Jump to content

Bike to bike communications and Etiquette


ashleybiker

Recommended Posts

ashleybiker

I want to add FRS/GMRS bike to bike communication capabilities to my 2002 1150RT.

 

Some of my wishes/needs are:

Interface with autocom device

Powered by the bike is a nice option but not an absolute must

Capability for RAM or similar type mounting (I don’t use a tank bag)

Waterproof enough for operating while riding in rain

Getting maximum effective TX and RX range based on today’s available equipment

What else is there??

 

After searching info on this board and elsewhere, it seems the leading choices are:

Icom F-21GM

Kenwood TK-3101

Kenwood TK-3131

 

Research tells me each unit is built well. I’m leaning toward the Icom unit because of the selectable 1, 2, or 4 watt power choices. However, I am not sure this translates into any more effective/useable TX and RX range over the TK-3131 unit even at just 1 watt max power. If this is actually the case, I would probably choose the TK-3131 as it seems to be a bit more user-friendly. Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated!

 

Additionally, it seems many folks use/monitor FRS/GMRS channel 2.0 as a kind of base or home channel. Is this correct? And, is there a pre-determined “go to” channel if 2.0 is busy with other communications?

 

Finally, what is considered good bike to bike Communication Etiquette?

 

Thanks in advance!

Steve

Link to comment

I've been doing the same sort of research. I've concluded that the TK-3131 would be the best.

 

1. It actually has a display instead of flashing/color LED indicator. Ease of use (especially on two wheels at 70+ MPH is a big thing for me).

 

2. 1 watt - bike-to-bike should be plenty. Most often you'll be talking to someone within a few hundred yards of you. If I'm looking to go beyond that, I'd switch to a ham radio (properly licensed - of course)

 

Good luck in your search. I'm anxious to hear what others think.

 

KC0LTU

Link to comment
I want to add FRS/GMRS bike to bike communication capabilities to my 2002 1150RT.

 

Some of my wishes/needs are:

Interface with autocom device

Powered by the bike is a nice option but not an absolute must

Capability for RAM or similar type mounting (I don’t use a tank bag)

Waterproof enough for operating while riding in rain

Getting maximum effective TX and RX range based on today’s available equipment

What else is there??

 

After searching info on this board and elsewhere, it seems the leading choices are:

Icom F-21GM

Kenwood TK-3101

Kenwood TK-3131

 

Research tells me each unit is built well. I’m leaning toward the Icom unit because of the selectable 1, 2, or 4 watt power choices. However, I am not sure this translates into any more effective/useable TX and RX range over the TK-3131 unit even at just 1 watt max power. If this is actually the case, I would probably choose the TK-3131 as it seems to be a bit more user-friendly. Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated!

 

Additionally, it seems many folks use/monitor FRS/GMRS channel 2.0 as a kind of base or home channel. Is this correct? And, is there a pre-determined “go to” channel if 2.0 is busy with other communications?

 

Finally, what is considered good bike to bike Communication Etiquette?

 

Thanks in advance!

Steve

 

The Kenwood 3131 and Icom are both good units (the 3101 is an excellent unit, but a PITA to use, although it can be powered by the Autocom). As for the additional power, remember that you're only talking about transmitting power. You don't get any extra receiving range just because you crank up to 2 or 4 watts. So you might transmit, but you'll never know if anyone has heard you unless they can also send back an equally strong signal. Most of us use 1/2 or 1-watt Kenwoods, so that's your practical limit for two-way communication.

 

Both of these radios will hook up to an Autocom, if using the correct cable. A medium Ram Clamp will hold the Kenwood. I believe it takes a large Ram Clamp to hold the Icom

 

Channel 2.0 is commonly used. 2.2 seems to be the easy backup, with 7.0 as another alternate.

 

As for proper etiquette, when Wurty rides past a blonde in a Mustang and announces over the FRS "that chick wants me," it is considered impolite to call BS. Everyone knows that ALL women want Wurty.

 

Arrest warrants are everywhere. lmao.gif

Link to comment
ashleybiker

The Kenwood 3131 and Icom are both good units (the 3101 is an excellent unit, but a PITA to use, although it can be powered by the Autocom). As for the additional power, remember that you're only talking about transmitting power. You don't get any extra receiving range just because you crank up to 2 or 4 watts. So you might transmit, but you'll never know if anyone has heard you unless they can also send back an equally strong signal. Most of us use 1/2 or 1-watt Kenwoods, so that's your practical limit for two-way communication.

 

Good! This is the info I am looking for. Makes no sense being able to brodcast with a higher watt unit say 4-7 miles out if most people you are trying to talk with are 1 watt or less with less range. Might as well talk to myself.

 

So I am thinking a more reasonable standard would be a 1 watt unit on the order of the TK-3131. Good!

