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So, who has what?
I've sort of been anointed the com guy in my new group and i've been trying to poll them to figure out what everyone has. There are a handful of HAMS with some gear and lots of baofangs.

Most of the people in the group will never get their ham ticket, so I've had to suggest non ham related gear 

So I'd be curious for a sound off, who has what 2 way comm gear, who knows how to use it, and who has no clue how it all works. Be honest, don't be shy. I'm trying to be helpful here.

There's a lot of legal grey area with comms and there are certain lines i'm willing to push and certain ones i am not.   So, getting a group of hams and a group of non hams, spread across several cities to connect, is gonna be a challenge
I will jump in. I have several baofang radios. We have them programmed to our church safety team frequency and then have MURS channels programmed in them also.

I have two other baofang radios that have multiple channels programmed in them that we have used during disaster drills for extra radios because we never have enough radios.

No, I don't have a Ham license. I would struggle to program the radios without my computer. I do two of the baofang radios programmed with local fire/EMS channels in case my primary radio goes down I have a backup.

As for as legality. Try to stay with in the laws. I know a couple of the baofang radios are setup with GMRS/FRS, but their wattage is to great for those channels (I tried to set the wattage lower setting, but when I kept checking it seemed that the wattage was back at 5 watts and wouldn't stay lower (probably something I was doing wrong)), so technically illegal. Yet, I wasn't going to go buy radios for my daughter to use when her and her friends all went hiking together and the other girls had traditional FRS/GMRS radios.

I have thought about getting my Ham license, but stuff keeps coming up and I just haven't gotten around to doing it.
Have an Extra class ticket.... run all from HF to 70cm band ( 440mhz ) with SSB and CW
At power from 20mW to 1K watt....Worked Satellites too
Have a few cheap handheld radios for the family

Best info I can give is try to get the users to take a basic tech class... OR at least get a book and read.
Nothing can fix lack of knowledge on how to use the radio and when it will work or not.

If not, the radios must be preset on just a few channels so new users will not get confused... even then it needs a small bit of training.
( no don't worry about laws much for usage in emergencies )
Most contacts will be local in nature just by the type of radio used.( handhelds are prob mostly 2m range... tho I do own a HT that is HF )

As to connecting hams/people at distance... that's another ball of wax. ( requires training to know what will work ( what freqs ) and when and then even small bit of luck )
What do you need your radios for? For what use? You can look into CB radios for vehicles (check regulations on use of) or walkie talkies but many that are made now, I find their battery has a short life. After a year of use, it seems the battery runs out within hours.

The Cajun Navy uses Zello which is an app for your cello phone. This does eat your battery but it is real popular way to communicate.

Zello is easy to use
I have a CB radio for 10 miles and less and a couple of walkie talkie in the CB freq range. I also have a 25 watt VHF marine radio that will give about a 50 mile range.
(01-24-2018, 04:40 PM)Motomom34 Wrote: walkie talkies but many that are made now, I find their battery has a short life. After a year of use, it seems the battery runs out within hours.

Another thing to keep in mind re batteries ;
Either looks for a radio with a battery pack that can work on normal AA type cells ( usu an optional item )
Look for radios the accept a 12v input as many can use a cigar plug for power

CB radios may be a good simple option , esp for cars and some of the HTs with 4-5w
I have a Tech license and have some Baofengs. I also have couple 2 meter handhelds and a 2 meter mobile (not hooked up) and ham base station I've not set up. The non Baofengs came from my brother in law whose father died. He was a ham and lots of stuff. I helped my BIL go through and sell most of it but he let me keep what I wanted.
So, I have my tech ticket. I have 2 a yaesu VX7R and an 817. Both are wide banded. I also just bought a baofung because at $25 i just couldn't help it. I also have a 10 watt chinese mobile radio i bought to make a go box out of and was not impressed with.

Up until I got into this group, I really didn't have anyone to talk TO though lol, so all my radios were programmed with the common civilian bands for information gathering really.

this group has a mix of hams and non hams, so I think i'm going to direct them to use the MURS bands, which are the most 'legal' though they are being used with non legal radios (mostly baofungs)

Also, after spending hours staring at frequency charts, i've identified some tiny gaps between MURS and ham 2m and also in the 460 range. .................... legal grey area back channel...... cough cough
One could do something like suggested on this website.

My baofengs, my son's, and several of my friends have set up our radios that way. We use the ham freqs but can cross communicate with other freqs during an emergency if needed. Makes it easier to communicate when everyone is using the same protocol. Plus you download everything at once using CHIRP and print out the list of channels/freqs.
That's what I have in my radios. However, it's out of date. FRS and GMRS freqs just changed and are in a narrower band spread now. But, it's certainly a good idea and a great start

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