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-   -   Help with a radio setup (https://www.snowest.com/forum/showthread.php?t=421369)

Trevor83T 12-05-2016 10:30 AM

Help with a radio setup
 
I am looking into getting radio setup for my riding group. I have been reading through here and looking at alot of different options. Right now I am thinking about going the Baofeng route due to the price point and verstility of them. (Need to keep this as low as possible)

But I have been trying to research as much as possible on the different rule and regulations with these radios and have having some trouble finding simple straight forward information for a newbie to the radio world.

Basically I'm looking for a good radio setup that our group can talk to eachother within close distances, (trying to find a guy stuck in trees or split up somehwere). And it would be nice to have some sort of option for long distance comms in case of emergency also.

With the Baofengs which model and frequencies would be my best option for me having no radio licensing whatsoever without the possibility of interfering with others and ending up in some potential trouble?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Drewd 12-05-2016 11:30 AM

The Baofeng UV82 and UV5R variants can be programmed for FRS and GMRS frequencies in their memories.

http://www.aceforums.net/forum/20-ac...on-system.html

Trevor83T 12-05-2016 11:54 AM

Any pros-cons to either of those models or would they both be a good choice? They are pretty much the two I was trying to decide between.

christopher 12-05-2016 12:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trevor83T (Post 4010538)
I am looking into getting radio setup for my riding group. I have been reading through here and looking at alot of different options. Right now I am thinking about going the Baofeng route due to the price point and verstility of them. (Need to keep this as low as possible)

But I have been trying to research as much as possible on the different rule and regulations with these radios and have having some trouble finding simple straight forward information for a newbie to the radio world.

Basically I'm looking for a good radio setup that our group can talk to eachother within close distances, (trying to find a guy stuck in trees or split up somehwere). And it would be nice to have some sort of option for long distance comms in case of emergency also.

With the Baofengs which model and frequencies would be my best option for me having no radio licensing whatsoever without the possibility of interfering with others and ending up in some potential trouble?

Any advice would be appreciated.

If you are not in a URGENT rush to make a decision, hang tight for a couple days.

I am starting a new Install and Review article on the SCALA PACK TALK system for sled to sled communications. I am a Extra Class HAM radio operator so I do in fact have a pretty good handle on how comms work.

I am "Hopeful" that this new system will be useful for us in a real world situation. Will be installing 3 units tonight, and testing them this weekend at Togwotee.



In general though.
In the mountains, there is simply NOTHING that beats Radiated Power.

WATTS + ANTENNA = BEST POSSIBLE communications in the mountains and in the heavy forests.

anything with more than just a few watts legally "requires" a HAM license. And yes I know full well that most sledders just ignore this federal regulation and blast right along hoping the FCC will never catch them. I got it..

FRS Radios = 0.5 Watts
GMRS Radios = 5.0 Watts

HAM Radios (Handheld Walkie-Talkie Style) 10 Watts is about MAX you are going to find on anything you would consider "Affordable". I use 600 watts and can crank it up to 1,500 watts if needed.

The other BIG advantage that the HAM style radios offers you is a MUCH MUCH better ANTENNA!

If you decide to go the route of the cheap Chinese Baefong style radios, do yourself a favor and spend some coin on the best antenna you can get. It WILL make a noticeable difference!

Trevor83T 12-05-2016 12:20 PM

Although the Packtalk system looks very nice I don't think I can talk my group into dishing out that much coin for them at this point. Looking to stick to the basics for right now, not really even looking for something integrated into the helmets necessarily, just something to have with us to use if needed.

Drewd 12-05-2016 01:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trevor83T (Post 4010607)
Although the Packtalk system looks very nice I don't think I can talk my group into dishing out that much coin for them at this point. Looking to stick to the basics for right now, not really even looking for something integrated into the helmets necessarily, just something to have with us to use if needed.

I think the Packtalk would be great for a group riding together but for one on one riding, the 1 mile range is rather limiting. The reviews online of this sytem do state that it is feature heavy and complicated to understand all of the features-not sure what they mean by that.

I'm seeing pricing of about $245 plus shipping and possibly tax for each unit. You can buy a lot of Baofeng's for this amount.

