5 watts and can have much more sensitive longer antennas (you can even have a long antenna mounted on the car or a magnet mount like a CB). They also work on the same frequency as all the other radios we use on every run.

    FRS radios are required to have fixed antennas by law. They don't transmit over a mile so no one else is bothered by them. Where we travel, generally there is never anyone else on the radio unless we go through a bigger town. We don't fight congestion problems, we fight distance problems.

    Sometimes our convoy of cars can stretch over 2 to 3 miles with other vehicles in line controlling the speed so that we can't get back together. I hate it when all of a sudden I become the new run leader of everyone behind me and the rest of the group is miles ahead and I have no idea where they are and if I am traveling alone, I can't read the run sheet or even see it without my reading glasses and I have to figure out where on the run sheet I am - all while driving. How many of you have encountered the same problem?

    A simple call on the radio that can get across the distance
    and the rest of the group slows or stops until we catch up or alerts us that we missed a turn. Unless you have every run leaders phone number in your phone that you can instantly find with one hand while you are driving, you are going to have to stop and get some help. Once you stop, every minute you delay could mean the rest of the group is 1 mile further away. A good radio becomes a lifeline to stay with the group and it makes you feel like you are never alone or left behind.

    Don

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    San Antonio
    Posts
    263

    Going for the "next level"

    Thanks to the information provided by Don, I ordered the Baofeng UV-82 Dual-Band 136-174/400-520 MHz FM Ham Two-way Radio, Transceiver, HT - With Battery, Antenna, Charger, and More Electronics, sold by Karnotech on Amazon.com
    Condition: New
    Paid only $38.99

    I expect Don to show me how to use it when it arrives, lol
    George Lucas
    Editor, In The Breeze

    2012 Special Edition, Velocity Red (of course)

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    I have the programming cable, software and I have a custom setup all ready to clone for your radio. You should not have any more radio problems again. If you let me know, I can bring my laptop and hook you up.

    I also have a set up that is a legal FRS/GMRS set up. Low Power and Narrow Band. Just in case you don't want to be illegal but want a better radio.

    If you get your GMRS license, let me know and I can make you a laminated card to carry with your information.


    Don

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    These are some links that may prove helpful to understanding the Baofeng UV-82

    Keypad Layout and Functions: http://www.miklor.com/UV82/UV82-Keypad.php

    Reference for UV-82 Menus: http://www.miklor.com/UV82/UV82-MenuDef.php You can print out the PDF - only pages 1-7 are needed.

    Baofeng UV-82 FAQs: http://www.miklor.com/uv5r/UV5R-FAQ.php

    Chirp Software to program the radios: http://trac.chirp.danplanet.com/chirp_daily/LATEST/
    (If you have a version that shows a version number in the about screen in the help menu, it is the wrong version of software, it should show "CHIRP daily-2014####" the date may be different. The SETTINGS menu may be blank.) Just download the software above, reinstall and it should be okay. A couple of people have encountered the problem.

    Guide to cables and programming: http://www.miklor.com/COM/UV_Drivers.php

    Reference to FRS and GMRS frequencies: http://ba-marc.org/writeups/gmrs-frs-freq.htm


    If you want to upload your own file to your new radio and you have the cable to connect to your computer, here are my files set up for the free program CHIRP. There is a link above to download the free software. These are set up like a normal FRS/GMRS radio except one is for high power and wide band GMRS while the other is for FRS which is low power and narrow band - trying to stay legal and unlicensed. Download the files, open CHIRP then open the file you want to upload to your radio, also check the options for the radio. One option is the welcome message that you can change to your name. Save your new file and upload to your radio. When loaded Channels A & B will be set to channel 5. You are ready to go! If you press PTT button A or B you will be on Channel 5. That way you won't mess up!

    CHIRP radio image file for GMRS to upload to the radio - high power, wide band Baofeng UV-82 FRS-GMRS Wide.img
    This is the one most of us will use.


    CHIRP radio image file for FRS to upload to the radio - low power, narrow band Baofeng UV-82 FRS legal.img
    This is more like a normal FRS/GMRS bubble-pack radio that we currently use. This is the more legal version for non-licensed users. It still works the same just not as powerful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Bulverde TX
    Posts
    152

    GMRS License

    What do I do to get a license?
    Joe

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trey View Post
    What do I do to get a license?
    Joe
    Good question Joe.

    The FRS/GMRS bubble-pack normal radios don't require a license if you run low power. When you change to GMRS, that requires a license to be legal. GMRS allows 5 watts transmit power instead of .5 watts, wide band for better voice and further distance, better antenna choices, the ability to use repeaters to communicate over 20 to 30 miles, etc. Just a note, businesses are not allowed to use GMRS.

