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KD4UPL

Swoope, VA

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Posted: 01/31/21 11:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

He said he wants to talk with truck drivers and other motorists. I've never seen any truck drivers use GMRS.

bgum

South Louisiana

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Posted: 01/31/21 12:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

KD4UPL wrote:

He said he wants to talk with truck drivers and other motorists. I've never seen any truck drivers use GMRS.


Take another look. "And other motorists"
Gmrs is quickly sending CB to the garage sale piles.
Gmrs transmits and receives at much longer distances.
Gmrs is F M which means no static.
Gmrs can hit repeaters which means you can communicate hundreds of miles.
Gmrs antennas are much smaller.
One of the reasons you don't hear as many truckers on CB today is that they are going to GMRS and ham radio.

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 01/31/21 02:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bgum wrote:

KD4UPL wrote:

He said he wants to talk with truck drivers and other motorists. I've never seen any truck drivers use GMRS.


Take another look. "And other motorists"
Gmrs is quickly sending CB to the garage sale piles.
Gmrs transmits and receives at much longer distances.
Gmrs is F M which means no static.
Gmrs can hit repeaters which means you can communicate hundreds of miles.
Gmrs antennas are much smaller.
One of the reasons you don't hear as many truckers on CB today is that they are going to GMRS and ham radio.


Truckers CANNOT use "Ham radio" for BUSINESS PURPOSES, PERIOD. Heck if you tightly adhere to the FCC Rules, you cannot even even use Ham radio to order a Pizza from a Pizza shop because you ARE doing "business" on it.

GMRS is a VERY LIMITED communication system by design, sure they have a few more watts of power but to get considerable distance they need to use REPEATERS.. It was never intended for COMMERCIAL TRAFFIC like in "truckers". GMRS frequencies around 462 Mhz and 467 Mhz which IS LINE OF SIGHT UHF frequencies, doesn't bend around hills, mountains or other obstacles.

See FCC website for more details.

The advent of CHEAP unlimited talk CELLPHONE packages are what has consigned "CB" to the briny depths.. Not GMRS and not Ham radio.

SOME truckers may have a CB, They might have it since SOME places they go to may use it for their yard, but it is not typically a truckers primary means of communications anymore. My neighbor is a truck driver, his truck does not have a CB, has a commercial business band radio.

On top of that MANY trucking companies went to COMMERCIAL BUSINESS BAND frequency radios which are not GMRS capable.

Traditional 27 Mhz AM/SSB CB was a 1960s-late 1970's "cool factor" fad that due to constant abuse was totally abandoned by the FCC and pretty much anyone that didn't want to listen to the junk spewed by the abusers.. By the 1980s it was dead, now days very few manufacturers make them..

And as the OP has found out, very few places will install them.

I wouldn't and I do have a favorite CB leftover that I had bought from a friend who is now deceased so it has a sentimental attachment. That CB hasn't seen a vehicle since 2003 when I pulled it from my old truck and never reinstalled it since I could not find anyone on it worth while listening or talking to.

I would not and will not encourage anyone to buy a CB or GMRS, they will be highly disappointed, not a lot of trucker chatter now days.

GMRS is OK if you are two or more family members or friends using for communicating hiking/biking or traveling together (multiple vehicles going to same camping place as an example). But overall a very limited radio service with a lot of limitations. That IS what GMRS was designed for.

azdryheat

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Posted: 01/31/21 05:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I guess I confused the issue with GMRS. The radio I'm talking about is a Dual-Band Two-Way Ham Radio Transceiver UHF/VHF 136-174/400-520MHz.

I understand that GMRS covers 462 to 467 Mhz, which is regulated by the FCC and requires a license and I see nothing about commercial use. The FMS also has frequencies in this range and a license is not required if the preset freq's FMS channels are used.

On the other hand, 136-174 Mhz also requires no license and truckers shouldn't have any issues using the particular channels in the freq range provided they are approved channels.


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thestoloffs

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Posted: 02/01/21 01:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

azdryheat wrote:

I guess I confused the issue with GMRS. The radio I'm talking about is a Dual-Band Two-Way Ham Radio Transceiver UHF/VHF 136-174/400-520MHz.

I understand that GMRS covers 462 to 467 Mhz, which is regulated by the FCC and requires a license and I see nothing about commercial use. The FMS also has frequencies in this range and a license is not required if the preset freq's FMS channels are used.

On the other hand, 136-174 Mhz also requires no license and truckers shouldn't have any issues using the particular channels in the freq range provided they are approved channels.


A few editorial comments on these statements:

Family Radio Service (FRS) also restricts the power output lower than GMRS.
136-174 MHz covers a variety of frequency bands that certainly DO require license & Type Acceptance of the equipment, such as Marine Radio, Public Service, Business Radio, Military & Federal Government radio services.

If it's truly a "Dual Band Ham Radio" transceiver, then it's covered under FCC Part 97 and cannot legally be programmed to transmit outside 144-148 MHz or 420-450 MHz.

