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Old January 29, 2000, 07:54 PM   #1
Blue Jays
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Good Evening Everyone-

Conducted an extensive search on TFL and couldn't find any threads on this topic...hopefully some fellow TFLer's with electronic communications experience can lend their opinions here....

I'm trying to find high-quality, two-way radios. We've all seen the Motorola Walkabouts (they're all over the place ), but I would be willing to carry more and pay more for additional functionality and range.

My plans are to use these for car-to-car communications during road trips and for skiing, hiking, camping applications.

Thanks much for your kind help!

Regards,

~ Blue Jays ~
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Old January 29, 2000, 08:56 PM   #2
Rosco P. Coltrain
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Take a look at the Cherokee AH-100, it is the only handheld CB available with SSB.
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Old January 30, 2000, 12:23 AM   #3
SPG
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Blue Jays, both Motorola and Kenwood make GMRS radios, an FCC license is required (obtainable online I think) Power is boosted from .5 watt to 4.0 watts much better range look in this direction, many of the same suppliers of FRS gear should be able to help you, if not e-mail me and I will look up a few sources SPG
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Old January 30, 2000, 09:26 AM   #4
Blue Jays
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Rosco P. Coltrain-

Conducted a Yahoo! search and found some very interesting web pages for the Cherokee model you mentioned. I've figured out Family Radio Service, but I'm a newbie to radios, what exactly is "SSB?"


SPG-

From what I can tell, obtaining the FCC license required for some radios is not too difficult -- it seems to really be a matter of paying a license fee each year. I've found the FCC web site to be helpful in this regard: http://www.fcc.gov/wtb/uls

I'll further explore both Kenwood and Motorola. I've got quite a way to go to be completely educated in this area, but I'm making headway.

Thanks again for your kind help. I'm open to any and all suggestions!

~ Blue Jays ~




[This message has been edited by Blue Jays (edited January 30, 2000).]
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Old January 30, 2000, 03:07 PM   #5
Jeff OTMG
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For simple radios for talking car to car or at gun shows I use the FRS radios made by Kenwood. There is a web site that has comparisons of about 30 different FRS radio, use Ask Jeeves to find it, that's how I did it. The advantage to FRS is that it does not require a license, but DO NOT USE IT FOR BUSINESS PURPOSES. If you need more range there are the GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) that operate on the same frequencies as the FRS, but where FRS is limited to half a watt (500 milliwatts) of power, GMRS radios can go at least 2 watts maybe more. Motorola calls these radios the Talkbout Distance. GMRS does require a license, $85, and channel 10 is reserved for emergency calls only and no business use. A CB is a good alternative, no license required, and with 4 watts of power you can get good range. CB seems to not be as clear and more people can listen in since more radios are out there. I have not seen the Cherokee with SSB (single side band) capability, but I am going to check it out. SSB will give you more range at the expense of clarity. Midland makes a neat 40 channel CB that has all the electronics in one end of the unit. This makes it easily convertable for car use by sliding the battery pack off the bottom, leaving what appears to be just a microphone. The external antenna and a lighter plug adapter are quickly hooked up and you have a CB in your car. Another thing about the Midland, which if done is illegal, is that it is not that difficult to convert it to South American configuration giving you hundreds of extra channels that nobody else uses. There are other options like ham, but those require licensing with tests and that may be more trouble than it is worth for you to go through. Whatever you decide to buy check prices at Bills 2-way Radio, my FRS radios were cheaper than the local Best Buy and I avoided taxes on $500 in equipment.
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Old January 31, 2000, 12:52 AM   #6
Blue Jays
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Hi Everyone-

Jeff OTMG, thanks for the excellent pointers. The sites you suggested have been very helpful....

The big decision now is does one go with the easy-to-acquire, no-license-required radios operating in the FRS spectrum, or does one opt for the extra range of the GMRS/CB/SSB?

It appears that the Cherokee AH-100 has been discontinued and only "refurbished" models are available at this time. The FCC believes they're too easily modified to use too many channels.

As it turns out, the research on this subject has to be quite in-depth before an educated purchase can be made.

Will sellers send the radios while licenses are being processed if GMRS is the path taken? The reason I ask this is because I would like to have the radios by mid-March.

Again, thanks everyone for your kind help.

~ Blue Jays ~


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Old January 31, 2000, 12:45 PM   #7
Rosco P. Coltrain
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Blue Jays,
The Cherokee AH-100 is still being made. Several online retailers carry it.
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Old February 2, 2000, 01:20 PM   #8
Stretch
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Depending on the range you will actually need/use, I would think that the FRS is probably sufficient. Among the FRS type radios, I have found the Kenwood to provide the best combination of features and price. While it has slightly less power than other brands, I have found the distance and reception to be "the best".

