Two Way Radios
How do I obtain a GMRS radio license
How do I get my GMRS radio license and do I need one. Anyone operating a two way radio on a GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) frequency by law is required to get a GMRS license thru the FCC prior to using a two way radio. Those transmitting on the FRS frequencies don't need a license. Channels 8-14 on a typical 22 channel consumer radio reserved exclusively for FRS. These channels can be used license-free, but are limited to a half watt of transmit power and will have limited range. What is the GMRS license fee and how long is a license good for? The GMRS licenses fee, which is paid to the FCC, currently is $85.00. Some government entities are exempt from this fee. A license is valid for five years. What forms do I fill out and where can I get them? In order to obtain a GRMS license you must fill out FCC form 159 & form 605. You may apply online at the FCC Universal Licensing System website at http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=home or download the form at the FCC forms homepage at http://www.fcc.gov/formpage.html. Do you report us to the FCC? No, there is no reporting system setup to report customers purchase to the FCC. Obtaining a GMRS license is strictly an issue between the consumer and the government we only provide you with this information to help point you in the correct direction.
Apco Project 25 explanation Apco Project 25: What is it and what does it mean to the consumer? Apco Project 25 is the official name but you will often hear it refered to as Apco 25, P25, Project 25 complaint, and many more. Before I tell you what it really is let me first explain where the need comes from then the definition will make better sense. Over the last 25-35 years any industry that has anything to do with communications has been changing with every increasing need. The two way radio industry is no different. In 1989 Apco Project 25 began out of need. The radio or frequency spectrum has stayed the same but the need has gone up tremendously. In other words, the radio spectrum of frequencies have become more congested over the years. The need for data transmission has become more necessary which is not an option on many narrow band systems. Increased system functionality along with more secure communications is a growing neccessity. Also increased transmission quality over a larger transmission area is needed. Out of these needs sprang Apco Project 25. Apco Project 25 is according to the International Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials website “an industry-wide effort to set the recommended voluntary standards of uniform digital two-way radio technology for public safety organizations”. Let's look at what is important and what that means to you a consumer. First, “industry-wide” this means that it's not just one manufacturer but many large manufactures working together, included in these are but not limited to Motorola & Bendix King, to produce the second part “uniform” that means that they'll work with each other in other words interoperability. Not all functions of each P25 radio will work with the other but the basics will work with each other therefore allowing the consumer an easier way to not only compare but to also incorporate the new P25 radios into there existing systems. I'll explain more on that in a minute. The last two parts are “digital two-way radio technology” which means it's digital not analog. And as almost everyone knows just about everything is going digital due to the better quality is the main reason but also as important being able to send data. TV has gone digital, radio is going, phones are going, everything is. Try to find a record. Many don't even know what that is. And the last part is who it is for which is “public safety organizations” in other word you first responders. You know who you are and we thank all of you. P25's Suite of Standards specify eight open interfaces between the various components of a land mobile radio system. These interfaces are:
So in simple English Apco Project 25 is a set, not a single rule, of standards that cover digital two way radio technology for first responders. It promotes competition by allowing you to compare apples to apples. It allows you to slowly incorporate digital into your existing analog system because P25 is backward compatible meaning that they will work with any analog system yet know that you are investing in equipment that will work with the latest greatest. Browse our P25 portables, P25 mobiles, or P25 repeaters and Base stations. We realize that this is just the most basic explanation. If you have any question please feel free to call or email us. Thank you.
