going CB-GMRS - JeepForum.com
 3Likes
  • 1 Post By prerunner1982
  • 1 Post By Jerry Bransford
  • 1 Post By Jerry Bransford
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 9 Old 11-19-2019, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
Ross
Registered User
2001 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 14,745
going CB-GMRS

CB antennas are not holding up in the woods.

I have had a little GMRS Baofeng radio for a while now. It is a 4 watt. I use it on channel 4 which from my understanding is actual FRS. I am in it for maybe $50 including hand mic and antenna. It has a little 6" magnetic antenna stuck to the inside windshield frame seems to performs as well as my CB that has a tuned antenna and more expensive. I like Baofeng radio because it will work with our little midland FRS 2 watt handheld with works great for fishing and kayaking and even "good enough" for trial rides but I want something mounted and hardwired.

Many in the group have these little Baofeng radios and a variety of the midland type FRS handhelds we all hang on channel 4, FRS I believe.

We are not in the flattest terrain and heavily wooded. I am assuming this will limit the range of GMRS/FRS. While more powerful radios and longer antennas overcome this or is terrain boing to be the limiting factor?

My understanding is the lower channels 1-7 (low power) on GMRS radio are actual FRS and people shouldn't need a license to broadcast on them? Along with FRS being limited to 2 watts I thought the radios can not have removeable antennas? The hardwired GMRS radios that have the lower channels (I believe they are FRS) but also have removeable antennas.


01TJ33sWarn,ARBs F&R,bellyup,4.0,4.56s,5spd
99 XJ33sWinch,Electric locker up front,4.56s,4.0Auto
Ross is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 9 Old 11-19-2019, 12:40 PM
prerunner1982
Registered User
 
prerunner1982's Avatar
1993 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Edmond, OK
Posts: 356
GMRS is a good upgrade from CB as long as everyone you wheel with also use them.
FRS and GMRS now share all channels except repeater inputs, though not all radios currently on the market may be up to those new rules.
FRS is 2 watts or less, GMRS is more than 2 watts up to 50 watts. Certain channels have watt limits though regardless of FRS or GMRS.
1-7: FRS 2 watts, GMRS 5 watts.
8-14: FRS/GMRS .5 watts
15-22: FRS 2 watts, GMRS 50 watts.

FRS are handhelds without removable antennas.
GMRS can be handheld or mobile.

Midland has a nice selection of GMRS mobile radios. B-Tech recently came out with a 50 watt mobile GMRS radio for a decent price compared to the 40 watt Midland.

Terrain will always be a factor and in line of sight communication, power just isn't going to make up for a big mountain in your way. Though it can help some if you are at the fringe of say a repeaters coverage area or of a simplex contact or maybe help push through some of that vegetation. Vegetation will cause loss however that loss will be less during the fall/winter due to the lack of leaves. The type of tree and it's leaf type, density, and moisture content as well as the movement of the leaves due to wind can have some impact on the attenuation/distortion of the signal. The higher in frequency you go, the worse it gets. CB is a lower frequency so it won't be effected quite as much as GMRS will be. VHF (2 meter ham or MURS) radios work a bit better than GMRS (UHF) in wooded terrain.
Antenna height it key for talking over a distance. If you are going to be in the same area for a period of time (camping, fishing, etc) a portable GMRS repeater on a nearby mountain top would be good or get your ham radio license and use a ham radio repeater.

I still feel GMRS is a step up from CB. A short CB antenna is a compromise...mounted on the side/rear of the vehicle down low...another compromise, high SWR....yet another compromise.... and you just aren't going to get very far. You may have your CB set up well but if everyone else you are talking to does not comms are going to suffer.
GMRS has a smaller antenna that can more easily be mounted on top of the vehicle, the antenna requires less ground plane, rarely does the SWR need to be checked/set, is FM so it has better audio and is not as susceptible to environmental RFI, can work with FRS handhelds, and more power if you need it.
The only things CB has going for it is that there isn't a license and it's still the most common form of communication used off road.
Ross likes this.

Jon
1993 XJ Sport 2 door
prerunner1982 is offline  
post #3 of 9 Old 11-19-2019, 02:31 PM
Jerry Bransford
Administrator
 
Jerry Bransford's Avatar
2004 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Escondido, California
Posts: 71,727
As above, GMRS is a good upgrade but ONLY if all your buddies and the locals you wheel with are also running GMRS which would be unusual. More common and popular are CB and ham radios... ya gotta run what everyone else runs, not something few others run or it'll be a waste. Like learning how to speak Farsi to go visit Brazil... nice to know but totally useless there.
Ross likes this.

