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tower mounted FRS radio, would this be legal?

Discussion in 'MURS / FRS / GMRS' started by towerdog, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. towerdog

    towerdog one-niner-seven

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    To mount a FRS radio up on a rooftop, tree or tower and run audio to the radio.
    Would this be legal?

    The radio is not altered or mondified in any way, it just has a really long microphone cord (or cat5 streaming audio).

    And if this is legal then would it be legal to stand in front of a parabolic dish and transmit, or mount a radio on a tower with a v-reflector behind it?

    And for licenced GMRS, would this not make the best cheap base setup ever.
    I have talked to other tower crews from miles away using FRS while up on top the tower.



    It might violate the spirit of the law to mount a FRS walky talky at 400' but unless I misread something it shoulnt violate the letter of it.
    #1
  2. office888

    office888 Active Member

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    Rule of the Land : If it's not illegal, it's legal.

    Have at it, but internal modifications may make the radio no longer type accepted.
    #2
  3. pro151

    pro151 Supporting Member

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    #3
  4. towerdog

    towerdog one-niner-seven

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    because its indoors where the signal is just going to reflect, scatter and difract. It would be luck if it reached the end of the driveway.
    #4
  5. Wire Weasel

    Wire Weasel Senior Moment

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    Become a ham. Tech license obtained with brain tied behind back. General obtained just as easy. Full legal limit power at your disposal. Off the shelf highly capable gear. UHF band is there if that is what you like. A child old enough to operate a radio can learn the material and pass the test.
    #5
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  6. towerdog

    towerdog one-niner-seven

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    I got my ham ticket a long time ago but full power and off the shelf gear (what i could afford) got boring after awhile.

    Good luck licensing a scout troop, hunting club, 4x4 convoy or my wife for radio amateur. Sure am glad there is CB, murs, FRS/GMRS and the 900mhz ISM band.

    These FRS/GMRS blisterpack hybrids are next to useless. The most expensive units with 37, 45, 50 mile ranges, range about the same as earshot when used inside a vehicle or building.

    I find the range of my old TRC-2xx handheld CBs with the big telescopic "eye poker" antenna set on lo-power superior to the most powerful FRSGMRS hybrid I own.

    Because of this alot of these end up at yard sales and thrift stores often under $5.

    I actually tried this the other day putting a radio on top my truck with zip ties and made a cable connecting it to an amplified speaker and mic, and had friend stand outside with the other radio. On the GMRS I had clear coms for a couple of miles but didnt test it any further out.

    Not bad for a com system in which the alkaline batteries are the most expensive component, that does not poke your eye out like the CB.

    Some talk about putting a connector jack on their FRS GMRS hybrids, but external antennas and low loss coax cost too much, not to mention a major pita re-engineering the plastic shell to accommodate a bnc connector.

    I tried that some years ago and it worked pretty good until the antenna fell off taking part the circut board with it.

    So to me it makes more sense to move the cheap radio and make a longer mic cord. With GMRS you got tone codes, there is little need to chance channels. And for a battery make a dummy pack out of wood and turn it off from inside the vehicle. And as a plus you get a free ground plane by mounting it up there.

    And the best part for hams is, this is legal, so long as you use channels 1-14
    #6
  7. Wire Weasel

    Wire Weasel Senior Moment

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    Worrying about the legalities of using ham gear to operate with greater power and range on MURS or FRS/GMRS freqs is the absurd part.....frankly. There is NO enforcement. So there is NOTHING to worry about.
    #7
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  8. Kamikaze

    Kamikaze Active Member

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    I was considering a similar idea with a small type accepted FM broadcast band transmitter. It already takes RCA "consumer" level audio in. The plan was to keep the original wire antenna to keep it legal and feed it power and audio up on the tower.

    I loaned the unit I had to a friend and he reversed the DC polarity, killing it dead.

