FRS Two Way Radio Communication While Cycling

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Grenouil, Mar 22, 2003.

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  1. Grenouil

    Grenouil Guest

    Has anyone experimented with FRS radios to communicate while cycling? If so, what brands/models? I'm
    assuming that a model with hands free voice activation would be needed as opposed to "push to talk",
    but don't know how reliable that would be.
     
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  2. Keith

    Keith Guest

    I think there was a thread across this group a few months ago regarding this. A Motorola model was
    mentioned. I made a trip to Costco today to check out their FRS radios for this reason. They have a
    Motorola T6400WX 2-Way GMRS/FRS two pack, with chargers, batteries and a 5 mile range for $99.00
    (US). I think I'll pick up a pair the next time we're there. We have a couple of older, less "fancy"
    ones that we've used a little, while riding, in the past (Used them a lot at amusement parks, malls,
    etc.) but, as we plan to ride more in the future, we want to upgrade. (Hopefully my wife won't get 5
    miles ahead of me) Keith

    "Grenouil" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Has anyone experimented with FRS radios to communicate while cycling? If so, what brands/models?
    > I'm assuming that a model with hands free voice activation would be needed as opposed to "push to
    > talk", but don't know how reliable that would be.
     
  3. Grenouil

    Grenouil Guest

    "Keith" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I think there was a thread across this group a few months
    ago regarding
    > this. A Motorola model was mentioned. I made a trip to Costco today to check out their FRS
    radios for this reason.
    > They have a Motorola T6400WX 2-Way GMRS/FRS two pack, with chargers, batteries and a 5 mile
    > range for
    $99.00 (US).
    > I think I'll pick up a pair the next time we're there. We have a couple of older, less "fancy"
    > ones that we've
    used a little, while
    > riding, in the past (Used them a lot at amusement parks,
    malls, etc.) but,
    > as we plan to ride more in the future, we want to upgrade. (Hopefully my wife won't get 5 miles
    > ahead of me) Keith
    >
    >
    > "Grenouil" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > Has anyone experimented with FRS radios to communicate
    while
    > > cycling? If so, what brands/models? I'm assuming that
    a
    > > model with hands free voice activation would be needed
    as
    > > opposed to "push to talk", but don't know how reliable
    that
    > > would be.
    > >

    Keith - thanks - I'll do a Google newsgroup search

    Just checked out the Circuit City website - they list a "Cobra GMRS PR9502DX" with voice operation
    for $79.99 for a two pack before a $20 rebate... The reviews are generally good on this model

    Appears we're looking at these for the same reason - I just want to be sure my wife hasn't - fallen
    off - got a flat - run over a skunk - been attacked by a dog - or gotten lost...... :))
     
  4. Harris

    Harris Guest

    "Keith" wrote:
    > I made a trip to Costco today to check out their FRS radios for this
    reason.
    > They have a Motorola T6400WX 2-Way GMRS/FRS two pack, with chargers, batteries and a 5 mile range
    > for $99.00 (US).

    Unless you're standing on top of a mountain, you will not get anywhere near a 5-mile range from
    handheld FRS radios.

    Art Harris
     
  5. Bobmcb

    Bobmcb Guest

    There are two different types of radios one has a range of two miles and lots of channels. The other
    has a range of about five miles. It has a subset of channels, and is larger & heavier.

    "Harris" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Keith" wrote:
    > > I made a trip to Costco today to check out their FRS radios for this
    > reason.
    > > They have a Motorola T6400WX 2-Way GMRS/FRS two pack, with chargers, batteries and a 5 mile
    > > range for $99.00 (US).
    >
    > Unless you're standing on top of a mountain, you will not get anywhere
    near
    > a 5-mile range from handheld FRS radios.
    >
    > Art Harris
     
  6. Peter

    Peter Guest

    bobmcb wrote:
    > There are two different types of radios one has a range of two miles and lots of channels. The
    > other has a range of about five miles. It has a subset of channels, and is larger & heavier.

    Yes, the first uses the 'FRS' channels while the second uses 'GMRS' (there's some channel overlap
    and the GMRS service allows higher power). The specific radio being discussed works on both sets of
    channels. Both ranges (2 & 5 miles) assume pretty good conditions with no hills or other major
    obstructions in the way. I don't find either range to be realistic in most of the areas where I hike
    or bicycle.

    BTW, transmitting on the GMRS channels requires a license from the FCC. I believe the current cost
    is $75 per family for 5 years.

