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  1. #1
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    Do it all portable CB/walkie/radio/scanner

    Anyone got experience using these and if this could function well in lieu of not having a truck CB and/or for emergency situations?
    I was thinking of a radio to serve as an FRS/GSMR radio, as a CB for forest service road calls, and as a scanner. And maybe to learn HAM.

    BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MAULSOK

    and a better antenna
    https://www.amazon.com/Authentic-NA-...569640-0526027
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  2. #2
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    I'm not sure if the thing you're looking for exists (seems like a regulatory disaster), but the thing you linked won't do what you want. CB is way lower frequency than what the baofeng can do.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by caulfield View Post
    I'm not sure if the thing you're looking for exists (seems like a regulatory disaster), but the thing you linked won't do what you want. CB is way lower frequency than what the baofeng can do.
    Ooops. Missed that minor detail.
    [Tosses idea into garbage can.]
    Thanks for the heads up.
    [KURTZ] Hinterstoisser, you heavy bastard.
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  4. #4
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    I know a guy that has a 5 or 6 year old stock uv-5r for exactly the purposes you described. It works amazingly well for the price and what it is. Range is a bit limited for calling kms on Canadian mountainous terrain logging roads but having a better antenna might mitigate that issue. Folks have commented on poor performance but if radio is carefully set up, the guy I know sez its range and function almost equals bigger name brand programmable radios. The key is careful set up...youtube videos are out there to give that specific info.
    Master of mediocrity.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by swissiphic View Post
    I know a guy that has a 5 or 6 year old stock uv-5r for exactly the purposes you described. It works amazingly well for the price and what it is. Range is a bit limited for calling kms on Canadian mountainous terrain logging roads but having a better antenna might mitigate that issue. Folks have commented on poor performance but if radio is carefully set up, the guy I know sez its range and function almost equals bigger name brand programmable radios. The key is careful set up...youtube videos are out there to give that specific info.
    Thanks.

    And here is the same radio, reconfigured just for GMRS (allows repeaters) and listening on the other channels:
    https://www.amazon.com/BTECH-GMRS-V1.../dp/B01LWOLZ8L


    It turns out that the dumbed down GMRS radios are basically the UV-5R types, neutered and limited. Not sure about marine, but apart from CB channels, the BF-F8HP or UV-5R fits the bill.



    https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeate...y&loc=Whistler

    So, there are repeaters in Swamp-town, Wish-list and Pember-town. So perhaps GMRS is a backcountry option there if not using cell phones (get in touch with repeater owners first).


    Just starting looking into this as part of my ongoing quest to develop laser-equipped radio-controlled Squirrel defense systems. Suppose a Squirrel were to get injured or caught in an avalanche outside of cell range on the spearhead or up a FSR accessed area, maybe this is a communication option for between party members?
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  6. #6
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    Oh gosh. Just found a 5 pack for $138.88 (with extra better antennas).

    These are BF-F8GP in a 5 pack.
    It is UV-5R 3rd gen.

    Baofeng BF-F8GP Two Way Radio UHF VHF Walkie Talkies with TID NA-771 Antenna 5 Pack
    https://www.amazon.com/Baofeng-Walki.../dp/B07SCZCCPN


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  7. #7
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    There is a lengthy thread on these radios somewhere in here. Iím a fan of these radios for for two reasons. Price and the ability to program frequencies. Keep in mind there is a bit of a learning curve on programming them. You will want to buy the better antenna along with a better mic. Both that come with it are garbage.

    I have mine programmed to match all the BCA frequencies (work seamless with others running those) and also have all the local emergency frequencies programmed as well. Keep in mind you are not allowed to use those frequencies unless you have a HAM license.

    As far as using it for a scanner, you are better off getting a dedicated scanner. The way these scan isnít like a normal scanner. They can scan but you will miss transmissions.

