Hey, sorry guys, I stopped getting notices for this thread for some reason... anyway, answers:
What kind of range do you get out of this setup?
Enough for most tracks, few miles from car to pits, maybe a mile pits to car. YMMV. Sonoma and Thunderhill cause some issues depending on car/spotter placement and hills, but generally nothing too problematic. Those "35 mile range" claims of various blister-pack radios are 100% theoretical and not at all real-world.
How does the FCC license work? Does everyone on the team need to get a license or just one person?
GMRS license is for "immediate family", so if you're racing with your dad or brother or whatever then you can share a license. Otherwise yeah, anyone getting on the horn under GMRS frequencies SHOULD get their own license.
I did just realize that BTECH makes a MURS version of this.. downside is fewer frequencies to try if there's a lot of traffic, up side is 0 license requirements... so maybe consider swapping that for the GMRS version... SHOULD work totally interchangeably with the one I listed.. you'd have to get other MURS radios (or just multiples of this) for the pits to be compatible... http://a.co/d/7mNnQrX
Maybe I'll make a MURS version of this kit and update the post...
britully wrote: aaron.vogel wrote:
Okay, since there's a couple of threads active on the topic now, I figured I'd make a full Amazon idea list of our radio setup. It is essentially plug and play (there is 1 modification required, you just have to remove a connector pin from a cable with angle-cutters). It runs on GMRS so you REALLY SHOULD get a license. Seriously, it is stupid easy. But other than that if you can change the channel on your TV you can use these radios.
Anyway, here's the setup:
https://www.amazon.com/ideas/amzn1.acco … RVUYTNPJP9
2x BTECH GMRS handheld
1x Mag-mount antenna
4x Helmet kits (include PTT button)
1x radio holder for mounting in the car
1x PTT extension cable (this is the one that needs to be modified by removing a pin)
1x Midland blister-pack GMRS handhelds
Feel free to ask questions, but for the most part it is pretty self explanatory. Oh, and please do read the notes on each item in the list.
I bought this set up for the race in Houston. Is there a good tutorial available online? The manual assumes I already know what I am doing, which is very much not the case, and I don't even know what most of the vocabulary is. "Squelch" sounds interesting, but don't know what that entails. I am just looking to make this as idiot-proof as possible, and also wondering whether our channel will be overrun by other teams trying to talk too (as there are only a couple of dozen GMRS channels).
There's soooo many youtube videos out there that cover a bunch of different stuff.. I'd spend some time just browsing on there...
For the SUPER basics:
0) You need to be in channel mode to actually use these radios to transmit. They are receive only in frequency mode (RTFM). To change between the two hold menu while powering the radio on.
1) Squelch is for telling the radio when to stop playing what its receiving based on the power of the transmission. There's always a certain amount of background "noise" on any frequency, but usually very low power. Squelch tells the radio at what power it should "open up" and start playing what its hearing. For this setting you basically want it as low as possible. Turn it down until you hear static, then turn it back up a bit. If you have this turned up too high you won't hear anything unless the transmitting radio is super close.
2) Avoiding other users. There's actually 2 parts to this:
Obviously the first step is to try and find a channel that no one is on. This can change even as the race weekend goes by, but this is the best way to start. After you find an empty or low-traffic channel, setup a CTCSS tone or "privacy tone" on all the radios. This doesn't make your transmissions "private" as the naming from some manufacturers might suggest, but is like a second kind of squelch. When set up, CTCSS tones tell the radio to only "open up" when a certain sub-audible tone is transmitted from another radio. This lets multiple teams use the same channel without hearing each other all day - if using different tones. There's one caveat though... different manufacturers call these tones different codes (just like different manufacturers sometimes call the same frequency different "channels"). Use this handy chart to help figure out which channels / codes you should be using: https://www.k0tfu.org/reference/frs-gmr … mystified/
Second, everyone should be using the "busy channel lockout" feature in conjunction with CTCSS tones. This feature prevents the radio from transmitting when it senses there's traffic on the frequency/channel even if it isn't "opened up". For example: if Team A and Team B are both on Channel 12, but Team A is using CTCSS tone 77.0 and Team B is using CTCSS tone 67.0 they won't hear each other. However, if Team A is transmitting, and Team B starts to transmit, one of a number of not awesome things will happen: 1) both teams will hear garbled nonsense, 2) Team B will come in more powerfully than Team B due to transmitter strength or proximity and "walk over" Team A mid-transmission (rude) or 3) Team B won't be heard at all because their signal was weaker than Team A, but they won't know it because there's no indication they weren't heard. None of these are good scenarios. The solution is "busy channel lockout." The result of the above scenario if Team B had busy channel lockout on would be Team B would hear a beep that would indicate the channel was busy and their transmission was not sent. They'd know to try again in 10-20 seconds when the other team is hopefully done with their transmission.
Otherwise there isn't a whole lot you need to do changing settings. Play around with the radios and RTFM and you should be good. If you come up with specific questions I'll try to pay better attention to this post in the future...