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Old 05-05-2016, 07:49 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Herk7769 View Post
The GMRS License is only if you use the GMRS channels or FRS channels at "Full Power" (8 watts). In an emergency, those channels would be available to you to reach help even without a license. (ONLY in an emergency, though).

"If you operate a radio that has been approved for both FRS and GMRS, and if you limit your operations to the FRS channels with a maximum power of Ĺ watt effective radiated power and an integral antenna, you are not required to have a license. (Note that some dual-service radios transmit with higher power on FRS channels 1 through 7; these radios can be used without a license only on FRS channels 8 through 14.)"

The license is 80 dollars for FIVE years. It can be used by EVERYONE in your family, even aunts and uncles; nieces and nephews. Just assign a Alpha letter to their radio. There is no test. You can program GMRS channels to reject all other traffic except for your other radio(s).

To use it you "open the net" with your call sign, use the radio as needed for as long as you need (retransmit your call sign every 15 minutes if needed), and close it with your call sign when finished.

NOTE: There are 4 GMRS channels you can't use close to the Canadian border (in the US) due to interference with Canadian assigned frequencies so you need to be aware if you camp up there.

All in all a great deal.

FYI - There is a rule change pending since 2010 that will remove the licensing requirement from GMRS systems. The proliferation of cheap Dual Band radios has resulted in "bubble pack Pirates" who use the radios without bothering to get licensed. Similar to the removal of the CB license requirement due to the number of folks who broke the law, this is only a matter of time as well.

And as a further note for those of us already north of the border, GMRS does not require a license in Canada, at least as per this Industry Canada publication:

Be aware though that there doesn't seem to be a clear statement about the law for a Canadian who transmits while in the US in regards to GMRS, unlike the ones that exist for Amateur Radio:

So, for those of us who go south, it'll probably be best to only use the FRS frequencies while there.

Now, that bit done, back to the OP's question:

We bought a set (Motorola's from CostCo) that we only tried to use once for backing in. After getting too frustrated we gave up and now my DW just stands where I can't see her and/or just looks on while cringing and saying nothing (her way of guiding me in), and I just get out and occasionally check.

We carry the radio's in the trailer still, but since our kids are still too young to use them, they've only been used when we've got an older niece or nephew along who's going to head off on their own around the park.

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Old 05-05-2016, 07:51 PM   #42
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We started without the walkies and immediately after the first trip decided to improve the experience of using the DW as a spotter by buying a good pair.

They are costly and have good range and are water resistant (thinking about the G-kids leaving them out on a damp evening).

Further experience has led me to think that the DW and I see things differently and the questions and answers are not what the other intended/expected. I now get out and look for myself and we are happy together again.

They are for sale. One might have a little extra spittle on it from screaming.

Good luck and find what works for you.

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Old 05-05-2016, 08:01 PM   #43
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Don't bet on cellular service everywhere

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Old 05-05-2016, 08:09 PM   #44
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Actually driving a commercial truck for a lot of years I really do better backing in spots by myself. DW likes to help but I do a better job. I'm not as good as my son, he can stand on the running board of his truck and back it in.

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Old 05-05-2016, 08:46 PM   #45
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Here is our preferred order for communications tools:

1) Cell phones - if we have service the driver puts it on speaker and the passenger provides directions by request only. They only time the passenger provides info when not requested is if there is immediate danger to a person, animal, or the truck/trailer.

2) Walkie Talkies - Same rule as above. I've had just about every kind imaginable. My favorite one is the Midland version linked to below. They are low cost, come with a drop in charger, can use a cigarette lighter adapter to charge, can take rechargeable batteries or regular akaline batteries, can hookup a headset, they have built in weather alerts, clear and easy buttons/knobs, come with a three year warranty (which was easy to use), small in size and probably the biggest perk is you can lock out all the buttons so no accidental changes are made.

Link -

3) Hand signals/Yelling - this is a last resort.

I'll also add that I concur with the previous poster who said their partner had trouble guiding because they had never backed in the trailer. I could not agree with this more. My spouse doesn't understand and often has trouble communicating because she has never done it. That is why we have gone to the only answer my questions, unless someone or something is in immediate danger.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:30 PM   #46
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We have the Midland T10. I bought them for $29 at REI. We get about 1.5 mile range from them. They came in handy 2 weeks ago trying to back into a wooded sight after sundown. In daylight I usually don't need a spotter.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:31 PM   #47
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We use some Motorola frs radios for backing up. Works well for us. Also good for around the CG.

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Old 05-05-2016, 10:18 PM   #48
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Hello all, You know I have been going back and forth to buy or not to buy W/T's.. You all have made great points here. One of my main concerns was/is if I happen to stay back at camp and my DW goes off to the camp store or wants to take a little walk or bicycle ride I would hope that she would able to get ahold of me by radio if need be. For me to get an 80.00 license with the FCC is worth my piece of mind or visa versa for her... We really work well with each other and DW has the hand signals down pretty well. We are getting ready to head out on an 8 week trip so we will se how it goes. I will either come home with a banged up trailer from the wrong hand signs or divorced or all was great and we can return the radios if they don't work for what we had intended them for..... Hope you all have great Camping experiences and that some day you all can meet up with us somewhere in the good ol' US of A....
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:20 PM   #49
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We have walkie talkies as many here have. The main difference is that DW is behind the wheel and I am out watching and checking. I instruct DW which way and how much to turn the steering wheel. Also, if she needs to stop, turn the wheel the other way and pull forward.
This works for us in our MH.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:29 PM   #50
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This thread has had some great information. I'm new to travel trailers . . . what is a "DW"?

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