hand-held radio/ walkie talkie

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#1
21 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
does a hand-held radio work inside the ship? i am thinking of bringing hand-held radios for the kids so we can communicate/find each other if they decide to go somewhere by themselves. how can i communicate with other member of my family while in the ship?
#2
SoCal
3,789 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Walkie Talkies do work on the ship most times BUT there will be many other people using them as well. Nothing like hearing "Mom, Mom, Mom" from several different kids on the channels. Every once in a while the crew can be heard as well.

We use Post it notes. Some ships have voicemail. We also end up sitting in the same place and find each other that way.
#3
phila, pa
51,760 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Specify places and times for meetings.

Walkie talkies- especially with kids are more of a bother then they should be.
Even with talkies that have numerous channels and sub channels.
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#4
Location, Location!
232 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
It depends on the ship and the radios. On a ship like the Oasis of the Seas you would probably need to have Short Wave radios to effectively send and receive radio signals. The radios wattage is a major factor in achieving range and coverage. The higher the wattage, the better the coverage and the crisper and clearer the communications will be. However, you should be aware of the regulations for hand held radios. Operating certain hand held radios require a license and can interfere with the ships communications.

You should also make certain the radios you use fall under the FCC’s “Family Radio Services” (FRS). A FRS radio may only have a maximum power of half a watt. Generally, this limits the range to not much more than one mile (certainly within the length of a cruise ship) however, the ships structures come into play and will degrade signals. That being said, most of these will work pretty well on a cruise ship.

FRS walkie-talkie units for are usually pretty distinguishable. They advertise modest ranges and have antennas that cannot be removed. Often, they are sold in pairs and marketed as units specifically designed for family use.
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#5
Texas Gulf Coast
2,597 Posts
Joined Nov 2002

Bad information so far:


FMRS radios value of any kind on a ship – they have no value. No power equals no range and crowed channels

Shortwave radios – not possible, not legal. Shortwave radios require a complex antenna system, significant power and along with ham band radios are no permitted aboard a cruise ship.

You will hear crew communication - again, not true. Cruise ships use UHF handheld radios with a 2-5 watt power capability. These are not assigned the frequencies of GMRS/FMRS radios. Those channels are set aside worldwide. Ships sell these radios in the gift shop...

Simple facts: Full power GMRS radios are the best solution. No restriction to a 1/2 watt transmit power exists at sea. Those 1/2 watt radios are toys. Leave them at home. Almost all the radios sold today are both GMRS and FMRS.

Read the text below from another post of mine and you will see the difference.



Two types of radios are out there FMRS and GMRS. Most are a combination of both.

I gave up on FMRS after one try several years ago. The 1/2 watt power output did not cover it on the size ship we were on.

The next cruise we took 4 of the GMRS radios. I purchased Motorola 5000 series ones, and got the US license prior to cruising. They worked great. I did use the upper channels and sub-codes to reduce the amount of others potentially on the same channel. Sometime on the first day we'd scan for channels not in use and lock in on those.

On subsequent cruises for the next several years we have carried the radios with great success. As our daughter grew up the chance she'd carry one went to zero but we found many uses for them. After a morning run the I would scope out a place for my wife and I for the day and she'd call me after her shower.

We did find that keeping them on vibrate worked best, and with cargo shorts they would fit in a pocket.

I really chuckle at the two most common responses you and others will get on this topic.

One is the interference with other communication aboard and in ports. Well... the cruise lines sell the full 5 watt power GMRS/FMRS radios aboard the ship in the gift shops.

Also, if you read the frequency spectrum for UHF you will see the 16 channels dedicated to GMRS radios. That'd be and international agreement as well. Manufacturers of public communication equipment know these, and with sales of the units not limited to domestic transactions they select a frequency set around the channels. Even then I listen in prior to initiation of a conversation in port.

Second, the noise complaints that disrupt the ambiance of the cruise. In 33 years of cruising I have found a few places with real quiet.

Most, if not all the public areas in major market cruises are bombarded with announcements for bingo, daily specials, art auction, spa, etc.