A Baofeng costs about $28, add a Nagoya Antenna $10, add another $20 for a helmet mounted speaker/mic system with a PTT velcroed onto your front avi backpack strap, and you have a system with better range and better capability with ability to transmit on SAR/EMT/Sheriff's Office, and in a real emergency use Ham Radio repeaters. The Baofeng also have weather radio reception capability which I have found very helpful while on day long ATV rides in the backcountry.

If you are riding in am area with FM radio reception, the BF radios can be dialed to FM stations too, have a nice LED flashlight, and do most of what you want them to do except make you a better rider.

If you don't want a helmet mounted mic/speakers, a speaker handheld microphone works great and tolerates getting wet. Cost for one is about $8. The speaker mic allows you to mount the the bulkier radio out of the elements.

BTW, I'm a Ham too and got my Extra 38 years ago at age 9 back in the day when you had to know Morse Code, 20 words per minute minimum if I recall for the Extra license.
73's
KX1J

Yes, the BFs aren't technically legal for FRS/GMRS because they have a detachable antenna and can emit more than allowable wattage on the FRS/GMRS frequencies. If that bothers you, a GMRS radio license is cheap and easy to get and then you don't have to worry about legality on GMRS frequencies. I use Ham frequencies when ATVing with family members who are also Hams and use GMRS at 1/2 watt with non-licensed folks....removable antenna still a no go but I doubt the FCC police will stop unlicensed folks to do antenna checks.

https://www.fcc.gov/general/general-...o-service-gmrs

Trevor83T 12-05-2016 01:37 PM

So besides the fact of the wattage and removable antenna, from what I gathered on that FCC page at the very bottom the Baofeng could be operated on the FRS channels 8-14 without any licensing?

christopher 12-05-2016 04:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drewd (Post 4010631)

BTW, I'm a Ham too and got my Extra 38 years ago at age 9 back in the day when you had to know Morse Code, 20 words per minute minimum if I recall for the Extra license.
73's
KX1J

HOLY COW
You got your EXTRA at 9 years old???
W7AVW

Drewd 12-05-2016 11:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by christopher (Post 4010728)
HOLY COW
You got your EXTRA at 9 years old???
W7AVW

I had to learn algebra first and then it took a lot of studying before I attempted the exam. Morse code was fairly easy as I used it all of the time due to the fact I stuttered when I spoke and didn't feel comfortable on the voice bands.

Coolest memory I had was building a 2 meter directional flat dish antenna so I could make contact with a Ham on the space shuttle when I was a young teen. It was a good hobby to be into as video games were fairly new and the interweb hadn't been invented by Al Gore yet.

I think the tech behind the Scala is pretty darn neat! Having duplex comms is a nice feature too. I look forward to your review of the Scala.

Drewd 12-05-2016 11:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trevor83T (Post 4010649)
So besides the fact of the wattage and removable antenna, from what I gathered on that FCC page at the very bottom the Baofeng could be operated on the FRS channels 8-14 without any licensing?

Don't get wrapped up with the legality....thousands of folks are using the Baofeng although they are technically not legal for use on FRS and require a license on GMRS to be legal.

The reason is as follows:

FRS radios must not emit more than 1/2 watt and must have an integrated (meaning not removable) antenna. The baofeng emits more than 1/2 watt and has a removeable antenna.

Here is what the FCC says verbatim: If you operate a radio that has been approved for both FRS and GMRS, and if you limit your operations to the FRS channels with a maximum power of watt effective radiated power and an integral antenna, you are not required to have a license.

I wouldn't worry about using the BF radios for FRS, GMRS, or even MURS frequencies. I may start using MURS frequencies next season because I'm starting to hear more traffic on the FRS/GMRS frequencies when I ride with non-Ham types.

I'd be more worried about getting a speeding ticket then whether or not a BF radio should be used on FRS/GMRS or MURS frequencies. At least with speeding, Mr Trooper is looking to catch you. Mr. FCC has bigger fish to fry then a backcountry sledder who is not interfering with other communications.