If it's potentially programmable to transmit and not just receive on other frequencies in 136-174 MHz, then it would have to be Type Accepted for that purpose -- and cannot be simultaneously approved under Part 97 Amateur Radio Service.

Better check the specs for this radio carefully. It's probably saying Receive Only for 136-174 MHz.

(I won't even discuss why most Chinese-produced radios can't get Type Acceptance but why the Japanese-produced units scrupulously qualify.)

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 02/01/21 02:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

azdryheat wrote:

I guess I confused the issue with GMRS. The radio I'm talking about is a Dual-Band Two-Way Ham Radio Transceiver UHF/VHF 136-174/400-520MHz.

I understand that GMRS covers 462 to 467 Mhz, which is regulated by the FCC and requires a license and I see nothing about commercial use. The FMS also has frequencies in this range and a license is not required if the preset freq's FMS channels are used.

On the other hand, 136-174 Mhz also requires no license and truckers shouldn't have any issues using the particular channels in the freq range provided they are approved channels.


Egad's no.

Proper FCC type Ham radio equipment are designed to transmit INSIDE all the HAM band limits.

Any licensed Ham transmitting outside of Ham bands risks loosing their license, being fined and even including loosing their equipment.

Ham bands are..

2 Mtr (VHF) Ham is 140.1-148.0 Mhz

440 Mhz (70 cm)(UHF) is 420.0 Mhz to 450.0 Mhz

See ARRL chart for more details..

HERE

Some Ham radios may be able to LISTEN out of band, but they are not setup factory to transmit out side those bands. For some special groups like "MARS" which use frequencies slightly outside of Ham bands there is often a mod that can be done by factory but you must provide license proof..

There were some older Chinese import radios which DID transmit outside Ham bands, those radios after the flaw was discovered were banned from importation and ALL of the existing ones that were sold are considered not not FCC type accepted and are not legal to use.

Newer Chinese import radios do adhere to the FCC type acceptance and do not transmit outside of the Ham bands (although I suspect there might be mods but those would make the radio no longer FCC accepted and not legal to transmit.

Additionally frequencies from 136 Mhz to 174 Mhz ALL are LICENSED frequencies.. Those frequencies contain FAA Airport/airline radio audio and important radio location traffic, Marine radio frequencies, business radio traffic, NOAA, Government use and much much more. The is zero "unlicensed" use frequencies in there.. At one point some point there were VHF low power Microphone systems that were legal to use in the analog TV channels, not so much now days and they only had a few milliwatts of transmit power and barely gave you 100ft of distance..

Now if you really wish to lose your mind, HERE is from the FCC a chart from 2 Khz to 300 Ghz..

I think you will be hard pressed to find ANY "license free" spectrum available that would afford one with "CB" like useage other than Family radio (FMRS) but once again, FRMS and GMRS SHARE some of the same UHF frequencies and comes with very severe limitations in power and antenna creating a very short line of sight service which typically will end up a mile or two of distance.

FCC does not just "give away" radio frequency spectrum, they SELL IT. It is auctioned off, FCC makes money on auction frequencies, it is how they stay alive..

Ham radio back 10 yrs or so ago lost a chunk of 220 Mhz band to UPS (which UPS has never used).. So it is in the best interest of Hams to at least try to use the bands they have, or risk losing it..

But just because you don't hear anyone on a frequency, it doesn't mean you can or should transmit on those frequencies, they are owned by FCC..

FCC coordinates the usage.

Fines, prison time and loss of equipment..

Don't assume..

On edit..

FMRS while it is "unlicensed", it was designed for "family use" and was supposed to sort of "replace" the 27 Mhz CB wasteland providing a useful short distance communication method for folks to use like hunting, hiking type of thing..

With it, it comes with a power and antenna limitation which under goo conditions may get you a couple of miles (like CB).. Those radios are only available in low power handy talkies with integrated antenna (no external antenna possible).

FMRS units often include GMRS channels but in reality if you are transmitting on GMRS channels you ARE supposed to have a GMRS license.

GMRS radios tend to have higher power and a external antenna connection and share some of the FMRS frequencies.. But once agin comes with UHF line of sight limitations AND you need to pay for a license..

Overall neither is a good useful item unless you are preplanning some remote short distance communications with someone that you know.

* This post was edited 02/01/21 02:59pm by Gdetrailer *

CaptJD

San Juan Bautista

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Posted: 02/01/21 09:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you for all the advise guys.
CB wasn't going to be my main radio since I am a HAM. I wanted to have the CB in order to talk to truckers along the highway and get a better road condition reports etc.

Last week we decided to buy a small motorhome at a dealership in Arkansas. We rented a car and drove there from CA and once we got the RV we drove it back to home in CA. about 4500 miles in 5 days. At some point along the route there and back weather got a little bit scary and at those moments I wish I could've talk to oncoming truckers to find out how was the conditions where they are coming from.

