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Blogs on PRS Radios - Mixed Uses
13 March 2013

OffRoadExpress Forum regarding PRS Radios

HBpajero: has anyone got the latest GME unit prs? How does it compare to the Uniden? Is there any others to consider when buying a radio?

FourbyFour: I haven't got a GME but if you have a look on some of the Aussie forums GME seem to be regarded as a slightly better product than the Uniden.
I have used the Uniden UHO12 UHO15 and they got far too hot for my liking, most antenna manufacturers advertise their antena's as having minimum SWR we however found most were at around 1.5:1 and some slightly above this. Through dismantling the antenna and trimming with the use of a MFJ
antenna annalyser we were able to get SWR down to 1.2:1 but those Unidens still ran hot, biggest problem I see with them is lack of a decent heat sink on them to disipate heat. I now use a Tait commercial radio which along with having a higher output (25 watts) it has a receive far superior to any PRS radio.

Coxsy: my uniden oh15 sits on my dash haven't noticed the heat thing with it, as most of the time the aircon keeping the screen clear
Coxsy: x2. Its run all day long on trips with no ill effect on top of my dash.
FourbyFour: They will run all day with no problem it is the heat generated after period of transmit that is the prolem, fitting a heatsink and maybe a computer fan would help but a lot of heat is generated by the display unit itself which relatively little can be done to solve. At one time I did a power mod on a syncro Eagle which lifted power output from 5 to 10 watts and this still ran cooler than the Unidens. We switched to the Tait and Motorola units and even after extended periods of transmit at 25 watts the units were still barely warm. Icom and Yaesu also make some very good 25watt commercial radio's that are approximately the same price as the Unidens and these also have far better receivers than Unidens or GME's. Most of the the PRS radio's are grossly over priced for what they are. Try comparing prices to some of the 70cm Ham rigs and you will see what I mean.

TJ: I know what you mean about Ham radios, but thats not what I wanted for now (and I don't think OP wants it for now either). Ham radios have their place, but it involves a lot more than just a good radio.

HBpajero: I gotta GME TX3440. Seems to work well has the remote display on the mic which I find handy because the actual unit is out of sight.

Snork: has anyone got one of those ZARES prs 4.7Watt Handheld?
Ive seen them on Trademe and i see theres a few more of them on there now. 
Are they any good?


Geekzone Regarding PRS Radios

TwoSeven: Hi Folks, I am looking into two-way (walkie talkie) radios and am just wondering if anyone has any ideas on what to look out for? Basically looking for two units
- NIMH battery + charger (prefer dock type)
- PTT + VOX (are there any that don't require a headset for VOX?)
- 10mile range (whatever that is in KM)
- water proof (optional)
I have been looking at Uniden or Motorolla so far. Also what are the regulations? I think in america there is a requirement for a GMRS license, does NZ have anything similar.? I don't really know much about these devices.

Xpd: For a PRS device, no license required (AFAIK) - most of the units you see at DSE/Jaycar are generally around 5km range (LOS) - great for car convoys etc but not long distance unless they have a repeater option (Ive picked up users in the Waikato on my units and Im in Auckland). 
BlakJak who pops in here occasionally is a walking encyclopedia on this stuff though, sure he can point you in the right direction ;)

BlkJak: Erm... hi :P Thanks XPD... ? To answer your Q, The PRS service is the closest thing to GMRS, it runs at 476Mhz, is subject to a General User Radio License (GURL) that allows access to 40 channels, usually with a max of 5 watts. handheld-to-handheld typical range is in the couple-of-km's though
technically full line of sight range will go out to perhaps 10mi, but that'd be pushing it. External antennas on fixed-station radios would give you that on a more reliable basis. 
There's several varieties of radio available for PRS, and are likely suppliers, make sure you buy in NZ and from a reputable outfit - lots of crappy knockoffs coming in from asia, many of which aren't technically legal. 
Oh and knock waterproof off your list as it is rarely found on PRS, though there are a few. might be worth a look, Uniden are one of the more common brands of radio seen in NZ and have a reasonable website describing their products, etc. 
Hope this helps... What I didn't say was that the GURL in this case allows any type-approved radio to be used by anyone at all - no individual license required. 
There's also conventional CB (26Mhz) that operates under the same GURL with similar terms, but isn't available handheld for the most part - and isn't really you're after.