When you have a choice, buy American made.
Jerry Bransford is offline  
 
post #4 of 9 Old 11-20-2019, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
Ross
Registered User
2001 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 14,745
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
As above, GMRS is a good upgrade but ONLY if all your buddies and the locals you wheel with are also running GMRS which would be unusual. More common and popular are CB and ham radios... ya gotta run what everyone else runs, not something few others run or it'll be a waste. Like learning how to speak Farsi to go visit Brazil... nice to know but totally useless there.
And it seems to be changing over night.

I linked up with a friend a couple weekends back. Apparently him and a few others in the group had gotten the little Baofengs a while back. I have one because another group I wheel with uses them and FRS walkie talkies.

We have wheeled together for a while and only used CBs, we never discussed other types of comms because our CBs worked just fine. Until that day.

We were doing our radio checks with the CBs only to realize his didn't work anymore. My buddy pulls out a little Baofeng and says "to bad you don't have one of these" and pulled out his little Baofeng and I said but I do and pulled out my little Baofeng only to realize the battery was dead.

Now that it seems GMRS /FRS is quickly becoming the standard in the two groups I wheel with. I want mounted hardwired radio that works when I need it and I am tired of broken antennas*.

I have no issues with my CB but like stated above, "ya gotta run what everyone else runs".

*Antennas?? From what I have read is that GMRS /FRS don't need as much ground plan and can smaller than CB antennas, is that true?

01TJ33sWarn,ARBs F&R,bellyup,4.0,4.56s,5spd
99 XJ33sWinch,Electric locker up front,4.56s,4.0Auto
Ross is online now  
post #5 of 9 Old 11-20-2019, 04:56 PM
Jerry Bransford
Administrator
 
Jerry Bransford's Avatar
2004 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Escondido, California
Posts: 71,727
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross View Post
*Antennas?? From what I have read is that GMRS /FRS don't need as much ground plan and can smaller than CB antennas, is that true?
The higher the frequency, the smaller the antenna. CB is a relatively low frequency, GMRS and ham radios operate at a significantly higher frequency. If you want something in addition to your CB, I'd definitely go with a 2m ham radio that can transmit with far more power and has the ability to have its signal spread over huge areas by repeaters that are all over the US. There are few areas where you can't connect a 2m ham radio to a repeater.

As an old radio guy I consider FMRS more of something like you'd use to communicate between family members at Disneyland. FMRS just isn't a popular offroad mode while ham and CB radios are.

But even though I have both ham and CB radios in my Jeep I will use the CB 9 times out of 10 and the ham 1 out of 10 times.

Here's an old photo right after my last installation of a dual radio setup, CB and a 2 meter ham radio. And yep you can get little tiny cheap handheld 2 meter ham radios the size of a GMRS. There are other ham bands even higher than 2 meters so some prefer dual-band ham radios so they have more than just 2 meters. I'm personally satisfied with my single band 2 meter radio, I never needed anything beside it and my CB. GMRS is just far more limited than other options, especially when you like to go to big 4x4 events and run the trails where the radios in use will be CB and ham.
Attached Images
 
Ross likes this.

When you have a choice, buy American made.
Jerry Bransford is offline  
post #6 of 9 Old 11-20-2019, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
Ross
Registered User
2001 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 14,745
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
The higher the frequency, the smaller the antenna. CB is a relatively low frequency, GMRS and ham radios operate at a significantly higher frequency. If you want something in addition to your CB, I'd definitely go with a 2m ham radio that can transmit with far more power and has the ability to have its signal spread over huge areas by repeaters that are all over the US. There are few areas where you can't connect a 2m ham radio to a repeater.

As an old radio guy I consider FMRS more of something like you'd use to communicate between family members at Disneyland. FMRS just isn't a popular offroad mode while ham and CB radios are.

But even though I have both ham and CB radios in my Jeep I will use the CB 9 times out of 10 and the ham 1 out of 10 times.

Here's an old photo right after my last installation of a dual radio setup, CB and a 2 meter ham radio. And yep you can get little tiny cheap handheld 2 meter ham radios the size of a GMRS. There are other ham bands even higher than 2 meters so some prefer dual-band ham radios so they have more than just 2 meters. I'm personally satisfied with my single band 2 meter radio, I never needed anything beside it and my CB. GMRS is just far more limited than other options, especially when you like to go to big 4x4 events and run the trails where the radios in use will be CB and ham.
You are trying to suck me into another hobby.

FRS popular here because there is a Walmart between everybody's home and the trail head.

The newbies don't buy CBs. Those that want better seem to be going GMRS/FRS radios. The little Baofang seem to be popping up like weeds. CB is disappearing out my way.


I avoid the big club park thing like the plague so radio traffic isn't an issue.

