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PMR a good idea?


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Hi all,

Is a PMR a good idea?

im going to buy an airband radio, but when i fly with another guy locally im considering a PMR.

does anyone know if they all use the same band or are they idividually coded or..... i have no idea...

can i buy one, then at a later date can my buddy buy one and can we then talk?

help!

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All UK PMR radios work on common frequencies. In theory, radios purchased accross Europe should all work with each other, as there is a common standard. It is also possible to obtain very similar American FRS radios, but these work on different frequencies and are highly illegal in the UK as they may interfere with users who are paying for the use of radios.

By using tone squelch (commonly referred to as sub channels), you can ignore other people working on the same channel (and therefore frequency) but if both groups transmit at the same time, they will still interfere with each other. This is a small problem, as due to the limited range, it is unlikely there will be two users on the same frequency who are close enough to each other to cause problems.

I can see no reason whatsoever why you and a flying companion shouldn't use PMR radios, but you will probably find if you fly with others, that many of them tend to use FM VHF radios (commonly using 143.7 Mhz, or one of the 'gliding' frequencies) to communicate in flight. I have also fitted out one of my cars with a full power mobile VHF radio, so I can talk to 'ground crew' AKA SWMBO AKA the good lady. And again, there are others, myself included, who favour the use of AM airband radios, to be able to talk to air traffic control agencies. My flight deck will allow me to use both VHF and airband through the same headset.

It

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Slim is also a remarkable geek in this area.

He can litlrally put you to sleep in seconds with his knowledge of the subject... :D

Not dissing V23 (Ian) I know he knows his stuff! but Slim is my personal selection of comms geek! I have even asked him to help with the Sky Car Expedition as well!

He knows too much, trying to tell me my car was a Radio bouncer the muppet!! ?

It's a car!? duuuuuu

;-) ;-) ;-) ;-)

SW :D

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Is a PMR a good idea?

I find PMR radios a good choice for general chat with buddies whilst flying, range is normally only a few K but find this is enough. Power consumption is low so batteries last a long time. You should have no problem communicating with other makes\ brands of PMR radio because they use common frequencies. Sometimes you will be effected by others transmitting on the same frequency.

License free so you don't have to worry about that.

Cheap - have a look in Maplins

Paul

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If anyone needs technical info on radios I am your man.

Ooooooh, sounds like a challenge to me. V23nb, SLiM and francis - please take up your positions. Gladiators...ready?

3...2...1 - let the battle commence :)

That aside, welcome to the club Alan. I'm sure your knowledge will come in handy and we look forward to joining in the various arguments we have here, sorry, I mean debates!

I myself know very little on comms other than just buying a very complicated vx-7r :)

Ben

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Hi guys,

Thanks for the welcome. I do love the good natured pi** take on this site and the underlying safety ethos.

I do fly as well, I'm up to 12 hours airtime now, just had a short flight this afternoon (sorry guys if you're grounded due to the weather over there) but the vis wasn't too good. However the previous flight did end in a fence landing, not recommended! :?

If I learnt anything from that, it is to do a go around first to check the conditions, the wind had picked up from when I took off and I didn't really pay too much attention to the wind sock, doh.

I then ran out of field ( the motor was off) and collided with the fence. Heh ho.

Alan

Fresh Breeze Airboss, Trekking Civic 2

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Hi Alan, and welcome.

I too am a radio amateur, I'm an M3 at the moment but progressing slowly. I have a Yaesu FT-920 through a centre fed dipole, great fun bringing in the weak Asian signals.

I travel past your neck of the woods 2 or 3 times a year racing classic Ferraris at the Circuit Val de Vienne, just outside L'lsle de Jourdain, do you know it?

Whats the flying like, are there many of you? My Sister and her "partner" have a place just outside Labastide Murate in the Lot region, the countryside is stunning. I only have about an hour under my belt, but I would love to be able to fly over there some day. :roll:

Chris.

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Hi Simon,

to be honest, it's not a name I'm familiar with. We don't get involved with to much club racing these days. Occasionally we go to Castle Combe or Goodwood for a track day if someone else is paying, but most of the racing we do these days is in the "Shell Historic Challenge" throughout Europe.

I even went over to the Leguna Seca Raceway just for a weekends racing. It cost £3500 to fly the car over, and £200 return for me in 3rd class for 13 hours. It rained all weekend and the car never went out! :cry:

Chris

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Ok, ok, it's time I came out of the closet...

I too have an amateur radio license.

And there's more...

I'm a qualified instructor for all three levels of UK amateur radio license.

There, I've said it. Now with that load off my shoulders I can walk amongst you with my head held high. :-)

Right. Now for a little seriousness in amongst all the frivolity:

  • It is illegal to use a radio transmitter in anything that flies in the UK except a properly certified airband radio
    and possibly the license exempt PMR446 radios - but that is unclear
    It is illegal to use any radio transmitter at all that is not licensed or specifically exempt from licensing (e.g. PMR 446, garage door openers, etc)
    Last year Ofcom brought 70 people to court for various radio transmission offences. All 70 were convicted and got fines between £50 and £2000 depending on the severity of the infringement

Use of the 143MHz (2m) waveband by pilots appears to be being "tolerated" by the authorities but that doesn't mean they won't start bringing prosecutions. If "we" all behave responsibly we may even succeed in getting allocated a bit of waveband but that is a long way off - perhaps it is a campaign that the club can sponsor? Oh shit - I think I just volunteered for something didn't I.

