[chirp_users] Programming Arcshell-5

Tycen Stafford
Mon May 11 17:48:57 PDT 2020


As you said, this is technically a violation of FCC rules since these
radios are not approved for FRS (for various reasons). With that said...

In CHIRP, if you click *File > Open stock config* you'll see an option
there: *US FRS and GMRS channels*

That will have all the settings you need. FRS doesn't use Tones or DTCS
Codes by default (although you can). FRS can go up to 2 watts now on some
channels (a good chart is here:
https://www.buytwowayradios.com/blog/2006/07/frs_and_gmrs_frequencies.html) so
if you only program those 2W channels in and set your power to LOW (1 Watt)
then you'll at least be within the legal frequency and power range for FRS
(even if the radio itself isn't legal). If you use the 1/2 Watt channels
then even on LOW you'll be using more power than you're supposed to.

So, basic order of steps:
1) download your factory config from each radio (I would mark them with a
number so you can keep the files matched up to the specific radio - radios,
even in the same shipment, can have different firmware and you should only
apply a config back to a radio based on the factory image)
2) copy that factory image to a safe place as a backup
3) open the FRS stock config like I noted above
4) select the lines you want from that file and copy them
5) move back to your image file you downloaded from the radio and paste in
the lines you copied from the FRS file
6) Save As to another file name (if you're still on that factory image file
you need to keep in a same place)
7) upload to radio

I can provide more detail if that doesn't get you what you need, but it
sounds like you're getting a good understanding of Chirp already.

Also, I'd recommend at least some in your neighborhood consider a GMRS
license. Then a few of you could use higher wattage and could even set up a
repeater. FRS and GMRS share frequencies, so you could all communicate with
each other on the same frequencies, it's just that your FRS users would be
more limited in power (not wouldn't be allowed on the repeater). Note
(again, covering my bases) that the Arcshell isn't legal on GMRS either. Of
course in an emergency that isn't as relevant, but it is also important to
practice before the emergency. You and your neighbors could go even further
and start getting ham licenses which would open up a lot more options. A
neighborhood I've heard of that has done this is here:
https://www.echolakecommunity.org/news-events/gmrs-radio and

Good luck!

On Mon, May 11, 2020 at 4:54 PM Jonathan Pierce <jp1776 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Best wishes from a Noob,
>    I am a FireWise neighborhood council member in a rural, high-risk
> forested area (70 miles from the Paradise Fire) of northern California.
> Several neighbors and I want to set up a backup evacuation radio
>  notification system for our neighborhood in the event that power (lose
> cable internet and VOIP phone service) and cell towers are down (the local
> tower burnt last year during an event). And we have spotty cell coverage at
> best.
>    We found the best-seller Arcshells on Amazon are powerful and reach
> through our hilly neighborhood OK. But I understand that 1. The devices are
> not FCC approved; 2. Antennae is removable; 3. Stock programming is a mix
> of FRS and GMRS frequencies. Fire chief has given go ahead for us to use
> them if we don’t interfere with any of the EMS, police, and fire
> frequencies. The stock frequencies programmed in the Arcshell AR-5 are
> indeed different than all the official ones used.
>    But some neighbors want the radios reprogrammed so they are strictly
> only using FRS frequencies. I’ve been able to query and download the memory
> from an arcshell, and I believe I have figured out how to save a modified
> memory profile to a file so that it could uploaded to all units.
>    Questions: 1. Using the chirp edit function can I just go ahead and
> change all channels’ frequencies to strictly FRS permitted ones? 2. Do I
> need to change any of the other settings like Tone Mode, Tonesql, DTCS
> Code, etc, or can they just remain as is?
>    Thanks for your knowledgeable help!
> Jonathan
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