    >
    > "Harris" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    >>"Keith" wrote:
    >>
    >>>I made a trip to Costco today to check out their FRS radios for this
    >>
    >>reason.
    >>
    >>>They have a Motorola T6400WX 2-Way GMRS/FRS two pack, with chargers, batteries and a 5 mile range
    >>>for $99.00 (US).
    >>
    >>Unless you're standing on top of a mountain, you will not get anywhere
    >
    > near
    >
    >>a 5-mile range from handheld FRS radios.
    >>
    >>Art Harris
     
  7. Keith

    Keith Guest

    Understood. But I should get somewhat further than my current two mile range. Keith "Harris"
    <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Keith" wrote:
    > > I made a trip to Costco today to check out their FRS radios for this
    > reason.
    > > They have a Motorola T6400WX 2-Way GMRS/FRS two pack, with chargers, batteries and a 5 mile
    > > range for $99.00 (US).
    >
    > Unless you're standing on top of a mountain, you will not get anywhere
    near
    > a 5-mile range from handheld FRS radios.
    >
    > Art Harris
     
  8. Harris

    Harris Guest

    "bobmcb" wrote:

    > There are two different types of radios one has a range of two miles and lots of channels. The
    > other has a range of about five miles. It has a subset of channels, and is larger & heavier.

    The FRS radios put out less that a 1 watt IIRC, while the GMRS handheld radios may put out up to 5
    watts. But range is determined by MANY factors besides power. For example, if a handheld unit is
    used to communicate with a base station (with a large roof mounted antenna), range will be much
    greater than if two handheld units are used.

    My experience with 5-watt VHF/UHF transceivers is that two handheld units will have difficulty
    communicating reliably beyond 1-2 miles in many cases. YMMV.

    Art Harris N2AH
     
  9. bobmcb wrote:
    >
    > The other has a range of about five miles. It has a subset of channels, and is larger & heavier.

    And requires a no-test license.

    Barry
     
  10. Dan Griswold

    Dan Griswold Guest

    "Grenouil" <[email protected]> writes:

    > I'm assuming that a model with hands free voice activation would be needed as opposed to "push to
    > talk", but don't know how reliable that would be.

    You might want to reconsider using voice activation (VOX). The problem is that every huff and puff,
    as well as every explitive, as well as wind noise, could key the transmitter.

    A headset or earmike with a separate push-to-talk switch would probably be better. Perhaps you could
    even mount the switch (or the radio) on the handlebars.

    Dan

    --
    --------------
    Dan Griswold Carrollton, TX
    --------------
     
  11. "Harris" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "bobmcb" wrote:
    >
    > > There are two different types of radios one has a range of two miles
    and
    > > lots of channels. The other has a range of about five miles. It has a subset of channels, and is
    > > larger & heavier.
    >
    > The FRS radios put out less that a 1 watt IIRC, while the GMRS handheld radios may put out up to 5
    > watts. But range is determined by MANY factors besides power. For example, if a handheld unit is
    > used to communicate with
    a
    > base station (with a large roof mounted antenna), range will be much
    greater
    > than if two handheld units are used.
    >
    > My experience with 5-watt VHF/UHF transceivers is that two handheld units will have difficulty
    > communicating reliably beyond 1-2 miles in many
    cases.
    > YMMV.
    >
    > Art Harris N2AH
    >
    A small group (12) of Ham Radio Operators, here in Indianapolis, IN, regularly use 440mHz. (adjacent
    to FRS & GMRS frequencies) 5 watt radios to stay in touch on long bike trail rides. 1 mile is good
    and 2 miles is out of the question in most terrains. An FRS radio will seldom make 1 mile with both
    stations standing on the ground.

    GMRS does allow you to use repeaters. If a GMRS repeater is available you may be able to communicate
    over many, many miles. Our repeater's antenna elevation is at 800 feet above ground and we can
    reliable communicate over a radius of 30 miles with the same 5 watt handheld radios.

    FRS is a great service but do not believe any of their advertised ranges. Test yourself so that you
    will know what works reliably in your situation.

