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Old 11-20-2016, 03:14 AM
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Default Recommendations MURS/GMRS handheld and vehicle



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Hello all, long time lurker finally posting...

First, I have researched and researched just looking for specific things. I am not an expert on radio communications outside of the military.

I'm looking for handheld radios, vehicle station, and possibly a home base station that will run MURS/GMRS (yes I will get the license). I do not wish to become a HAM operator and I may get a CB for the vehicle as well but will probably never transmit on it.

The handhelds need to be generally rugged and at least water resistant. I don't want to spend an arm and leg on handhelds but I will spend more for vehicle mount.

Upgraded portions of the handhelds is probably going to happen either way (antennas, batteries, etc.), so that is far game in the price.

These radios will be utilized for SHTF scenarios and well as training for the family or if some natural disaster happens and cell towers are maxed out (I've had this happen a few times). They will also be utilized for hunting, camping, etc.

Any and all recommendations please and thank you in advanced.
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:20 AM
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That's info I would like to hear about too
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Old 11-20-2016, 08:31 AM
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ok, for starter MURS operates on VHF, GMRS is UHF, I'll give you some info on GMRS. First unless you only need a mile or two range ,forget about the bubble pack radios sold at Academy, Bass Pro etc.
Use the GMRS channels 15-22 (these are stand alone GMRS and not the low power channels shared with FRS radios) The allowed output power on these channels is 50 watts instead of 5watts , and you can have a removable antenna, in other words a real mobile or base antenna. (I use these for our family here at our ranch instead of our business band system), the GMRS license IS required for these channels, and one license covers immediate family members.

Here is a chart with GMRS channel info http://jrabold.net/ks6m/emcomm/FRS-GMRS_channels.pdf

here is a source of GMRS base and mobile antennas. http://www.dpdproductions.com/page_gmrs.html

here is a source for mobile radios legally capable of GMRS use. http://www.gmrsoutlet.com/radios/ico...011-f5011.html

One thing to remember, when you talk more range , REAL radio GMRS you are talking more expensive equipment, not a 39 dollar bubble pack radio.
We are actually using Motorola CDM1550LS 45 watt mobiles, the same radios we use for our business band, but legal also for GMRS ch 15-22, our radio service programmed the GMRS freqs into the radios just to give you an idea, these radios are close to 800 bucks each. But the ones on that site I referenced are cheaper, you can call them and get more info .

We average about 12 miles mobile to mobile, and 18miles +-base to mobile,Base antenna is at 35ft,and is 11db gain on UHF.
This of course is in OUR AREA ,the Coastal Bend of Texas, and will vary with terrain and conditions. also remember UHF simplex(direct radio to radio) has a slightly shorter range than VHF does, just a fact you have to live with. But overall we have had good luck with out GMRS. Google GMRS and look for the info on the channels with the higher power allowed, quite a bit of info out there Hope this will be a start for you and help you out.
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:14 AM
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ok, for starter MURS operates on VHF, GMRS is UHF, I'll give you some info on GMRS. First unless you only need a mile or two range ,forget about the bubble pack radios sold at Academy, Bass Pro etc.
Use the GMRS channels 15-22 (these are stand alone GMRS and not the low power channels shared with FRS radios) The allowed output power on these channels is 50 watts instead of 5watts , and you can have a removable antenna, in other words a real mobile or base antenna. (I use these for our family here at our ranch instead of our business band system), the GMRS license IS required for these channels, and one license covers immediate family members.

Here is a chart with GMRS channel info http://jrabold.net/ks6m/emcomm/FRS-GMRS_channels.pdf

here is a source of GMRS base and mobile antennas. http://www.dpdproductions.com/page_gmrs.html

here is a source for mobile radios legally capable of GMRS use. http://www.gmrsoutlet.com/radios/ico...011-f5011.html

One thing to remember, when you talk more range , REAL radio GMRS you are talking more expensive equipment, not a 39 dollar bubble pack radio.
We are actually using Motorola CDM1550LS 45 watt mobiles, the same radios we use for our business band, but legal also for GMRS ch 15-22, our radio service programmed the GMRS freqs into the radios just to give you an idea, these radios are close to 800 bucks each. But the ones on that site I referenced are cheaper, you can call them and get more info .

