Saturday, July 28, 2012


The other day I was talking with someone about HAM radio, CB's, and then those little walkie-talkies that you see at Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, etc. He was wondering if he could get some, give his kids a few and keep in touch (after all, many advertise 20-40 mile range).

My answer was mixed. Under ideal conditions, with one child strapped to a two story roof 6 miles away, and the other, chained to the chimney on top of another 2-story house it would be possible to achieve 6 miles. 20 miles? no. Many of you have seen these in stores and on Amazon, that are similar to the ones in the picture, any most of them you find with any long range claims will be FRS/GMRS radios. FRS, were usually under $20 radios that the kids could have fun with, and 14 channels to choose from.

GMRS channels (the extra 22 channels) require an FCC license. In almost all of the descriptions I read I didn't see any mention of this.

To get a GMRS license is easy - no test required. All you need is to fill out the license form, be 18 years of age or older, and enclose a check for $85 (good for 5 years).

That's a fairly important part to leave out, especially after you've bought them and been using them for awhile. Because these handhelds operate in UHF (Ultra High Frequency), they are more line-of-sight in communications. Your conditions, and distance my vary. The fact a license is required does not.

[This is actually a cross-post from another of my Blogs, but it is radio related. Not having any radio equipment makes it fairly hard to report conditions, who I talked with, etc. So there has been a large gulf between posts. The book, ah yes, my every-to-published book got pushed aside after getting a new job which left little time for anything else. This may have been a good thing though, thanks to the explosion of digital books. You can download an Amazon "Kindle" App for just about anything (including your PC) and read a book. I've always been a hands-on kinda guy when it came to reading a book, however, I bought a couple and started reading them on my iPad and I think it's great! I've finished one, and I'm slowly getting through the other one (900pg book about George Patton). I've also been in contact with a electronic book publisher, and we're trying to work out some of the kinks in the formatting of my book, which may include re-writing 50-100 pages, but once they say "It's good to go", it's going. You'll be able to find it on Amazon and other sites. Price? At this time, we're planning on $9.99, and will offer one of the chapters downloadable for free, to check it out.]