View Full Version : MSSD - Need for FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios

October 12th, 2011, 11:05 PM
For you new club members or those new to events like MSSD it a very good idea to bring a Family Radio Service/General Mobile Radio Service (FRS/GMRS) radio. These radios are almost always sold in pairs and are in the $30 to $80 (some can go higher) range in Walmart or other merchants. Make sure you get the type that can work with sub channels.

We use these radios (mostly) to communicate during our drives so that the leader can note hazards ("bike!" "Bear!" "Leo!" aka "Law Enforcement Officer") for the rest of the drivers. Also, having the tail end of the run radio forward that "five Minis are stuck at a light," or worst, "stuck behind a minivan!" :shout: They are also convenient to communicate with club members at Fontana Village as cell phone coverage is rated lousy to nonexistent. Most of the radios come with lithium ion batteries, now, but a few had AAA batteries. Steer clear of these conventional battery units as they eat through deposable batteries quickly.

If you are going to use these radios just at club event and communication during runs don't be as concerned about the milage distance rating on the radios. This rating is only applicable on a clear day, with no mountains, and having line of sight with another radio on the same frequency. The FRS radios are limited to 0.5 watts of power so while driving twistie roads you might be able to comunicate a mile or two. Some GMRS (only) radios are rated at between 1 to 5 watts of power but have and a FCC ($85, 5-year) license requirement. There are quite a few treads discussing the licensing issue between FRS and GRMS and I won't go into that here. My opinion, buy a set at Walmart (or wherever) and you'll be fine.

Finally if you can find a FMS/GMRS radio with an single ear piece with a push to talk microphone on the cable included go for it as the Mini's interior is not a quiet place we driving mountain roads and trying to hear radio communications from the seat next to you is difficult to say the least. I hope my opinions help you in your radio selection.

October 13th, 2011, 12:54 PM
I second the mention of the importance of the need for a radio with available sub channels.
We were incommunicado on some runs at this year's MOTD 'cause other folks were talking on a sub channel.
Luckily, a nice couple loaned us a spare radio.

October 13th, 2011, 03:30 PM
Thanks for the reminder for the earpiece with a pust-to-talk microphone.
Realized I needed one during a Dragon run this spring and promptly forgot about when I got home.
Have one ordered now.
Another idea: If you haven’t already purchased FRS radios, look for ones that can be also recharged using the power port (a.k.a.: cigarette lighter) in the car.

October 14th, 2011, 01:26 AM
FYI, My radios also charge by USB .. and can charge them with the USB in my JCW. Helps free up my accessory port.

October 15th, 2011, 08:21 AM
Hey Jeff, I got my ear piece/mic yesterday...radio should be here any day now. I get tires on Monday.

October 15th, 2011, 08:37 AM
Same with me. All except the tires. Are you going with the Bridgestone Pole Position's?

October 15th, 2011, 08:52 AM
Jeff or anyone with knowledge....

With the ear piece installed..... does the mic select the "strong band" or "weak band". On the radio's you can hit the top of the button to send your signal with a stronger signal or the bottom of the button to send a normal or low signal. But I have always been curious if the mic in the ear piece is sending it in normal/low or high mode?

Hope this makes since.


October 15th, 2011, 08:58 AM
I would think if you need to press an alternate button for high mode band and the norm is week the ear piece would send in normal mode.

October 15th, 2011, 09:36 AM
Jeff, I am getting the pole positions....$700.00

October 15th, 2011, 09:48 AM
Jeff, I am getting the pole positions....$700.00


October 15th, 2011, 10:40 PM
I don't know anything about these kind of radios. How do I know if the radio is able to work with subchannels? So far I'm not see anything specific on the packaging or description of the product to let me know if the radio has that function.

October 16th, 2011, 06:51 AM
I don't know anything about these kind of radios. How do I know if the radio is able to work with subchannels? So far I'm not see anything specific on the packaging or description of the product to let me know if the radio has that function.

When you look at the radio packaging it will claim to have 22 or more channels. These are main channels and you will need a radio with 22 or more (note: every FRS radio I have ever seen has 22 or more main channels). Next look at the packaging for a sticker over the LCD display on the radio. If you see a second number display (e.g., a larger "20" with a smaller "20" below the larger number) you have found what you need. The manufacturer may list these secondary channels as privacy channels. What they do is allow multiple groups to be on the same main channel but not step on each other.