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Trail Comms

scooter60

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2013
Messages
414
Last weekend at Harlan, Kel and I talked for a short time about trail communication and alternatives to CB's. The conversation started when Kel saw our group getting our UHF radios synced on the same channel. This past weekend happened to be the first trip I got the chance to use my new UHF/VHF radios I purchased strictly for trail comms. In the past, I have always used a CB radio for trial communication with mixed results. I never took the time to have my radio and antenna properly tuned and I know that had a lot to do with my results. My experiences with CB's were never the greatest. Sometimes they worked great and other times they were horrible or completely useless depending on the location. Not to mention the big ass antennas flopping around driving me nuts. I have been interested in these new Rugged Radios for a while but could not bring myself to pay the price they are asking. I am a tight ass and will always look for cheaper alternatives. There is a thread on another site that I visit from time to time discussing this very thing. A lot of the research the folks over on CORE have already done. Waffle on here is on that site and he did a lot of research and posted his results on that site. I need to give him and CORE a lot of credit because most that I know about this subject came from there. I am by no means very knowledgeable about these radios or the FCC laws that govern them. I am also not going to get into the laws and specifics of what wattage can be used on what channels and what licenses are required for what frequencies. I recommend anyone that is looking in to these radios to research the FCC laws and regulations and then make your own choices as to which route you would like to go.

Here is a link to the thread over on the CORE site:

http://www.cincyoffroad.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11951

The first radio I purchased after a local club had a few members gave some great reviews after using it for their club runs. It is a basic UHF/VHF dual band handheld transceiver that runs at 1 or 5 watts. This can be programmed with 127 channels and can operated in either UHF or VHF. I programmed it with the basic 22 FRS channels using the keypad on the front of the radio. No special software or equipment is required. The 22 FRS channels are the same channels that the multi radio packs that you can purchase at all the big box stores. Those radios operate at .5 watt and don't have much range over line of site regardless of what the package says. Here is a link to that radio on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R-Dual-Radio-Black/dp/B007H4VT7A/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1507810344&sr=1-4&keywords=baofeng

The Baofeng radio has worked flawlessly. I have used it on several occasions since its purchase and I am very impressed. On the high power setting I have talked to people at least 3 miles away. The audio is always very clear and there isn't all the crazy adjustments and tuning required like a CB. I will be purchasing another Baofeng HT in the near future but it will more than likely be a 8 watt unit for a little more range.


The second radio I purchased is a 12v unit the mounts in my rig similar to a CB. This unit is 20watts on UHF and 25 watts on VHF. This radio was brought to my attention by my cousin who found it on RZR forum on Facebook. There is a guy on a forum called RZR Crazy that sells a IP67 waterproof rated radio for $200 that he preprograms. The price isn't bad but I wanted to see if I could find something cheaper. Ebay was the ticket:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/TYT-TH-8600-Dual-Band-25W-Mini-Mobile-Radio-with-Free-Cable-Software-US-Seller-/292047646655?epid=603176390&hash=item43ff656fbf:g:LyMAAOSwOgdYvdpS

This is listed at $109. I bought a dual band antenna for about $20 got it installed in the rig and then started to learn to program the radio. The radio comes with the programming software and cable. I used the same channel list I used to program the handheld and after about 30 minutes had the radio programmed and working. So, for under $150 I have a high power mobile base unit that is comparable to Rugged Radio and at a fraction of the cost. I have heard reports of people talking up to 10 miles apart on this radio and I believe it. No matter where I was on the mountain this past weekend was I able to talk to my group. Even after the wire fell out of the antenna mount(I forgot to tighten the set screw), it worked flawlessly. I have now updated the program to include all the NOAA weather frequencies and the MURS VHF channels. There were several people in our group using the UHF radios this past weekend and I think everyone seemed to be impressed. They work with the cheap box store radios as well.

Again, I am leaving it up to you to research the laws and regs and decide for yourself if you would like to make the jump. I am taking a chance with the high power output I know. I figure if Rugged Radios can get buy with selling the high power units without a license, I should be ok as long as I am not using it for commercial purposes.
 

TRD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Messages
189
My friends and I all used Rugged Radios (or similar). The race radios have better range and better quality. Highly recommend!
 

clemsonjeep

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Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
1,738
Location
Camden, SC
This was something I meant to add to my list of things to do before the next big ride. I was jealous of the conversation being had throughout the day. Might be why every time I asked where we were going next everyone was looking at me like...where the hell has this guy been?
 

scooter60

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2013
Messages
414
molaugh

Good Times!