Oxnsox: ... and as BlakJak says...  These types of radios are generally only good for line of sight communications, which means you can't talk thru hills, and range therefore varies greatly with user location and topography.

Cgrew: Have a look on unidens website at this model, this certainly fits your discription of what your after..  But it's not waterproof though - you'd be looking at around $450+ for this feature. Uniden uh064sx-2a two-way radio is the model.

Knoydart: If you want to "waterproof" them, then a sealed ortlieb bag or similar to pop in your wireless gear might do? That or the pelican case!

Aaroona: Go for Motorola. The motorola units have better frontend speakers, which filter out all the crap. for example, if you are working/using them in auckland city, you'll know that the uniden units get a crap load of interference beyond usability. The motorola units don't have this problem. I swear by the
motorola units. (I am talking about the CBPro units, I cant verify this is the same for any cheaper models).

TwoSeven: Thanks folks. I had a motorola back in the 80s when I was dispatching in london. Think it had a 5 or 10 mile range or so. Was thinking something along those lines.  Not so fussed with waterproof as can always just put in pouch if needs be. Any idea why they keep them down to 2W?  (I assume PRS here means UHF CBRS - Citizen Band Radio Service (476 MHz))

Aaroona: PRS is UHF CB - 476-477Mhz
PRS = Public Radio Service
CB = Citizens Band
(and just for those who were also wondering, UHF stands for Ultra high Frequency) :)
Great for short distance unless you are using them through a repeater (eg, Ch 6 in Auckland, the repeater is on Klondyke, that can get right down to sometimes tauranga). The distance will always vary (especially if not line of sight, don't expect great results in heavily built up areas). With a 2watt unit, you'll be lucky to achieve 10 miles.  IMHO, You are best to go with something that is using the maximum allowed transmit power (5watt) and also a more expensive unit if you are running it in Auckland. CTCSS may also be useful to you, if in an area where radio congestion could be an issue. The GME radio's are also pretty good. I've had a couple of them as well, and they have worked perfectly every time. Oh sorry I also saw you wanted VOX. 
I am yet to come past a unit with VOX that actually REQUIRES a headset. The GME radio's for example, you could turn it on even without a head and still function, though VOX has never been ideal on these radios. Unless you are in a quiet room, I really can't recommend the VOX'ing system built into the PRS radios.

Graemeh: I have a Uniden set that claims a 10 km range. I think they are 2 watt units. When there is a hill in the way you're lucky to get 500m. Other than that they are not too bad but are badly affected by wind noise. Definitely not waterproof (well not washing machine proof anyway).

CADMAX: the old man uses around a 2000Ha farm and they go about 30KM's line of site out of town. dont know about in town tho.
Aaroona: Its also worth noting; Distance also depends on how high you are, clouds, the list literally goes on. Unless we know the actual intended use for these units, its pretty hard for us to give you any kind of helpful advice in buying a two way radio..

Systemtech: The Midland G7 ticks all the boxes.
FYI - The Motorola units are no longer available in NZ as the NZ distributor changed to the Midland range. You can find the motorola models at who are the Australia agents

TwoSeven: No particular usage as yet - more just a geek looking at devices that go bing :)   Its looking like 5W is the way to go then, at least non-line of sight wise. I am not looking at getting max distance or anything, just something that would be of some use in a versatile manner.

BlakJck: It really does depend on what you want to use them for. Micro-handies (500mW or less) on PRS are very common, but obviously only give you about 1km range. Ultra portable, though.


