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Old 03-05-2016, 03:54 PM   #1
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RV'rs and CB/Two Way Radios


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Trying to get the opinion of fellow RViers on this. When RViers or multiple Motorhomes are traveling in convoys you cannot text or use your cellphone when your coach is in motion as that would prove to be very dangerous and illegal in many states. But there comes a time when every RV caravan needs a safe way to communicate when they are actually in motion. You must have an FCC license to operate a regular CB radio no matter what channel your transmitting from. Everybody knows channel 9 is off limits except for emergencies. You also have to take a FCC approved Ham radio course in order to obtain a CB radio operators license for the set fee. In a 2 way radio you only need a license to transmit on certain channels know as GMRS channels, (general mobile radio service) usually channels 1 through 7 and 15 to 22. Channels 8 through 14 do not require a license because they are not associated with the GMRS system of the FCC. A license for a 2 way radio is free. You just have to file the appropriate application with the FCC. No former training is required. I have operated a hand radio on several occasions. Both CB's and 2 way closed circuit systems. I only operate a CB in a RV caravan once, which was me and one other Motorhome. It didn't work to well because the other driver did not receive good training in the proper use of a hand radio. I say hand radios are wonderful devices when used properly and according to FCC guidelines. So I'll ask your opinion have you used hand radios when traveling in RV caravans?? Did it prove to be effective communication??? I shall enjoy watching your feedback come in on this subject. Thank You
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Old 03-05-2016, 04:49 PM   #2
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You might want to check and be sure because I am old and forget stuff, but I believe the license requirement is no longer a rule. Even when it was needed, it was not enforced unless a person started doing something really stupid, like a 100 watt amplifier. As a truck driver in the 70's, I used a CB and never had a license.


As far as use in a convoy, it would be very handy. I would prefer the dash mounted with a corded mike over the handheld set because of weight and convenience.
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Old 03-05-2016, 05:18 PM   #3
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CB and Ham Radio are not the same thing. CB does not require any license. Ham Radio does require a license, for which a written test is required.
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Old 03-05-2016, 05:32 PM   #4
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Mr Sheetz is correct. FCC says you do not need a license. If you're in a caravan a CB would work since you're relatively close to one another. Some RV's came with a CB from the factory. If you have one already it may be the easiest route. Bet you could pick up one cheap at a swap shop or such and half the people over 55 probably have one in their storage closet.


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Old 03-05-2016, 05:54 PM   #5
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The FCC did away with licenses for CB radio years ago. Amateur or Ham radio you need a license - the license is exempt from fees but the Volunteer Examiners can charge for the cost of administering the test (for copying and mailing costs, etc. no payment to the volunteers) which is very reasonable. GMRS needs a license which cost $90 and is good for five years. FRS is 1/2 watt radios and does not need a license. There is some overlap in channels between GMRS and FRS which if you operate a GMRS radio at less than a 1/2 watt on a shared frequency you don't need a license.

With that said the only time I used a radio in a convoy was not in a motorhome and it was CB Radios. Not really effective because we got really separated and due to the interference couldn't hear each other so we ended up using cell phones. There is a lot of factors that come into play with radio use - distance, interference and skills of the users. Also there is the radio frequency that effects communication but for a mile long convoy there should not be a problem in any of the radio frequencies mentioned above.

In my mind the optimum would be the company leading the convoy should purchase the number of 5 watt portable radio that operate on their commercial license needed and issue them to the members of the convoy and each radio would have a number or tactical call to use during the convoy. At the end they would collect the radios from the participants. That way you don't have to spend any money to communicate. Also no one else would be on the frequencies and interference would be limited. A convoy among friends perhaps 5 - 10 RV's then use whatever most people have or CB or FRS radio because they are the cheapest option. Just my opinion.
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Old 03-05-2016, 06:04 PM   #6
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We've used handheld radios in convoys before but found them to be very limited. Regardless of what it says on the package, it is hard to get over a mile with one even in flat land. Get in hills and you might as well throw them away. We've found CBs to be much more effective if they have outside antennas. Anything totally inside the vehicle isn't going to be satisfactory.
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Old 03-05-2016, 06:23 PM   #7
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Couple years ago we traveled with a caravan to Alaska. Before we left, I installed this CB by Cobra.
It did the job as long as we were within a mile or two which is all I really expected. This one is not the best by any means but it was reasonably priced and very compact and easy to install.
I think if I had a better antenna and properly tuned, it might improve the performance a bunch. Since we don't use it any longer, I have not bothered to persue.

https://www.cobra.com/products/recreational/c-75-wx-st
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:09 AM   #8
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I haven't tried this radio but it looks to be a good solution for caravaning without getting into ham licensing. Certainly should be better than a handheld FRS radio. Rumor has it that the FCC may soon drop the GMRS license requirement.

https://midlandusa.com/product/micromobile-2-way-radio/
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Old 03-06-2016, 12:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsheetz View Post
CB and Ham Radio are not the same thing. CB does not require any license. Ham Radio does require a license, for which a written test is required.