We average about 12 miles mobile to mobile, and 18miles +-base to mobile,Base antenna is at 35ft,and is 11db gain on UHF.
This of course is in OUR AREA ,the Coastal Bend of Texas, and will vary with terrain and conditions. also remember UHF simplex(direct radio to radio) has a slightly shorter range than VHF does, just a fact you have to live with. But overall we have had good luck with out GMRS. Google GMRS and look for the info on the channels with the higher power allowed, quite a bit of info out there Hope this will be a start for you and help you out.
That's great info. Would you comment on why you didn't go with a VHF solution since the range potential is better?

Also, I have heard that some full powered ham handhelds can be bought or be made to operate on either GMRS or MURS. Anything you can tell us about that? For national emergancy use I'm thinking that the ability to at least receive on ham freq would be imp in order to find out what's up with the wider world. And if it is a national emergancy, we'll, forget the liscense and all anyway.
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:44 AM
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That's great info. Would you comment on why you didn't go with a VHF solution since the range potential is better?

Also, I have heard that some full powered ham handhelds can be bought or be made to operate on either GMRS or MURS. Anything you can tell us about that? For national emergancy use I'm thinking that the ability to at least receive on ham freq would be imp in order to find out what's up with the wider world. And if it is a national emergancy, we'll, forget the liscense and all anyway.
Sure. Original poster asked about MURS,GMRS. I use a GMRS setup here every day, and get very good range base to mobile. And I feel between GMRS and MURS ,GMRS offers more legal options.

Matter of fact using a mapping program I just measured a "Record" base to mobile conversation I had with my daughter who was in Corpus Christi in her suburban on GMRS channel 16, she was in a certain church parking lot so measurement was pretty exact, 31.9 miles from our ranch HQ antenna. Perfect conditions this morning, best we have done before this was 22 miles. Of Course this is pretty flat country and 3 miles of that was across Corpus Christi Bay, but still not bad!

I also use MURS, but only for some sensors located on a few gates at entrances to the ranch, and only about 1.3 miles away from our HQ. And being only 2 watts MURS has built in limitations, great for Close work though.

On the ham radio question. First a disclaimer! As far as I know ,there are NO ham radios mobile base, HT, that are "LEGAL" to transmit on MURS or GMRS with due to a radio TYPE acceptance issue , the radios must be type accepted for Murs,GMRS by the FCC, NONE ARE!

That being said,YUP, just about any Baofeng, Pofung, TYT, whatever other than the "NAME BRANDS" can be programmed for ham as well as GMRS, and MURS, AND they will transmit on these freqs(So I HAVE BEEN TOLD). And those radios all offer full 5-8 watts on the HTs, and up to 65 watts on some of the UHF mobiles and 50 watts on some dual band mobiles.

Hope this answers the question
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Old 11-20-2016, 05:15 PM
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Sure. Original poster asked about MURS,GMRS. I use a GMRS setup here every day, and get very good range base to mobile. And I feel between GMRS and MURS ,GMRS offers more legal options.

Matter of fact using a mapping program I just measured a "Record" base to mobile conversation I had with my daughter who was in Corpus Christi in her suburban on GMRS channel 16, she was in a certain church parking lot so measurement was pretty exact, 31.9 miles from our ranch HQ antenna. Perfect conditions this morning, best we have done before this was 22 miles. Of Course this is pretty flat country and 3 miles of that was across Corpus Christi Bay, but still not bad!

I also use MURS, but only for some sensors located on a few gates at entrances to the ranch, and only about 1.3 miles away from our HQ. And being only 2 watts MURS has built in limitations, great for Close work though.

On the ham radio question. First a disclaimer! As far as I know ,there are NO ham radios mobile base, HT, that are "LEGAL" to transmit on MURS or GMRS with due to a radio TYPE acceptance issue , the radios must be type accepted for Murs,GMRS by the FCC, NONE ARE!

That being said,YUP, just about any Baofeng, Pofung, TYT, whatever other than the "NAME BRANDS" can be programmed for ham as well as GMRS, and MURS, AND they will transmit on these freqs(So I HAVE BEEN TOLD). And those radios all offer full 5-8 watts on the HTs, and up to 65 watts on some of the UHF mobiles and 50 watts on some dual band mobiles.

Hope this answers the question
Yep. Thanks! That's what I was looking for. I appreciate the legality info. But for emergancy use it's legal, schemgal. For now, I'll play by the rules but for SHTF I don't care. Nice to have one set-up for longer range com with the wide world, emergancy services, and also for com with unlicensed/less-licensed family members and neighbors. I've also heard that there are some popular, higher-end Japanese HTs that can be broken and programmed for MURS or GMRS. I don't mind getting a ham lic but not for all family members and neighbors who might need to be on the local defense net. Now, if we could just manage to do all that and add good encryption.
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:42 AM
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You sir hit the nail almost completely on the head. You answered about 60% of what I was looking for. I applaud you for all this information you shared.