    Later I found out that the type acceptance for this thing was most likely bogus.
    #8
  9. ak rover

    ak rover Member

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    Any time you get a radio of any sort up off the ground, such as on a tower, you're going to increase your range. You can see further from up there and your radio signal can travel further also. As far as putting the radio in front of a reflector, I'm sure it would increase reception by focusing weaker signals toward the antenna but would make the radio extremely directional.

    The advantage of GMRS over FRS is that when licensed you can change antennas and use the full 50 watts legal. If you really want better range get commercial radios and program for GMRS frequencies. You can also program for offset for repeater use.
    #9
  10. towerdog

    towerdog one-niner-seven

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    Reflected antennas are quite common on commercial systems, especially cellular. On cell sites in areas with low volume of traffic but a wide area of coverage (b.f.egypt) you often see omnidirectional antennas, basically a ground plane type or array of ground plane antennas in a single fiberglass package. Its common for this to be attached to a aluminum plate the length of the antenna to focus out the signal even further. It makes good sense when you got 3 antennas each 180degrees apart.

    I see this occasionally on cellular panels, paging and 2 way as well.

    I even did this at my house on 2 meters, as one direction was the side of a mountain and the other direction had line of site for over 80 miles.

    I set up a vertical dipole because of the flat radiation angle and simplicity of it. I could hit repeaters 80+ miles out, but when I later cut out a piece of sheet metal and bent it at a 45' v-angle to go behind it, people started asking me to cut my power down.

    Believe it or not, most commercial systems are of better and more complex design than the stuff you build from plans on the internet. Its fun to play around and experiment with different setups or try to mimic or re-purpose the kind of stuff I see up on the towers.
    #10
  11. RatsoW8

    RatsoW8 Supporting Member

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    towerdog,

    What are you talking about when you said "And the best part for hams is, this is legal, so long as you use channels 1-14" ?
    #11
  12. C2

    C2 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe it is not legal at all:

    95.194 (FRS Rule 4) FRS units.

    (c) You may not attach any antenna, power amplifier, or other apparatus to
    an FRS unit that has not been FCC certified as part of that FRS unit.
    There are no exceptions to this rule
    and attaching any such apparatus
    to a FRS unit cancels the FCC certification and voids everyone's
    authority to operate the unit in the FRS.
    #12
  13. ak rover

    ak rover Member

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    GMRS/FRS has nothing to do with ham radio. GMRS requires a completely different license and has it's own set of rules. FRS allows a maximum of .5 watts and the antenna can not be changed. GMRS, requires the license from the FCC to be legal, but allows for up to 50 watts (depending on the channel) and pretty much antenna can be used.

    If I understand towerdog correctly, he's talking about simply putting the radio in front of a dish to receive and focus the radio signal toward the fixed antenna on his FRS radio. As long as there is nothing physically connecting the dish to the radio I can't see where it would be illegal to do that. If it is illegal then it would be illegal to stand i near any surface that might reflect the radio waves while using the radio.

    Channels 1-7 are shared by GMRS and FRS and limited to 5 watts with a GMRS license. 8-14 are FRS only and limited to .5 watts. 15-22 are the split frequencies for repeater use.
    #13
  14. dudmuck

    dudmuck Active Member

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    considering how many off the shelf FRS/GMRS combo radios are for sale that do five watts.
    I doubt anybody would notice a higher gain antenna on a half watts FRS radio.
    Or even the five watt models either.

    The FCC enforcement logs for GMRS are almost zilch. And FRS enforcement is nonexistant.
    #14
  15. towerdog

    towerdog one-niner-seven

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    so that means I can only use an external mic on GMRS channels 14-22?

    I give up, I am returning to the dark side and I am pretty sure HT-1000s, Maxtracs, and Yaesu's and ChingChangChong's make better FRS radios than actual FRS radios themselves.

    I am pretty sure a 5watt handheld will give me the same tx range as a motorola 0.5watt FRS stuck up on a tower, I mean 1 watt, 5 watt, and with FRS there is no PRSG pretending to be the FCC cause they're jealous I didnt pay the $90 ransom for a next to useless GMRS license.
    #15


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