My Overland Communication Model

BuzzyBud

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Aug 7, 2020
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As I prepare for the day my Bronco arrives, I spent time developing a communication model that would work for me. Please remember this model is tailored to the areas of the country I plan to travel, and the equipment used by my overland buddies. This is not intended to be a best practice model.

My analysis consisted of the following step:
  • Understand my options for both emergency and vehicle-to-vehicle communication.
  • Determine the communicate equipment used by fellow off-road enthusiasts in my area.
  • Understand where I want to travel and the effects of topography on my equipment.
  • Identify an equipment model for both radio and antenna.
  • Determine how the equipment will be positioned in the Bronco.
In beginning my understanding, I found the following video and article helpful.


https://www.overlandbound.com/overland-communication-overview/

As I surveyed my buddies, I found they were moving away from CB radios to GMRS to gain clear communication over greater distances. Also, the off-road training center I plan to use next summer has a mandatory requirement for both a GMRS radio and a GMRS license. See link below.

https://www.northeastadventurecompany.com/trail-rating-guide

As a result of this work, I obtained my GMRS license using the guide in the link below.

https://quality2wayradios.com/store/gmrs-fcc-license

After calling the Northeast Adventures Company (My preferred training school) they highly recommended the equipment listed below. In fact, all their instructors have standardized on this equipment. Their reasoning is based on the topography of northern New England and how the 40W radio coupled with two options for antenna has served them well.

https://midlandusa.com/product/mxt400-micromobile-2-way-radio/

https://midlandusa.com/product/micromobile-mxta25-3db-gain-ghost-antenna/

https://midlandusa.com/product/micromobile-mxta24-low-profile-antenna-cable/

https://midlandusa.com/product/micromobile-mxta26-6db-gain-whip-antenna/

Based on my understanding of the picatinny rail and available power sources of the Bronco, I will be assembling four devices on the dashboard. An iPhone, a GoPro, a Garmin inReach, and a Midland MXT400.

Hope this has been helpful.

BuzzyBud
 

TorgSurv

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Great info. I have a CB I plan to install, but I'm not completely sure how the range is affected by type of antenna, terrain, distance, and other factors. Do you have any info on that, or why people are moving away from CB? I guess I might have to look into GMRS too.
 

BuzzyBud

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Aug 7, 2020
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Great info. I have a CB I plan to install, but I'm not completely sure how the range is affected by type of antenna, terrain, distance, and other factors. Do you have any info on that, or why people are moving away from CB? I guess I might have to look into GMRS too.
From what I could gather, the range can be affected by the radio power as well as the antenna. I suspect most off-road enthusiasts who use CBs have up to 5w power on their radios. The GMRS technology can go as high as 50w. I will add, many use CB. If your goal is to talk with the drivers in your area/club, than CB is the best choice. (I am learning about all this as well. I try not to have the blind leading the blind, but consider all this simply food for thought!)
 

Rgwinn

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Great info. Thanks for putting that together. I too plan on getting my license.

I recall seeing one of the channels, either Overland Bound, or Trail Recon discussing how they finally took out the radios they don’t use and just kept the GMRS. And maybe a handheld FRS or CB for those occasions when someone doesn’t have GMRS in a group run.
 
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Rgwinn

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Jul 20, 2020
857
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As I prepare for the day my Bronco arrives, I spent time developing a communication model that would work for me. Please remember this model is tailored to the areas of the country I plan to travel, and the equipment used by my overland buddies. This is not intended to be a best practice model.

My analysis consisted of the following step:
  • Understand my options for both emergency and vehicle-to-vehicle communication.
  • Determine the communicate equipment used by fellow off-road enthusiasts in my area.
  • Understand where I want to travel and the effects of topography on my equipment.
  • Identify an equipment model for both radio and antenna.
  • Determine how the equipment will be positioned in the Bronco.
In beginning my understanding, I found the following video and article helpful.


https://www.overlandbound.com/overland-communication-overview/

As I surveyed my buddies, I found they were moving away from CB radios to GMRS to gain clear communication over greater distances. Also, the off-road training center I plan to use next summer has a mandatory requirement for both a GMRS radio and a GMRS license. See link below.