Moving forward, I'm sorry if it seemed I was looking to spend $40 or less on radios. I simply meant I didn't want to spend thousands of dollars for a single handleheld. I was looking in the ball park of 150-200 a handheld and probably 250-300 for a vehicle base station/home station. However, referencing the sites you provided revealed more options.

However most of the ones listed were only ICOM and Kenwood. I have experience with ICOM from the military and believe them to be very good.

So with the radios you suggested (I didn't have time to look yet, worked 14 hours today so really tired) do any have the bandwidth to do both MURS and GMRS. I would like to use MURS frequencies for close work (I.e. Squad moving to an objective), that way if someone is listening in on GMRS maybe they wouldn't pick us up.

Thanks everyone for the help and let's keep this going so I can narrow down my options and convince the wife we "need" them. Should be easy, already convinced her to move out in the woods away from society, lol.
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Old 11-21-2016, 01:01 PM
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You sir hit the nail almost completely on the head. You answered about 60% of what I was looking for. I applaud you for all this information you shared.

Moving forward, I'm sorry if it seemed I was looking to spend $40 or less on radios. I simply meant I didn't want to spend thousands of dollars for a single handleheld. I was looking in the ball park of 150-200 a handheld and probably 250-300 for a vehicle base station/home station. However, referencing the sites you provided revealed more options.

However most of the ones listed were only ICOM and Kenwood. I have experience with ICOM from the military and believe them to be very good.

So with the radios you suggested (I didn't have time to look yet, worked 14 hours today so really tired) do any have the bandwidth to do both MURS and GMRS. I would like to use MURS frequencies for close work (I.e. Squad moving to an objective), that way if someone is listening in on GMRS maybe they wouldn't pick us up.

Thanks everyone for the help and let's keep this going so I can narrow down my options and convince the wife we "need" them. Should be easy, already convinced her to move out in the woods away from society, lol.
What he said.

My concern with the cheaper Chinese HTs is, of course, quality and durability. I've heard they're amazingly good for the prices but still lacking. Might be just the ticket to buy a few of them for loaners to give out to the non-prepared in case of emergancy.

If anyone knows of which one/s are THE ONES for this purpose, specifically, a reasonably simple, versatile ham VHF unit that can also be easily configured for MURS and/or GMRS transmit and receive on high power (YES, I know it's agin thuh lawh). I'd love to know if such units exist in two flavors -- cheaper one for loaners, and a high quality unit as a rock solid command and control item. In the latter category, I've heard there is a lower end Yaesu that can be so configured.

If anyone in the RF intelligentsia might be so kind to inform us preppers who are among the radio ignorati how we might accomplish these things, we'd be so grateful. Looking for solutions that are as simple and effective as possible as I don't have time to become an expert on yet another thing. Thanks!!!
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Old 11-22-2016, 07:05 AM
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Yep. Thanks! That's what I was looking for. I appreciate the legality info. But for emergancy use it's legal, schemgal. For now, I'll play by the rules but for SHTF I don't care. Nice to have one set-up for longer range com with the wide world, emergancy services, and also for com with unlicensed/less-licensed family members and neighbors. I've also heard that there are some popular, higher-end Japanese HTs that can be broken and programmed for MURS or GMRS. I don't mind getting a ham lic but not for all family members and neighbors who might need to be on the local defense net. Now, if we could just manage to do all that and add good encryption.
Just remember your idea of an emergency and FCC idea of an emergency are two completely different things. That said we are talking GMRS, you probably can slide easier there than on Amateur radio for sure, and lets face it amateur and gmrs are such a small part of the FCC business it doesn't get a lot of money spent on it. There are I think 749000 licensed hams in the country , in the grand scheme of things That is a TINY group of people. Of course we licensed hams would never say that , LOL !!!!
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Old 11-22-2016, 07:17 AM
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What he said.

My concern with the cheaper Chinese HTs is, of course, quality and durability. I've heard they're amazingly good for the prices but still lacking. Might be just the ticket to buy a few of them for loaners to give out to the non-prepared in case of emergancy.

If anyone knows of which one/s are THE ONES for this purpose, specifically, a reasonably simple, versatile ham VHF unit that can also be easily configured for MURS and/or GMRS transmit and receive on high power (YES, I know it's agin thuh lawh). I'd love to know if such units exist in two flavors -- cheaper one for loaners, and a high quality unit as a rock solid command and control item. In the latter category, I've heard there is a lower end Yaesu that can be so configured.

