german walkie talkies in the US

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viajero loco
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german walkie talkies in the US

Post by viajero loco » Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:17 am

hello,

we bought 8 german walkie talkies for burning man. now i've read, that they might be not allowed to use in the US. i googled quite a bit but found only lot's of different opinions on the topic.

most US walkies operate on Family Radio Service (FRS) with 462 (shared with GMRS, max 0,5 watts) and 467 MHz (FSR only). ours use 446 MHz and 0,5 watts max ouput.

wikipedia says:
While the bulk of personal walkie-talkie traffic is in the 27 MHz and 400-500 MHz area of the UHF spectrum, there are some units that use the "Part 15" 49 MHz band (shared with cordless phones, baby monitors, and similar devices) as well as the "Part 15" 900 MHz band; in the US at least, units in these bands do not require licenses as long as they adhere to FCC Part 15 power output rules.
that sounds, as if we should be OK?!
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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:50 am

I wouldn't rely on wikipedia for this. Find the FCC webpage and see what they say. Also try Nevada and Pershing county.
Maybe BLM as well. Find out what the law is.
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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by lemur » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:01 am

in the USA that frequency is for amateur radio use..

unlicensed use of them in the USA is not allowed and may interfere with legitimate use by licensed people.
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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by Sham » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:06 am

Consider going to Burning Man as a place to disconnect from that thing to your ear. Imagine the freedom to roam around and set up meeting times with your friends, not that leash thing that we are subjected and haunted by in the default world. Allow the wind to blow you around a bit and enjoy what the playa has to offer.

Once you allow your brain to accept the fact that you don't have an electronic device attached, you will become a different person. Even if you can get your walkie-talkies to work, why would you really want to? :roll:

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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by phil » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:08 am

You haven't said what frequencies your radios use. I assume you have PMR446:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PMR446

In the United States, 446 MHz is the national simplex calling frequency for the 70 cm band allocated to amateur radio. If you operate on amateur radio frequencies (also called ham radio), you may be interfering with hams local to the Gerlach area who use amateur radio frequencies for real-life communications, given there are often no phones anywhere around Black Rock Playa. Please, please, please be sure you don't interfere with them. They will legitimately complain to the FCC about Burners causing harmful interference and give BMOrg another set of problems to deal with. There is a significant Burner/ham presence at the Burn, and we don't want to lose our operating privileges while we're there.

FRS and GMRS use 'interstitial' frequencies, not the 400-500MHz band. See the chart here:
http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.ph ... nnel_chart

Ignore the channel numbers and read the frequency column and note whether that frequency is used only in GMRS, only in FRS, and in both. If you do not have a GMRS license, you are not allowed to use GMRS frequencies; FRS is license-free. GMRS license requirements are on the Federal Communication Commission's page here:
http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/general ... rvice-gmrs

You need to know what frequencies your radios are operating on and to use them only on the FRS frequencies, if possible. You should also check to see if your radios can operated on the five MURS frequencies:
http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/multi-u ... ice-murs-0

MURS is also license-free, and you can use MURS radios on four of the five at the Burn, with one of the frequencies being reserved for emergency calls for aid. If you can use MURS frequencies, let me know, and I'll find that emergency frequency so you can stay off that channel.

If you find you can't get your radios to operate on the interstitial frequencies alloted to FRS and MURS, you'll find that FRS radios here in the states are cheap. It may be that you can wait and buy them in Reno when you arrive, along with batteries, of course. :->

You can do a web search and find Reno sellers and make arrangements to buy your FRS radios and have them held for you to pick up when you arrive. I'm sure you'll make lots of new friends on FRS while you're there.

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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by Token » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:37 am

BTW, FRS & GMRS become pretty useless by Wed. Too many folks on at the same time. They are a waste of time and energy.

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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by JayBobBoy » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:54 pm

Besides, who's gonna understand you when they translate all your words into German!
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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by Elliot » Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:47 pm

Shambala wrote:Consider going to Burning Man as a place to disconnect from that thing to your ear. Imagine the freedom to roam around and set up meeting times with your friends, not that leash thing that we are subjected and haunted by in the default world. Allow the wind to blow you around a bit and enjoy what the playa has to offer.

