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Reliable, Rugged, No-Nonsense

McReef

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I’ve put off posting this for a while. I like researching things and figuring them out for myself. I have an ingrained aversion to asking out loud what I can figure out on my own. I am getting to the point now where it seems I may never get there on my own on this one however. The deeper I dig, the more options (and opinions) there are. It is time to break down and ask. I will try and be as specific as possible.

I am looking to pick up 4 to 6 portable radios.

I want to have these on hand for emergency comms, mostly among just my group, and mostly within a range of a couple of miles or less. Within that range however I am after the most reliable comms reasonably achievable.

Heavily forested very hilly terrain with a lot of granite. Possible use in ‘neighborhood’ terrain of the same hills and stone, just less trees and more houses.

I need them to be as near indestructible as is reasonably possible. Rain, snow, rough treatment, what have you, they need to work when I need them to.

I need them to be capable of using some form of external mic and earpiece for mostly hands free operation. PTT or VOX.

I have my tech license, but am open to and fully capable of upgrading if it is in my interest to do so. For the sake of this convo, let’s ignore any other HAM related stuff and assume my sole interest is verbal comms within my local team.

I don’t care about buying and maintaining a GMRS ticket if that’s the best route.

I am a technically very capable person. I am fully capable of figuring out programming and setup of just about anything. However, once I have done so, I want to be able to hand these off to other people for them to use with minimal instruction (let’s assume for the sake of simplicity that these people are not complete morons and can handle some basic instruction).

I think all of this pretty much eliminates all the ‘crap’ options, but just to be sure, I am not interested in crap. I don’t want to spend $1000 or more per radio if I don’t need to, but budget is not a main driver. If I can’t afford what I need, I can accept that. What I don’t want, is to spend a single dollar on anything that is going to sit on a shelf because it doesn’t do what I need it to do.

Was I sufficiently long winded?

Ideas?
 

McReef

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View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-VG9774Z3A


Yaesu FT 4X seems to fit your requirements.
This radio would require everybody in my group to be licensed individually correct? If I understand correctly, I can’t (strictly speaking) use this for GMRS. Not that this is a total deal killer, just trying to be sure I understand.

It also seems to my complete layman’s perspective, that there are few if any very high quality GMRS options available. I am wondering if this essentially means GMRS is not worth my time.

I have come across PLMRS, which at first glance seems to open my options up for equipment to higher quality gear without the need for the baggage that comes with HAM. There is a cost, but it is not outrageous given the time it covers.

Anyone have any thoughts or experience on that?
 
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Go with GMRS and commercial/public safety grade radios that are Part 90/95 certified and all the proper certifications against water/dirt/dropping damage, etc. I especially like Kenwood NX-5000 series radios. The higher level models get a bit pricey, but basic models with no keypad are usually inexpensive on the used market. The same can be said for Icom's commercial radios. Finally, decent deals can be found on older Motorola gear as well.
 

McReef

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Go with GMRS and commercial/public safety grade radios that are Part 90/95 certified and all the proper certifications against water/dirt/dropping damage, etc. I especially like Kenwood NX-5000 series radios. The higher level models get a bit pricey, but basic models with no keypad are usually inexpensive on the used market. The same can be said for Icom's commercial radios. Finally, decent deals can be found on older Motorola gear as well.
Thank you. Your post kind of pulled back the curtain a little bit for me. I was missing the Part 90/95 bit and how it applies here.

I know (or I think I know is more like it) that I can’t just look at the stated frequency ranges and assume I will be able to use it on GMRS if it is within that range. It is not immediately obvious which radios are ok to use under that standard if you don’t know what you are looking for. I have wasted a load of time searching with the wrong terms apparently.

Down this new rabbit hole I go!
 
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This radio would require everybody in my group to be licensed individually correct? If I understand correctly, I can’t (strictly speaking) use this for GMRS. Not that this is a total deal killer, just trying to be sure I understand.
Ham = each person needs to be licensed
GMRS = each person outside your immediate family needs to be licensed (if I’m not mistaken) GMRS seems like a good option for more power to hand the kids at the campground while staying legal.

To the letter or the law, your group each needs their own licenses.
 
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