FMRS radio ?? (for a techno retard)

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by whynot, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. whynot

    whynot Monkey+++

    I just discovered my Motorola T5200 radio's seem to have died. I'm unable to get the volume high enough to use and they no longer talk to my Garmin Rhino radio/gps. I know less than nothing when it comes to radio's so use little words an speak slowly. :)

    1. Like the small size and AA batteries. Love that they work with the Garmin Rhino GPS.

    2. Assuming I can't get these working again..What should I replace them with? 15-20 mile range would cover me and wife at work if SHTF. Would like to stick with AA batteries and FMRS. Affordable would be nice too.

  2. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Given you talk about the T5200s in the plural, I presume you have 2 or more of these. It seems unlikely they would all stop working at the same time and with the same failure symptom of low volume. You might check that they are all on the same channel as at very close range ( like feet when one checks things) they can bleed across channels. You might also check it is the T5200s and not the Rhino radio.

    Forget about these having 15-20 mile range... that is only like mountain top to mountain top across a desert, a couple miles is far more likely.
    Yard Dart likes this.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    You are NEVER going to get 15 miles out of FRS Radios, unless you are on a Mountain Top, and talking to someone, who is also on a mountain top, and there is nothing in between, but Water.... Especially if you are using the internal Antennas. Figure more like 5 Miles, MAX, and less in an Urban environment. These are UHF Radios, and limited to 1 Watt RF Output, unless you get the GMRS versions which REQUIRE an FCC GMRS License. Your Garmin Rhino's are FCC Type Accepted, using the same Regulations as ALL FRS Radios, and have the SAME Limitations. They do however give you Position Data of other Rhino Radios, in the local AoO, which is a nice feature. For the Comms you are looking for, you should consider Ham Radio. The Tech Class is very easy to acquire, And if 10 year Olds can pass it, you and your Mrs, shouldn't have any issue, with a little study in the evenings, for a week or so. If you are interested in that, let Ghrit, or Kellory know, and they can Stear you to the Study Guides, and get you going...
  4. whynot

    whynot Monkey+++

    I was just looking at the Motorola 350/ 352 series on Amazon. Any thoughts? These appear to be light years ahead of my current radio's. Garmin Rhino is also GMRS capable. Is 15 miles realistic on GMRS with the above radio's?

    Brand new batteries, channels and squelch codes set the same. They transmit fine but we can not get any volume out. When the volume knob is at max you can just hear it if it is held to your head like a telephone. I will call Motorola tomorrow if I get time to see if it is something simple.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  5. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

  6. whynot

    whynot Monkey+++

    Just like everything in life. :)

    Cheap, fast, accurate..... Pick any two.

  7. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    True GMRS Radios operating thru a "Community Repeater" can give you a 20 mile Range, if you pay the Repeater Owner for access.... He will REQUIRE that you have an FCC GMRS License, for your Radios, in order t use his Licensed Repeater. Other than that, mostly you are just out of luck, on ranges over 5 miles, unless you live in the wide open spaces of Kansas, and even then, maybe 8 miles is MAX.... These advertised Ranges are PURE Marketing Fiction, and only believed by Uninitiated Sheeple, with No Comms Experience....
    RAD909 likes this.
  8. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    We use Icom's here. Like the comm masters here have said, not as good as the maker's claim. I get couple miles here as a rule,in the heavy timber and mountains of our place in Colorado not that far.
    RAD909 likes this.
  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    All this points directly at getting licensed. Get handheld dual band units (walkie talkie type.) Then, find a repeater within a reasonable range (there are LOTS of them out there) that likely will cover your AO. Some, and I think most, are open, those that aren't will want a fee for use. With the repeaters, your range will be extended dramatically. With a bit of scheming, private, but not secure comms are easy to set up. Should do for you to significant other under normal circumstances in the 20 to 30 mile range. My club net operates on a repeater allowing about 70 mile coverage. I'm 13 line of sight miles from the repeater, and have no problem hitting it with 5 watts and on a good day can get there with 2.5. Granted, there's nothing between me and the repeater but a couple trees; I'm high (1750' ASL) and it is higher (2700' ASL.) We have at least one guy that lives in a narrow valley and has to shove a few more watts up the coax, but no problems other than that.
  10. whynot

    whynot Monkey+++

    Looks like there is an active amateur radio club in the area that operates several repeater sites. Guess I will have some studying to do. (Hopefully those 10 year olds that passed the test were slow)

    Ghrit or Bruce do you have any recommendations for a hand held dual band unit that won't break the bank but still be usable? I'm guessing I just asked the radio version of "what gun should I buy?"

  11. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
    ghrit likes this.
  12. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    There are a couple like the Baofeng in that price range. They are not top of the line, and programming them will drive you round the bend unless you get some software that will do it for you. They'll serve for a starter, but you might grow out of them fairly quickly. IMHO.
  13. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    I've tested Motorola i355 Cell Phones in the Direct Talk mode for 7 miles, this is clear line of sight, no trees, no hills.

  14. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    We have had extensive experience with those Motorola DirecTalk SECURE Phones here on the Monkey... There is a Thread in the Comms Forum, that deals with them....
  15. RAD909

    RAD909 Neophyte Monkey

    My personal favorite dual band ham radios are either the Icom 80Ad, or the Icom ID-51A (but it's pricer).
  16. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Well BT, and what do you think of them, do they work thru the trees, I mean they are basically $10.00 PTT 900 MHz radios, I added the extended rubber ducky?

    And welcome back, sit back and rest a while let the chick fill in.

    And write a plan on how stuff works, I need to do that for the AZchick.
  17. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Yes, they do work... And work well, within their limited operational capabilities... And they are AS SECURE, AS PRACTICAL without spending a hundred times the cost of The Farm...
  18. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    If you're interested in GMRS repeater usage you can go to and sign up. They have a listing of GMRS repeaters and a way to ask permission for use from the owners. Most do not charge but do ask that you obtain their permission. This includes, as BT says, the fact that you MUST have a license.

    Licenses are available from the FCC for $85 for 5 years and cover you and your immediate family members. You will not get permission to use repeaters without a call sign. The repeaters, at least in my area, appear to be seldom used and pretty much available most of the time.

    They are NOT secure, but in the event of SHTF, you could always tell you wife to meet at a predetermined place without disclosing where that is.

    Ham is better but it isn't secure either. And unlike GMRS both you and your wife would need to be licensed. The best part is the fact that ham has so many other possibilities for communications and you're far more likely to connect with SM minded individuals.
  19. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    There is a simple way to have SECURE Comms, on UnSECURE Voice Links...... OnePAD Phrase Pads, that you keep in your wallet, in Plasticized format.... AlaskaChick and I used this method, often when she was deployed in Africa....
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