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HAM VS GMRS FOR OVERLANDERS

HAM VS GMRS FOR OVERLANDERS

What is the purpose of radio communications?

 

Do you enjoy the outdoors? Hiking? Camping? Overlanding? Then a dependable communication system may be something you want to look into. Cell phones are limited in the wilderness and for the most part cant get reception. This is where a a 2 way radio or an amateur radio can give you the peace of mind when you are on your adventure.

Besides normal communication there are so many other valuable things a radio can provide you.

If your car breaks down or someone gets injured, having a radio can get you out of a pinch.

Two way Radios have instant communication, all you have to do is hold down the PTT button and you are communicating instantly. There are many applications to this type of communication. 

You can communicate within a small group. As long as everyone is on the same frequency/channel, groups can be connected without the need of cell signal or internet.

 

Who uses two way communication?

Transportation Companies

Government Agencies

Hotels

Festivals

Airport

Fire and Police Departments

Utility industries

Military and other intelligence agencies.

 

 

GMRS vs HAM

 

Ham and GMRS are some of the best amateur radio choices you can have in 2022. There are a strong market support for these devices in the outdoor world and especially the overlanding scene. Even though they are not that much different from each other, there are a couple of differences that you might want to think about when deciding which route to go.

 

What is GMRS

 

GMRS stands “ General Mobile Radio Service” for GMRS are extremely popular these days. Known as “Class A Citizens Band” it was renamed by the FCC is 1987. It uses the same frequency bands as Family Radio Service  “FRS’s” (462-467MHz). The major difference is GMRS has designated channels that are not available on FRS radios. 

 Their extremely versatile and portable designs are a big hit. Besides voice communication, GMRS has GPS location and short-distance texting applications which make it extremely useful for emergencies. FRS and CBS communications also use the same features.

 

GMRS works well for family or small group type of communication. Ten to fifteen miles of range is easily achievable and some repeaters are available. For this specific blog we are talking about why it is valuable for overlanding. When a group of vehicles are traveling down the highway or off the beaten path, it is much easier to communicate via radio versus trying to use your cell phone. Many off-road vehicle clubs are now using GMRS as their main form of communication. Other outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, hunting etc.. use GMRS to stay in touch while not depending on cell phone.

GMRS radios are used for short distance communications because of the absence of repeater towers. There are new technologies that are allowing GRMS radios to use specific type of repeater towers. 

GENERLA MOBILE SERVICE RADIO FCC 

 

What is HAM

 

The hobbyist radio, HAM radio is the amateur radio. One of the reasons that this radio is also another good option is that there are no communication range limitations with HAM. Generally, people prefer ham because it does not usually have an extremely complicated set up and is easy to use. HAM radios do require a license. Once a user proves that they have acquired the knowledge needed to operate this type of radio and pass the government test, you are good to go.

In addition HAM uses specific frequencies, so it won’t disrupt commercial or local channels (GMRS channels)

 Ham radios are best known for its huge impact in survivalist situations (most extreme). The wireless technology offers reliability beyond the possibilities of power grids and cell networks. This is also the preferred communication channel for remote areas. 

Basic Ham radios use radio waves to broadcast, transmit and receive information from one person to another (or groups). 

 An amateur radio operator is an individual who typically uses equipment at an amateur radio station (or even their own home) to engage in two-way personal communications with other similar individuals, on radio frequencies assigned to the amateur radio service by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States and the International Telecommunication Union worldwide. There are many hand held options now that you can purchase but depending on the radio may be less dependable.

 

 

Features

HAM

GMRS

Frequency

UHF420-450Mhz, VHF 144-148 Mhz

462-467 Mhz

Communication type

General Use, Beginner user

Two-Way

Price

Expensive, depending on set-up

Affordable

Band

UHF,VHF

UHF

License

Req.

Req.

Max Power

5 Watts Handheld

50 Watts

Range ( by miles )

50 Miles +

20-25 Miles

 

*UHF is much stronger than VHF and can transmit through various obstacles, but the frequencies are incompatible with each other.

 

Radio Repeater

radio repeater is a combination of a radio receiver and a radio transmitter that receives a signal and retransmits it, so that two-way radio signals can cover longer distances. A repeater sited at a high elevation can allow two mobile stations, otherwise out of line of sight propagation range of each other, to communicate. Repeaters are found in professional, commercial, and government mobile radio systems and also in amateur radio

 

Ham radios use these type of repeaters to communicate which means the length they can transmit is endless (specific set ups)

 

 

WHY I CHOSE GMRS

 

 

Why is GRMS a better choice than amateur radio for the weekend warrior

 

1. GRMS is not as technical or complex as HAM 

2. Requires license but does not require a test, just a fee.

3. GMRS has straight forward dedicated frequencies that are locked into channels and you wont accidentally cross over to a official Ham radio users frequencies.

 Hey I'm on channel 20" versus hey "I'm on 456.765"

4. Easier to learn when meeting with groups 

5. GMRS set ups are extremely easy to use and run in vehicles

 

Ham is the far superior type of communication if you are looking to go farther and even talk to other hobbyists with the same interest, but personally I found GMRS are usually enough for the weekend warrior that is trying to stay in communication with family, friends or the caravan. You can walk into most outdoor oriented stores or even a local Walmart and pick up a GMRS radio. 

Once again it is preference but for the average Overlander/Camper/Hiker can use, GMRS is all you will need.

 

How to get your GMRS license 

 

Here is the Link from Talon Survival on how to get your License, the steps are also listed below for easier reference. 

Here is a link on how to get your GMRS License in less than 10 Minutes

It is extremely easy.

1. Apply and Obtain your FRN#

2. File Online 

Universal Licensing System | Federal Communications Commission (fcc.gov)

3. Enter FRN NUMBER & PASSWORD

4. Top left of Sidebar menu, click "apply for new license"

5. Select Service menu, select GMRS band or ZA code (General Mobile Radio)

6. Enter your personal information

7. Summary page with the total fees will appear. 

8. Continue to Certify and enter your electronic signature

9. Submit the application and save the file number# and information from the receipt. The printable application will be able to be saved as PDF.

10. Payment Option Screen

11. Login with your FRN # and Password 

12. Pay the Fee and continue with payment

13. Enter email to receive an email confirmation receipt. 

13. Print confirmation Page / Print any related forms for your records

 

 

You now have your GMRS License !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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