Otherwise my hobby activity is HAM radio. But I did not know about truckers using GMRS nowadays! That's good to know. CB technology is sooo ancient nowadays but I thought if that's the only way to contact maximum number of truckers along the routes, so be it!

I'll continue to investigate.

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 02/02/21 08:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

CaptJD wrote:

Thank you for all the advise guys.
CB wasn't going to be my main radio since I am a HAM. I wanted to have the CB in order to talk to truckers along the highway and get a better road condition reports etc.

Last week we decided to buy a small motorhome at a dealership in Arkansas. We rented a car and drove there from CA and once we got the RV we drove it back to home in CA. about 4500 miles in 5 days. At some point along the route there and back weather got a little bit scary and at those moments I wish I could've talk to oncoming truckers to find out how was the conditions where they are coming from.

Otherwise my hobby activity is HAM radio. But I did not know about truckers using GMRS nowadays! That's good to know. CB technology is sooo ancient nowadays but I thought if that's the only way to contact maximum number of truckers along the routes, so be it!

I'll continue to investigate.


Weather and road conditions concerns and understandably so, but today unlike the golden yrs of CB where truckers and CBs were splashed across the big screen in movie houses in movies like "Convoy" and "Smokey and the Bandit" there isn't as much trucker chatter happening on CB frequencies..

The advent of low cost Cellphones and plans plus the use of licensed commercial business band equipment has really reduced the "need" for truckers to use a primary communications method.

Truckers are busy, that is their job, most now days get paid by the mile and the rules of the road now days requires them to use electronic books, GPS tracking and under tight delivery deadlines.. Doesn't leave much room for chit chatting..

Oh sure, there will be some out that might but in the yrs I had a CB in a vehicle and my commute was an hr long each way I never once heard a "weather report", "road conditions" report, Smokey" report or "accident" report.. Vary rarely did I even hear a trucker "chatting" to another trucker.

To put that into perspective, that was from 1980-2003 and in that time I wore out quite a few vehicles racking up 25K miles each yr on Interstate and big city driving. 23 yrs and 575,000 miles later, I decided the CB bands had died and I was no longer bothering with installing Ham and CB.. The Ham equipment won the fight and I quietly played "taps" in my mind as the CB got quietly shoved into a basement cabinet.. From 2003-2020 I have racked up another 425,000 miles and I have not regretted the decision of shelving the CB from my vehicles.

Yes, I get it, folks get anxious about weather, road conditions, smokeys, and traffic jams.. But even IF you were to get the "heads up" would you be able to "do something about it?" like turn around and find an alternate route?

Many times taking alternate routes can just be worse than waiting out an accident or bad weather.. Many times alternate routes takes you into places that a RV shouldn't be or adds hrs and hundreds of mile to the trip.. Sometimes you might just get stuck on a limited exit road like a Toll road and have no way of turning around.

Then toss in a CB that on a good day you might get 1 to 4 miles worth of advanced notice and at todays speed that is less than 3 minutes to establish conversation and exchange it before losing contact.. Not enough advanced time to turn around, change direction, make alternate plan.

IF you were to decide to get a CB, buy a handy talky version with a mag mount.. No installation needed, it is a plug and go thing.. But even that to me is a waste of money..

houstonstroker

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Posted: 02/02/21 09:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have CB radios in my truck and motorhome. Both have weather channels with weather alerts. You are correct that there is not very much chatter going on these days. However it does heat up around big cities and big traffic delays. I have been able to use suggested detours by truckers to escape the deadlock.

We typically go camping with others in our small RV club. We communicate by CB radios. You can tell your buddy ahead of you almost instantly when his bike falls off the rack. After swerving of course. Or the flat tire we all seem to get.

The last time we were in Grand Canyon I don't remember our cell phones working so no Google maps for us. The Garmin never quit working.

Now we are making the switch to GMRS. Yes you do need a license but the range is fantastic. My motorhome has a 40 watt GMRS. We tested our CB radios against the new (for us) GMRS and the GMRS won the range test hands down.

Since the GMRS is UHF (high frequency) the antennas are smaller. I have a 1/4 wave antenna on the top of my motorhome and it is only 6 inches tall. The ground plane needed is much smaller also.

I have read that the organized Jeep events have started to switch over to GMRS. CB is AM which is noisy. GMRS is FM no noise. I have also heard that organized RV Events use GMRS.

Anyway whatever floats your boat.


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bgum

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Posted: 02/02/21 09:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not all truckers that use ham bands are licensed. That doesn't prevent them from communicating. If you want to hear CB, GMRS, HAM, FRS and other forms of communication just tune in when approaching the interstate bridge in Baton Rouge La. A couple years ago Jeepers canned CB on trail rides and most now require GMRS. GmRS does require a license. Face it or not we are in a period of transition. In the past I had a CB license and now have a GMRS license. Still have 4 C B radios.

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