01TJ33sWarn,ARBs F&R,bellyup,4.0,4.56s,5spd
99 XJ33sWinch,Electric locker up front,4.56s,4.0Auto
Ross is online now  
post #7 of 9 Old 11-20-2019, 09:54 PM
wildbill23c
Registered User
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 390
I have a CB, GMRS, and a Tri-Band Ham Radio...the only one in my truck is the Ham Radio because I don't really use any of them much, the Ham Radio gets far more traffic though than the CB and GMRS, plus i can monitor emergency traffic with the Ham Radio where you can't with CB or GMRS. I do monitor the CB and GMRS as well when they're installed but hardly anyone uses the CB anymore and unless you know what channel(s) to monitor on GMRS they're pretty useless because not only do you have the primary channel with GMRS you also have a 2nd "privacy" channel which splits the primary channel into several sub-channels.

My GMRS antenna is only like 6 inches tall, my Ham Radio antenna is a tri-Band which is about 5 inches tall its a little black one you see on a lot of police and other emergency vehicles works great and I have mine magnet mounted to the roof of the truck, I hate drilling holes in vehicles so the magnet mount works great, plus I can swap out to my 5 foot TRAM antenna if I really need to reach out there. When I had my CB installed in my truck with my 5 foot TRAM antenna I'd pickup truckers on the interstate about 35-40 miles away...pretty dang good for a CB...never tried to contact them though so not sure if I had enough range to talk to them or not, should have tried LOL. A CB though is mostly a close proximity use anyhow, and GMRS is as well more line of sight type thing.

CB and GMRS are pretty restricted to your output power where with the right Ham Radio license you can crank the power up as high as you need to make a contact and in an emergency of course all bets are off, you do what you need regardless of license. Even if you don't have a Ham license you are always welcome to carry any Ham Radio you want, you can listen but can't key the mike...with them you are far more likely to get a hold of someone that's monitoring one of the nationwide frequencies and in an emergency nobody is gonna give a crap if you got a license or not LOL. I keep my radio on anytime I'm in the truck and have assisted with a couple of wrecks in the town I live in helping direct traffic for first responders they don't usually need the help but when they are stretched thin with a lot of calls when someone pulls up with a safety vest and light to help they're happy LOL.

Yep Ham radio is a fun hobby and a lot can be done digitally over the air now using a computer, no internet access needed, just software on the computer and connected to the radio and you can send and receive messages just like text messaging, and some allow you to send files and pictures as well...you can really go broke in this hobby HAHA!!
wildbill23c is offline  
post #8 of 9 Old 11-22-2019, 01:19 PM
RadarCoyote
Registered User
 
RadarCoyote's Avatar
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Murfreesboro
Posts: 26
Garage
If I remember right CB's legal limit is 4 watts but most radios are out the factory out out from 2-3.5 watts at most to avoid the chance of an FCC employee buying one and turning right around to fine said company for their radios being not in compliance.
I've had one for a hot minute and the things I've learned is what pretty much what everyone else is saying. "Line of Sight is key!" but to add on to that is if you have a cheap kit. Ex: a Walmart radio with a Walmart antenna you won't get much reach.
I've heard that Uniden's Bearcat CBs are excellent and the SSB on the 980's can pump out up to 12 watts.
Another note is maintence, especially if you have a FireStik II. Make sure your connections are clean and tight because vibrations will loosen something. Even if you don't feel them.
Make sure your antenna is still tuned right. I've had to readjust mine ever so slightly over the months. As a side note, invest in a in-line SWR meter. (1.I don't trust the built in meter, 2. Always good to have second opinions)
Also and I know it sounds silly but a good quality cable can give you a subtle boost in both receiving and transmitting.
Finally, it may be hard to find them but track down a reputable shop to tune and peak your CB. I did after I got my 980 and its been running like greased lightning. (that said ymmv )

That's my 2 cents if you want to keep with it for a while longer. I already have an interest in Ham radio but I don't know if I can do three expensive hobbies.

Sent from my Phone 2 using Tapatalk
RadarCoyote is offline  
post #9 of 9 Old 11-22-2019, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
Ross
Registered User
2001 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 14,745
I got this radio:

QYT KT-8900 Mini Dual Band Mobile Transceiver 2M 136-174MHz/70cm 400-480MHz 25W Amateur Car Radio (HAM)

and this antenna:

Dualband Mobile Antenna 2m/70cm VHF/UHF Ham Radio, 137-149, 437-480 Mhz, Magnet Base PL-259 Connector, 10 Ft RG58 Cable


And I have a friend who is trying to convince me, and he may succeed, to go to a local ham class Club meeting.

01TJ33sWarn,ARBs F&R,bellyup,4.0,4.56s,5spd
99 XJ33sWinch,Electric locker up front,4.56s,4.0Auto
Ross is online now  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the JeepForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid e-mail address for yourself.



Email Address:
OR

Log-in











Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome