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Comms gear for beginner

Discussion in '3rd Gen. Tacomas (2016+)' started by TacoTim85, Feb 26, 2020.

  1. Feb 26, 2020 at 3:04 PM
    #1
    TacoTim85

    TacoTim85 [OP] TrdBro

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    What type of radios are y'all using offroad for a beginner?

    I would like to be able to have a mounted dash holster or something, where it's secure, easily heard and easily grabbed.
     
    Beauxdon, volte and will.i.was like this.
  2. Feb 26, 2020 at 5:35 PM
    #2
    C41n

    C41n Gandalf Da Grey

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    This is a topic I have put a lot of thought into. You have 3 main types of options.

    CB
    GMRS / FRS
    HAM

    CB is completely license free.
    GMRS / FRS are typically bundled together these days.
    GMRS legally requires a license from the FCC. There is no test and the cost is $80. This is good for your entire immediate family.
    FRS is a license free band that anyone can use.
    HAM radio requires a license also. There is a test. Cost is $15 to take the test pass or fail.


    Many places I have read online talk about CB being the most used option. I had a CB installed in my TJ. I listened often, but I never once heard anyone talking on it while off roading.

    GMRS / FRS handhelds are cheap and easy to use. As you know I have 3 of these:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CTBHCWS/ref=twister_B06XKM77TP?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

    I may or may not install a higher powered GMRS in my rig. Something like this:

    https://www.amazon.com/Midland-Micr...ef=sr_1_8?keywords=GMRS&qid=1582766712&sr=8-8

    HAM is a lot more involved to get going. I am taking the test for my license this Saturday. I bought the cheapest HAM radio there is to play with:

    https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5...f=sr_1_3?keywords=uv-5r&qid=1582766819&sr=8-3

    It is really popular because of it's price. It can trasmit on GMRS / FRS frequencies, as can most HAM radios. However it is illegal to do so, even if you are a licensed HAM. The reason for this is FCC rules and how much power HAM radios have. This is particularly frustrating to me. It means to legally use both HAM and GMRS from a mobile unit in my rig I have to have 2 radios, when one could do that job.

    I haven't decided yet but I am leaning towards this radio for HAM in my rig:

    https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-012910

    One really cool feature of HAM radio is APRS. APRS = Automatic Packet Reporting System is an amateur radio-based system for real time digital communications of information of immediate value in the local area. In short what that means is you can transmit your live location automatically even when you don't have a cell signal. If something were to happen, you would be easy to find. You check out how that looks here:

    https://aprs.fi/#!lat=45.4805&lng=-122.6363

    Only licensed HAMs can use this feature.

    Here is a great video from Last Line Of Defense covering coms:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUUga4UnYw0

    ^ This guy has a bad ass Tacoma and a great youtube channel.

    Hope this helps brother!
     
  3. Feb 26, 2020 at 5:49 PM
    #3
    JoeCOVA

    JoeCOVA IG @MightyJoeFlannel

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    Depends on the group you roll with. Everyone I have ever off-roaded with used CB. Even random guys I went out with had CBS. A few guys also had HAM
     
    whatstcp and TacoTim85 [OP] like this.
  4. Feb 26, 2020 at 5:54 PM
    #4
    5nahalf

    5nahalf I build dumb things

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    I have a CB in my tuck, but I also have 4 Baofeng T1 mini radios that I can use.
     
  5. Feb 26, 2020 at 5:54 PM
    #5
    Ch78

    Ch78 GBO!

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    I have a hand held CB as a backup but pretty much everyone I wheel with now has GMRS. I have a Midland MicroMobile MXG275 mounted in my center console.The range far exceeds a cb.

    https://midlandusa.com/product/mxt275-micromobile-two-way-radio/

    I’ll probably get my HAM license and a cheap radio whenever I have time.
     
  6. Feb 26, 2020 at 5:55 PM
    #6
    kf4aqo

    kf4aqo Member

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    I have CB (rarely use), GMRS mobile (use), ham (use most), cell phone.
    As stately earlier - it depends on the guys I riding with.
     
  7. Feb 26, 2020 at 6:05 PM
    #7
    TacoTim85

    TacoTim85 [OP] TrdBro

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    You know alot more about this than I do...looks like I have some learnin to do! Thank you.
     
    C41n likes this.
  8. Feb 26, 2020 at 6:13 PM
    #8
    E.J.

    E.J. Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    Ackchyually the ham in ham radio isn't an acronym, no need to capitalize it. Amature radio is probably the best for an actual emergancy, not so great for trail comms if your buddies aren't using it. I've run ham and CB in my truck for quite a while. Recently I've fallen in with a group who aren't so interested in radio as a hobby, we run FRS in that group and for vehicle to vehicle comms in a convoy they work better than most guys crappy CB installs.
     
    vicali and TacoTim85 [OP] like this.
  9. Feb 26, 2020 at 6:53 PM
    #9
    Taco Roofer

    Taco Roofer Well-Known Member

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    The work beast and weekend warrior rig.
    Sub a dub dub... I'm keeping an eye on this thread ;)

    Cell phone coverage in my neck of the woods sucks unless you use one specific carrier, who loves to bend over their customers!
     