If anyone in the RF intelligentsia might be so kind to inform us preppers who are among the radio ignorati how we might accomplish these things, we'd be so grateful. Looking for solutions that are as simple and effective as possible as I don't have time to become an expert on yet another thing. Thanks!!!
Well , just talking , not recommending or saying I would, or have tried it, any of the baofung, pofung type dual band mobiles ( maybe even HTs) would probably handle the freqs, just maybe not the lower power of MURS, but then in this theoretical conversation , that wouldn't matter. You would need an antenna that would handle the spread.
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Old 11-22-2016, 01:03 PM
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Sincere thanks for that 104.

Im not sure what it is, but it has seemed to me that it's far more difficult to get radio people to speak about crossing lines about radio things than it is for gun people to do the same about gun things. Maybe it's the license thing. Maybe radio people are justifiably concerned over the thought of a thousands of Bubbas fouling the radiosphere a la Citizens Band.

Anyway. Not looking to chat up the nation here. Just wanting to survive and help others do the same. And to that end, many of us are looking for the do-all (relatively speaking) radio that will allow us to at least hear from, if not speak to, the outside world in times of crisis, AND, at the same time, communicate cheaply with family members and neighbors nearby who may not be willing or able to invest in something more robust than MURS or GRMS. That is, we'd like to be able to hand out cheap HTs of some kind to the neighborhood and have a more capable broadband unit for hooking up with emergancy services and the world. And not have to carry around and manage two separate systems.

Any more specific help? Just for theoretical, educational purposes, of course.
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Old 11-22-2016, 02:45 PM
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This is an article I compiled for our HOA newsletter. Our community bought ICOM F3S LMR radios which were reprogrammed to MURS radios to equip Neighborhood Watch block captains and CERT team leaders, as well as our contract security patrol. Being able to use the radios to communicate with our security patrol is important. You can legally do this with MURS because business use is permitted, whereas doing so with GMRS or ham is not.

The low power FRS radios don't have adequate range to cover our area of operations which covers about 100 square miles. MURS with suitable antennas does.

GMRS, FRS and MURS Explained.

There is much confusion associated with 22-channel hybrid FRS/GMRS radios which are widely sold on Amazon and at Walmart, etc. The FCC says that use of 22-channel hybrids on anything other than the low power 500mw FRS only channels 8-14 requires a license.

The interstitial simplex channels 1-7 in FRS radios are shared with GMRS and transmit at higher power on these radios. So their use requires a license. This effectively limits users of hybrid FRS/GMRS radios without a license to FRS channels 8-14 ONLY, because these are the only channels in which embedded software defaults to within the FRS power limits upon transmit.

GMRS Channels 15-22 are split frequency repeater pairs and their use requires a license.

FRS-only 7-channel radios are hard to find because manufacturers and mass market distributors "push" the hybrid radios, usually with absurd claims of “30 mile range” which can legally apply only to licensed users accessing a repeater system.

There is a growing interest among Homeowner Associations and civic organizations to use inexpensive “bubble-pack” GMRS radios for neighborhood watch emergency response teams. Misconceptions are common regarding the purpose of GMRS and the potential for volunteer groups to operate the radios in a manner which results in misuse in violation of FCC rules which is incompatible with the established radio services and can put your HOA at liability for heavy fines.

Users need to understand the appropriate roles of the FRS, GMRS and other unlicensed services such as the Multi-Use Radio Service for Citizen Corps and community groups. County Offices of Emergency Management, CERT teams, Neighborhood Watch and HOA groups are appropriate best places to set up very-local FRS or MURS supplemental, emergency communications. Please take into consideration the following points as you set up your program.

General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) Definition

FCC R&R 95.1 [Definition of the GMRS]: "The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). (a) The GMRS is a land mobile radio service available to persons for short-distance two-way communications to facilitate the activities of licensees and their immediate family members. Each licensee manages a system consisting of one or more stations."
FCC R&R 95.143: "Managing a GMRS system in an emergency. (a) The stations in a GMRS system must cease transmitting when the station operator of any station on the same channel is communicating an emergency message (concerning the immediate protection of property or the safety of someone's life). (b) If necessary to communicate an emergency message from a station in a GMRS system, the licensee may permit:
(1) Anyone to be the station operator and (2) The station operator to communicate the emergency message to any radio station."