I guess I should mention that my experiences with this is very limited and I learn more each time I use these radios. I am sure there are several folks on here with much more experience and knowledge. I have yet to see any info on this subject here and Kel and I thought it would be a good discussion. Please feel free to add any info to this as I am interested in learning more. These radios could be valuable in a SHTF situation as they can access all marine and HAM frequencies also.
 

1tfrot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
925
Location
chi-town
interested..........

I've used frs radios and imo, are almost worthless on the trails. can't hear them at all. currently using a cb with external antenna and that's much better. I've been tempted to add a "rugged radio" style as well. that way it covers both parties for the most part. seems you're right, most of the people I wheel with use CBs, VHF, or yell to each other molaugh


should be an interesting thread.
 

tonybolton

Bypass Crawler
Joined
Nov 24, 2011
Messages
9,256
Location
Lenoir City, TN
TRD said:
My friends and I all used Rugged Radios (or similar). The race radios have better range and better quality. Highly recommend!

That seems to be what the big groups are using at Windrock. I don't really see the old CB's used much anymore......'cept for the old timers with their whippy antennas.

There's normally 3-5 in my group, so we just stay within sight of one another and stop at intersections.
 

scooter60

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2013
Messages
414
Forbanger said:
Never going back to a cb! I have the baofeng hand held and love it. Cb for sale with wires, coax and antenna. $10

Yup!....I never turned my CB on while we were at Harlan. Told Dana it was coming out before the next time we take the truck out. Getting rid of that stupid antenna too. I will give mine away.
 

cdemart2

Active Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2012
Messages
38
The rugged stuff is worth the money. Sign up for the newsletter and watch for the sales. They do 25-30% off a few times a year, next sale probably Xmas time.
 

poolman

Well-Known Member
HC Supporter
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Messages
4,132
Scooter, I need to get with Chris. The radio I left at his shop worked great. I could be at camp in Putney and talk to people at mason jar. Hopefully it works with yours.
 

jccarter1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
1,087
Location
Hatton al
Not much to add but we use the beofang 2 ways at work and they are great a lot clearer than the high dollar Motorola that we have in a box in the corner now and at 10 bucks a piece if they get lost or broke no big deal
 

squeak12

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2016
Messages
123
Forbanger said:
I don't know how true it is but I've heard the rugged radios are made by baofeng.

As far as visually, I would say they are the same. I think the selling point to Rugged would be having all the offroad and common channels already set up on there. There may be a few other software tweaks, but
I couldn't say for sure.
 

Forbanger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2016
Messages
477
Location
Rineyville KY
squeak12 said:
As far as visually, I would say they are the same. I think the selling point to Rugged would be having all the offroad and common channels already set up on there. There may be a few other software tweaks, but
I couldn't say for sure.

Mine came with that as well. I don't know where it was originally purchased tho.
 

3j7

what the hell is an aluminum falcon?
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
147
Location
southern in
Is Jeremy Dickenson on here james? He would know where he got them... love mine as well, never had good luck with cbs
 

1tfrot

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Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
925
Location
chi-town
squeak12 said:
I think the selling point to Rugged would be.......

I've heard from a couple friends their customer service is top notch. I've had one good experience with them so far
 

clemsonjeep

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
1,738
Location
Camden, SC
James and Scooter...I'm gonna need a crash course on the handheld along with which channels I should load. It's been a long time since I operated a CB, and I've only had limited experience with these radios and some 800mhz with work.

I ordered the UV-5R which should be here tomorrow.
 

clemsonjeep

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
1,738
Location
Camden, SC
BTW I came across this in case anyone was interested...

