Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 18-06-2015, 20:49   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 8
Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

My wife and I are picking up a hire boat in Germany and would like to take a pair of hands-free FRS/GMRS radios to help with communication when docking and transiting locks. Does anyone know if Germany would require a special license? Thanks
__________________

__________________
Hooksetter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-06-2015, 21:19   #2
Registered User
 
Cowboy Sailer's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: on the boat. Gulf Coast
Boat: C&C 38'
Posts: 351
Images: 2
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

I believe that the little 1/2 watt FRS radios are not legal in Europe but that rule is not enforced. The higher power GMRS radios are not allowed. (and it is enforced!)
__________________

__________________
Jerry and Denver
Happy Old cruisers!
Cowboy Sailer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-06-2015, 21:33   #3
Registered User
 
Dsanduril's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: South Pacific
Boat: Outremer 50S
Posts: 1,451
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

Your FRS radios are not legal in Europe (so you have to make your own decision). You can buy nearly identical PMR446 radios that are legal in/made for Europe and are legal in most EU countries (I haven't personally checked EU and individual country regulations, so not willing to say all). Only a difference of ~20Mhz but them's the legalities. If you want to be legal you can find PMR446 radios for sale on Amazon in the US and get them before you go, or pick up a set when you get there.
__________________
Dsanduril is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-06-2015, 21:46   #4
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,046
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

Do you both have cell phones, smartphones with WiFi built in?


There are many free programs that use the wifi connection for "peer to peer" direct connection of the cell phones, allowing you to use them as walkie-talkies. And since the cell phone is legal all over the EU, and the wifi functioning of it is also (almost always) legal...You're all set to go with no extra equipment required.


Range might not be the same but it should still be good enough for what you want. Even if you're using a couple of dedicated phones, without phone service, just for the free peer-to-peer wifi.


(The exact legalities of WiFi channels and power levels do vary. For a while some old Motorolas were illegal in France because of that, but that shouldn't be an issue any longer.)
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2015, 02:22   #5
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,750
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Do you both have cell phones, smartphones with WiFi built in?


There are many free programs that use the wifi connection for "peer to peer" direct connection of the cell phones, allowing you to use them as walkie-talkies. And since the cell phone is legal all over the EU, and the wifi functioning of it is also (almost always) legal...You're all set to go with no extra equipment required.


Range might not be the same but it should still be good enough for what you want. Even if you're using a couple of dedicated phones, without phone service, just for the free peer-to-peer wifi.


(The exact legalities of WiFi channels and power levels do vary. For a while some old Motorolas were illegal in France because of that, but that shouldn't be an issue any longer.)
Or you can do what most people do and just use your cell phone as a cell phone


Honestly, I love to play with radios (Extra Class ham license), but in Europe, at least in Northern Europe, mobile telephone coverage is seamless, and absolutely every person has a phone in his pocket, so there are few occasions where a two-way radio is of any real value between persons (as opposed to between vessels, which of course is different). Just call 'em up. The problem which these small radios were designed to solve just doesn't really exist, at least here.
__________________
Dockhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2015, 06:50   #6
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,046
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

Great idea, Dockhead. But since they were asking about radios, I thought they might want to use radios--not cellular service. Roaming can be pricey, budgets can be tight, and many US cell phones are not GSM phones, can't use SIM chips, and won't work in Europe at all for those reasons. Even at super-high roaming prices.


As our FCC points out, a "cell phone" is not a telephone today. It is not a cell phone. It is a computer with many functions, including several radios and the ability for radiocommunications. Which, frequently include being patched into telephone networks.


And of course if there is no phone coverage wherever you are, or you are passing through, perhaps spending one night in Monte Carlo and don't want to buy a local SIM card for one night? Or pay roaming fees? Or just don't want to be bothered with finding out?


Peer-to-peer radio is still the simplest solution.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2015, 08:21   #7
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,750
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Great idea, Dockhead. But since they were asking about radios, I thought they might want to use radios--not cellular service. Roaming can be pricey, budgets can be tight, and many US cell phones are not GSM phones, can't use SIM chips, and won't work in Europe at all for those reasons. Even at super-high roaming prices.


As our FCC points out, a "cell phone" is not a telephone today. It is not a cell phone. It is a computer with many functions, including several radios and the ability for radiocommunications. Which, frequently include being patched into telephone networks.


And of course if there is no phone coverage wherever you are, or you are passing through, perhaps spending one night in Monte Carlo and don't want to buy a local SIM card for one night? Or pay roaming fees? Or just don't want to be bothered with finding out?


Peer-to-peer radio is still the simplest solution.
Fair enough, and of course I'm not proposing to NOT give them advice about radios I like radios. I'm a ham.

I was just trying to put it into perspective in the context of the evolution of mobile phone networks and technologies.

Most (nearly all?) cruisers will have local SIM cards wherever they go, because they need to be able to call and to receive calls anywhere they go and for all kinds of reasons, business and personal. In this day and age, few people are willing to be unreachable unless they are offshore, and many even not then.

So once you have that capability, the ability to communicate with your crew using the same infrastructure is trivial.

We use SMS's if we are too briefly or too newly in a new country to have acquired a local SIM card. Even as a radio lover, I have not yet ever needed radios for inter-crew comms. Maybe once in a blue moon I'll take a handheld VHF with me and (slightly improperly) use it to talk to the mother ship from shore. You could do the same with two handhelds as long as you are on the water. In my experience, at least in Europe, two people talking to each other on land using handheld radios is just never needed, since every person by now above the age of 6 has a mobile phone, and there is coverage everywhere.

I actually do have a pair of FRS radios on board, surplus from my Dad's boat's inventory. Never once used them.