    There is a third party software I use to program them and itís a breeze to use once you wrap your head around it. If you do get them, shoot me a PM and Iíll send you the file if you want to match them up to BCA.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockinB View Post
    There is a lengthy thread on these radios somewhere in here. I’m a fan of these radios for for two reasons. Price and the ability to program frequencies. Keep in mind there is a bit of a learning curve on programming them. You will want to buy the better antenna along with a better mic. Both that come with it are garbage.

    I have mine programmed to match all the BCA frequencies (work seamless with others running those) and also have all the local emergency frequencies programmed as well. Keep in mind you are not allowed to use those frequencies unless you have a HAM license.

    As far as using it for a scanner, you are better off getting a dedicated scanner. The way these scan isn’t like a normal scanner. They can scan but you will miss transmissions.

    There is a third party software I use to program them and it’s a breeze to use once you wrap your head around it. If you do get them, shoot me a PM and I’ll send you the file if you want to match them up to BCA.

    I might take you up on that. By BCA frequencies, do you mean the ones that Backcountry Access uses?

    I'm looking at a few cheap radios, but maybe it is better in the long run to get something better quality ... like a Yaesu FT-60R (big step up in price):
    https://www.amazon.com/Yaesu-FT-60R-.../dp/B00Q1UYR1G

    Do you mind sharing what model you use, or suggest, and how it has worked out for you?
    Do you have a HAM license, club affiliation, or have you taken any sort of training?

    Cheers!
    [KURTZ] Hinterstoisser, you heavy bastard.
    [HINTERSTOISSER] You need to do more push-ups, Kurtz.

  9. #9
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    I have a couple UV-5Rís and one BF-F8 (8 watt version). Both work great.

    Yes the program I have setup is a mirror of the BCA frequencies including the preset channels they use on their mic.

    I do not have a HAM license. Iím careful to never use any of the emergency frequencies. I have all the local repeaters programmed in as well. My intention is to only ever use these in the case of a real emergency. At that point I would be happy to deal with any trouble I could face. I work for the Forest Service so I spend a lot of time
    on a radio and am very familiar with their use.

  10. #10
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    If anyone else is following, here is an older thread with some information.
    https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...io-Recs-(2015)
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  11. #11
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    I have absolutely nothing to add to this, except to say that if they advertise these to "get some action" in the pic above, seems like they can pay for themselves?

    And possible protip -> guy getting action has 2 mics/radios. I've got to up my comms game!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPaul View Post
    I have absolutely nothing to add to this, except to say that if they advertise these to "get some action" in the pic above, seems like they can pay for themselves?

    And possible protip -> guy getting action has 2 mics/radios. I've got to up my comms game!

    OMG. Just noticed that. LOL.
    He's gonna get some real action!


    And an update. There is also a good post on Wildsnow about the family radios and mentions as well the amateur ones (with frequency chart). Some of the 50 mile FRS/GMRS radios seem to be still selling as USED radios on the various craigslist/Kijiji/FacebookMarketplace etc.. Those are some of the ways to get one of the better, older FRS/GMRS radios with better antennas and 3 to 5 watts output. Kinda kicking myself for not ordering a bunch of new ones a few years ago before they limited the spec to low power.

    And if you have a newer model, just operate on channels other than 8 through 14. The channels 8 through 14 use much lower power, and why would you wan't to do that ... unless you wanted to limit the range of your transmissions to short line-of-sight. (Could be useful to obtain better privacy for small tight groups).

    Here's wildsnow's link:
    https://www.wildsnow.com/23649/new-f...s-gmrs-radios/



    After wasting some time googling, I've narrowed down my purchasing choices to Radioddity GD-77 (analog and digital dual band DMR). Lots of info on the interwebs and some HAM users reviews here: https://www.eham.net/reviews/view-product?id=13482. And a detailed review here: Radioddity GD-77 funny name, serious radio


    "The GD-77 actually has FCC Part 90 approval, and has been independently tested to meet minimum emission standards for spectral purity, stability, and other critical parameters."