Thank you for clarifying. I get forgetful in my old age. So it really helps when a fellow Rvier points out the fine details.
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Old 03-06-2016, 12:52 PM   #10
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RV'rs and CB/Two Way Radios

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Originally Posted by Robmat View Post
The FCC did away with licenses for CB radio years ago. Amateur or Ham radio you need a license - the license is exempt from fees but the Volunteer Examiners can charge for the cost of administering the test (for copying and mailing costs, etc. no payment to the volunteers) which is very reasonable. GMRS needs a license which cost $90 and is good for five years. FRS is 1/2 watt radios and does not need a license. There is some overlap in channels between GMRS and FRS which if you operate a GMRS radio at less than a 1/2 watt on a shared frequency you don't need a license.

With that said the only time I used a radio in a convoy was not in a motorhome and it was CB Radios. Not really effective because we got really separated and due to the interference couldn't hear each other so we ended up using cell phones. There is a lot of factors that come into play with radio use - distance, interference and skills of the users. Also there is the radio frequency that effects communication but for a mile long convoy there should not be a problem in any of the radio frequencies mentioned above.

In my mind the optimum would be the company leading the convoy should purchase the number of 5 watt portable radio that operate on their commercial license needed and issue them to the members of the convoy and each radio would have a number or tactical call to use during the convoy. At the end they would collect the radios from the participants. That way you don't have to spend any money to communicate. Also no one else would be on the frequencies and interference would be limited. A convoy among friends perhaps 5 - 10 RV's then use whatever most people have or CB or FRS radio because they are the cheapest option. Just my opinion.

The radios you see pictures here are the Midland X Talker. They operate on a both GMRS and FRS frequencies. These have a range of up to 20 miles. I try to stay off the GMRS channels whenever possible. I make a habit of using FRS channels only. And as the rule goes, a radio is not a cellphone so only use it when I have to. They seem to work pretty good. They transmit through walls and solid object and I still get good reception. I can even communicate with my mother on the other side of town and still get good reception. The GMRS channels let you set the channel and a privacy code to eliminate outside interference. FRS channels have no privacy so anyone near by with a 2 way radio can tune in. They only take 3 AAA batteries so they are fairly inexpensive to operate. And I have the NOAA weather radio band which has proved to be very helpful with weather alerts. It came in handy this weekend, because I was about to head back to Utah for the summer when I heard the rain and high wind warnings for southern Nevada. These appear to be really improved technology.
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Old 03-06-2016, 01:27 PM   #11
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I haven't tried this radio but it looks to be a good solution for caravaning without getting into ham licensing. Certainly should be better than a handheld FRS radio. Rumor has it that the FCC may soon drop the GMRS license requirement.

https://midlandusa.com/product/micromobile-2-way-radio/

I have seen these and this is actually a downgrade from I already have. My radios have more features and a better built design and good reception. But this unit is still good.
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:48 PM   #12
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I have waterproof yellow motos that claim 30 miles or something ridiculous. We use them when caravaning but the range is maybe a Mile at most when there r any kind of hills.

http://m.dickssportinggoods.com/prod...626&cadevice=m
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Old 03-06-2016, 09:19 PM   #13
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I still wonder what people have against getting a ham radio license. There hasn't been a Morse code requirement since 2007. The test costs $12-$15 and the license is good for 10 years. You have to pass a 35 question, multiple choice test, the answers for which are available on-line. Basically, if you're smart enough not to poke your eye out with your antenna, you should be able to pass the Technician Class (entry level) test.

Get a call sign and you'll be able to talk for miles around with FM quality sound, with no background noise. I'm a member of the Sierra Nevada Amateur Radio Society in Reno, NV. We operate a repeater network that allows licensed ham operators to talk to each other anywhere between Winnemucca, NV and Sacramento, CA on I80, and between Bridgeport, CA and Susanville CA on US395. Other ham radio clubs operate similar systems around the country. I love demonstrating the capabilities to folks who had no interest in ham radio before. When they hear the audio from somebody 25 or more miles away, the can't wait to throw away their CB!
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:47 PM   #14
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I still wonder what people have against getting a ham radio license. There hasn't been a Morse code requirement since 2007. The test costs $12-$15 and the license is good for 10 years. You have to pass a 35 question, multiple choice test, the answers for which are available on-line. Basically, if you're smart enough not to poke your eye out with your antenna, you should be able to pass the Technician Class (entry level) test.

Get a call sign and you'll be able to talk for miles around with FM quality sound, with no background noise. I'm a member of the Sierra Nevada Amateur Radio Society in Reno, NV. We operate a repeater network that allows licensed ham operators to talk to each other anywhere between Winnemucca, NV and Sacramento, CA on I80, and between Bridgeport, CA and Susanville CA on US395. Other ham radio clubs operate similar systems around the country. I love demonstrating the capabilities to folks who had no interest in ham radio before. When they hear the audio from somebody 25 or more miles away, the can't wait to throw away their CB!
X2, I got licensed with my wife two years ago (she got the higher score). I updated to general last year. It opens up a world of new experiences in communications as well as a bunch of new friends.

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