I also have a ham VHF/UHF 5 watt handheld -- a very cool radio. There are a lot of repeaters you can use to talk over long distances. But you can only talk to other hams with it So this doesn't get used much, either. When you need land comms, you just reach for the cell phone. Everyone has one. It's a bit like English as a foreign language -- valuable more than anything because of its universality.
__________________
Dockhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2015, 08:50   #8
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,046
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

Yes, cell phones are nice, especially with unlimited minutes. But I remember a $60 for 60 minutes plan not THAT long ago, and if you were "upstate" and added roaming fees to it...you could pay $4 a minute for a long distance call including all the extra charges. Which could leave some folks simply allergic to the concept of "we're going to have to pay airtime charges on TWO PHONES to make ONE CALL?" no matter what the billing is.


Personally I prefer to play charades, not having learned ASL.


There's also less to drop in the water that way.(G)


SMS...well, again, it takes time and two free hands for most people. And I'd be afraid to guess what my carrier would charge for an "international roaming" sms message, I'd rather just not ask them, unless it was for an extended trip. Not everyone gets to take off weeks at a time, much less months at a time, you know.


Heck, thanks to airline insecurity and domestic terrorism (the TSA) my faithful old Swiss Army knife can't even fly with me anymore. And yet, somehow, it resisted the temptation to leap out and hijack aircraft all over the world, for decades. Is my smartphone any less dangerous? (Bear in mind, the man recently accused of hacking into aircraft control systems while onboard one.)
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2015, 08:59   #9
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,750
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
. . .But I remember a $60 for 60 minutes plan not THAT long ago, and if you were "upstate" and added roaming fees to it...you could pay $4 a minute for a long distance call including all the extra charges. . . .
Sure, and my point, actually, is that those days are long gone. Even without a local SIM card, roaming charges inside Europe are capped at 0.19 euros out and 0.05 euros in per minute.

With local SIM cards from the provider, all calls between subscribers of the same system are typically free, or you get a big allowance of free calling inside the network.

There's no roaming at all inside the US, and you typically also have free calling within the same network.

Mobile phones have changed with much lower charges and much better coverage, and have become the universal comms device.
__________________
Dockhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 19-06-2015, 09:21   #10
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,046
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

"There's no roaming at all inside the US,"
T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, SimplyMobile....a whole lot of carriers would beg to disagree with you. They keep putting these "*except roaming" disclaimers in their rate statements. There are a generation or two of cell phone customers who are "once burned twice shy" and simply never going to use them the way the kids do.


"Dude, why would you have a separate phone for home?"


Sometimes, there are still reasons for legacies.


But to go OT...maybe you can explain to me why all the US cellular carriers have removed Android's native call recording functions. They've removed the Android routine that allows the audio streams (in both directions) to be sent to a file, and then if you add root lock, that makes it almost impossible to "simply" record a call. Even though the same makes and models of phones can do some with no problem in China, North Korea, the EU...


It all comes back to "You can't trust the carrier." because they'll lie about everything. Radio? No carrier, no carrier issues, no billing arguments. Less stress to just keep the cellco out of things.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2015, 21:03   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 8
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

Thanks Gents. Was thinking radios for the hands-free communications option. Really appreciate the input; it was all helpful.
__________________
Hooksetter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2015, 21:59   #12
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,046
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

Hands free?
Still might be the phones, using any handy Bluetooth earmic, or a wired earbud. A whole two or three bucks if you just want a "voice" grade earbud. A bit more--but pretty much exactly the same price for radios--if you want better ones.


Something like a Plantronics with a real "boom" holding the mic near your mouth works best if there's any wind.


Of course, if you have the phones, you may already have these too.(G)
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-06-2015, 22:54   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Switzerland
Boat: So many boats to choose from. Would prefer something that is not an AWB, and that is beachable...
Posts: 1,242
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooksetter View Post
Thanks Gents. Was thinking radios for the hands-free communications option. Really appreciate the input; it was all helpful.
It's basically a conflict between the way the radio spectrum has been sliced up in Europe versus the US. So you can't use FRS/GMRS in Europe, nor can you use PMR446 in the States...

Now you should be able to get a pair of PMR446 radios here for around 60 euro or so.
__________________
K_V_B is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23-06-2015, 12:14   #14
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,046
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

Or something like the Baofeng BF-888S, $30/pair on Amazon, illegal (uncertified for any use anywhere) but probably tolerated without incident, as long as they're used discretely and politely. Should be able to program them for both EU and US use, although as noted, not legally. For mysterious reasons, their sale is allowed, even though it is blatantly illegal. A number of other Chinese brands and radios also are available, same caveats.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-06-2015, 13:14   #15
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,750
Re: Do you need a license for FRS/GMRS Radios in Germany

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Or something like the Baofeng BF-888S, $30/pair on Amazon, illegal (uncertified for any use anywhere) but probably tolerated without incident, as long as they're used discretely and politely. Should be able to program them for both EU and US use, although as noted, not legally. For mysterious reasons, their sale is allowed, even though it is blatantly illegal. A number of other Chinese brands and radios also are available, same caveats.
Why would that be illegal for someone with a ham license?
__________________

__________________
Dockhead is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
Germany, license, radio

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Furuno FRS-1000 Med Charts Kenomac Marine Electronics 1 30-05-2015 11:06
FCC license VHF SSB radios: confused about RickyEM Rules of the Road, Regulations & Red Tape 63 25-08-2014 07:31
In What Countries Are FRS/GMRS Radios Usable ? heatherbrie Marine Electronics 5 04-10-2010 10:23
Greetings - Kaiserslautern, Germany Shane46110 Meets & Greets 5 07-09-2008 22:49
Holland, Germany and Frisian Islands berneray General Sailing Forum 2 27-01-2006 07:23



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:51.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.