Radio and communication

WrightOn07

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Aug 8, 2020
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I am curious what Radios or communication everyone prefers to use when out on the trail or with an envoy.

Do you prefer truck mounted or portable?

I figure it may be a good time to see what everyone uses or like while out on the trails.
 

frinesi2

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May 20, 2020
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My plan is to have CBs in all our trail vehicles eventually, and a couple of handhelds that can talk on the same frequencies for spotters and/or friends without CBs in their rigs who are tagging along.
 

Bronco5.0

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May 29, 2020
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My plan is to have CBs in all our trail vehicles eventually, and a couple of handhelds that can talk on the same frequencies for spotters and/or friends without CBs in their rigs who are tagging along.
Can you buy new CBs?
 
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The Bronze

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May 20, 2020
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I run a pair of ham radios; AnyTone (DMR) and Yeasu (Analog) and a handheld my bronco and Samurai. I have a cb in the samurai, but it’s a joke; no range, people always asking for a repeat or to relay it to the end of the line... there are ham radios that will let people track your location and can even relay text and email messages two-way. I use these features often.
CB should just go away and people should spend a weekend studying for a HAM license.
 

frinesi2

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Have you looked into which brand or type you may be investing in?
I still need to do more research, but I went back to a Bronco6G thread on the topic and heres what I was recommended: For CBs, I was told the Cobra 75 WX ST was a good one. But somebody else mentioned GMRS radios as a good solution since they have a bit more power, the license covers family members and multiple radios, and they can communicate with FRS walkie talkies as well.
 

Bronco5.0

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I run a pair of ham radios; AnyTone (DMR) and Yeasu (Analog) and a handheld my bronco and Samurai. I have a cb in the samurai, but it’s a joke; no range, people always asking for a repeat or to relay it to the end of the line... there are ham radios that will let people track your location and can even relay text and email messages two-way. I use these features often.
CB should just go away and people should spend a weekend studying for a HAM license.
I think a lot of people are unaware that Morse code no longer required for HAM license.
 

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Jul 13, 2020
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I think the answer really depends on your needs and intent. If you're just wanting to communicate nearby with your fellow off-roaders that your with, CB works well and is a pretty cheap solution. You can pick up a good Cobra radio, and upgraded mic, and external speaker, and an antenna with mount kit for less than $100 total. Another good alternative for this use-case is a GMRS radio. These are available as handhelds or truck-mount systems. A 6-piece DeWalt radio kit with charger base can be found for less than $300. If your intention is to talk longer-range and to get a message out to someone back in civilization for help - well, you're probably going to need a HAM radio. The Morse-code requirement for the license is gone now, so the test is a lot less daunting. A good mobile set-up will be more expensive than a CB, but well worth it if you are stuck on your own and need help. The other solution for this condition is something with a satellite relay like a Sat-Phone (VERY expensive) or a satellite text communicator. Garmin has several options for Sat-Text and they run around $400 plus a per-use fee or subscription.

I personally have a Cobra 19DXIV CB radio for nearby comms, a couple of Midland GMRS radios that I share with my buddies or spotters, and a Garmin GPSMAP 66i with Satellite Comms that I keep for emergencies or to communicate with family/friends by text when I have no phone reception. The Garmin also provides updated weather maps/reports, 4 minute "bread-crumb" tracking markers, and sync back to the BaseCamp software on my computer. (It's also hand packable and can accept maps for use when hunting if you do that too.)
 

mrlaw

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Aug 8, 2020
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What I prefer and what I'm going to have to put in are different. I have my HAM license and think it is vastly more versatile than other radio technologies. However, most of my 4x4 club is running CB, despite our attempts to get everyone to buy into HAM. So I'll have to mount both. That's how I run right now. I use the HAM to hit the local repeater in case we need to make an emergency call for help and the CB is for the local comms.
I was thinking of getting my HAM radio license. Do you use your license for other adventurers other than off-roading? I was thinking it might be a good thing to have while hiking in remote locations with no cell service.
 

mrlaw

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I think the answer really depends on your needs and intent. If you're just wanting to communicate nearby with your fellow off-roaders that your with, CB works well and is a pretty cheap solution. You can pick up a good Cobra radio, and upgraded mic, and external speaker, and an antenna with mount kit for less than $100 total. Another good alternative for this use-case is a GMRS radio. These are available as handhelds or truck-mount systems. A 6-piece DeWalt radio kit with charger base can be found for less than $300. If your intention is to talk longer-range and to get a message out to someone back in civilization for help - well, you're probably going to need a HAM radio. The Morse-code requirement for the license is gone now, so the test is a lot less daunting. A good mobile set-up will be more expensive than a CB, but well worth it if you are stuck on your own and need help. The other solution for this condition is something with a satellite relay like a Sat-Phone (VERY expensive) or a satellite text communicator. Garmin has several options for Sat-Text and they run around $400 plus a per-use fee or subscription.

I personally have a Cobra 19DXIV CB radio for nearby comms, a couple of Midland GMRS radios that I share with my buddies or spotters, and a Garmin GPSMAP 66i with Satellite Comms that I keep for emergencies or to communicate with family/friends by text when I have no phone reception. The Garmin also provides updated weather maps/reports, 4 minute "bread-crumb" tracking markers, and sync back to the BaseCamp software on my computer. (It's also hand packable and can accept maps for use when hunting if you do that too.)
Do they make a HAM radio that can also communicate with CBs?
 

Bronco5.0

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Do they make a HAM radio that can also communicate with CBs?
Licensed hams are not allowed to talk to anyone who is not licensed unless it is an emergency. So by contacting a CB radio using a ham radio, you are going against the FCC and could face legal repercussions. The same goes the opposite way as well, CB users shouldn't be connecting to hams.
 
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mrlaw

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Aug 8, 2020
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They can do all of that. You can bounce of local repeaters to significantly increase your range. I've actually used that functionality. We lost a truck down a river a few years ago (long story. inexperience and hubris was to blame). We used the HAM to make contact with someone more than 300 miles away who was then able to contact the local authorities for us.

They can also perform some GPS functionality and repeater triangulation. Awesome for find where you are but also for mapping your track. Some of the nicer radios will visualize the way you came so you can follow the route back. However, a stand alone GPS unit will do those things much better.
Thanks, I'm beginning to think a HAM license is the way to go! I love to hear about the long story about the truck sometime :)
 

Hobgoblin

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This is a great thread. Back in the day in high school (pre-cell phone era) all of us put CB radios in our cars and that was the way we connected when we were out and about. That is about the extent of my knowledge.

Learning more from reading this thread. I see CB, HAM, and GMRS all mentioned. Could someone put together a quick grid comparison of each along with pluses, minuses, and requirements? Also good options for each to explore.

Thanks!