[chirp_users] Programming Arcshell-5

Bernhard Hailer
Tue May 12 11:42:19 PDT 2020

 > GMRS  does require a license, and FRS doesn't.

This statement is incorrect. Even FRS requires a license, but in the 
case of this service it is free of cost: the license comes with the 
radio, /which must be FCC approved/ for this particular service. Many of 
the cheap radios don't fulfill this requirement and are not legal to use.

As stated by other posters already: it would be your best option to get 
a ham radio Technician license. It's not very difficult, you must go to 
an exam session (35 questions multiple choice, easy; the difficult thing 
these days with COVID-19 is the availability of such exams, though). 
With a Technician license you are legally allowed to use radios not 
approved by the FCC while operating on ham bands - but still not on GMRS 
or FRS or CB or MURS. These services /always /require FCC approved 

Bernhard AE6YN
Fremont, CA

On 12-May-20 08:11, Mark Blackwell wrote:
> GMRS  does require a license, and FRS doesn't.  A citizens band radio 
> doesn't require a license either, but I don't think its your best 
> choice.  Hilly terrain may be an asset or a big problem if you have 
> neighbors on the other side of the hill.
> Not being FCC approved may involve more than just which frequencies 
> are being used.  I is certainly possible, or even likely that even if 
> its on the right frequency, the transmission may not meet the 
> requirements to be legal.  For your system to work, it needs regular 
> practice.
> From your brief description, the best option I see is having neighbors 
> in key spots get an amateur radio license.  It does require a test, 
> but the first test isn't that hard.  There are three level of licenses 
> in amateur radio.  The technicians license is the lowest, and the test 
> isn't that hard.    It's likely to work for most of your options.  The 
> General License allow a lot more privileges, but it is a harder test.  
> The Amateur Extra is the highest level, and by far the toughest test.  
> For me I was really ready for the Tech in about 2 weeks. The General 
> took about a month of study and the Extra about 2 months.  This is a 
> few minutes of study a day, not an 8 hour a day crash course.  Not 
> everyone would necessarily need a license.
> The benefits are many.  Even without power, many larger more powerful 
> units can be powered with batteries, generators or a host methods that 
> don't require the grid to be working.  It also counts on no 
> infrastructure like cell towers or the internet. Though some in 
> amateur radio use the internet for many things, if its out it isn't 
> essential
> Check out the ARRL website.  There is a lot there that is good 
> information that I think will go a long way to helping you make the 
> best decision for your community.  Also local ham clubs are a good 
> starting point as well.
> -- 
>   Mark Blackwell
> markshamradio at pobox.com <mailto:markshamradio at pobox.com>
> On Mon, May 11, 2020, at 6:53 PM, Jonathan Pierce 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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