Once you allow your brain to accept the fact that you don't have an electronic device attached, you will become a different person. Even if you can get your walkie-talkies to work, why would you really want to? :roll:
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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by phil » Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:13 pm

Token wrote:BTW, FRS & GMRS become pretty useless by Wed. Too many folks on at the same time. They are a waste of time and energy.
That's how the original poster will make a lot of new friends.

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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by lemur » Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:21 pm

while im not a big fan of the whole 'go to burning man to disconnect from the shackles of cell phones' spiel lots of people give...

it seems to me that its easier to give everyone a wrist watch...than to rely on walkie talkies that are, as mentioned, saturated with overuse during the event

if you want to meet up at specific times, just pick a time and a easy to find place..

if someone misses dinner, thats unfortuneate..
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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by Elliot » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:03 pm

I sometimes carry a simple travel alarm clock in my pocket, to alert me when it is time for something scheduled.
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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by viajero loco » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:25 pm

yeah, sometimes it's nice to be disconnected. but sometimes it's nice, to be able to tell ur friends that it's freakin awesome where u are right now and call them over. with a walkie talkie u can have both: leave them in the camp or take them with you... i like it that way. we are used to being disconnected. on every big festival in germany the networks break down. meeting points are great! meeting point plus walkie talkie is better ;)

we will make sure, not to interfere with anybody and if necessary, just buy some walkies in reno.

thanks a lot for all the information!
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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by stew » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:33 pm

A trip from Germany to the playa is expensive enough already as is - save your money and skip the radios (which after the burn will be illegal to use in Germany, btw - so you'll throw them away after a week?). You won't be needing them.

I bought radios for the burn a couple of years ago and we only use them to coordinate on the trip to and from Burning Man - during the burn, they just sit around in our camp, nobody ever wants to use them.
but sometimes it's nice, to be able to tell ur friends that it's freakin awesome where u are right now and call them over.
Don't worry about that case. It's freaking awesome where your friends are too.
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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by lemur » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:10 pm

it will be very difficult to tell your friends from the rest of people using the radios.. theyll be constantly chattering with other people.


even if 1000 people (1/60th of the attendees) are using these radios the small amount of 'channels' will quickly get saturated..
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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by GreyCoyote » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:20 pm

Oddly, the best luck I have had with radios were the old-school CB radios. I took a few in 2003-ish just to screw around and entertain myself. They worked pretty well. Not a lot of traffic. If we got tired of the drunken idiots leaving the mike keyed for hours next to a boombox, we went to a sideband. 40 channels plus 2 sidebands each (at 12 watts ERP!) gives you a lot of options.
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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by lemur » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:25 pm

yep.

CB is dead, sadly.


i used to have tons of fun listening to it when i was younger, ..and talking as well.


these days, when i hook it up... its dead silence for hours on end.......


damned internet! and cell phones!
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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by GreyCoyote » Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:23 pm

Yup. Dead, but still reserved as to spectrum!

As I sit here, eyeing a bottle of Captain Morgan's with felonious intent, I am seriously toying with getting out the old Starduster antenna, 50 feet of RG8, my trusty Cobra, and the Heath 500w linear. What do you suppose the skip would be like on today's airwaves at the current sunspot cycle?

MuaHAHAHA!!!! Hello, Gemany? Amerika calling!

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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by Ugly Dougly » Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:43 pm

Burning Man is that which you can get away with.

If Larry Harvey had ever thought, "gee, is it legal to burn this on the beach?" then we would never be doing this.

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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by stew » Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:42 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote:Burning Man is that which you can get away with.

If Larry Harvey had ever thought, "gee, is it legal to burn this on the beach?" then we would never be doing this.
As phil and lemur pointed out, using radio equipment on the wrong frequencies it not just between you and the FCC but also interferes with other users of those frequencies. If I can trust Wikipedia, FRS walkie talkies as used in the US are on the same frequencies as the fire departments in the UK.
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Re: german walkie talkies in the US

Post by some seeing eye » Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:12 am

Communication technology on the playa always attracts flames to ePlaya and is a never ending religious issue.

Research papa legba and the open source base station project, see if they are coming this year and what phones to bring. Sometimes they set up a closed SMS system on SIMs they supply. For purely educational purposes, performance not guaranteed, and they do it legally.
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