NZ Motorhome and Caravan Forum

Takorika: Hello, Like Australia New Zealand Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) have just overhauled the AM/SSB 26Mhz / 27Mhz bands and the more popular
UHF (476/477Mhz) FM Bands.  The move provides extra bandspace (lots of extra channels) and it aligns the NZ and Aust systems more closely.  All The above systems operate under a GUL (General User Licence) system and no fees are payable to operate handheld and or base/mobile radio installations.
UHF Public Radio Systems (also known as PRS) are cheap, easy to obtain and a great way for Motorvanners and Caravanners to communicate with each other and other users while on/off the road.
PRS Radio is a very useful tool to communicate with other road users and thus improve our image while promoting road safety.. Want to know more about Licence free radio? Paste this link into your browser.... ... band-radio

Zukiwi: There was quite a bit of discussion on this topic a year or 2 ago but I'm interested in an update. I have a 27Mhz CB and have never heard another motorhomer yet. I usually monitor ch 11 and sometimes scan 11 and 14. Have only ever made contact with truckies and providing you can handle the blue air sometimes, it has been useful for negotiating where and when to overtake, etc.
Lately I've been considering PRS UHF but not sure there are enough motorhomers using it to be worthwhile. Do truckies use it regularly? What are peoples' thoughts on this?

Andrew & Debbie: John, I thought that most motorhomers used channel 24 on the VHF CB radios, that is the channel I have used when we are travelling with other couples. But, like you, we hardly ever hear anyone else talking on the CB.
I am under the impression that the older VHF CBs have a greater range than the UHF ones, but I could be wrong. We have a couple of handheld UHF ones that come in handy for Deb to give me directions when I am reversing the caravan.
But I have a small problem in the new Jeep, there is no where to neatly mount the CB radio

Woodyz: Hi Andrew, Too many geegaws already in there huh? You might have to consider a unit such as a GME TX3340 UHF 80 Channel CB Radio, that way you only have the microphone to find a handy place for. Available locally for you as well.

Zukiwi: Hi Andrew.  Should have been more careful and avoided the finger problem. Yes I meant ch 24 not 14. I understood the VHF CBs had greater range in a simplex mode than UHF simply because they are lower frequency. I think both systems can operate on similar output power (4W for CB, 5W for PRS). However, there are a number of repeaters around for PRS that might overcome their frequency disadvantage by allowing duplex use of UHF in many areas.
Are many motorhomers using PRS in their vehicles and what channels are mostly used by them and other road users?

Idex: Recently we contemplated fitting a CB radio to our MH. I asked around to get many varied opinions on what system we should fit.  A radio ham friend (also a motorhomer) didn't think a PRS would be of any advantage. If it's not of the latest 80 channel type which has more precise frequency control on transmissions he thought we'd be more likely to get a bit of overlap between channels and anyway it would only give better range if it was direct line-of-sight to
another unit. There are not enough repeaters to be of much use either. He recommended sticking to the "old" AM 27Mhz units as they are as good as any for short-range communications between vehicles and will still be useful for quite a while. .... and of course they don't cost much either.

Andrew & Debbie: Hi Neil, That looks like a great unit, it's a shame they don't make that style of radio in VHF, then I would look at getting one.

Dougpryor: I'm wondering who's trying to confuse who here.. You guys are mentioning "VHF", but there is only HF (27Mhz) or UHF CB radios or PRS right?
Or is it me that's confused?

Zukiwi: You're right Doug, my understanding is that VHF is in the range of 144mHz whereas CB is 26-27mHz, so I guess it's closer to HF. And of course UHF is just what it says. But I'm no expert, just a user.



Australia 4WD

Byze: As fathers day gets close im thinking about getting a uhf radio only to talk to mates or if im on a trip to find out were mobile speed cameras are off truckies but i dont know which one i should be getting its going in my new ford ranger any tips on which one i should get but dont want to spend to much.

FiremanDJ: You won't often find out too much useful information on speed cameras from truckies. They are pretty handy to have for other reasons however. I've gotten good advice on where to find a nice meal or which is the best road to exit on in the city. Also information on road closures due to fires or floods etc.
As for models, you have a problem. 40 channel vs 80 channel.They are NOT compatible with each other. The stores are selling both and trying to get rid of old 40 channel stock. In 2016 the 40 channel radios will be outlawed.
But not everyone has or will upgrade for some time.
I stick to Icom radios, just because they are better then anything else on earth!!! But they do cost more then anything else on earth! I have the Icom 400 Pro which is a 128 channel programmable radio (you CAN program this to do the old 40 and the new 80 channels with 8 spare channels). Also the Icom 41S handheld (again, 128 channel programmable).
Getting one of these now means you could get them running both old and new channels and never need to buy a new radio again (until the 160 channel radios are built and released in 20 years time).

