February 6, 2005
FRS Radio (Family Radio Service) is the main mode of communications during
Corvette caravans these days. There are several advantages of using FRS
radios over other means of radio communications:
1. FRS radios are handheld walkie talkies, with no need to put an external
antenna on your Corvette. The CB antennas were always a problem.
2. FRS radios are in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) range and use
frequency modulation (FM), which is much clearer than the AM CB radios.
3. Range is limited by _ watt of transmitting power so you need not listen to
others a long distance away.
4. The radios have a squelch control, you don’t need to listen to the
background noise all the time.
5. FRS radios are inexpensive and can be purchased from $15 to $50 per unit.
6. Cellphones are not functional if you get off the main beaten path. They
don’t put cell sites where there are infrequent customers.
The FRS service has 14 channels or frequencies 462.5625 to 467.7125 Mhz. It should be noted that the first 7 channels are shared with General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and they are authorized to run up to 5 watts of power. It is recommended that channels 1-7 be avoided for that reason for caravans.
The FRS radios are also available with what they call “sub channels” or “privacy channels”. The same channels 1-14 are used, however there are up to 32 selectable sub-audible tones that are transmitted with the signal. When another unit has the same sub channel or sub audible tone selected, it will only allow voice to come through when that tone is heard with the voice. This allows multiple conversations to take place on the same channel without a lot of
1. Make sure that the unit you purchase has the sub channels, should your
chose to use them.
2. Pricing depends on the type of batteries the unit uses. Dry alkaline battery
units are less expensive than rechargeable battery units. Dry batteries are
fine for caravans. Plus you don’t have to remember to charge the batteries
before the trip.
3. Carry several sets of spare batteries with you in the car. The quanity will
depend on how much you talk. The wagon master may need to adjust
their batteries accordingly.
4. Most retail stores carry FRS radios, Target, Walmat, Best Buy, etc. Some
recommended brands Motorola, Kenwood, Audiovox, and Cobra.
5. When on a caravan try to keep transmissions short, someone may need
directions while someone else is being long winded.
6. Think about what you are going to say, before you say it.
7. Wait for a distinct pause before transmitting, remember other people can
not hear you if they are transmitting.
8. Do Not raise you voice into the radio if someone can’t hear you. FM radio
only distorts when you talk to loud. Keep the radio close to your face and
talk using a normal voice. Additional more detailed information on the rules are available at the FCC website. http://www.fcc.gov
Joe Orrico Corvette Super Sports