One nice feature is the built in scrambling. Two Kenwoods set to the same channel will scramble the signal so that anyone else on the same channel/subchannel, will not receive the transmission(unless they also have a Kenwood).
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Old February 2, 2000, 11:59 PM   #9
Blue Jays
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Good Evening Everyone-

Rosco P. Coltrain...the web sites are showing the AH-100, but unfortunately they're not actually in stock. It seems like that could be the best of several worlds, plus you wouldn't have to concern yourself with FCC licensing, etc.

Jeff OTMG, SPG, & Stretch, in feature-to-feature comparisons of the various GMRS units, it seems to me that the Kenwood radios offer a bit more than the Motorola models.

Motorola "build quality" seems to have slipped over the past couple of years. The cellular phones feel like plastic junk, can the same be said about their radios? Kenwood advertises mil-spec metal housings.

Thanks once-again for the ongoing advice!

~ Blue Jays ~
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Old February 3, 2000, 12:13 AM   #10
Rosco P. Coltrain
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Blue Jay's, here is another hot CB tip.

Radio Shack recently discontinued their top of the line handheld CB. It is a midland unit, good quality and has some nice features. The handheld has a BNC antenna jack so you can use a better antenna that the rubber duck that they gave you. Radio Shack still has plenty of these units around.

I would also recomend having them special order the telescoping antenna for it. It is a special order item, not store stocked, shippment takes 7-10 days. The antenna is listed in the store catalouge with the other CB acessories, so if the salesman gives you a blank stare when you ask for this item, ask him to look in the catalouge on the page that has CB accesories.
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Old February 3, 2000, 03:34 PM   #11
Joefo
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Garry Olen (www.sportsmansguide.com) has GE handheld CB's on sale for $29.97 each. Don't know how good they are.

Joefo
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Old February 13, 2000, 03:19 PM   #12
Rosco P. Coltrain
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What did you decide on?

You might also consider a CB for the car too. Mobile antennas get better range than those handheld ones do.
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Old February 13, 2000, 07:57 PM   #13
Blue Jays
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Hi Rosco-

Funny you should mention that.

The research I've done shows the Cherokee AH-100 to be a sweet piece of equipment. Unfortunately for me, finding one of them is like looking for diamonds, they just can't be found. Some of the web sites that advertise them as "in stock" really don't have them.

The GMRS radios (especially the Kenwood) seem to have better range than CB, especially if looking to speak with one specific person. With this in mind, I was thinking on getting a pair of Kenwoods and then (later) getting a CB for the car to speak with other nearby motorists.

Does that plan make decent sense to you? As long as I get this accomplished by the late-March timeframe, I'm OK. As always, I'm up for any suggestions from people more knowledgeable than me on the subject!

Thanks,

~ Blue Jays ~

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Old February 13, 2000, 08:00 PM   #14
Rosco P. Coltrain
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For the Car I would recomend the Midland 79-290 mobile CB. Also check out the Radio Shack one I mentioned above.
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Old February 13, 2000, 11:11 PM   #15
JerryM
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My own suggestion is to consider becoming a Ham operator. For several years there has been a class called No Code Technicians. It does require a test, but isn't difficult. It doesn't require code. There a repeaters around the country that give you a tremendous capability to communicate distances that in some cases exceed 500 miles if the repeaters are linked. I have found that that class allows me to do all I desire. There are even phone patches on some repeaters which permit calls by telephone. It should be easy to find a club in any town of any size. Jerry KB5YMI
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Old February 14, 2000, 11:32 PM   #16
Blue Jays
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Hi JerryM & Rosco-

Jerry, thanks for the advice. Is there a such animal as a "mobile ham radio," or are they used strictly from a desktop set-up?

Rosco, yeah, I got the "thumbs up" about the Midland CBs for car use from some of the people I've spoken to on the subject around here. If I'm going to go with GMRS for the hiking, hunting, and skiing, I should get the regular CB (not handheld) for use in the car. Seems like the best way to get the most communications for the least amount of money.

The cellular phone is also on me when push comes to shove, but there is nothing wrong with saving a little $$$$ every one in a blue moon.

My cellular conversations aren't so "top secret" that the security measures of cellular are crucial all the time.

It seems that the popularity of the cellular phone has diminished usage of the CB radio, but there are still times you need to know what is going-on on a specific geographic area. The cellular phone sure won't tell you how long a traffic jam is in the middle of Ohio.

Thanks again, I owe you guys one for all the help. A newbie could really get ripped-off without advice from online friends.

~ Blue Jays ~
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Old February 15, 2000, 12:24 PM   #17
Jeff OTMG
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BJay, there are hand held ham rigs. Radio Shack even has a 2 meter job that is about the size of a pack of cigarettes, but I don't know how good it is. I am sure that there are others. Check the web site of Bills 2 Way Radio, I think he carries that stuff also.
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