FourByPaul: Byse, reading your posting I understand that you are after a basic UHF CB radio for close range communicating when travelling and to not spend a big amount of money, my suggestion is to look at the Oricom range of products, made in China of course, (what isnt?) I have had one for some time, recently I had an issue with it and following a call to their Sydney Customer Service Centre I was sent a brand new replacement unit to Brisbane in 8 days.  If knowledge of speed camera locations are important to you I'd suggest an up to date in-car
GPS unit might assist here but remember that police in all states are using mobile cameras and temporarily located fixed cameras, I do have a guaranteed method of dodging speed camera fines that will work 100% of the time, dont speed.
Back to the citizen band radio network, I would not be too concerned with proposed future changes, users will soon see the terms 'Wideband' and 'Narrowband' being used to describe older radios and newer radios. Older radios that operate on only 40 UHF-CB channels are Wideband radios and newer radios that will operate on the 77 UHF-CB channels are Narrowband radios. Both Narrowband radios and Wideband radios can communicate together normally as always on the first 40 channels. Only the new Narrowband radios will have the additional channels up to channel 80.
Oricom CB's can be found at the likes of Wow Sight and Sound and the Autoparts stores. Im finishing I'd like to suggest this too, it can be difficult to install a CB in or under the dash, if you are reluctant to cut holes in your new Ranger what about simply getting a hand-held unit?...I have one of them too and we tend to loan it to friends who dont have a CB when we go bush bashing, I am oftem surprised at how well these things work at close range, ie; 2km or so.

FiremanDJ: Communication may be possible, but it will not be as NORMAL. Wideband radios expect a signal 25khz wide. When they get 12.5khz from narrowband radios, they seem to "work", but very quietly. On the other hand, a narrowband radio expects to get receive 12.5khz. When it gets 25khz, it seems to "work" but very distorted and on TWO channels instead of just one.
And remember, on 1st Jan 2016 all 40 channel radios will be outlawed!!! If you do go for a cheap 40ch radio now, plan to buy a new 80ch one in just over 4 years time.

Bluejackaroo: Hi, only just found this thread and i was just wondering about the 40 channel uhf's being "outlawed". I have not heard of this, being a truckie, it would be handy to know if the 40's are to be made obsolete or if they are to be "outlawed," are there penalties if you keep using them ? Any help would be appreciated

Jimw: They may be illegal after 2016 but they could not stop unlicensed people in the past so they stopped issuing licences, I would like to see them bother trying to stop folk using their perfectly good 40 channel radio. They will eventually die out like black and white televisions.

Sunsett: Not to mention TV Licences, do you remember that??? Also some clowns are using amatuer radio for uhf, 5w vs 1000w + and they get away with it every day.

Dncwell: Bloody good points Jimw and Sunsett - still got a radio licence renewed 2 weeks before they were ditched !

Foggyj: FiremanDJ, I think your comment about the 40 channel being outlawed is a bit extreme. I've just spent a few hours wading through the ACMA web sight (the Gov reg body for CB's) & I could not find anything on 40 UHF's being outlawed. Add to this that the ACMA is about to enter into the second round of consultation, the switch to 80 channels is not yet finalised.The easiest and most user friendly site is The guys at the UHF CB Club of Australia have put together a really informative web page. At the end of the day, a 40 channel UHF you have today will still talk to a 40 channel UHF when the new 80 channels come in. It's not like the mobile network that can be switched off. The unit in your car is a transceiver. It sends and receives radio waves. You might run into issues when trying to use them around other users with a 80 ch however.

A hand held will do vehicle to vehicle comms just fine. A .5 watt handheld will communicate to another .5 watt in a convoy just fine, as well as when you are 4x4ing within about 500m of each other. I use the rule that if you can make out the model of a car then the .5 watt will reach them through the car. On a side note, I think that everyone on this forum should familiarise themselves with what the guys at UHF CB Australia have to say on what channels are for what. I thought I was semi informed on what was what. Wrong answer!

FiremanDJ: Shall we take a little look at the legislation regarding this matter.
I've snipped away the useless infomation and formatted it to be as close to the original document while making it easy to read. The link is the original document in-case you would like to verify anything. The words I highlighted in RED are key words.