Ok, so your have determined that you need a two way radio system for communicating with others. The first hurdle that most come to is determining if you need UHF or VHF. These two frequencies make up most of the two way radio market so let's talk for a minute about what these are and which one is right for you. UHF is Ultra High Frequency and VHF is Very High Frequency. Neither is better then the other but one maybe better for your specific use. The main difference between UHF and VHF is the wavelength. UHF has a shorter wavelength which makes it better for more dense terrain. When I say more dense terrain you could be dealing with more hills, more trees, or more buildings. UHF has better penetrating capabilites. UHF will deal better with going thru walls or other obsticals then VHF. VHF has a longer wavelength which means that it will transmit futher for the same amount of wattage vs UHF. VHF will not penetrate, ie. go thru walls or other obstacles, as well as UHF. VHF performs better for distance(i.e. goes further when you have a clear line of site), but UHF has better penetrating power (i.e. goes thru walls or orbstacles.) Well that is the long (VHF) and short (UHF) of it, pun intended. It's not as confusing as it may seem however we do have knowledgeable people to help you with this or any other two way radio communications questions you may have.
Being a good consumer in a time of constant change can sometimes be difficult. The two-way radio market is no exception. Portables, mobiles, repeaters, or vehicular repeaters, or Icom, Kenwood, Motorola , or Bendix King , pl's, p25, digital..etc, etc. The list of choices and options could pretty much go on and on, and with so many options it can be difficult to decide. With that in mind, we here at Missouri Radio thought it useful to have a little basics on how to choose the right two-way radio system to meet your needs, yet save you some money.
One of the first factors to consider is portability. Will this two-way radio or two-way radio system have to go with you everywhere, will it be sufficient in your vehicle, or will it be at a stationary location? Portable radios, as the name suggests, are portable. You can easily carry them with you wherever you go and require no installation. Mobile two-way radios and vehicular repeaters are typically permanently mounted in a vehicle and require minimal installation. Most technically-oriented and handy people can install a mobile two-way radio on their own with little installation instructions. It is very similar to installing a car radio. For those who feel uncomfortable with the thought and are local, we can install it for you. For those not local, but still feel the need for installation help, there are plenty of installation services out there to choose from. Lastly is the repeater or base station. The model of repeater or base station will depend on the amount of installation required. Some base stations are the equivalent of installing a radio in a box that contains the power supply, while some repeaters are referred to as rack mount. The first thing that comes to most people's mind is "Well, I'll just go with a portable. Why would I want to worry about any installation?" Here is why: It has to do with distance a radio will transmit. We will get more specific in a minute, but for now the important thing to understand is basically the more portable the radio, the less distance it will transmit or cover on it's own.
The second factor to consider is the RF power output or transmission power. Most portables come with anywhere from 1 - 5 watts and some are adjustable. Mobiles can go anywhere from about 20 to 60 watts, while repeaters can go up to 100 watts. I wish there was an easy rule like 1 watt equals 1 mile of coverage but there isn't. The distance or coverage you will acheive will depend on many factors. Some things to consider are the transmission power of the radio, the frequency (certain frequencies go further) and the terrain (certain frequencies are more line of sight and some will pretty much go thru concrete). Since we will obviously not be able to cover all the real world possibilities, we recommend you call or email one our experienced sales representatives for the best possible recommendation for you. With that in mind, lets keep it general. In general, 800 mhz will have good penetration being able to go thru a certain amount of concrete for example. VHF has good distance, coverage but is more line of sight. Adding in hills, mountain ranges or buildings is going to decrease your coverage. UHF is a combination of distance and penetration. UHF will have better penetration than VHF, but will not go as far. Since this is being written with the novice who may never have had a two-way radio, we are keeping this simple. Since we realize most of you will already know your specific frequencies, this is for those who have no past experience.
There are other ways, but the two main ways that two-way radios communicate are either radio-to-radio or via a repeater. Radio-to-radio is referred to as "simplex." It's simple. You have two radios on the same frequency. Your coverage is only as far as the least will transmit. So for instance, you have two radios on the same frequency. Radio number one can transmit 3 miles, and radio number two can transmit 5 miles. Your coverage is 3 miles, since past that point, one will no longer be able to communicate with the other. Let's talk about communication via a repeater. With a repeater in the mix, the two radios are no longer communicating directly with each other, but the signal goes from radio one to the repeater. The repeater repeats and boosts the signal out to radio number two. Radio two communicates back to radio number one in the same basic way. So with the same two radios from our first example with a repeater in between, then you could now be 8 miles apart. Radio number one could be 3 miles to the east of the repeater and radio number two could be 5 miles to the west of the repeater. Depending on your needs and budget, you can set up systems to go from just a few miles to complete coverage of hundreds of miles.