https://www.northeastadventurecompany.com/trail-rating-guide

As a result of this work, I obtained my GMRS license using the guide in the link below.

https://quality2wayradios.com/store/gmrs-fcc-license

After calling the Northeast Adventures Company (My preferred training school) they highly recommended the equipment listed below. In fact, all their instructors have standardized on this equipment. Their reasoning is based on the topography of northern New England and how the 40W radio coupled with two options for antenna has served them well.

https://midlandusa.com/product/mxt400-micromobile-2-way-radio/

https://midlandusa.com/product/micromobile-mxta25-3db-gain-ghost-antenna/

https://midlandusa.com/product/micromobile-mxta24-low-profile-antenna-cable/

https://midlandusa.com/product/micromobile-mxta26-6db-gain-whip-antenna/

Based on my understanding of the picatinny rail and available power sources of the Bronco, I will be assembling four devices on the dashboard. An iPhone, a GoPro, a Garmin inReach, and a Midland MXT400.

Hope this has been helpful.

BuzzyBud
Ok, so just got my message about my GMRS license so I have my call sign now WRJU259

Thanks for putting that info together.

Rg
 

BuzzyBud

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Ok, so just got my message about my GMRS license so I have my call sign now WRJU259

Thanks for putting that info together.

Rg
Good to hear about your GMRS license!
Next week I should be able to complete my work on the GMRS Radio Setup. The picatinny rail configuration is requiring a few pieces to that puzzle. I will post a thread next week with the detail on my work. Stay tuned!
 
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AcesandEights

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I used CB for years, and it seems everyone I know now uses FRS. I've been buying the inexpensive handheld FRS for years now too. Seems everyone has a little handheld they take; however GMRS is basically a much more robust system than FRS and people use FRS/GMRS. Even as a member of a search and rescue team, we all used FRS and that was ten years ago or more.

I will almost certainly move to the MXT400, or better if a newer version comes out, and ditch the CB.

@Bronco5.0, it's just a fee. You register with the FCC, pay a fee and get a call-sign.
 

BuzzyBud

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Aug 7, 2020
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I used CB for years, and it seems everyone I know now uses FRS. I've been buying the inexpensive handheld FRS for years now too. Seems everyone has a little handheld they take; however GMRS is basically a much more robust system than FRS and people use FRS/GMRS. Even as a member of a search and rescue team, we all used FRS and that was ten years ago or more.

I will almost certainly move to the MXT400, or better if a newer version comes out, and ditch the CB.

@Bronco5.0, it's just a fee. You register with the FCC, pay a fee and get a call-sign.
One other aspect regarding the MXT400 which I like is the available accessories. You have two types of antenna to accommodate varying distance and/or terrain and you get two options for attachment. Nice!

 

BuzzyBud

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Aug 7, 2020
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I recall seeing one of the channels, either Overland Bound, or Trail Recon discussing how they finally took out the radios they don’t use and just kept the GMRS. And maybe a handheld FRS or CB for those occasions when someone doesn’t have GMRS in a group run.
I found the reference you referred to in your post. The video below has been advanced to 8:05 where the GMRS is discussed. I found this helpful.

 

Rgwinn

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AA2B3784-5BA0-4255-86D9-0896957A197E.jpeg
As a side note, Midland has a good deal on a 5w Radio with free handhelds, my brother is going to get that package as he only goes out with groups.
 
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AcesandEights

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It's nice to have the power but you're limited by the people having to have decent transit power or you'll reach people that cant or dont have power to respond.

ETA: I didn't write that very well. What I meant is that if people you wish to speak with only have a low-wattage handheld, they'll hear you, but you won't hear them. It's nice to have a good system in place, that includes the amount of power you need, but overdoing it may not serve your purposes if you are coordinating with other people, especially if they don't share the level of equipment you have. Another way of putting it, get some handhelds too, so when you're working around the vehicle on a trail, spotting and what-not, you're working efficiently.
 
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LoneRanger

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Dont forget the importance of handhelds. Base radio is great in a vehicle, but a handheld on the same frequency can keep you out of trouble. Figure out the power draw, and hard wire it on trips. Even a small basic external speaker can be a plus when setting up a semi permanent camp.

L.R.
 
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