  10. Feb 26, 2020 at 7:03 PM
    #10
    TacoTim85

    TacoTim85 [OP] TrdBro

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    I think I am gonna add a poll to help us get a clearer picture of what people are using.

    Edit: Nevermind...seems like enough people have weighed in. Lol
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
  11. Feb 26, 2020 at 7:05 PM
    #11
    Grindstone

    Grindstone Requires Adult Supervision

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    In a former life, I've used FRS/GMRS radios for milsim airsoft. Even standard Walmart Motorola bubble pack radios worked just fine over a couple miles, including heavily forested and urban environments. I don't see why it wouldn't for a small to medium convoy. Added bonus, you can use 'privacy' channels so even if you stumble onto someone else using one of the twenty-odd-something (iirc) FRS/GMRS channels available, you can still keep your comms within your group.

    That said, CB seems to be the radio du joir for most off-roaders/overlanders, at least those who talk about it. Might just be selection bias.
     
  12. Feb 26, 2020 at 7:09 PM
    #12
    SR-71A

    SR-71A Define "Well-Known Member"

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    Mobtown sliders, ARB bar, Icon RXT leafs, extended & adjustable Kings, JBA UCAs, Tepui Ayer 2, dual batteries, Gen2 xrc9.5 winch, CB, GMRS, S1 ditch lights...
    ^ Thats about as concise of an answer as you'll get, or need haha.

    Only thing Ill add is for 'general use' it 100% comes down to what others in your group have. CB is the easiest, therefore its also the most common.
     
  13. Feb 26, 2020 at 7:42 PM
    #13
    C41n

    C41n Gandalf Da Grey

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    Poll couldn't hurt. Would be fun to see what people vote.

    In the end though, the biggest thing I forgot in my post is what others have said. It all comes down to what your group is using.

    Worth noting IMO that many CB installs are poorly tuned and voice quality isn't great. Not a problem with GMRS.

    Also it's super convenient to just hand out handhelds and have everyone ready to go in moments.
     
  14. Feb 26, 2020 at 7:58 PM
    #14
    will.i.was

    will.i.was Well-Known Member

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    I run ham and cb. I have alot of repeaters programmed within the local areas and most of the major cities I have been to. It's nice to have long range capabilities of 50+ miles but the only downside is not alot of people utilize it because of licensure.

    Cb is great for all communications as it is widely used and way less complicated to get into.

    Either way I would recommend the largest antenna you can get, especially for cb as it is limited to line of sight but it is old tech compared to gmrs.

    Make sure your comms are tuned appropriately.

    I have an anytone 778uv running on a 62" mfj or tram 38". The cb is a Midland 78-522 with a 6' NGP firestik. Ultra low SWR on both setups. Ham is mounted in the center console on a magnetic mount for the handheld and the cb is on the ceiling with magnetic mounts and a custom ratcheting retaining system.

    A plus with ham is cool custom call signs and free license plates

    IMG_20200107_162304.jpg
    IMG_20200106_175008.jpg
     
  15. Feb 26, 2020 at 8:24 PM
    #15
    CAG Gonzo

    CAG Gonzo Ascendant Spaghetti

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    For future reference when I can afford to go down this rabbit hole.
     
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  16. Mar 22, 2020 at 8:10 PM
    #16
    zz_tap

    zz_tap Member

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    I know your install has been awhile, how did you run wiring for power and antenna wire inside the cab for cb?
     
  17. Mar 22, 2020 at 8:36 PM
    #17
    Beauxdon

    Beauxdon TTC #289

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  18. Mar 22, 2020 at 8:36 PM
    #18
    heybronicetacoma

    heybronicetacoma Meat Popsicle

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    I got 4 GMRS/FRS radios in the glovebox, CB mounted, and a UV5R
     
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  19. Mar 22, 2020 at 11:06 PM
    #19
    hamchoi

    hamchoi Well-Known Member

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    GMRS is typically what I've seen. It's easy enough for anyone to use
     
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  20. Mar 24, 2020 at 8:10 AM
    #20
    Taco Roofer

    Taco Roofer Well-Known Member

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    The work beast and weekend warrior rig.
    Pulled the trigger on a Midland mxt115. I also already had a couple of frs/gmrs handhelds so this will make group wheeling a little easier and add some fun when group camping.

    Yes, I'll be putting in for my fcc uls this weekend.

    20200317_211135.jpg

    Running the little antenna it came with for now but will be upgrading to the 6db antenna in the near future.
    Only thing I have changed since this picture is that I used a ziptie to get the mic cord closer to the shifter. It's completely out of my way and I don't even notice its there.
    20200318_191141.jpg 20200318_191133.jpg
     
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