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Old 08-22-2019, 08:50 PM   #15
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I’ll back out and let you experts handle this.

I’m sorry to the OP who’s probably thoroughly confused at this point.

Steve & Janice
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:35 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by CaptainGizmo View Post
Correction. They do.

Baofeng T1 Mini Walkie Talkies UHF Two Way FRS/GMRS Handheld radios Rechargable with Programming Cable, Headsets (1 Pair) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DB7TSY5..._tB0xDb4Z8NNF0

Congratulations on finding the one Baofeng GMRS model radio out of probably a hundred results on Amazon that are not GMRS radios. The only thing that would be confusing the OP is the introduction of non-GMRS radios into the conversation.

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Old 08-22-2019, 09:48 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by mwd1508 View Post
Considering participating in a caravan tour but I would need to install a GMRS radio in my ‘19 Bay Star, but, how and where does one install the antenna on this all fiberglass bodied vehicle?
This is a long reply, but please read the whole thing. I'm a commercial two-way tech and have been licensed since the 1970s. I'll present some background info and a couple of ideas that will work for your situation.

GMRS is based on frequencies in the 462-467 MHz range where CB uses frequencies in the 27 MHz range. That's a big difference. FRS is a very low power service that uses frequencies adjacent to GMRS. There are chinese-made handhelds (notably made by Baofeng) that have more power (they claim 4 watts), but are also made to a price. They can be programmed for both FRS and GMRS however they are not strictly legal there. Yes, I own a few... I use them for tower work. Dropping a personally owned $50 cheapie handheld from 100 feet up won't get the boss mad at you, where dropping a $350 (or more) company handheld would...

A CB antenna has to be about 9 feet long to be truly effective where a GMRS or FRS antenna only needs about 5-6 inches. There are shorter CB antennas but they sacrifice efficiency (and therefore range) for the shorter length.

A "ground plane" is a metal surface that the antenna mounts to... and is electrically part of the antenna. In a mobile radio applications it is ideally a round surface at right angles to the antenna, but can be any shape, and has a size that is dependent upon the frequency. A "no ground plane" mobile antenna, like the name says, does not need that metal surface and is usually about twice the normal antenna length - about 11-12 inches for GMRS.

A true FRS handheld is usually sold as a bubble-packed pair, usually has a transmitter power of under a watt, and does not talk very far (the common joke about FRS is "out of sight is out of range"). Most FRS handhelds are built to a price and are not very high quality. They do not have detachable antennas. FRS does not require a FCC license. GMRS does require a license - but it's a case where all you have to do is fill out an FCC form and send them money. A GMRS handheld is typically 4 watts and depending on terrain can reliably reach out to about a mile, sometimes further. They can have detachable antennas. Most GMRS mobiles I have seen are 20-25 watts, and an occasional 45 watt one. BTW I have seen chinese-made "hunters special" handhelds that are 10 watts(!). The one I saw and had a chance to handle had FRS and GMRS frequencies in it... these are illegal in most radio services (and frankly I would NOT have one anywhere close to my skull... irradiating my brain... the handheld had a fan(!) on the transmitter). Yes, I have photos.

One of the events I work with regularly is the annual Baker to Vegas footrace every march or april - 120 miles long and baton-passing every 5 to 10 miles in the desert outside of Las Vegas. Over 90% of the race route has zero cellphone coverage. There are over 20 locations along the route where the baton is handed off to a new runner. At each location there are several RVs for support, medics and communications up and down the race route. For more info see "bakertovegas.net"

GMRS is just one of the communications systems used for that event, and one of the tricks used with rental or loaner RVs that have fiberglass roofs is to tape a large pizza tin (12 inch diameter minimum, 18 inch or even 24 inch preferred) to the roof or to the air conditioner cover with gaffers tape (heavy duty duct tape). A magnetic mount mobile antenna is stuck to the pizza tin and is connected to the 25 watt mobile radio. It works just fine for what it is needed to do, and the "no ground plane" antennas are not required because of the presence of the pizza tin.

Now mind you, the RVs that we do this to aren't moving! They are parked at their checkpoint for about 24 hours of the race. But I've seen some of the RVs with year-round antenna mounts clamped to the "U" top area of RV ladders, to the side mirrors, mounted into the air conditioner covers and more...

This is the most common style of antenna mount that I have seen:

Note that the mount shown has no ground plane, and a "no ground plane" antenna is mandatory for any decent performance.

The most interesting RV "installation" was where that antenna mount was clamped to the handle area of the glass tool here:

The suction cups were stuck to the very top center of the RV windshield, about a half-inch from the top edge. This same idea would work with any smooth surface - some refrigerator vent covers are smooth enough for a suction cup device, as are some RV roofs themselves.

The driver claimed that the combination worked perfectly and he had driven from San Diego to Las Vegas and then out to his assignment on the race route with it in place the whole distance. The combination supposedly handled freeway speeds just fine - and he claimed that he had tested it on his son's sports car left rear window (stuck vertically and with the antenna vertical above the roofline) at over 100mph for over 20 minutes (I didn't ask where or when he tested it...). He said he had had clamped it on the vertical window and it had stayed put for over 4 days (the son needed his car back on day 5). He said he had scrubbed the glass real well with a plastic pot scrubber and rinsed it with 90% rubbing alcohol just to make sure the glass was perfectly clean and a good seal for the suction cups.

As to the GMRS radio itself (be it a handheld or a mobile) you need to know the frequency (or frequencies) and tone information to set it up correctly. Again, use of GMRS frequencies requires a FCC license.

If you want to follow up this any further just post a message here, or drop me a private message that includes your phone number and a good time to call. I'd be happy to answer your questions and I won't try and sell anything. As I said above I'm a commercial two-way tech and have been doing this kind of stuff since the 1970s... BTW I'm in the Los Angeles area.

Semi-retired electronics / computer / network / 2-way-radio / amateur radio... (WA6ILQ)
1985 Fleetwood 32' Southwind (Chev P30/454/TH400), dubbed "Lazarus" by friends... I resurrected it from the dead...
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:58 PM   #18
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I have used the bofang radios, and programmed them to work with the gmrs/ frs bands. They are very good quality and range. We have never installed an external antenna.

For larger events we have used repeaters and licensed Motorola radios getting several miles of range. Using the same radios without line of site and no repeater drastically reduces range.

So for gmrs / frs, the big deal is line of site.

NHSO (Newmar Hoot, Sevierville Original), Kindness Matters
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:00 AM   #19
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Hey guys - I did not intend to start a technical difference of opinion argument ‘yes they will, no they won’t’ work when asking this question. I really appreciate all the answers that I have received and the bottom line for me is the ‘hand held’ solution provided this works with the other participants (most of whom, if not all, will be pulling trailers with their SUVs or pick up trucks, so no issue what with metal roofs and side window cable access).
Double sided tape, cable thru’ door seal, metal panel on the roof, plus the cost of an in-vehicle unit versus the cost of a hand held unit does not appeal to me especially considering the limited use.
Again, thank you all for your responses.
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Old 08-23-2019, 03:23 PM   #20
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By Jove, I believe he's got it! Congrats. Have a great time on your trip.

Jim (W7DHC), Diane & Mini Schnauzers, Lizzy & Ellie
2018 Mountain Aire 4047 + 2014 Honda CR-V "toad" w/AF1
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Old 08-24-2019, 10:16 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by tfryman View Post
Congratulations on finding the one Baofeng GMRS model radio out of probably a hundred results on Amazon that are not GMRS radios. The only thing that would be confusing the OP is the introduction of non-GMRS radios into the conversation.
I have three of the handhelds also that work on GMRS.

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