Two Way Radios For Our Church

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Dad24GreatKids
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Two Way Radios For Our Church

#1

Post by Dad24GreatKids » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:41 pm

I would appreciate some recommendations on two way radios for use by our church.

Currently we have units from Connect Systems (model CS100), but these were $150 each and I need to purchase several more. Our church doesn't have our own building so we setup & tear down each Sunday. We meet on a school campus with Sunday School in one building and nursery & worship in an adjacent building. The two buildings are about 150 yards apart. Each building is either two or three stories.

In terms of specs, I'd like to have the following:
- < $50 per unit
- excellent audio quality in the scenario described above
- 3 or more channels (current ones have 16 channels)
- can be used with earpiece / mic
- swapable rechargeable batteries
- FCC approved
- no license required

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Re: Two Way Radios For Our Church

#2

Post by Pawpaw » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:23 pm

The Zello app works on just about any smart phone and it's free.

Then your team members can use whatever headset they like with their phone.

It was used extensively during the recent hurricanes. That's how the Cajun Navy and most other volunteer emergency workers coordinated.
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Re: Two Way Radios For Our Church

#3

Post by LimaCharlie3 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:33 pm

I can't see how those cs100 radios are "no license required" unless they are simply programmed to GMRS frequencies and set to minimum power. If you DO have an fcc license for 1 or 3 channels hen that same license would be good for any replacement radios on the same frequencies. The radios you have may simply be programmed to GMRS chennels and set to low power and that would be license-free. OR the communication company you bought them from is also providing a service via their repeater and you operate under their license. Either way, the Baofeng radios on Amazon or eBay are a great deal at $20-$40 each and will do the same thing the CS100's do, and vhf/uhf and programmable to whatever frequencies you currently use. They have swappable rechargeable batteries and standard speaker/mic connection. Programming the things are a huge pain. Buy the usb programming cable and save yourself a lot of headache. I use one of these for ham radio and they are quite popular once programmed. But I'm going to check out that Zello app Pawpaw mentioned. Sounds cool.

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Re: Two Way Radios For Our Church

#4

Post by Liberty » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:25 pm

Baufeng radios are great, but I believe they are illegal to use for FRS service. They should be programable to match your current CS100 though. The Radios made for FRS are pretty decent especially those made by Cobra or Motorolla. They should work just fine for the distances required.
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Re: Two Way Radios For Our Church

#5

Post by AJSully421 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:00 am

Baofeng 888s radios can be programmed for licensed ham frequencies, but also GMRS non-licensed frequencies. They are nice and cheap, range is good, battery life is good, sound through a quality earpiece will be just fine. If you buy a multi-pack, they can be like $20 each. We use them for Security and they work well.
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Re: Two Way Radios For Our Church

#6

Post by Liberty » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:18 am

AJSully421 wrote:Baofeng 888s radios can be programmed for licensed ham frequencies, but also GMRS non-licensed frequencies. They are nice and cheap, range is good, battery life is good, sound through a quality earpiece will be just fine. If you buy a multi-pack, they can be like $20 each. We use them for Security and they work well.
Although the Baofeng radios can be programmed for unlicensed frequencies, they are not legal because the Baofungs aren't FCC part 95 certified. It is legal to use radios such as the Baofeng for licensed users such as Amature, Commercial and Emergency services. But for Unlicensed use such as FRS/GMRS, MURS or CB the radio should be Part 95 certified. Basically what part certified means is that the radio is designed to operate for that specific band and use only. A legal FRS radio cannot operate outside the designated channels or above the rated power without being modified. The antennas can't even be changed out.

People do use these radio's on the FRS bands, and in reality, face little chance of being caught. But I think the odds might change drastically when it is used by an organization such as a church on a scheduled regular basis.

A good FRS/GMRS radio can be bought for about the same price. At the ranges mentioned and the suggested use I believe they could preform admirally.
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Re: Two Way Radios For Our Church

#7

Post by Dad24GreatKids » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:27 pm

Everyone - thanks for all of the useful information. It sounds like I need to look into licensing or the FRS/GMRS options.
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Re: Two Way Radios For Our Church

#8

Post by troglodyte » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:09 pm

I haven’t responded earlier since I didn’t have a recommendation to meet your requirements but if you’re looking to step up then I have a suggestion.

We use Motorola CP200 radios. They require an FCC license and have four channels if you need alternate channels (each channel requires a license). The nice thing is it is your channel. Not a public channel like FRS. That’s not to say someone can’t listen but they are not allowed to transmit on your channel.

The radios are about $500 each so they considerably more expensive than your requirements but they are high quality and durable.

We use “secret service” lapel mics and ear pieces. It allows use ease of use, privacy, and descretion.


We have had many of ours for 10+ years and other than replacing batteries every few years we haven’t had any problems with them. They have been used to every week, a week of summer camp each year (hard use and abuse), and various other functions. There are other similar good radios, I’m just familiar with these.

If you’re looking something more “professional” these, and similar, are worth the money.
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Dad24GreatKids
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Re: Two Way Radios For Our Church

#9

Post by Dad24GreatKids » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:21 pm

troglodyte wrote:I haven’t responded earlier since I didn’t have a recommendation to meet your requirements but if you’re looking to step up then I have a suggestion.

We use Motorola CP200 radios. They require an FCC license and have four channels if you need alternate channels (each channel requires a license). The nice thing is it is your channel. Not a public channel like FRS. That’s not to say someone can’t listen but they are not allowed to transmit on your channel.

The radios are about $500 each so they considerably more expensive than your requirements but they are high quality and durable.

We use “secret service” lapel mics and ear pieces. It allows use ease of use, privacy, and descretion.


We have had many of ours for 10+ years and other than replacing batteries every few years we haven’t had any problems with them. They have been used to every week, a week of summer camp each year (hard use and abuse), and various other functions. There are other similar good radios, I’m just familiar with these.

If you’re looking something more “professional” these, and similar, are worth the money.
I wish we could afford these. I need ~ 12. Perhaps something to aspire to.
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