What do I mean by behaving responsibly?

  • 1. Use as little power as possible. This will minimise interference. There's no point in pushing out 5 watts from your radio to talk to another pilot a mile away. I've talked to people half way around the planet on 5 watts.
    2. Make sure that the frequency you're using isn't one allocated to anyone else. For a start NEVER use a frequency above 144MHz! It belongs to the Amateur Radio bunch and some take licensing very seriously. 143.00MHz to 144.00MHz is allocated to the MOD but they appear not to be using it particularly heavily at the moment but it doesn't mean that they won't.
    3. Keep things clean and to the point. There is nothing going to get Ofcom whipped up in to a frenzy faster than a complaint about a pile of foul language on the air.

Right, off to lunch.

Bye

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Excellent. Where do I sign up SLiM? Surely if we get a big old group of us in one place, you can go through all the jazz and get us 'passed' to whatever level is neccessary? I for one would love to comply with the law and am happy to pay for that privilege (that is why my new radio hasn't been switched on yet...).

Surely at some point in the future when we become 'regulated', we will need to unanimously decide on a universal form of communication for paramotorists? Whether it's 2m or airband (assuming we end up lugging transponders around)?!?

As the PMC seem to be murmering towards a structured sylabus as it were, would this be part of it?

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Excellent. Where do I sign up SLiM? Surely if we get a big old group of us in one place, you can go through all the jazz and get us 'passed' to whatever level is neccessary? I for one would love to comply with the law and am happy to pay for that privilege (that is why my new radio hasn't been switched on yet...).

Surely at some point in the future when we become 'regulated', we will need to unanimously decide on a universal form of communication for paramotorists? Whether it's 2m or airband (assuming we end up lugging transponders around)?!?

As the PMC seem to be murmering towards a structured sylabus as it were, would this be part of it?

As Slim has stated, he could get us passed as radio amateurs, but it is still illegal to use those frequencies airborne. THE ONLY licensable means of communications between pilots, is airband, and unfortunately, Slim can't test you on that one, you'll have to track down your own instructor. There is also the small technical hitch, that there is no current airband hand transportable that has type approval for airborne use, so you would have use one of the older ICOM sets.

That all said, keep your head down, and behave responsibly, and the chances are you won't get scr**ed by the authorities. 70 prosecutions seems to me an absolute drop in the ocean considering the number of people who must be operating outside of the law.

Just my two drachmas worth.

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Hi all,

I have to agree with SLiM particularly about the output power used. I have talked from Mount Snowdon to the West Midlands on 0.1 watt output! Radio goes a long way when there is nothing in the way, i.e. airborne.

Use the lowest power setting on your radio and NO profanity.

Safe flying,

Alan

-------------

Fresh Breeze Airboss, Trekking Civic 2

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Hi chaps,

Well here goes, here is a bit of info about radio. I don't think it will help to make the choice but it should explain some of the limitations.

Power output: 5 times more power does NOT give 5 times more range. Twice if your lucky, range is dependant on a square law.

PMR446 radios: A lot of these have 0.5 Watt output (the maximum allowed) but some cheaper ones have only 0.1 Watt output. More important is the performance of the antenna, the helical antenna fitted (rubber duck) is not an efficient type of antenna, particularly when used close to the body.

Body absorption of the radio energy is greater with PMR446 UHF than 2m VHF. For any body worn radio try to mount it so the antenna is not right up close to the body.

When on the ground the PMR446 signal will also be absorbed/ blocked more by trees and buildings, apart from the lower output power, when compared to VHF.

PMR446 is effective for short 'line of sight' paths but don't expect much more.

Having just looked up the price of cheap VHF and UHF hand helds on e-bay I am not surprised by their popularity, pity they are illegal to use without a license :( .

Safe flying,

Alan

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Sometime when everyone is suffering from insomnia I'll give a lecture on radio tracking and identification. Every transmitter has little flaws that shape the signal just like a fingerprint.

Oh, and I forgot to say which bit of the MoD owns the 143-144MHz waveband. If they want it unused by other people they'll stop it being used by other people. I was there the day they sent a chopper full of blokes to cut down a perfectly legal transmitter that just happened to be in the way of something. Fly in, hover, abseil down a rope, angle grinder to the antenna tower, fly off into the sunset. All that on top of a building in this country not many miles from where I live.

Of course, they're a bit busy elsewhere right now ;-)

But seriously... If we all act responsibly we're more likely to be allocated our own bit of waveband.

Stuart

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  • 1 month later...

slim i use pmr in the field which are fairly ok not great but our lass is always ringin so i was thinkin of a radio that she can use, pmr is no good cos of the low power,and she is maybe mile or two away indoors so i am wondering what the options are?

a guy who fixes radios said you can pump the wattage up on the pmr only certain models tho? unsure if it is right or not but can this be done? if not what am i left with?

ive bought some of those american things midland gtx900 but i dont know if those will work the claim is 20 miles plus but i cant see it and apparently they are ilegal? i am no radio guy so this area is way above my head. the other option was to have a pmr for field and 2 meter for home and have the conection for the headset split so when i talk it transfers through both radios? is that possible?

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I'm using some gear from 'FlightCell', the '2Go' unit, that lets you interface a couple of radios or a radio and a phone. It's not completely straightforward, and at the moment, my big problem is interference from the engine making the radio unreadable. I plan on getting a suppression kit from the States in the hope of resolving this.

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