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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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I just passed my Technician test on Saturday. :thumbup: 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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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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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) <whisper>opened up to GMRS freqs</whisper>. 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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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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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) <whisper>opened up to GMRS freqs</whisper>. 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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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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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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...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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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?
You're right about the usual HAM rig, but my radios are all VHF/UHF (2m/70cm) low power (5 watt) handheld radios. They run off of internal LiPoly rechargeable batteries and have antenna's that are about 7" high. We just put them into a tank bag along with all the other crap that's usually in there.

Ian
 

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frs/gmrs kenwood on autocom here

Finally have my autocom setup the way I like with a kenwood freetalk 3131, my nexus one, and spare headset for passenger. I mostly use the radio to talk to girlfriend when she is trailing in the car with kid. Have not found any riders around me that use radios, just hand signals.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for everyone getting back to me. I have a couple of Yaesus (the FT-60 and a VX-5) both of which are good radios. As others have pointed out the problem is that relatively few other riders are ham operators. I will probably go with a business/commercial radio programmed for the GMRS frequencies, mostly because that is what the few people who ride and have communications use. The advantage of the commercial grade radio is the ability to put a separate (read better) antenna on the rear of the bike. At the GMRS frequencies, this antenna will only be a little over a foot tall. A portable radio like this can be mounted in a tank bag, in a tank pannier, or on a RAM mount (inside of a waterproof bag). With some of the newer battery pack, operating life should be 10+ hours, unless one does a lot of transmitting.

I'll let everyone know what I end up with.
 

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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.
Yaesu makes a radio that is perfect for mounting on a bike - the FTM-10
FTM-10. I was close to buying one last year, but decided not to for reasons I can't quite recall right now, but I'm sure the reasons were good.

I think the only major difference between the VX-7R and the Kenwood F6a is that the VX is pretty water resistant. In other activities, I've done real-world tests in the rain and in puddles and the VX never missed a beat.

On my FJR I have the radio semi-mounted in my tank bag with the audio leads pugged into a bulkhead connector on the fairing of the bike, bike power running into the tank bag and an external antenna lead to an antenna mounted at the back of the bike.
(I've reorganized this since the picture was taken.


My wife wants a similar antenna to be mounted to her V-Strom soon.

ian
 

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Pretty convenient setup Ian.

I am a HAM as well, and most of the local 4X4 clubs are having their members get their ticket. 90% of the reason I got mine is for 4x4 stuff. Now, seeing as how it's summer, I like to ride my bike on the 4x4 overlanding trails we frequent, and need to be in communications with the cages, so I am looking at a good setup soon.

I am actually digging this man's setup-
http://www.stromtrooper.com/139284-post48.html

And from that basic idea, my plans are to setup my GPS, HAM (VX-6R), iPhone, and SPOT II above my controls (and get the clutter/weight off my handlebars).

For the Yaesu, I am nearly 100% convinced with a slight mod this will fit the bill nicely-
[urlhttp://www.ram-mount.com/CatalogResults/PartDetails/tabid/63/partid/082065077045072079076045085078052085/Default.aspx[/url]

Add my Motocomm headset with a small adapter, and I *hope* that will be sufficient. Only way to find out is to try I suppose...
 

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Yaesu makes a radio that is perfect for mounting on a bike - the FTM-10
I am a hamradio operator (CALL OZ5ACU). I have used the FTM-10SR for about 4 years now on my v-strom. I have had no problems so fare.

I use it for hamradio bands and also PMR (european FRS?)

I use the bluetooth option to connect to my Schuberth C3 helmet, so it is "hands free" when i am using VOX. It works perfect.

/Henning OZ5ACU
 
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