Rugged 1
Channel RX TX Description
Rugged Race Products
Frequency Programming
1 151.625 151.625 Weatherman
2 151.715 151.715 BFG Relay
3 154.980 154.980 Baja Pits
4 151.685 151.685 Network
5 151.925 151.925 Checkers
6 150.860 150.860 Fair
7 153.110 153.110 Yokohama
8 152.960 152.960 Campeones
9 151.505 151.505 Checkers Vegas
10 153.395 153.395 BFG Pits
11 153.380 153.380 Mag 7
12 155.160 155.160 National Rescue
13 153.245 153.245 Core
14 156.675 156.675 RUGGED D-023
15 152.510 152.510 Sand Limo
16 154.515 154.515 PCI Relay
17 151.775 151.775 Locos Mocos
Race Teams
18 153.140 153.140 Agave 37 153.230 153.230 RJR2
19 153.620 153.620 Becker 38 150.950 150.950 SMD1
20 153.185 153.185 Becker2 39 151.130 151.130 SMD2
21 153.245 153.245 Dicker1 40 151.855 151.855 SMD3
22 151.580 151.580 Dicker2 41 152.165 152.165 SMPUP
23 151.535 151.535 EJR1 42 157.560 157.560 Shepard
24 151.130 151.130 EJR2 43 152.045 152.045 Shepard2
25 152.255 152.255 Ghansen 44 151.370 151.370 Starts
26 151.760 151.760 Herzog 45 151.250 151.250 Starts2
27 151.670 151.670 Hogman 46 151.970 151.970 Tatum
28 151.175 151.175 Hunt1 47 151.010 151.010 C and C
29 153.425 153.425 Hunt2 48 151.415 151.415 Dukes1
30 153.680 153.680 Koch 49 152.180 152.180 Dukes2
31 153.350 153.350 Licitra1 50 152.285 152.285 S and G 1
32 153.095 153.095 Licitra2 51 153.185 153.185 S and G 2
33 152.975 152.975 Mango1 52 153.245 153.245 Voss1
34 157.500 157.500 Mango2 53 152.720 152.720 Voss2
35 157.545 157.545 McGilvry 54 152.870 152.870 Protruck
Racer X
55 152.505 152.505 Trick Racing 75 154.515 154.515 PCI Relay
56 154.980 154.980 Baja Pits #1 76 158.655 158.655 Pro Pit
57 153.395 153.395 BFG Pits 77 150.830 150.830 Record
58 151.715 151.715 BFG Relay 78 151.805 151.805 Red X Relay #1
59 151.490 151.490 BITD 79 157.470 157.470 Red X Relay #2
60 151.775 151.775 Chapala Dusters 80 151.955 151.955 Score #1
61 151.925 151.925 Checkers #1 81 151.490 151.490 Score Medical
62 151.505 151.505 Checkers #2 82 155.160 155.160 Search & Rescue
63 158.550 158.550 Code 83 162.400 162.400 Weather 1
64 150.860 150.860 Fair 84 162.425 162.425 Weather 2
65 151.820 151.820 JeepSpeed 85 162.450 162.450 Weather 3
66 151.775 151.775 Locos Mocos 86 162.475 162.475 Weather 4
67 152.960 152.960 Los Campeones 87 162.500 162.500 Weather 5
68 153.380 153.380 Mag 7 #1 88 162.525 162.525 Weather 6
69 150.830 150.830 Mag 7 #2 89 162.550 162.550 Weather 7
70 151.055 151.055 MDR 90 151.625 151.625 Weatherman
71 157.895 157.895 Mikes Sky Ranch 91 154.515 154.515 Whiplash
72 152.945 152.945 More
73 151.685 151.685 Network
74 152.780 152.780 Off-Road.com
 

scooter60

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2013
Messages
414
The pre-programmed radios is a nice selling point to the Rugged Radios. I still could not bring myself to pay the price they are asking when I can get them so much cheaper. Don't be afraid to try to program a radio. The Baofeng hand held is easy to program. The TYT TH-8600 comes with its own software to program the radio and it is easy to use. I wrote the program and cloned my radio in about 20 minutes. Once the program is written for the TH-8600, you can program as many as you want. Takes 30 seconds once the program is created.

I have been looking for a frequency list from Rugged and they keep them password protected. I will get my hands on a Rugged Radio before to long and will try to read that program using C.H.I.R.P. Chirp is a program free on the interwebs for programming UHF/VHF radios. It works with most Baofeng models and others as well. It does not support the TH-8600 at this time but does support other TYT radios.

I did find a channel listing for PCI radios.
https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0769/1859/files/Stock_BaoFeng_List.pdf?3134649702119092826


Here are the list of the FRS frequencies:
https://www.buytwowayradios.com/blog/2006/07/frs_and_gmrs_frequencies.aspx
Note that channels 15-22 say GMRS...those are also now FRS channels for the 22 total FRS channels

Here are the MURS Frequencies:

1 151.820
2 151.880
3 151.940
4 154.570
5 154.600


Here are the NAOO weather frequencies:

1 162.400
2 162.425
3 162.450
4 162.475
5 162.500
6 162.525
7 162.550

The NOAA and MURS are VHF frequencies and I am finding that a lot of the Rugged Channels are VHF. The FRS/GMRS are all UHF. Because of this, I recommend purchasing dual band radios so you can access all the channels available.


Edit: Dang Ryan.....guess you are better detective than I am.

When you get your radio, get with me and I will walk you through it. It is really easy to do manually. I think I programmed Barry's in about 10 minutes.
 
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