Trevor83T 12-06-2016 08:13 AM

Thanks for the help guys! Hopefully Ill be getting something ordered here in the next day or so.

blastco2 12-19-2016 04:17 AM

Drewd and christopher are right on the money about using a good antenna. In my experiance, the best antenna for the money is the 7"ish baofeng. The 4" that comes with most of the cheaper radios is nothing but a dummy load (non radiating antenna replacement used for testing).

I have my group outfitted with the bf888s and speaker mics. I also carry a bf-f8hp with the extended battery. It is used for aprs and emergency comms, if needed.

Side note, mostly for drewd and christopher..... I think it would be very useful in the aprs world, to have a mapping app like backcountry navigator, that would take the info from aprsdroid and display it on a real topo map.....

christopher 12-19-2016 12:57 PM

For my fellow HAMS..

Just thinking outloud here.

I wonder if we could rig up a SOFT antenna.
Say just a simple tuned length of high quality copper wire that we could "Dangle" from a backpack. Maybe 1/4 or 1/5th wave length on the 2m band.

I can't see any way of using any manner of conventional antenna when sledding due to high probability of Roll-Over and snapping the antenna.

But would we possibly pick up a few dB from something creative??

blastco2 12-19-2016 01:29 PM

Dang it... now you got me thinking....it sometimes hurts.
A 1\4 wave dipole would maybe fit inside a pack? Short piece of coax to the radio.... inverted u ? Dang it.... another project... would that resonate on 440?:light::face-icon-small-hap

Or, would a simple counterpoise be just as effective? So many ?'s.......

christopher 12-19-2016 05:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blastco2 (Post 4018287)
Dang it... now you got me thinking....it sometimes hurts.
A 1\4 wave dipole would maybe fit inside a pack? Short piece of coax to the radio.... inverted u ? Dang it.... another project... would that resonate on 440?:light::face-icon-small-hap

Or, would a simple counterpoise be just as effective? So many ?'s.......

Yup
That is the DANGER of anything to do with HAM radio.
It gets you THINKING and then its a freaking RABBIT HOLE...:face-icon-small-hap

Drewd 12-19-2016 10:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by christopher (Post 4018445)
Yup
That is the DANGER of anything to do with HAM radio.
It gets you THINKING and then its a freaking RABBIT HOLE...:face-icon-small-hap

I have a 6 element high gain Yagi antenna sticking out of my backpack that doubles up as a shovel if needed :face-icon-small-ton

I like my nagoya 15.6 inch whip. It seems to work nice and is fairly flexible.

Tedi 12-20-2016 10:13 AM

Hm that sounds solid. Got to try that out sometime.

christopher 12-20-2016 11:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drewd (Post 4018614)
I have a 6 element high gain Yagi antenna sticking out of my backpack that doubles up as a shovel if needed :face-icon-small-ton

Now that is a beautiful thing!

blastco2 12-23-2016 01:15 PM

I tried a nagoya 771.... from my home, the sawtell repeater (vhf, part of the intermountain intertie, nearly always has traffic), about 60 miles, on my base is full quiet, on a bff8hp with stock antenna, some steam indoors, full quiet outside. With the 771, not there indoors, steamy outside. I use the stock 7" ish antenna. And I did switch things up, different radio same model, swapped antennas, ect. On miklor.com there is a table with about 30 antenna test results. The 4" ish baofeng is at the bottom. The 7" ish is 3rd or 4th from the top. My experience agrees with the testers results. Maybe the 771 that I got was a counterfeit? The packaging and labeling seem legit....

While giving thought to the dipole thing..... I was wondering if the shovel and handle could be used as the elements of a dipole..... never really gave it serious consideration...:face-icon-small-win

I'm still considering the dipole thing....to busy riding to do anything about it....

Rode pinochle area 2 days ago. Check "Moody Powder Pushers" on FB for pics.

Here is the link to john miklor`s antenna info. There is a link there to the antenna performance chart. http://www.miklor.com/COM/UV_Antennas.php

Kg7otl
Wqsr556

blastco2 12-23-2016 01:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trevor83T (Post 4010649)
So besides the fact of the wattage and removable antenna, from what I gathered on that FCC page at the very bottom the Baofeng could be operated on the FRS channels 8-14 without any licensing?

