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Dippelj 02-13-2021 10:40 AM

Two way communication
 
We are planning a trip with a group caravan of family members and are looking for the best way to communicate when traveling down the road. There will be times when we will be several miles apart in areas with no cellular service. In the past we have used the handheld FMRS radios but they only work within a mile or so.
Any experience or ideas that might get us to perhaps a 10 mile range from RV to RV?

HarleySG 02-13-2021 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dippelj (Post 5634517)
We are planning a trip with a group caravan of family members and are looking for the best way to communicate when traveling down the road. There will be times when we will be several miles apart in areas with no cellular service. In the past we have used the handheld FMRS radios but they only work within a mile or so.
Any experience or ideas that might get us to perhaps a 10 mile range from RV to RV?

I use to have a CB back in the day, with a power booster that would do the distance you're referring too. But with today's technology, I thought the radios would go a lot further.

https://www.hamtronics.com/best-frs-...onal%20license.

Gary.Jones 02-13-2021 03:27 PM

It has little to do with today's technology. Radio propagation at HF frequencies (CB - 11 meters) is mostly a function of sunspots. Sunspots are terrible now. I would think that cellphones are going to be your most reliable communication path unless you are going to be in the "wilds" of the Upper Mid-West States.

Gary

ByeTheWay 02-13-2021 03:32 PM

I use a 2-meter ham radio. Requires a license. Most areas have repeaters, thus you can communicate much farther than 10 miles.

Nwcid 02-13-2021 07:06 PM

10 miles, reliably off of any direct (not using repeaters) is highly unlikely. If you are in wide open spaces with external antennas and high output with moderate reliability, maybe. It is not likely to be cost effective or beneficial.

What might be a better soliton is do like ATV riders do. Set up stop points/check in points and have some ride sweep.

RVFunlovers 02-13-2021 08:04 PM

We use cell phones. A text message with no attachment or imoji will get through on the least bit of signal when phone calls and other types of data communications will not.

Even that will not work if you have absolutely no wireless signal but when you get a signal even for a short while the text will sneak through.

Good Luck

arcaguy 02-13-2021 08:13 PM

I think I'd try the CB route, maybe handhelds. No license required. If you go the Ham radio route someone in every coach will need a license, seems like a lot of trouble. You can probably find used CBs fairly cheap, even the truckers aren't using them much any more from what I hear. If you stay off of CH 19 you will probably have the channel to yourselves for the most part. Don't scrimp on antennas. Good luck.

TXiceman 02-13-2021 08:28 PM

You can get a bit more power by going to GMRS radios. They do require an FCC license, but it is also good for your immediate family. Others in your caravan would also need to get a license. There is no test involved like with a ham license.

Ken

RonandDeb 02-13-2021 08:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TXiceman (Post 5635102)
You can get a bit more power by going to GMRS radios. They do require an FCC license, but it is also good for your immediate family. Others in your caravan would also need to get a license. There is no test involved like with a ham license.

Ken

I agree with Ken. This is the way I would go if you're going to be at that distance and may do it more than a few times. The license fee is $70 for a ten year license and it's good for the whole family with some restrictions applying. It's supposed to drop to $35, however no date was set for that yet.

teamwally 02-13-2021 08:56 PM

I'm sure you will get lots of conflicting answers, there is a ton of misinformation. Virtually all of the options are line of sight. CBs are AM radios, remember them ? Limited to 4 watts. Work great for truckers and smokey reports. Hams can be had for $100 to $1000 and require a test for every operator. I am a Ham, took the 1st test in 1967. My moho radio is from btec <https://www.amazon.com/s?k=btech+radio&crid=2OUBWN4P1OONX&sprefix=btec+ra dio%2Caps%2C228&ref=nb_sb_ss_sc_1_10> Which does GMRS and Ham. Ham is VHF, GMRS is UHF The combination gives the best of both worlds. 50 watts is more than adequate going down the road. The GMRS lisc is 10 years for $35, no test, good for the whole family. I would think you're convoy is traveling together so 1 lisc in the bunch would do. I've done thru the glass antennas on several motorhomes, no holes to drill, no special wiring. The Ham comes into play when there is a problem and you need help and there is no cell service. Hams put up repeaters on mountain tops which cover large areas. In an emergency there is no lisc required. You will typically find someone monitoring the repeater 24-7 who may be able to assist you by call the state patrol or a service truck or ambulance. GMRS only is also available from <https://www.ruggedradios.com/collections/mobile-radios/products/rugged-gmr25-mobile-gmrs-radio-radio-only> which come preprogramed and does not require heavy duty wiring. Both of these will talk to the inexpensive 5-8 watt handhelds which are pretty darn functional. Our coach is 42' with a 30" enclosed jeep trailer. More than once my co pilot has adverted disaster by spotting with the handheld <https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-BF-F8HP-Two-Way-136-174Mhz-400-520Mhz/dp/B00MAULSOK/ref=sr_1_14?crid=2OUBWN4P1OONX&dchild=1&keywords=b tech+radio&qid=1613273986&sprefix=btec+radio%2Caps %2C228&sr=8-14>

teamwally 02-13-2021 09:01 PM

Ahhh Cbs and linears, works well when BOTH parties are amped up, otherwise youre shouting when everyone else is whispering and linears are notorious for bleeding across channels. That is why they are prohibited by the FCC, but who cares cuz youre gettin heard. Weather you can hear is another story.

brobox 02-14-2021 06:28 AM

I tried mounting a CB in my 14. Being all fiberglass, establishing a ground plane, that would work was more of a problem than it was worth. After all the time put in, the brand new Cobra had a 1/4 mile range, line of sight of on coming traffic only. BTW non ground plane antennas do not work either.
If anybody in the Ft Myers area can use it they are welcome to it, including the antenna.

JohnArch 02-14-2021 07:57 AM

If you have a cell phone try the app - zello. It works like a walkie talkie and is instantaneous. Does get a bit getting used too. Distance doesn't matter.

Nwcid 02-14-2021 09:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnArch (Post 5635398)
If you have a cell phone try the app - zello. It works like a walkie talkie and is instantaneous. Does get a bit getting used too. Distance doesn't matter.

Still does not solve the problem the OP is asking about. What about areas of no service?

About the app, "It has unlimited range and supports every network as well as Wi-Fi connection."

TXiceman 02-14-2021 09:52 AM

I have both Ham equipment and GMRS equipment in my truck and properly licensed for both. If you are going to use the radios, please use them legally.

Ken

Dippelj 02-14-2021 11:24 AM

Thanks you
 
Thank you to all for the information. Lots of experienced people providing great information.


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