Scan for others on the channels and use them to enhance your cruise. Tell the person next to you screaming at the hairy chest contest that the occasional conversation with your family cannot possibly be disrupting her cultural event.

See you at sea...


.

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#6
Location, Location!
232 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by blusry

Bad information so far:


Shortwave radios – not possible, not legal. Shortwave radios require a complex antenna system, significant power and along with ham band radios are no permitted aboard a cruise ship.

I guess you missed the emoticon () denoting the tongue-in cheek humor regarding using a short wave radio on the Oasis of the Seas. So much for attempted humor.

Cruise ships use UHF handheld radios with a 2-5 watt power capability. These are not assigned the frequencies of GMRS/FMRS radios.

GMRS and FRS radios operate on UHF frequencies. They are located in the 462 and 467 MHz bands of the UHF spectrum. A scanning capable UHF radio can receive GMRS and FRS transmissions which can interfere with the ships communications. However, the low wattage output of a FRS radio makes this unlikely, it can and does happen. The use of a higher wattage GMRS radio makes it more likely to happen.

Simple facts: Full power GMRS radios are the best solution. No restriction to a 1/2 watt transmit power exists at sea. Those 1/2 watt radios are toys. Leave them at home. Almost all the radios sold today are both GMRS and FMRS.

While there may be no restrictions regarding the output of GMRS radios at sea, an FCC license is required to operate one in the U.S.A. (you got one yourself) While there is no doubt that GMRS radios have much better range than a FRS radio I doubt that most people who desire to occasionally communicate on a cruise ship want to spend the money and adhere to the licensing requirements for a GMRS radio. I suspect your radios aren’t used exclusively for cruise ship communications.

While it is true that the first generation of the cheapest FRS radios with only one channel were just “toys” the latest generation of FRS radios offer 14 channels are not. While 0.5W model FRS radios don’t have the range of GMRS radio, a 5W radio will not increase the range 10 times more than 0.5W model, but a 5W radio will need 10+ times the battery power to transmit. This is something to consider when choosing a radio for cruise ship use.

Two types of radios are out there FMRS and GMRS. Most are a combination of both.

There are hybrids radios sold today that are combination GMRS/FRS but they still require a license if they are operated in the GMRS mode.


...
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#7
Texas Gulf Coast
2,597 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Originally posted by footzz
...
Did miss the icon, my bad.

I also have a set of UHF walkie-talkies for a small business that are 10 channel Vertex Standard units. They can scan a range of totally independent of the small range of frequencies set aside for GMRS/FMRS.

The ones used aboard cruise ships are the same type with the only variability being manufacture. None are capable of transmitting on GMRS radio frequencies, and realistically, why would they want to?

GMRS radios have no restrictions to be carried, purchased or used aboard a ship. They do not interfere with shipboard communication, period. You know this!

The GMRS license I hold has little value at sea. I do wonder about enforcement, international laws and permits from foreign ports.

The real reason people hate these is abuse from a few passengers both young and old.

Telling someone that FMRS radios work aboard a small floating city of steel is not the best advice. To effectively communicate aboard a ship you'd need full power GMRS radios. They are effective and cheap to purchase.

We have used them for about eleven cruises, the most recent being in July. Great experience and value having them along.



.

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#9
Vancouver BC
7,239 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by caredbasan
does a hand-held radio work inside the ship? i am thinking of bringing hand-held radios for the kids so we can communicate/find each other if they decide to go somewhere by themselves. how can i communicate with other member of my family while in the ship?
Yes, sort of. However, here are some downsides;
  • While they may be legal in the United States, they may not be in the other countries you visit. Frequencies used by home FRS/GMRS radios in the USA are used for other purposes like Fire Brigades (UK) or other forms of official communication in other countries. The reaction may be anything from "You shouldn't do that" to a hefty fine.
  • They can annoy other passengers. I have been on cruises with an annoying "Hey are you there" blasted over walkie-talkies many times.
  • Ships are metal. Trying to transmit from one part of the ship to another (especially on another deck) needs to pass through a fair amount of metal, which tends to block the signal. A higher power set (GMRS) helps, but then you run into problem (a) that the higher the power, the less likely it's legal in the country you want to use them.

