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FlyLeaf Rocks!!
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Is there any way to boost the range of a Motorola Talkabout t9500. This walkie-talkie claims to already have a range of "35 km", but I checked it out and that's only if you are transmitting from an area of very high elevation (mountain) to an area at about sea level. The range on flat gorund is something like 5-6 km.

I was wondering if there was some way to boost the range of the radio like adding a longer antenna or an amplifier or something like that. I'm pretty new to the whole radio racket so please don't go into too much detail. ;)

Thank's a lot guys!
 

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Unfortunately modifying an FRS radio is illegal. Thats why they come with a fixed/non- removable antenna and they are limited to how much output (i.e. wattage) they can produce. In a SHTF scenario the above point is moot. In reality, a HAM radio license is easy to get and the radios are relatively cheap. Also, the infrastructure is already in place to support them. I studied the book and took the practice tests on qrz.com. Found a local place that gave the test, it took me 6 mins and another 10 mins to fill out the paperwork. 2 weeks later my call sign appeared on the FCC database and I was on my way. Not to mention the fact that HAMS are all over the EMS/Emergency mgmt units nationwide. Lots of free information and learning experiences. Just a thought, hope that helped. Jeff KE5UBQ
 

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Good Bye
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Bushpukko is 100% correct. while the handheld hams aren't as cheap as the "walkie talkies" they have the ability to reach out a lot further. Also, you can make portable antennas that are easy to store in a small pouch. you can make a fold up antenna with some 300 ohm twin lead TV antenna wire, and use some fishing line, or twine to pull it up into a tree top. it's absolutely amazing what a small height difference on an antenna will do for your range. Heck, in the last ARRL magazine that I got they had a designt for making a high gain directional antenna that your handheld attaches to, and you can actually bounce off of sattelites with it.

ham is neat, and getting the license is very cheap. the test and license is 14$. You can study for it online for free, or buy the book for around 30$. For the book and license it's less than 40$. Your license is good for 10 years! renewing the license is FREE! that means that unless you want to get a higher grade license, you're good for life with that 14$ first license, and free 10 year renewals.
 
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Absolutly agreed 100%!! Get your HAM radio licence! It is one of the best things you can do in preparing you and your family for ANY sort of disaster. And you can even pick up used equipment from a hamfest (sort of like a fleamarket only all radio equipment) for what you would spend on a couple of FRS/GRMS radios.

Point in case: In 05 maybe early 06 I had want to a hamfest in Phoenix AZ. I wasent planning on going but was talked into it by a buddy. At this hamfest I won a lottery drawing (only a buck and supports local repeater ops) and won a book concerning highend homebrew antenna design. I purchased a Icom V-8000 bearly used for $65. This is a 75 watt output 2meter mobile transceiver 144-148 transmit 136-174mhz receive. I also picked up an older Kenwood 2meter handitalkie with mike base amplifier and manual for 10 BUCKS!

One of the most important things you will need to do if TSHF is have the ability to gather intell and that means communication. IMO the best way of being able to do that is to become a HAM.

It really is easy. In one of the clubs I used to belong to one of the extra class HAMS was totally BLIND. No vision whatsoever. If he can pass the test anyone can!! All it takes is a small amount of effort and desire and it can be done.

Don't get me wrong because FRS has it's place, but I would not trust my life to FRS. It's ok if your out shopping or a couple of cars going down the freeway to keep in contact with each other but has definite drawbacks. On the other hand, I would (and so have many, many others put their fate in the reliability,and capability of amateur radio.

Hope this helps.

Check out the arrl and qrz. Also eham and look for any local radio clubs. Do a google search.

73's
keilo delta seven victor romeo zulu
KD7VRZ
 

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Communications Bunker
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If you want a UHF radio that is compatible with FRS radios consider getting a GMRS license. The first 7 FRS channels are shared with the GMRS service and GMRS licensees can run up to 5 watts and have decent antennas on those frequencies. Also, you can study the rules, theory and the crap that has been recently added to the license exam and get an Amateur Radio License. If all you want is communications amongst you and your family then spring for the $85 GMRS license, no test required. If you want usable communications that are already developed and in place for SHTF situations get an Amateur ticket. You cannot mod an FRS radio legally. Also, even though many people illegally use Marine Band radios on land, its best not to do that. The FCC issues licenses to public safety organizations on marine band channels when the station will be far enough away from a waterway not to cause interference. If you do an FCC search for some of the channels of the marine band you can find police and rescue agencies assigned to those frequencies. Not a risk worth taking, especially when you may have the jack-boot of "its for your own safety" coming down on you.
 
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