    Mike - K9JRI
     
  12. Keith

    Keith Guest

    The Motorola I mentioned in a previous post lists FRS as 1/2 watt and the GMRS as 1 watt keith

    "Michael B. Blake" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Harris" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > > "bobmcb" wrote:
    > >
    > > > There are two different types of radios one has a range of two miles
    > and
    > > > lots of channels. The other has a range of about five miles. It has
    a
    > > > subset of channels, and is larger & heavier.
    > >
    > > The FRS radios put out less that a 1 watt IIRC, while the GMRS handheld radios may put out up to
    > > 5 watts. But range is determined by MANY
    factors
    > > besides power. For example, if a handheld unit is used to communicate
    with
    > a
    > > base station (with a large roof mounted antenna), range will be much
    > greater
    > > than if two handheld units are used.
    > >
    > > My experience with 5-watt VHF/UHF transceivers is that two handheld
    units
    > > will have difficulty communicating reliably beyond 1-2 miles in many
    > cases.
    > > YMMV.
    > >
    > > Art Harris N2AH
    > >
    > A small group (12) of Ham Radio Operators, here in Indianapolis, IN, regularly use 440mHz.
    > (adjacent to FRS & GMRS frequencies) 5 watt radios
    to
    > stay in touch on long bike trail rides. 1 mile is good and 2 miles is out of the question in most
    > terrains. An FRS radio will seldom make 1 mile
    with
    > both stations standing on the ground.
    >
    > GMRS does allow you to use repeaters. If a GMRS repeater is available you may be able to
    > communicate over many, many miles. Our repeater's antenna elevation is at 800 feet above ground
    > and we can reliable communicate over
    a
    > radius of 30 miles with the same 5 watt handheld radios.
    >
    > FRS is a great service but do not believe any of their advertised ranges. Test yourself so that
    > you will know what works reliably in your situation.
    >
    > Mike - K9JRI
     
  13. Grenouil

    Grenouil Guest

    "Grenouil" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Has anyone experimented with FRS radios to communicate
    while
    > cycling? If so, what brands/models? I'm assuming that a model with hands free voice activation
    > would be needed as opposed to "push to talk", but don't know how reliable
    that
    > would be.
    >
    >
    Range should not be an issue for what I have in mind if I can get reliable operation over a half a
    mile or so - it's very unlikely we'll be that far apart. I'm more concerned with the operation of
    VOX function - having to operate a "push to talk" button is not too appealing - and voice
    transmission quality at one mile or less range.
     
  14. Harris

    Harris Guest

    "Keith" wrote:
    > The Motorola I mentioned in a previous post lists FRS as 1/2 watt and the GMRS as 1 watt

    Doubling the power output will have relatively little effect on range. It certainly will not double
    the range.

    Art Harris
     
  15. Radio Check

    Radio Check Guest

    As a member of a GMRS Repeater User's Group (RUG), you can access the group's repeater for your
    personal use.

    Many GMRS operators use business band radios programmed for GMRS operation.

    FCC's General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) website
    http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/personal/generalmobile/

    PRSG's GMRS Licensing Information http://www.provide.net/~prsg/license.htm

    The FCC GMRS Licensing Process http://www.pe.net/~atd/fcc605.htm

    Filing General Mobile Radio Service License http://www.hrdent.com/gmrs/gmrsapp.html

    FCC 605 Main Form - Quick-Form Application for Authorization
    http://www.fcc.gov/Forms/Form605/605main.pdf (.PDF file)

    FCC 159 Form - Remittance Advice http://www.fcc.gov/Forms/Form159/159.pdf (.PDF file)

    Description of GMRS Simplex and Duplex Operation: http://www.gmrs.org/gmrs_ovr.htm

    A Travel Tone System for GMRS travelers and vistors http://www.gmrsweb.com/gmrs1413.html

    A More Detailed Description http://www.provide.net/~prsg/wi-gmrs.htm

    GMRS Web Magazine http://www.gmrsweb.com/gmrs.html

    General Mobile Radio Service Information Pages: http://www.gmrsweb.com/gmrsprsg.html

    General Mobile Radio Service Forums http://www.popularwireless.com./cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi

    Yahoo! Groups: GMRS Group (may require cookies/sign-in) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GMRS/

    GMRS Web Magazine Mailing List (may require cookies/sign-in)
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gmrsweb/messages

    Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams (REACT) http://www.reactintl.org/

    A Central Registry for G-M-R-S Repeater Owners and Users http://www.g-m-r-s.org/

    The GMRS Web Bubble-Pack Pirate FAQ http://www.gmrsweb.com/gmrsbppfaq.html

    Radio Retailer Code of Conduct http://www.gmrsweb.com/gmrscoderetailer.html

    GMRS Intruder Alert! http://www.gmrsweb.com/intruderalert.html

    GMRS Radio Operator Code of Conduct http://www.gmrsweb.com/gmrscodeoperator.html

    GMRS/FRS/MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service) newsgroup news:alt.radio.family
     
  16. While on the Amateur Radio 440 mHz band, rather than FRS, I have found VOX to be unacceptable as it
    is constantly operating due to heavy breathing, wind noise or comments made to nearby persons that
    you would rather not have sent out over the air.

