April '19

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14 THE SHOP APRIL 2019 T here is nothing better than heading off- road with your friends. Communica- tion with your buddies is important—not only for camaraderie, but also for safety. When out of cellular phone range, the Jeep/4x4 community turns to radio com- munication to keep in touch on the trail. But which type should you recommend to your off-road clientele? Let's go through the options. As you'll see, it is very easy to stay within legal limits and still have fantastic range to communi- cate, even in the most remote areas. BACK TO THE '70S Inter-vehicle communication began in the 1970s with Citizens Band Radio Service, more commonly known as CB radio. Where I live on the East Coast, it is still a viable and typically preferred method for off-road communications. Just pick a band that the truckers are not using (Channel 9 is for emergencies and Channel 19 is for truckers) and stay within the rules and you are good to go. The only drawback is the limited range compared to newer technologies. Typically, two miles from mobile trans- mitter to mobile transmitter is about the maximum you can expect without interference becoming too annoying. But, with our off-road trails usually con- fined in tighter areas, it is still an effective method of group communication. CB radios are widely available for pur- chase online or at truck stops, where buyers can compare and contrast in person. Some radios even come in a very attractive small footprint that can be easily integrated into most dashboards without being an eyesore. One example is the Uniden CMX760, which has a small footprint base with all the controls on the handheld microphone. Customers can have your shop neatly tuck the control module of the unit underneath or inside the dashboard and still be left with a handheld control with a color- changing backlight to help match the interior lighting. Although there are handheld models available, a mounted solution with an external antenna will provide better range for most groups and trail environments. Most importantly, there is no license required to use CB radios. TAKING IT UP A NOTCH The next step in the progression is FRS or Family Radio Service, which then leads to GMRS. 14 THE SHOP APRIL 2019 RADIO COMMUNICATIONS Ways to help customers talk on the trail. Off-Road By Brett Solomon Communication with your buddies is important— not only for camarade- rie, but also for safety. (Photos courtesy Daystar Products) Daystar recently introduced a GMRS radio specially designed for Jeep JK applica- tions. (Photo courtesy Daystar Products)

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