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Old December 6, 2000, 12:51 PM   #1
MGB
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I'm taking the clan down to Disneyland for a little pre-Christmas fun. A couple of my kids are now old enough to wander around on their own. I was thinking of picking up a couple of 2-way radios to keep track of each other. Does anyone have a suggestion on the best model, price, etc?
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Old December 6, 2000, 06:10 PM   #2
JerryM
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MGB,
Although I haven't tried them, since I have a Ham license, the FRS radios would be my choice. There are several brands. I think Motorola was first with the hand held ones. I am looking at a Natchez catalog and the Motorola FR 50s are on sale for 72.95 a pair. I have seen them and other brands on sale at the discount stores for the same or less. Maybe someone can shed some light as a result of experience. I suspect that you can find a good buy at WalMart or Target or some similar store since the Christmas sales are on now. GE, Midland, and Cobra also make them. Best of luck and if you find something let us know your experience with them. I think you are wise to get such a thing for the children. The other day I saw a pair of CB handheld radios on sale at Wal Marts for about $30 if I remember correctly. These might work, but are much larger than the FRS radios. I don't know how crowded the CB band would be there. Jerry
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Old December 7, 2000, 02:59 AM   #3
Kevlarman
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Given the popularity in these radios nowadays, and the relatively large acreage of Disneyland, FRS radios may not be the best solution. Indeed, many families are using them to keep track of their relatives while out and about around the park. Hence, with only 14 channels on the FRS band, there is bound to be lots of traffic. The CTCSS codes you've all been hearing about does not give you a "sub-channel" as many manufacturers would lead you to believe. Say your radio is set to channel 7, CTCSS code 15. With this configuration, you will only hear radios set to the exact same frequency and code - your transmissions, OTOH, can be heard by everybody else - unless you have radios that have a real scrambling system in them.

Anyways, you might want to look into GMRS radios. They share half of the channels the FRS radios use (1-7), and they transmit at 5 watts, I believe, giving you much better coverage of the parl to get a hold of anyone should the need arise. If you see that the FRS channels are clogged, you can switch to the GMRS only channels. GMRS radios do require an FCC license, but one license will cover the entire family for a year. Check out http://members.tripod.com/~jwilkers/frspage.html for lots of info on FRS and GMRS radios.
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Old December 7, 2000, 01:07 PM   #4
JerryM
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Kevlarman,
Thanks for the FRS site. I have been looking for some info on these. Jerry
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Old December 7, 2000, 01:47 PM   #5
Ledbetter
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Thanks for the page reference

I figure I'll buy a set of these after Christmas when prices go down.
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Old December 8, 2000, 12:57 PM   #6
Dave R
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I have a set of Motorola 250's and they are great. I went on a 4-day hike with 20 scouts and 4 leaders this summer. The radios allowed us to separate into groups for different sub-hikes, fishing, etc, and still stay cooridnated. The 2-mail range is best-case (both on high points, nothing in between). But 1 mile is a realistic range.

I also use mine when skiing with the kids.

Others have reported that at busy places, like Sun Valley ski resorts, the 14 channels get filled up. I've never experienced that, but it sounds like a real concern at Disneyland.
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Old December 8, 2000, 06:32 PM   #7
bullseyekp
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"Privacy Codes" and Encryption for Civilian Use?

I too have been looking at the FRS radios for numerous purposes. I have read a little about the privacy codes that manufacturers brag about but they seem relatively useless for secure communication, if needed for whatever reason.

Although I am planning to go ahead and get a set of the FRS radios for general use, (and I will check out the GMRS thanks to Kevlarman's suggestion) I do have one question about the availability of encrypted radios for civilian use. I believe the military often uses 128-bit encrypted radios, or so I have read. Does anyone have any insight as to whether of not this type of fairly secure communication is available to the public. Also, what price range are we talking about. Not that I could afford them if they existed, but just a curious question some techno-junkie might be able to shed some light on.

BTW, I have handled the Motorola 6300 and I like it much better than the 200 series radios. Prices are not much higher and the ergonomics are much better.
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Old December 8, 2000, 08:43 PM   #8
Scott Evans
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I was just at Disney two weeks ago. I saw two way radios every where I looked. I was thinking along similar lines prior to leaving but never got around to purchasing a set. I’m glad that I didn’t as traffic, given the large number of these things in close proximity, surly had the potential of being confusing.

Cell phone is the best rout IMO.


[Edited by Scott Evans on 12-13-2000 at 06:17 PM]
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Old December 15, 2000, 02:57 AM   #9
DavidW
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Get one with 14 Channels

...and subchannels or codes. I did the Disney thing with FR50's and FR60's. The FR50's were totally worthless. I was constantly looking for a free channel. Once I found one it was hard to coordinate everyone into switching to the right channel.

Get at least an FR60. They have 14 channels and 38 codes. And I now have a T6310. That one is great. Lot's of bells and whistles. But the scanner is the most valuable feature for finding clear channels.

The limited range of the FRS did fine at Disney. What I really needed was a headset. In crowded areas it was hard to hear. Even when turned all the way up. But that arm holster and ear bud might make you look like a covert wannabe. Sea World and San Diego Wild Animal Park wasn't as crowded. That made it much easier to find a clear channel and hear incoming calls.

I also use it when in a car caravan. Saves on minutes over cell phones. I haven't used a 2-way FRS in the boonies yet. But the cell phone is great when you get out of FRS range.

And get belt holsters. The belt clips are worthless. BTW I chose the Motorolas because they use AA instead of AAA batteries. I just place more faith in AA batteries.
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