    Basically, it was this or an analogue only quality model like a Yaesu FT-60. But the GD-77 gets good reviews and also does digital and has a big fanbase with mods, etc. Mods page here: http://members.optuszoo.com.au/jason...1/GD77mods.htm As a kid I was really into electronics and the idea of ruining good hardware with stupid mods really interests me!

    The GD-77 also comes with a version that has no interface for changing setting on the front. Perfect for Amateur Radio partners that aren't careful or might get confused.


    Although it covers all the FRS/GMRS bands, and the wide UHF/VHF spectrum, and most forest service road channels, it ISN'T authorized to broadcast on FRS/GMRS. It puts out too much power and has a detachable antenna. Using it for any channels in the available range is illegal unless the operator has an amateur radio license.

    Some people use them for FRS/GMRS communications anyhow with lower-gain stubby antennas and the power adjusted down in the setting for the various various channels. Of course, that is still illegal since FRS/GMRS radios must have non-removable antennas and the official certification, and slightly less power. Although, with a stubby antenna and the power dialed down in the settings, this probably presents itself, RF-wise, as similar to one of the better FRS/GMRS radios before they changed the certification. And correct me if I am wrong, I think it is still LEGAL to use the higher power FRS/GMRS models if you already posses one.


    That being said, in order to broadcast (and not just Live Action Role Play in listening mode), I will be getting my amateur radio license. It is very important to abide by the both the letter of the law, and the spirit of the law, at all times, without exception. The last thing you want is a bunch of guys in SWAT gear chasing you all over the backcountry yelling "Give me that radio" because you extended your transmit range just enough to get through a few obstacles. That's the last thing you want. It's also pretty bad to be associated with all the EOTWAWKI and MILSIM types.


    As always, I've talked way too much! Just wanted to share where things are at, share a few helpful links, and remind you all that I'm a nerd. Please don't tell me the GD-77 was a bad buy -- I'm already having a lot of post-purchase cognitive dissonance. LOL.
    Last edited by puregravity; 11-13-2019 at 05:43 PM. Reason: added channels 8 through 14 spiel
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  13. #13
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    GMRS can now have removable antennae but still requires a specific type approval (not Part 90). GMRS also allows for more power than FRS, but I think any FRS/GMRS dual-purpose radio with type approval has to meet the FRS requirements (fixed antenna, low power on FRS frequencies). Not that I'd endorse doing so, but using 4W on FRS/GMRS channels shouldn't interfere with much in the mountains, as long as you're not on the same channel as another group. Do be aware that "privacy codes" hide transmissions from your radio but don't actually create another channel—i.e. if you have a code set, you can step on someone more easily because you didn't hear their transmission due to the lack of the correct carrier tone to start.

    Also, not only is CB well outside of the frequency range for UHF/VHF radios, but it's AM, not FM. It's possible to build a transceiver to support both (and the frequency ranges), but it's cheaper and easier to have two radios.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by anotherVTskibum View Post
    Do be aware that "privacy codes" hide transmissions from your radio but don't actually create another channel—i.e. if you have a code set, you can step on someone more easily because you didn't hear their transmission due to the lack of the correct carrier tone to start.
    Good to know!

    Does this, in effect, reduce the quality-of-service of the whole system because people don't know they are cross talking with others on the same channel?

    Let's say that one person transmits on one privacy code, and another on a different code, and they are on two ski runs separated by 1 km of terrain. Then would the intended recipients hear only one of the transmissions, or the closest one, or possibly neither one nor the other?
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by puregravity View Post
    Good to know!

    Does this, in effect, reduce the quality-of-service of the whole system because people don't know they are cross talking with others on the same channel?