Link to comment
Makes no sense being able to brodcast with a higher watt unit say 4-7 miles out if most people you are trying to talk with are 1 watt or less with less range.

 

Unless that message is an SOS. Not all transmissions need to be two-way.

Link to comment

Folks have already talked you into the Kenwood models but for what it's worth I've been pleased with my ICOM 21GM. I used a battery eliminator so that it's powered off of the bike and I take advantage of the 4 watt Xmit. The ICOM channels don't line up with the Kenwood channels so I carry a little cross reference sheet so that I can match up with other folks as needed. No regrets about my ICOM....if given the choice I'd buy it again.

Link to comment
ashleybiker

Thanks for the info. I haven’t yet pulled the trigger on a purchase. I still like what the Icom has to offer. In fact, I have found an Icom unit for about the same price as the Kenwood TK-3131.

 

As the research continues, I am finding that extended range and good voice clarity have more to do with things like "line of sight", type of obstructions, type of antenna, antenna location etc. and less to do with output wattage.

 

Ed, you mention cross referencing channels. Isn’t that a bit of a pain? I mean if someone says “going channel 2.2” (or whatever channel/sub channel) you have to cross ref (with your chart) because Icom channels do not exactly correspond with say Kenwood or another GMRS/FRS. Additionally, if the channel/frequency they want to go to has not been assigned to a channel in the Icom, isn’t that a bit tricky to do on the fly?

 

When someone calls out a channel to go to are they (by default) quoting the Kenwood channels/frequencies in the TK-3131?

 

Anyway, I think I need to get a first hand demo of each unit before purchasing.

 

Again, thanks all……

 

Still researching,

 

Steve

Link to comment
ashleybiker

Keep in mind that if you use GMRS, it too requires a $75 licience. No test involved, just a fee.

 

Yes, and I also read somewhere that you need to broadcast your call letter/station Id about every 15 minutes or so???

Link to comment

Slightly off topic..... but what is FRS/GMRS ? Here in Oz we just use standard UHF radios for B2B comms.

 

Don

Link to comment

Hey Steve - I use a Garmin Rino 120. It has FRS and GMRS plus a hand held GPS. Autocom makes an interface cable for it. It can be run as a VOX through Autocom or PTT. The unit is TOTALLY waterproof and can easily be mounted on a RAM mount. It also gives you a backup GPS should you need it.

 

I hope this gives you another option.

Link to comment
Keep in mind that if you use GMRS, it too requires a $75 licience. No test involved, just a fee.

 

Yes, and I also read somewhere that you need to broadcast your call letter/station Id about every 15 minutes or so???

 

So should I be broadcasting my BMWST handle every 15 minutes?

Link to comment

I ended up with a Cobra radio from BestBuy that was about $60 for a pair - it has VOX built in, FRS/GMRS capabilities, and can transmit at more than 1 watt.

 

Some of my riding buddies use Kenwood radios and keep telling me that I'm the one they can hear the best! And I have fewer problems than they do.

 

So why would I buy a Kenwood radio when a cheap Cobra (or other brand) works well?

 

Jim

 

P.S. It is my understanding that channel 2.0 or channel 2.2 is the same for all radios that have the subchannel ability. But I have heard of slight differences on the tuning in some radios (but that is true of any radio)

Link to comment
Ed, you mention cross referencing channels. Isn’t that a bit of a pain? I mean if someone says “going channel 2.2” (or whatever channel/sub channel) you have to cross ref (with your chart) because Icom channels do not exactly correspond with say Kenwood or another GMRS/FRS. Additionally, if the channel/frequency they want to go to has not been assigned to a channel in the Icom, isn’t that a bit tricky to do on the fly?

 

I've never once had to change channels on the fly. If I did it's really not a big deal.. the channels are in sequential order you just have to know that 10 lines up with 13 for GMRS or the FRS range. I have a very small and simple reference sheet.

My guess is that situations were folks decide to change to another channel is due to noise/interference. Keep in mind that that can be easily eliminated by just having the group set to not only a certain channel but also a side tone. This side tone feature is common among the better radios. The side tone (sometimes called sub-channel) sets the radios to ignore all other TX on that channel except those that use the side tone as well. I almost never have to deal with random noise...not sure how others can even stand it.

Link to comment

Fernando,

 

Is Autocom part number 107 available in the States? I remember seeing a link somewhere to the UK site that lists this part as a bike powered interface for some of the ICOM radios.

Link to comment
Fernando,

 

Is Autocom part number 107 available in the States? I remember seeing a link somewhere to the UK site that lists this part as a bike powered interface for some of the ICOM radios.

 

Give Autocom USA a call in the morning (they're in your time zone) 888-851-4327. We don't stock the 107, but I believe they have some.

Link to comment
John Bentall
Fernando,

 

Is Autocom part number 107 available in the States? I remember seeing a link somewhere to the UK site that lists this part as a bike powered interface for some of the ICOM radios.