Although not discussed yet, one main consideration will no doubt be price. Two-way radio and systems go anywhere from $30 to tens of thousands of dollars. It will all boil down to your needs and budget. While a $30 frs two-way radio may be just fine for the kids to play war in the back yard or to talk to your significant other while one is in the yard and one is inside, that same radio won't be of any use to, say, a fire fighter who has to depend on the reliability of it to save his or her life. Don't despair. Getting a good radio doesn't have to break the bank either. The Motorola CP200 is a very nicely priced general feature radio. They are 4-watt UHF or 5 Watt VHF, 16-channel with lots of options. The Icom IC-F3011/4011 series is a great low priced option. For our fire figther friends there is the IC-F50 - IC-F60 series which now come with voice recorder / storage at no additional charge. Let's not forget about our military friends who might want a Bendix King Rapid Deployment Portable Repeater Series. If you've read this far, you have probably determined that the options and factors to consider when purchasing a two-way radio could be endless. We could go on about things like analog verses digital, pl's verses dpl's (private lines vs. digital private lines) and many many more things but we won't. Just know that there are experienced people available and happy to help you decide what it is that you need while making sure you don't waste a lot of money on things you don't. Feel free to call us toll free at 1-888-681-8863 or email your questions to http://www.moradio.com/ContactUs.aspx Thanks and have a great day, Dennis Strutman President
We realize the importance of reliable communication equipment. You don't need to be an expert to get the right two way radio for your business, our experienced staff will make sure you get the right radio to meet your needs. We can add compatible radios to your existing equipment or we can set up your communication system from the start. We offer Bendix King, Relm, Motorola, and other major brand name radios and accessories. We help to maintain your equipment by offering replacement batteries, antennas, cables and more. Please allow us to be your "Go To" for all your radio needs. Thank you,
Dennis Strutman President 1-573-885-7010
Radio Re-Programming Get your radios re-programmed now. Get re-programmed for narrow banding now. Narrowbanding is in effect. Update: Narrowbanding is now in effect. If you have yet to re-program your radios please call 1-573-885-7010 and one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff will be glad to help you. ***************** With less than three months before the FCC Narrow Banding mandate goes into effect now is the time to re-program your radios to make sure you don't loose your ability to communicate and/or possible face fines. We can help you. Most radios sold for the last few years can be re-programmed to work on the narrower frequency. You have options:
When you've got lots of radios needing to be re-programmed for narrow banding the mere logistics of sending radios back and forth while trying to maintain your day to day operations can seem overwhelming. For many of our customers it is easier and less expensive to simple get the programming cable and software for there in house technicians to reprogram them themselves, however, we are happy to reprogram your radios for you if that better suits your needs. Missouri Radio provides you access to one of the largest selections of radios and accessories including programming cables and software. We carry programming cables and software for Motorola, Icom, Vertex Standard, Kenwood, Relm / Bendix King, and more. We realize that carrying such a large selection provides unique challenges to making sure we keep prices low. In an effort to keep prices low we only list a small selection, small being a relative term since we currently have around 1,000 products available online, of what we have available. By not wasting money listing all the thousands more items we have available to you we keep your prices low. As Benjamin Franklin said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” If you know the programming cable and software you need click here. If you'd like a little help making sure you get the right thing contact us. Our job is to service you and we take pride in doing our job right. Call us toll free at 1-573-885-7010 or email us. We look forward to providing you the top quality service that you expect and we truly believe you deserve. Respectfully, Dennis Strutman / President 1-573-885-7010