An emergency is not a planned or anticipated event, practice drill, exercise, day-to-day routine radio traffic of a service club or volunteer group. Nor is it disaster related tactical communication not immediately associated with the immediate protection of life or property.

No group organized to provide assistance to the public in an emergency is not permitted to monopolize, “own” a GMRS channel for routine communication.

Groups may not discourage authorized users others from sharing the frequency or interfere or preclude others from conducting useful personal or family communication. Groups may not reserve channels by busying-out channels through the use of frequent drills, network-like activity, dispatch operations, or conducting public safety training activities, networks etc. Such activity is inconsistent with the definition of the General Mobile Radio Service.

GMRS licensees are required to share (FCC R&R 95.7) a tiny allocation of eight repeater pairs and seven interstitial frequencies. Sharing cannot occur unless public-safety-oriented volunteer groups and their volunteers use the spectrum responsibly.

Frequently Asked Questions

"As a Neighborhood Watch or CERT volunteer may I use a GMRS radio?"

Yes, as long as you have a GMRS license.

"I have been told that since I am a CERT volunteer I do not have to obtain a GMRS license to use my twenty-two channel GMRS/FRS hybrid radio. Is that true?"

No. You must obtain a GMRS license from the FCC to use a twenty-channel hybrid. The misconception that no license is required is perpetuated by irresponsible retailers to sell more expensive “hybrid” twenty-two channel radios and places your HOA at liability for fines.

FCC: "If you operate a radio that has been approved exclusively under the rules that apply to FRS, you are not required to have a license. FRS radios have a maximum power of watt (500 milliwatt) effective radiated power and integral (non-detachable) antennas.

If you operate a radio under the rules that apply to GMRS, you must have a GMRS license. GMRS radios generally transmit at higher power levels (1 to 5 watts is typical) and may have detachable antennas. The current fee for a new GMRS license is $85"

"I was told that as long as I use the FRS channels on a twenty-two channel GMRS/FRS hybrid radio that I do not need a GMRS license. Is that true?"

No. The FCC website clearly states that if a radio was approved/certified by the Commission as a GMRS radio then the operator requires a GMRS license to operate that radio. The presumption is that you will use all of the channels in the radio not just the FRS channels. There would be no requirement to use a GMRS call sign on FRS channels 8-14 on a twenty-two channel radio; however, there may be a requirement to use a GMRS call sign on FRS 1-7 IF the 22 channel radio you own uses more than the FRS legal power of one-half watt on those channels.

An FRS-ONLY 7-channel radio requires NO FCC license, but these are hard to find these days.

From the FCC: "Before any station transmits on any channel authorized in the GMRS from any point within or over the territorial limits of any area where the FCC regulates radio services, the responsible party must obtain a license. The FCC usually grants GMRS system licenses for a five-year term. To apply for a GMRS system license, you may file online through the Universal Licensing System (ULS), or file FCC Form 605 manually. New filers can learn more about ULS in its getting started tutorials.

See Fee Requirements for FCC Form 605 for current licensing fee information.

“What are the benefits to obtaining a GMRS license? “

The benefits are many.

• You may use up to fifty-watts transmitter output power FCC R&R 95.135 on base stations and mobile units with home rooftop or vehicle rooftop antennas.

• You may use up to five watts effective radiated power on FRS 1-7

• You may have a Small Base Station FCC R&R 95.139on FRS 1-7. (Five watts ERP or less and antenna height not to exceed twenty feet.)

• You may use radios with removable antennas. Such antennas are forbidden by FCC Rules on twenty-two channel hybrid radios because these include FRS frequencies eight through fourteen.

• You may use radio repeater stations to increase your range.

"Can my CERT group reserve a GMRS channel for our use in a specific area?"

No. You are required to share this resource with other users just like everyone else does.

"May we do emergency drills on GMRS?"

Unlike the Amateur Radio Service, GMRS users may ONLY drill when asked to do so officially at the direction of a civil emergency organization. (FCC R&R 95.181(d)(3)

During drills you must continue to share the radio frequency you are using.

Limitations of FRS-only 7-channel radios (500mw with fixed antenna)

Advertising claims of range up to 30 miles apply only to licensed users of GMRS systems accessing repeater systems. When using an FRS radio which is limited to 500 milliwatts of transmitter output, using the fixed helical antenna which comes on the “bubble pack” radios from Amazon, Walmart or others, on direct unit-to-unit “simplex” (no repeater) you depend upon reliable communication only within one-half mile or so in average terrain. Longer range requires an unobstructed line of sight path between units, without blocking buildings, foliage or terrain.

