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  #1  
Old 04-26-2011, 11:28 PM
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Default CB, GMRS, or Ham radio for communications

Hi everyone,
I'm just wondering what most people use for bike to bike communications. As a ham radio operator, I have and would use 2m/70cm radio. One of the problems is that I don't know any hams who ride in my part of the world (Oregon). However, those that I know ride with B-B comm are using the Kenwood TK-3131 (a discontinued 1W radio at GMRS frequencies) I would like comm distances of 1-2 miles or more (just trying to be realistic with the "35 mile" FRS/GMRS radios). I haven't listened to CB radios for years, but my last experience was less than stellar. I don't like the idea of Bluetooth running at 2.4 GHz (Scala and others) right next to the head for extended rides (microwaves next to the head is probably not a good thing for the brain).

Anyone have any ideas that I haven't thought about?

By the way, at some point, I will probably route this through an AutoCom or StarCom1.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 04-27-2011, 07:36 AM
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I've used APRS on the bike, but never used repeaters. CB is popular with Harley and Wing owners. I know a bunch of Vstrom folks who uses FRS/GMRS in New England. Not sure who else uses it.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:16 PM
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I just passed my Technician test on Saturday. Planning on getting something like a Kenwood f6a. Both of my Alaska ride buddies are HAMs, and one will modify the f6a to transmit on FRS/GMRS as well. Having the amateur bands will come in handy so we can use repeaters if separated.

I plan to hook it to a Starcom or Autocom.
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:28 PM
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I use FRS/GMRS to communicate with my buddies when riding. We use channel 7 sub 14. (It woudl be nice if other riders used this so that eventually we have a common channel to use for riders.) The nice thing with FRS/GMRS is that you have many choices how to use them. I use Autocomm, a friend uses Starcom, my brother had used the Motorola earbud and mic (with soem success.)

Either way they give decent sound without static and provide many choices of radios to use.

..Tom
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:35 PM
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My wife, son and I use bike-to-bike all the time. What we use are Yaesu VX-7R and FT-60 radios and Starcom Digitals. I have my Ham license, but neither my wife or son do, so the radios are (SHHHHH) opened up to GMRS freqs. I would dearly love to get off of the GMRS freqs and use 2m or 70cm and I've been trying to get my wife to get her Ham license, but she's so far unconvinced - so we're stuck on the GMRS freqs.

I'd suggest that if you want to talk to just about anyone bike-to-bike, FRS/GMRS is the only way to go. I just don't think there's enough Ham operators on bikes to only go that route.

I have found that the higher end Yaesu radios have issues with the cheap BestBuy kind of GMRS radios. The problem is for sure with the cheap stuff, because the Yaesu's have no problem communicating with other similar Ham radios from the likes of Kenwood and Icom.

If I have to communicate with someone other than my family, I use a Cobra GMRS radio. The quality sucks compared to the Yaesu, but the Cobra does communicate with almost all the cheap GMRS stuff.

That all being said, what will drive your decision more than anything else is what the crowd you wind up running with are using. So for example, if you most often ride with guys with CBs then, something that would do CB would be best. Likewise Scala or whatever.

Hope this helps ...

ian
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Old 04-27-2011, 12:52 PM
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Not sure what all that technobabble was about in the first post but I do have a little CB mounted to my bike, tucked away nicely.

Bluetooth CB radio Got that pared with the Blue tooth Helmet mic and speaker set. A bit pricy but I can talk to anyone including other riders in the group as well as truckers with a flip of a switch on the radio!

I'm honestly not sure how a HAM radio would be mounted to a bike.... don't those use HUGE antenna's and need lots of power to broadcast?
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by istephens View Post
My wife, son and I use bike-to-bike all the time. What we use are Yaesu VX-7R and FT-60 radios and Starcom Digitals. I have my Ham license, but neither my wife or son do not, so the radios are (SHHHHH) opened up to GMRS freqs. I would dearly love to get off of the GMRS freqs and use 2m or 70cm and I've been trying to get my wife to get her Ham license, but she's so far unconvinced - so we're stuck on the GMRS freqs.
What do you think of the VX-7R versus say the Kenwood F6a? I'm looking for something to hardwire, connect to starcom, waterproof/resistant a plus, etc.. easy to mod the yaesu to FRS/GMRS? I'm really totally in the dark with radios here.
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Old 04-27-2011, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by istephens View Post
I have found that the higher end Yaesu radios have issues with the cheap BestBuy kind of GMRS radios. The problem is for sure with the cheap stuff, because the Yaesu's have no problem communicating with other similar Ham radios from the likes of Kenwood and Icom.
What I'm about to say is a definite known problem with FRS/GMRS radios. I'm not completely clear on what you're saying. Can you clarify?

Some of the FRS/GMRS radios have low transmit audio into Autocom systems. Receive audio is okay. Motorola is one brand that works okay on transmit and receive. I haven't tried other brands.
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  #9  
Old 04-27-2011, 04:51 PM
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I have been using Autocomm, with CB for years. Friends w/Harleys, and Wings have factory CB's. Other friends with BMW's have Autocom set-up like mine as well as wife has same set-up as me on her wee. Advantage is how easy it is and great on opens hiways to talk with truckers about Police set-ups, dinners etc. Not great distance but adequate, also they can be trickey to set-up but when working they work well.
Also coonected with my autocom set-up I have CB, XM radio, GPS, and radar detector.
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by istephens View Post
...I have found that the higher end Yaesu radios have issues with the cheap BestBuy kind of GMRS radios. The problem is for sure with the cheap stuff, because the Yaesu's have no problem communicating with other similar Ham radios from the likes of Kenwood and Icom.
...
I use a Kenwood (I forgot the model but it is directly powered by the Autocom.) I recall in setting it up that there was a choice of wide or narrow band. I suspect this might have something to do with how well some higher end units communicate with lower end units. There is no choice on the lower end cionsumer radios. I don't recall which way I set mine, but it has no issues with expensive or cheaper units.

..Tom
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