Radiocommunications (Citizen Band Radio Stations) Class Licence 2002
as amended made under sections 132 (1) and 135 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992
This compilation was prepared on 27 July 2011 taking into account amendments up to Radiocommunications (Citizen Band Radio Stations) Class Licence Variation 2011 (No. 2)

5 Class Licence
(1) Subject to sections 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 a person may:
(a) operate a CB station of a kind to which subsection (2), (3), (4) or (5) applies; or
(b) until and including 30 June 2017 — operate a CB station of a kind to which subsection (6) applies.
(6) This subsection applies to a CB station that:
(a) directly transmits speech to, or audio tones to initiate communication with, another CB station:
(i) on a carrier frequency mentioned in item 4 in Schedule 1; and
(ii) subject to the restrictions mentioned in the item;
(b) through a CB repeater station, transmits speech to, or audio tones to initiate communication with, another CB station:
(i) on a carrier frequency mentioned in item 5 in Schedule 1; and
(ii) subject to the restrictions mentioned in the item; or
(c) transmits signals that identify the CB station or indicate the geographic location of the CB station:
(i) on a carrier frequency mentioned in item 4 or 5 in Schedule 1; and
(ii) subject to the restrictions mentioned in the item.
Schedule 1 CB station operational requirements (sections 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10)
Part 2 UHF — 25 kHz channels
Item 4
Channels 1 thru 21 and 24 thru 40
Item 5
Channels 31 thru 38
Item 6
Channels 22 and 23
Part 3 UHF — 12.5 kHz channels
Item 7
Channels 1 thru 21, 24 thru 60 and 64 thru 80
Item 8
Channels 31 thru 38 and 71 thru 78

*** Note, I trimmed most of the data from the two tables in Part 2 and Part 3 as they are not needed to prove the point. I did list which channels fall into which items however.

In laymen's terms, after midnight 30 June 2017, you CAN NOT operate a radio on the 25 kHz channels using the class licence. So while the RADIO itself won't be illegal, using it WILL BE.
One thing you MAY notice, channels 22 and 23 are not listed. But these two channels are legislated for DATA transmissions only. No voice is allowed to be transmitted and there are strict requirements on the duty cycle of data transmissions. Because of their use, they remain 25 kHz under the new allocation.
Still think my post is extreme? And remember, this information isn't from some third party website, it's from the Australian Governments ComLaw website. The information available from this site ARE the laws. On the left hand side under the name of this Class Licence is the word CURRENT, meaning this is the latest and current version.
As for what actually happens. I'm well aware that some people that still have unregistered firearms despite then being outlawed years ago. Some of these people even use these firearms. Does that make it ok?

DKEZ: Even if it's technically illegal to use a 40 ch radio I doubt anyone will care. Besides where most people use them there wouldn't be anyone hiding behind trees to catch you out, think about the logistics. Turn on your radio around any city and it's full of rubbish and knowone cares.

If the 40 continues to work great, if not an 80 will go in.

Gues_Willem Winch: ...June 2017????? ...... I can only hope my vehicle and the inbuilt UHF will last so long... and it would be a shame to spend now the money for a new 80 CH radio just to find out in 5 years that the price for diesel is $10/liter and I won't be able to afford driving around anymore.....

FoggyJ: My apologies FiremanDJ I stand corrected. After reading the full class licence I understand what you meant. I see this was only gazetted in May this year which is practically yesterday in legislation terms.  For the original question of what radio to get there is a good list of what CB's are programmable to the 80 ch and which ones aren't on the web sight I posted a link to. Interesting to see that some are programmable for receiving only.

FiremanDJ: No problems, there was a page that spelled it all out, but I can't find it any more. Hence I had to get into the comlaw site.
And as I said, there's many people who won't even know the law or care about it. But there is a reason for the move to 80 channels and we need EVERYONE to use 80 channels or there's no benefit for anyone.
I think the biggest problem is the ACMA. Rather then use a new different format (such as digital), or increasing the range of radio freqs to not affect the current 40 channels, they split the channels in half and caused a huge PITA.
Digital radios would be great. That PITA user could be muted for life on each individual radio, channels created on the fly etc.

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