FRS works best when one station is up high in the clear on a mountaintop talking to somebody down in the valley below. But if you are inside a metal vehicle talking to somebody else in a convoy, don’t depend upon hearing each other if you cannot actually SEE the other car.

MURS Advantages for HOAs, family farms and ranches, etc.

If you aren't interested in studying and taking the exam for an Amateur Radio “ham” license, the next best thing for local communication within a few miles, is the Multi-Use-Radio Service or MURS. The Business Pool VHF frequencies formerly known as the VHF “color dot” frequencies were moved from Part 90 to Part 95 of the FCC Regulations to become a new Citizens Band Radio Service for private, two-way, short-distance voice or data communications service for personal or business activities of the general public.

MURS is ideal for neighborhood, farm and ranch, small business and family emergency communications. No license is needed. Anyone is authorized by rule to operate a MURS transmitter if they are not a foreign government or a representative of a foreign government; they use the transmitter in accordance with the rules. No illegal activity, no profanity, be an adult and play nice.

An MURS station is not required to transmit a station identification announcement or callsign. The channels authorized are available on a shared basis only and may not assigned for exclusive use of any entity. Users must cooperate in the selection and use of channels in order to reduce interference and avoid interference to other MURS transmissions.

Around cities you will hear fast food drive-in windows, warehouse operations, landscapers and trash collection, building maintenance and construction site crews. The wide-band FM channels 154.57 and 154.60 get more use than the 151 Mhz. narrow-band ones.

MURS operation is authorized anywhere a CB station is authorized.

However, MURS operation is NOT authorized aboard aircraft in flight.

Unlike FRS and GMRS, MURS stations are allowed to transmit either voice or data signals, including digital selective calling or tone-operated squelch tones to establish or continue voice communications, remote control and telemetering functions, except that MURS transmitters may not be operated in the continuous carrier transmit (CW or morse code) mode.

MURS users shall take reasonable precautions to avoid causing harmful interference. This includes monitoring the transmitting frequency for communications in progress and such other measures as may be necessary to minimize the potential for causing interference. This all comes under the general heading of that the FCC calls "good operating practice." It is common sense and courtesy.

MURS stations are prohibited from operating as a repeater station or as a signal booster. This prohibition includes store-and-forward packet operation. MURS stations are prohibited from interconnection with the public switched telephone network.

The biggest advantage of MURS over FRS is that you can use a more efficient, elevated antenna with "gain" to increase your useful "radio horizon" and range. At VHF antenna height is more important than transmitter power. The higher the antenna the better the reception.

For two hand-held portables operating on flat terrain, standing in the open, without foliage, buildings or terrain obstructions, with both transceivers held at face level, theoretical line of sight is 5 miles, the best range you can hope for on simplex without improved antennas.

If the transmitting station remains standing with the transceiver held at face level, but the receiving antenna is elevated 25 feet above ground, line of sight range approximately doubles to 11 miles. If the receiving station were standing on top of a 250 foot hill the line of sight range would be about 20 miles.

The highest point of any MURS antenna is not allowed to be more than 60 feet above the ground or 20 feet above the highest point of the structure on which it is mounted.

The frequencies available in the Multi-Use Radio Service are:

Frequencies Authorized Bandwidth
151.820 MHz 11.25 KHz
151.880 MHz 11.25 KHz
151.940 MHz 11.25 KHz
154.570 MHz 20.0 KHz
154.600 MHz 20.0 KHz

Multi-Use Radio Service transmitters must be certificated in accordance with Part 95, Subpart J of the Commission’s rules. Business band land-mobile radio service radio units certificated prior to November 12, 2002 do not be re-certificated. [The ICOM F3S portables we bought satisfy this requirement]. This means that you can buy used, VHF "high-band" business radios used in the Landmobile Radio Service and have a commercial 2-way radio shop program them for you into MURS and legally use them without a license.

No MURS unit, under any condition of modulation, may exceed 2 Watts transmitter power output. This is not the handicap it may seem, because unlike FRS, there are no antenna restrictions. A 3 dB gain 5/8 wave antenna whip on your vehicle doubles effective radiated power. A mobile magnetic mount can also be used as an improvised base station antenna by placing it on a metal rain gutter, railing, or metal shed roof.