    You can go here to apply for your license. Once you register and pay then usually in a day you will have your license and call sign. The fee is $85.00 for 5 years ($17 per year). You will have a GMRS radio license that will cover you and your immediate family even if they live apart from you. If you travel together as a family using radios they are covered but if you travel with a group that is not family, the others are not covered by your license, they need their own license.

    Let me know when you have your information and I will make you 2 laminated cards to carry with your license information.

    You register first then buy your license. Once you are registered you can find other registered users by their call sign or FRN number. When you start through the FCC license process, the GMRS license is at the bottom of the list as ZA-GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service)

    http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=home

    Check back the next day, log in with your FRN number and password and see if you have your license and handle. They are slow to notify you.

    When you get your radio and I upload the program for you, it will be ready to use just like the other FRS/GMRS radios. The Baofeng radios are capable of doing a lot more but if you just want a radio for runs, then you are set. Anything further can happen over time as you get to know the radio.

    If you like your radio, you can keep your radio! This is just an upgrade. We are all still on the same channel.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    11
    Thanks to Don for the comprehensive information.

    I was able to order my radio and several accessories last week.
    With Don's image files and a few personal email exchanges, I was able to flash the radio to communicate perfectly with the FRS radios.
    I then experimented a bit to personalize a couple of the settings.

    For those who have purchased one of these radios recently, Don and I will both bring laptops and patch cables to Tuesday's club meeting to quickly get you up and running.
    To be on the safe side, please make certain that you fully charge the battery before Tuesday night.

    Thanks again Don!

    P.S. The FCC licensing process is easy and well worth knowing that I'm completely "legal" with this radio.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coolhand View Post
    Thanks to the information provided by Don, I ordered the Baofeng UV-82 Dual-Band 136-174/400-520 MHz FM Ham Two-way Radio, Transceiver, HT - With Battery, Antenna, Charger, and More Electronics, sold by Karnotech on Amazon.com
    Condition: New
    Paid only $38.99

    I expect Don to show me how to use it when it arrives, lol
    You got a better price that I did but now the prices seem to be going up. The price is now about $48.99 from Karnotech and some of the accessories are going up also. If you want a radio or accessories either buy soon or watch for lower prices. They change based on the seller.

  12. #12
    Just out of curiosity, I know that the city of San Antonio recently expanded their laws regarding cell phone usage while driving, allowing only for calls with a hands-free device, be it a bluetooth/wired headset, or some speaker system integration.

    Does anyone know if this same legislation applies to the radios in this discussion? I wouldn't think they do, given the CB radios typically used by truck drivers, but has anyone had any problem with a hand-held radio and the law?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by windwalker View Post
    I have not heard about the law concerning any hand-held radios but generally we just talk for an instant alerting each other about a bike rider ahead or a turn to make so I don't think it is like staying on a cell phone for 30 minutes discussing what's for dinner.

    Hopefully we are not breaking any laws and we are trying to put the sound through the speakers and have a lapel mic for easier communication instead of having a radio at our mouth to talk into.

    The radio technology has not gone anywhere like the phone with it's Bluetooth capabilities.
    I did a little research into the San Antonio law and radios are not included. It would be a good thing to find a way to be hands free like a lapel mic to car speakers until there is an affordable Bluetooth fix for us with our radios. Most Bluetooth devices are $130-$160. Not very affordable.

    "10-4 you’re clear! Ham radio operators will not be affected by the ordinance. Truckers rejoice."
    See more at: http://www.bringyourownparts.com/san....74Y4hk1r.dpuf


    I did submit a request to Baofeng for a new design of a lapel microphone that would plug into our auxillary input of our stereo instead of an earpiece so we could talk easily from the mic and hear through our stereos. They sent the request to management but I have not heard back.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  14. #14
    Join Date
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    As of 11-26-2015 these are my latest versions of the regular UV-82 radio image map as well as the UV-82HP.
    1-10-2016 Standard Baofeng UV-82.img
    11-26-2015 Baofeng UV-82HP image - Don.img

    This is a link to get the latest version of the CHIRP program to transfer the image map to the radios.
    http://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/wiki/Home

    This is a link to the 3.2.0.0 driver that is needed for the cable to work with Windows 10 and below.
    http://www.miklor.com/COM/UV_DriverAlert.php

  15. #15
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    For those that have to get the best, there is a newer more powerful radio.

    The downside is that the radio needs an external antenna to pickup and transmit better. A magnetic mount on the trunk would be the easiest.
    The radio puts out 10 watts on low power and 20 watts on high power. It uses the same frequencies as our UV-82 handheld radios. It is very small. I bet the range is incredible.

    You can check it out at Baofengtech.com and order through Amazon. https://baofengtech.com/uv-2501

    If you want to output 45 watts check out this radio. https://baofengtech.com/uv-5001
    Same thing as our radios just a lot more powerful.
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