    What has worked well is a remote speaker/mic clipped to the neck of my jersey and the radio tucked
    away in the rear jersey pocket or clipped to my pants belt or pocket.

    This allows you to hear well and all you have to do is reach up, press the PTT button and talk. The
    mic is close enough that it picks up your voice extremely well.

    Mike - K9JRI

    "Grenouil" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Grenouil" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > Has anyone experimented with FRS radios to communicate
    > while
    > > cycling? If so, what brands/models? I'm assuming that a model with hands free voice activation
    > > would be needed as opposed to "push to talk", but don't know how reliable
    > that
    > > would be.
    > >
    > >
    > Range should not be an issue for what I have in mind if I can get reliable operation over a half a
    > mile or so - it's very unlikely we'll be that far apart. I'm more concerned with the operation of
    > VOX function - having to operate a "push to talk" button is not too appealing - and voice
    > transmission quality at one mile or less range.
     
  17. Dan Griswold <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > "Grenouil" <[email protected]> writes:
    >
    > > I'm assuming that a model with hands free voice activation would be needed as opposed to "push
    > > to talk", but don't know how reliable that would be.
    >
    > You might want to reconsider using voice activation (VOX). The problem is that every huff and
    > puff, as well as every explitive, as well as wind noise, could key the transmitter.
    >
    > A headset or earmike with a separate push-to-talk switch would probably be better. Perhaps you
    > could even mount the switch (or the radio) on the handlebars.
    >
    > Dan

    Speaking from experience I can tell you that a hands free VOX trips all the time. The most annoying
    time is on long downhills where the wind noise will trip it.

    I can also tell you from experience that a push-to-talk button clipped to the collar of my jersy is
    not a problem, even when riding in traffic.

    I can't offer any advice on FRS. My wife and I are both hams and we use that service. I use an
    earpiece that includes a mike. As I said I clip, the PTT button on my jersey and stick the radio in
    one of my jersey pockets. With the small antenna so close to my body the signal will not go much
    past line-of-sight. And that is with my wife following in a support van with a roof mounted antenna.
    (Typically when we get on the fringes of coverage I can hear her but she can't hear me).

    The amount of power will make very little difference. I typically run .1 watt on my radio just
    to preserve battery life (my rides are very long). If you want better coverage you can mount a
    real antenna on the back of your bike, away from your body. For an (amateur radio) example take
    a look at:

    http://www.bikexprt.com/bicycle/antennae.htm

    I'm not sure if extending the coverage of FRS radios are legal, however.

    Good luck, Tom
     
  18. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >
    >
    >I think there was a thread across this group a few months ago regarding this. A Motorola model was
    >mentioned. I made a trip to Costco today to check out their FRS radios for this reason. They have a
    >Motorola T6400WX 2-Way GMRS/FRS two pack, with chargers, batteries and a 5 mile range for $99.00
    >(US). I think I'll pick up a pair the next time we're there. We have a couple of older, less
    >"fancy" ones that we've used a little, while riding, in the past (Used them a lot at amusement
    >parks, malls, etc.) but, as we plan to ride more in the future, we want to upgrade. (Hopefully my
    >wife won't get 5 miles ahead of me) Keith

    FRS and GMRS have different power outputs, hence different ranges. The FRS is the one with the two
    mile limit and GMRS will give you the 5 mile range. Of course those ranges are under ideal
    conditions. FRS only radios have dropped in price quite a bit. You should be able to get a pair for
    $50 or less.
    -----------------
    Alex __O _-\<,_ (_)/ (_)
     
  19. Michael B. Blake wrote:

    > What has worked well is a remote speaker/mic clipped to the neck of my jersey and the radio tucked
    > away in the rear jersey pocket or clipped to my pants belt or pocket.

    I was just going to echo your comments. I found the remote speaker/mic a
    must, as I had trouble finding the PTT button on my radio while mountain biking.

    So much so, that I found it easier to just shout my reply (if they were within visible range)
    rather than fumble with the buttons. The remote speaker/mic made it significantly easier.

    --
    Linux Registered User # 302622 <http://counter.li.org
     
  20. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >
    >
    >
    >"Keith" wrote:
    >> I made a trip to Costco today to check out their FRS radios for this
    >reason.
    >> They have a Motorola T6400WX 2-Way GMRS/FRS two pack, with chargers, batteries and a 5 mile range
    >> for $99.00 (US).
    >
    >Unless you're standing on top of a mountain, you will not get anywhere near a 5-mile range from
    >handheld FRS radios.

    True, but the GMRS frequencies ones will go further.
    -----------------
    Alex __O _-\<,_ (_)/ (_)
     
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