A 4-element yagi with boom length of about 1/2 wavelength (about 1 yard or meter) mounted up high and in the clear, rotated with a small TV rotor and fed with low-loss feedline such as LMR400, can reliably communicate with a similar equipped base station to 20 miles or more, given a clear line-of-sight path with no foliage, ground clutter or terrain blockage. Using a 5 db omnidirectional, commercial-grade antenna, similarly mounted up high on a building, a mobile unit having a 5/8 wave whip, installed with a good ground connection mounted over the cab of your combine or pickup can tell Momma to put dinner on the stove over about 10 miles.

https://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/mul...service-murs-0
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Old 11-22-2016, 03:20 PM
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The cheapest route would be Dakota Alert base and handhelds. If you are a little creative you could make one of the base units work in a mobile. The base can use a different antenna. The handhelds, for some totally unknown reason, use a proprietary stud mount antenna. I have not found a good way to attach a different antenna to mine.

Ritron makes several products that would work, as well.

If you can find one or more of the old Radio Shack 19-1210 mobile MURS radios they would be excellent in vehicles and/or as base stations. Discontinued many years ago, but there is an active market for them on e-bay. Sometimes.

Motorola makes handhelds. Great radios. Comparable in price with the Ritron handhelds.

I am a firm believer in MURS for prepper use. I think it has many advantages over GMRS and especially FRS. For well funded groups or families, a GMRS system with repeaters has a great deal to recommend it, but the limiting factor is the UHF band it uses. FRS the same, with all the other negatives about it. With MURS using the VHF band, I think it is a better choice for small groups or families.

Just my opinion.
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Old 11-22-2016, 03:34 PM
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Dakota Alert is what first popped up on Amazon when I looked it up. I wonder how many "ready to use" large base or long wire antennas you can buy for those, or if you'd have to roll your own?

edit: looked around, looks like some of the big antenna manufacturers make MURS antennas, since they're basically right next to the 2M band anyway.

I'm really giving MURS a long, hard look because of the no-license thing. i'm not going to convince all my family to get ham licensed. but with optimal omnidirectional roof antennas i might be able to maintain radio contact with most of my local family and neighbors, with relays working for the remainder.
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Old 11-22-2016, 03:44 PM
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Whoa. That'll take awhile to digest, but many thanks!

A quick perusal tells me that your post covers neighborhood team coms but not the desire for a single, command and control unit to speak with local teams AND hook up to the wider world of radio communication in time of emergancy. If one is setting up a small, local defense network where a coordinator doesn't have the luxury of having a dedicated radio com guy (and doesn't want to juggle a rifle, a map and two or more radios at the same time) such a radio might be very helpful. Or very possibly I'm just ignorant. A ham/MURS unit still sounds very attractive to me, esp if the unit were capable of operating on MURS at the higher HAM HT power levels. Just theoretical and educational of course.
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Old 11-22-2016, 10:39 PM
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For a GMRS mobile Midland has this one. 100% legal.

http://www.buytwowayradios.com/produ...nd-mxt100.aspx

Toss the very poor quality antenna that is included and go with a GOOD commercial grade antenna installed by someone who knows what they are doing (not someone who just thinks they do).

http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalo...b450c-817.html

You will be shocked by how well it will work for you.
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Old 11-23-2016, 01:19 AM
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Really appreciate the tips from everyone.

I've read up a bit, and I'm an EE, but almost no actual experience with RF. So, can someone tell me generally about how far, in reasonably open terrain, a 5-6 watt HT on an VHF band can reliably transmit with a decent antenna (not some fancy, fangled contraption but just a high quality wearable antenna)? The answer might give me a start for how to begin constructing a simple, neighborhood defense com net. Once I've got that down, perhaps I can begin pondering vehicular HTs and base stations.

I'm guessing that VHF is the best option for simple analog operation for dummies. Digital sounds like the big leagues and also seems more vulnerable in general. I do like how digital seems to be more encryptable. Pls feel free to correct any misconceptions on my part, but pls don't talk dirty (use too much technical radio jargon) in your responses as I don't know all the radio lingo -- yet. Thanks so much!
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Old 11-23-2016, 07:32 AM
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deleted since it doesn't really answer the OPS question, but I am making another thread using this post named 'Reality of licensed GMRS
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Old 11-23-2016, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wordmahn View Post
Really appreciate the tips from everyone.

I've read up a bit, and I'm an EE, but almost no actual experience with RF. So, can someone tell me generally about how far, in reasonably open terrain, a 5-6 watt HT on an VHF band can reliably transmit with a decent antenna (not some fancy, fangled contraption but just a high quality wearable antenna)? The answer might give me a start for how to begin constructing a simple, neighborhood defense com net. Once I've got that down, perhaps I can begin pondering vehicular HTs and base stations.

