The Family Radio Service (FRS) is a private, two-way, short-distance voice and data communications service for facilitating family and group activities. The most common use for FRS channels is short-distance, two-way voice communications using small hand-held radios that are similar to walkie-talkies.
The FRS is authorized 22 channels in the 462 MHz and 467 MHz range, all of which are shared with GMRS.
Today we'll be tackling that problem by building a radio go box that:
• Houses 3 radios and accessories
• Provides protection from sun, dirt, moisture and physical shock
• Acts as a charging station using a single wall adapter to charge all three radios
• Easy and convent to transport and store
• May even provide protection to the radios from an EMP
This setup will be great for camping, road trips and family activities.
• 50 cal ammo can
• Wood block more or less 2" x 8" x 1/2"
• 1 female 5.5mm x 2.1mm DC power jack
• 3 male 5.5mm x 2.1mm DC power jack pigtails
• 3 radios (I used Baofeng UV-82's, read more about radios in the next step)
• USB programming cable
• Pouch about 9" by 4" (You can buy it or make one like I did)
• Saw to cut masonite
• Something to drill holes
• Wood glue
• Large post-it notes
• Soldering iron
• Hot glue gun
• Computer to program radios
The radios I selected for this project have the ability to transmit on a number of different bands and radio services. It is your responsibility to operate these radios in a legal manner.
I've played with a number of different radios and these seem to be the best bang for the buck. They are solidly built, can operate on frequencies between 136-174mhz and 400-520mhz and can transmit with VHF 10W/5W/1W / UHF 8W/4W/1W power , In step 6 we'll program thEe radio using a computer.
This radio can monitor two frequencies at once, but only receive one at a time. One interesting feature is 2 push to talk (PTT) buttons, allowing to you broadcast on two different frequencies at will without additional button presses.
You may also wish to outfit your radios with a better antenna.
Radio bands and frequencies
Here is a brief rundown of the different radio bands and services these radio can operate on, including links to the FCC site for the full description of each.
• Amateur or ham radio - This is a powerful and versatile radio service that requires a license to operate. I very strongly recommend you do not transmit on ham frequencies without a license. A ham license is easy to get and for this project you will only need the lowest level license, called a technician. Find a local amateur radio club to learn more about how to get on the air.
• Multiple Use Radio Service MURS - This service is not as commonly used. It does not require a license and allows for transmissions up to 2 watts. It only offers a few channels for use. FCC page on MURS
• General Mobile Radio Service GMRS - This service requires a license, though I've never heard of any enforcement of the requirement. GMRS can operate up to 5 watts on 23 channels. Many store bought radios transmit on these frequencies. FCC page on GMRS
• Family Radio Service FRS - This service requires no license and is specifically crippled to limit communications to about 1/2 mile. Transmissions are limited ti 1/2 a watt. This is what almost all store bought two way radios are. FCC page on FRS