What else can you do?
  • Post It notes. Stick one to your mirror in your cabin, saying where you're going.
  • Or, my favorite; leave your cabinmates a voicemail on your cabin telephone. You can retrieve it from any other phone anywhere on the ship (and they're all over the place)
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#10
Connecticut
10,854 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Just show reasonable courtesy towards fellow passengers- hold conversations to a minimum (and keep voice down) where otherrs have to listen.
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#11
Fredericksburg, va. USA
80,934 Posts
Joined May 2001
It's truly not as hard as you might think to find the others in your party....there are only so many places you're likely to be!
Kids will pretty much be in the club, sports deck, arcade or pool areas.....Parents are usually at the pool, casino or room!

Just make times to meet and have everyone make a "tentative" schedule, so everyone will know where to look!

Honestly, it's easier to find folks on a ship, than at a mall!
#12
Cortlandt Manor, New York
45 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Wouldn't the use of radios simply boil down to the following:

* Proper use
* Courtesy

I have every intention of bringing a set of GMRS Midland radios on my trip in November to keep tabs on the kids, however, I plan on making use of the vibrate and earbud features as to not "disturb" my neighbor's hairy chest contest experience or the soft bells / rings / dings in the casino..

Also, listen in on the channel before transmitting.

Lastly, these particular models GXT-1000 have a "whisper" feature that you can talk softly without having to shout and the receiver will amp up the signal so you sound normal.

Just shop around and "do the right thing"..
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#13
Philly
662 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
We were thinking about bringing ours so that the couple we are traveling with can find us at Nassau and on Coco Cay. They prefer to sleep in but we like the be one of the 1st ones off the ship.
#14
Low Country, SC
4,856 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by LESLIEKURZ
We were thinking about bringing ours so that the couple we are traveling with can find us at Nassau and on Coco Cay. They prefer to sleep in but we like the be one of the 1st ones off the ship.
Like several others have said, use of these radios is not authorized in another country, you can get yourself into very serious trouble.
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#15
Moon Township, Pa
23,136 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
Originally posted by LESLIEKURZ
We were thinking about bringing ours so that the couple we are traveling with can find us at Nassau and on Coco Cay. They prefer to sleep in but we like the be one of the 1st ones off the ship.
You cannot use them off the ship, as the frequencies used by US walkie talkies can be the same used by the island's emergency units or by their armed forces. Please, do not risk being arrested and keep them on the ship.
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Darcie
#16
Las Vegas, NV
3,721 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Blusry, you made the following statements:

"along with ham band radios are no permitted aboard a cruise ship."

Can you provide some written authority for the above statement? I am curious because I know several people who have operated amateur radio gear onboard cruise ships with permission of the Captains.

"Also, if you read the frequency spectrum for UHF you will see the 16 channels dedicated to GMRS radios. That'd be and international agreement as well. "

I'm a bit confused by the above statement. Are you saying that it is ok to use a US GMRS radio in any foreign country or did you mean that the 16 channels use the same frequencies worldwide? If you are saying that US GMRS radios can be used in any country, can you provide written authority for that statement? I'm just curious because that is not my understanding.

Thanks.
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#17
Georgia
2,734 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Originally posted by caredbasan
does a hand-held radio work inside the ship? i am thinking of bringing hand-held radios for the kids so we can communicate/find each other if they decide to go somewhere by themselves. how can i communicate with other member of my family while in the ship?
We used Walkie Talkies with a built in texting feature and they worked great. We didn't have the interference from other handhelds and other people didn't even know that we had them unless they were sitting on the table or chair.
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#18
Klein, Texas
6,028 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Get the water-proof kind because when someone throws you overboard you can use it to call for help...
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#20
Mesa, AZ
312 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
I think the kind Olemissreb has are called TriSquare eXrs. They use the same frequency as cellphones and have 10 billion channels.