April '19

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APRIL 2019 THE SHOP 15 It breaks down like this: For FRS you do not need a license to operate the units. They operate up to 0.5W of power. These radios are typically handheld. They have limited channels and power output and are typically best-used by hikers on the trail. But, there is a way to turbocharge the FRS service using a technology called GMRS or General Mobile Radio Service. It ups the power to over 2W, and is an effective method for off-road aficionados located in the western portions of the U.S. to com- municate with each other because of the clarity and range offered by the frequencies. The drawback is that, in order to be legal, you need to get an FCC license to use the service. The license costs $70. There is no test and it's good for 10 years before you need to renew it. So, for less than $10 a year, your off-road customers can adhere to the law and communicate freely. Some may say that, realistically, if Jeepers are only using the service off-road and keeping communications short, they are probably not going to raise the suspicions of the authorities or get caught using the unit without a license. But the fines are so steep that it's not worth the risk. The license also extends to immediate family members. This means you can give a handheld GMRS unit to your wife in the Tacoma and you can use another to com- municate with her in your Jeep. This is where it gets a little weird—some radios were originally sold as GMRS FRS dual-service radios. According to manufac- turer Midland, the old FRS radios are now allowed to transmit up to 2W of power and do not require a license to operate. I n the hardcore hiking community, there are some options for staying safe in the backcountry. If customers find themselves alone and stranded on the trail, personal trackers can help keep them safe. One of the most well-known units is the SPOT Personal Tracker. The Gen 3 units sell for around $150 and can send GPS coordinates to rescue teams by pressing the SOS button. Additionally, users can communicate with loved ones. There is an "I'm OK" button they can press at the end of the day before setting up camp. It is especially useful when loved ones are beyond the distance of GMRS service. Pre-programmed messages are also possible, and the unit can transmit GPS coordinates at prede- termined times if someone back home is tracking. Another option for those taking trips outside of the U.S. is a PLB or Personal Locator Beacon. These units can send coordinates to emergency agencies in the harshest of conditions off the beaten path. ACR Electronics offers the RESQLINK for $300. If you have customers that typically travel well off the beaten path, these personal trackers might be some- thing to consider stocking. Moreover, they are a great recommen- dation for anyone taking their vehicle on extreme trails or for when all else fails. Photo above: If customers find them- selves alone and stranded on the trail, personal trackers can help keep them safe. PERSONAL TRACKERS UPGRADE Mention The SHOP Magazine for 5% off your opening order TO THE NEXT TRIM LEVEL Add a power-operated lift gate with iBEAM's new vehicle-specific plug-n-play kits that are quick and easy to install

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