You are catching on..... I use the bf888s and progam with the gmrs channels. We use ch 7 wide band with a 100hz tone.

christopher 12-23-2016 02:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blastco2 (Post 4020389)

While giving thought to the dipole thing..... I was wondering if the shovel and handle could be used as the elements of a dipole..... never really gave it serious consideration...:face-icon-small-win

I'm still considering the dipole thing....to busy riding to do anything about it....

Kg7otl
Wqsr556

If you pull it off, I WANT PICS!!!!!!

blastco2 12-23-2016 09:54 PM

After talking to elmer, the dipole thing will be later in season or summer. I am going to do a counterpoise. Its easy and cheap..... then I'm concentrating on aprs. Lgv10, mobilinkd tnc, bff8hp. I've used it mobile in my pu and atv, now going to run it on the sled. There is a digipeater on relay ridge and another near alpine.

For those that may be following this and thinking of going the cheap chinese radio route, do not buy the baofeng speaker mics that are teardrop shaped. Choose the mics that have more of a square shape. They can be had for about $15. Much better tx audio.

blastco2 01-15-2017 08:24 PM

Christopher and Drewd
I've been using a baofeng uv6 with a btech speaker mic and a diamond srfj40a. Works very well! So well that other members of my group are asking me to set them up the same. It is a bit more money than the 888 but works so much better.

Question for you. Will the cord of a speaker mic act as a counterpoise?

Story about a group without radios.
Near Bear Lake, a group of 6 good riders. These guys travel as lite as possible....nothing extra. Beacon, probe, shovel, avi pack, lunch. The 2 best riders dropped into a he]] hole. They made it back out with great difficulty. In the mean time, the 2 least capable riders decided to drop in also. They couldn't get out. Spent tne night. 4 very good riders dropped in the next day. Found the lost riders. Made their way out the bottom with very great difficulty. This event involved 30+ sar people. Many extremely worried friends and family. Ect. All the trouble can be blamed on lack of communication. The first 2 to drop in could have radioed to the rest of the group to, not follow. This would have never happened if, radios had been used.

AMAX 01-18-2017 02:44 PM

I just picked up some of the Baofeng 888 radios with the cheap speaker mics and found out that night that my brother bought us a set of the BCLinks.

The BC Links seem like great quality and user friendly. The Baofengs work fine and should result in more range but our group is usually pretty close to each other so I think the BC Links will do great. I might grab some of the better Baofeng models to play with since they are so inexpensive and capable.

Programming the Baofengs takes a little bit, but not too bad. I couldn't get my Win 7 PC to accept drivers for the FTDI cable but it went pretty smooth on my Mac. I programmed them to normal FRS/GMRS on 1-15 and channel 16 to channel "F" on the BC Links. Channel "A" on the BC Links is the same as "1" so we have two options if one channel is busy. I used "CHIRP" to program with.

The cheap Baofeng speaker mics aren't very good so I'll be looking for a better quality option thats also waterproof.

Of course the Baofengs are for emergency use only since they don't conform to the rules :spy:

blastco2 01-19-2017 03:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AMAX (Post 4033120)
I just picked up some of the Baofeng 888 radios with the cheap speaker mics and found out that night that my brother bought us a set of the BCLinks.

The BC Links seem like great quality and user friendly. The Baofengs work fine and should result in more range but our group is usually pretty close to each other so I think the BC Links will do great. I might grab some of the better Baofeng models to play with since they are so inexpensive and capable.

Programming the Baofengs takes a little bit, but not too bad. I couldn't get my Win 7 PC to accept drivers for the FTDI cable but it went pretty smooth on my Mac. I programmed them to normal FRS/GMRS on 1-15 and channel 16 to channel "F" on the BC Links. Channel "A" on the BC Links is the same as "1" so we have two options if one channel is busy. I used "CHIRP" to program with.

The cheap Baofeng speaker mics aren't very good so I'll be looking for a better quality option thats also waterproof.

Of course the Baofengs are for emergency use only since they don't conform to the rules :spy:

Go for the btech water proof. It runs a little less than 25.


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