 

Its new number is #1425.

Link to comment
R4ND0M_AX3
Keep in mind that if you use GMRS, it too requires a $75 licience. No test involved, just a fee.

 

Yes, and I also read somewhere that you need to broadcast your call letter/station Id about every 15 minutes or so???

When I got my license last year it was up to $80 for five years.

You also have to broadcast your station ID at the end of transmission or once every 15 minutes during long transmissions.

WQEU415 Out.

Link to comment

Yes, and I also read somewhere that you need to broadcast your call letter/station Id about every 15 minutes or so???

 

So should I be broadcasting my BMWST handle every 15 minutes?

 

Yea, Perry. Just say "Schmutz Out". Everyone will know it is you.

wave.gif

Link to comment
  • 3 months later...

West Marine is having a clearance sale on the Garmin RINO 110 for $169. This is considerably less than the 120 though I don't care for the yellow case. Both have FRS/GMRS and GPS.

 

Both these models operate on 3 AA batteries and I suppose they could be powered with an optional DC power adapter.

 

What does the 120 offer over the 110?

 

Ron

Link to comment
Joe Frickin' Friday
Keep in mind that if you use GMRS, it too requires a $75 licience. No test involved, just a fee.

 

From the Wikipedia article on GMRS:

 

The requirement for GMRS licensing in the USA is ignored by the vast majority of users of these frequencies. Estimates of the number of hybrid FRS/GMRS radios sold to date range from 20 to 50 million units or more. This is compared with approximately 80,000 active GMRS licensees (per the FCC database). Enforcement against individuals is rarely, if ever, attempted.

Link to comment

How well does the radio work on the Garmin RINO 120 in your experience. I read about 15 reviews and all said the GPS was great but 8 or 9 said the radio range was very poor. I like that it is waterproof to the IPX-7 standard.

 

Ron

Link to comment
Keep in mind that if you use GMRS, it too requires a $75 licience. No test involved, just a fee.

 

Yes, and I also read somewhere that you need to broadcast your call letter/station Id about every 15 minutes or so???

When I got my license last year it was up to $80 for five years.

You also have to broadcast your station ID at the end of transmission or once every 15 minutes during long transmissions.

WQEU415 Out.

 

 

There is no way I will voluntarily pay the federal govt. one cent to use airwaves that they do not own. What a bunch of silliness. Over and out! lurker.gif

Link to comment
Keep in mind that if you use GMRS, it too requires a $75 licience. No test involved, just a fee.

 

Yes, and I also read somewhere that you need to broadcast your call letter/station Id about every 15 minutes or so???

When I got my license last year it was up to $80 for five years.

You also have to broadcast your station ID at the end of transmission or once every 15 minutes during long transmissions.

WQEU415 Out.

 

 

There is no way I will voluntarily pay the federal govt. one cent to use airwaves that they do not own. What a bunch of silliness. Over and out! lurker.gif

 

Uh, you forgot your call letters. Over

Link to comment
Keep in mind that if you use GMRS, it too requires a $75 licience. No test involved, just a fee.

 

Yes, and I also read somewhere that you need to broadcast your call letter/station Id about every 15 minutes or so???

When I got my license last year it was up to $80 for five years.

You also have to broadcast your station ID at the end of transmission or once every 15 minutes during long transmissions.

WQEU415 Out.

 

 

There is no way I will voluntarily pay the federal govt. one cent to use airwaves that they do not own. What a bunch of silliness. Over and out! lurker.gif

Hmmmm, interesting theory. I wonder how it would apply to other things the Federal Government "do[es] not own" . . . this should be a really interesting social experiment! grin.gif
Link to comment

We use Midland 850's. They work fine.

 

As I understand it channels 1-7 may be FRS (0.5 W or GMRS (up to 5 W), channels 8-14 are reserved for FRS (0.5 W), and channels 15-22 are reserved for GMRS. The Midland system configures 1-7 as 5 W, however power is adjustable so that they may be used without a license.

 

We have typically found that channel 14 is quiet and works well for us, though we haven't tried to communicate with others. Maybe we'll give 2 a try.

 

We have used both some of the 104 DCS and CTCSS privacy codes. The radios do not function well with these enabled... delays and drop outs. We posted a thread here and other users with other brands said that is par for the course, and that privacy codes are worthless anyway. They screen noise out from other users/interference, but don't prevent others from listening to you, and can cause you to talk over other users without realizing it. I don't know about subchannels or sidetones, perhaps those work better. The midlands have "group modes", but I haven't quite figured out what these are.

 

Anyway, we find the radios work just fine for basic communication, and they are waterproof and cheap. We like them fine. Autocomm has cabeling for them, although we use our with Starcoms. Just another alternative.

 

 

Enjoy,

 

Jan

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...