I'm guessing that VHF is the best option for simple analog operation for dummies. Digital sounds like the big leagues and also seems more vulnerable in general. I do like how digital seems to be more encryptable. Pls feel free to correct any misconceptions on my part, but pls don't talk dirty (use too much technical radio jargon) in your responses as I don't know all the radio lingo -- yet. Thanks so much!
RF propagation is a little complicated, but here are the basics. radio waves can "behave differently" depending on the wavelength. HF waves, such as those in the 4-14MHz range, can bounce off the ionosphere to get around the curvature of the earth. this is the long-range communication that can be worldwide. it however is dependent on weather, time of day, and is by no means useful for local communication, as you will get a lot of interference from all over the world.

most close-range "tactical" communications are done via VHF or UHF radios. they are considered "line of sight" and generally their propagation stops at or just beyond the horizon. they typically do not bounce, they just go through the atmosphere and are gone.

VHF tends to be superior for many uses because at that band it is usually considered more resilient to dealing with hills and foliage and the like.

Output power can help a little, but you reach a point where more power won't really help that much. thought obviously more power is better, as long as battery life isn't a major concern. However, and this cannot be stressed enough, antenna length and antenna height above ground is absolutely key. The higher the antenna, the further the antenna's horizon becomes - letting it see "further" than you can at ground level.

Anecdotally, I have hear people say that, with a 40ft-high 5/8 wave (about 3.5 feet I think?) MURS antenna they were able to talk to a guy who was just on a handheld with a whip antenna 12 miles away. Not bad for 2 watts. Now that's quite a mast to be sure, but imagine the potential range on two base stations with the same antenna height. I wouldn't be surprised to hear 25 miles of range.
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Old 11-23-2016, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinfire View Post
RF propagation is a little complicated, but here are the basics. radio waves can "behave differently" depending on the wavelength. HF waves, such as those in the 4-14MHz range, can bounce off the ionosphere to get around the curvature of the earth. this is the long-range communication that can be worldwide. it however is dependent on weather, time of day, and is by no means useful for local communication, as you will get a lot of interference from all over the world.

most close-range "tactical" communications are done via VHF or UHF radios. they are considered "line of sight" and generally their propagation stops at or just beyond the horizon. they typically do not bounce, they just go through the atmosphere and are gone.

VHF tends to be superior for many uses because at that band it is usually considered more resilient to dealing with hills and foliage and the like.

Output power can help a little, but you reach a point where more power won't really help that much. thought obviously more power is better, as long as battery life isn't a major concern. However, and this cannot be stressed enough, antenna length and antenna height above ground is absolutely key. The higher the antenna, the further the antenna's horizon becomes - letting it see "further" than you can at ground level.

Anecdotally, I have hear people say that, with a 40ft-high 5/8 wave (about 3.5 feet I think?) MURS antenna they were able to talk to a guy who was just on a handheld with a whip antenna 12 miles away. Not bad for 2 watts. Now that's quite a mast to be sure, but imagine the potential range on two base stations with the same antenna height. I wouldn't be surprised to hear 25 miles of range.
I appreciate that. I was under the impression from prior reading that while UHF does not bounce, at least some VHF does, and that therefore VHF was usually superior for range when all other things are equal. I know that with radio one can validly answer all things with "it depends," but I'm looking for generalizations here. At the moment I'm trying to envision some of the contours of what a neighborhood defense net might look like. I'm picturing, for starters, people walking around with HTs strapped on to their bodies and smallish, wearable, whip antennas. Can't walk around very easily with a mast. So with said HTs maxed out on whatever band works best and with said antennas, I'm wondering ABOUT how far could one expect to transmit? An approximate range. I'm guessing that across the street or five doors down the block wouldn't be too much to expect. How much would? Again, I'm speaking of fairly open rural terrain, not NYC. Would one mile be optimistic? How about two? How about five? Or...what?

If the answer is something like a mile or two at best, then I'll know that higher powered vehicle mounted units will need to be a larger part of the picture, which is something I already suspect. I'm ultimately looking to cover maybe a 3 mile radius at the least. Would handhelds be likely to cover that far or is that probably pushing it? Ideally I would like the ability to eventually transmit and receive from this general area to a town some 8 miles distant as the crow flies. I'm guessing that that is more like car mounted radio territory.

Any help?
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