    Let's say that one person transmits on one privacy code, and another on a different code, and they are on two ski runs separated by 1 km of terrain. Then would the intended recipients hear only one of the transmissions, or the closest one, or possibly neither one nor the other?
    I think there's a little nuance to it depending on which receiving radio does or does not catch the tone transmitted to break squelch, but basically, yes, all three scenarios are plausible, especially mountain terrain.

    Sent from my SM-G892A using TGR Forums mobile app

  16. #16
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    Can't say I recommend the GD-77. Difficult as $%^# to program.
    Getting it setup is a 1 to 2 day affair for a tech-savy person.
    I've got my first configuration and it actually works really well in analog mode ..
    but dang ... it is a beast to setup.
    The channels, zones, contacts, scan, rx groups lists ... pretty darn complicated.
    It just takes a lot of time to get it all done with the computer software and a lot of double checking.

    On the bright side, I did listen to some towing company pretty much non-stop dragging away cars for hours on end. They were raking them in.
    And some lady counselling callers on the common FRS channel 5 to use Ouiji boards.Weird.
    And a nursery telling staff how to tie ribbons.
    And the very sober weather NOAA voice for forecasts.

    There is no way it will also fit in a ski jacket conveniently without a smaller or more bendy antenna. Although, with a remote microphone dongle-thingy (I got one) that can be put on the outside of the jacket like the BCA one.

    There are stubby's ..
    and then there are also very bendy (super-duper-bendy) ones like this: https://signalstuff.com/product/supe...-signal-stick/.
    The super elastic signalstick looks like it could even be sewn into a jacket in some fashion.


    If you have the patience, it will eventually work for you and it can be tweaked in most every way.
    I just don't want anyone reading my previous post about GD-77 to think it will be an easy ride -
    it won't.

    Also, if anyone is confused with the whole FRS/GMRS assignments, and how they have changed now, there is a very good chart there:
    https://wiki.radioreference.com/inde...FGMRS_Channels
    Last edited by puregravity; 11-16-2019 at 12:47 AM.
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  17. #17
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    I bought a Baofeng BF-F8HP and the weather proof mic last winter mostly to use while riding sleds in the alpine. Regular FRS/GMRS radios run out of range pretty quick with the speed that sleds can travel and how easy it is to get separated by a ridge or stand of trees. Programming was quick and easy with CHIRP. I keep the transmitting power turned down low and haven't actually used it at 8W. If I were to guy again I'd get the cheaper (practically disposable) 5W version instead.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by puregravity View Post
    That being said, in order to broadcast (and not just Live Action Role Play in listening mode), I will be getting my amateur radio license. It is very important to abide by the both the letter of the law, and the spirit of the law, at all times, without exception. The last thing you want is a bunch of guys in SWAT gear chasing you all over the backcountry yelling "Give me that radio" because you extended your transmit range just enough to get through a few obstacles. That's the last thing you want. It's also pretty bad to be associated with all the EOTWAWKI and MILSIM types.
    Do you know if an amateur radio license is necessary if you're certified for marine use? I already have my ROC-M and GOC. I'm sure I could spruce up my knowledge to pass the amateur exam, but I'd rather not maintain redundant licenses.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by paige. View Post
    Do you know if an amateur radio license is necessary if you're certified for marine use? I already have my ROC-M and GOC. I'm sure I could spruce up my knowledge to pass the amateur exam, but I'd rather not maintain redundant licenses.
    I don't know. But wouldn't anyone on a boat be able to use without a license if they are on the right marine channels (for the proper marine purposes)?
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by paige. View Post
    Do you know if an amateur radio license is necessary if you're certified for marine use? I already have my ROC-M and GOC. I'm sure I could spruce up my knowledge to pass the amateur exam, but I'd rather not maintain redundant licenses.

    Unfortunately a separate licence is necessary at least here in Canada. It's a bit silly, but it's all about how Industry Canada separates the frequencies and assigns licences to operate a radio in each one.

    That being said, they don't operate any real enforcement branch, and if you're using for forestry roads and skiing, you'll probably be fine.

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