Best FRS radios for Jeeps/Offroad

Hello everyone,

This is my first post here… My name is Rey and I’m a member of a Jeep club in the Northeast ( We are currently in a debate regarding trail communication and would like some advice.

The current standby for our club and probably most of the off-road world is the CB. However, that standard is always being challenged by two-way handhelds like FRS.

In polling our members the pluses for CB’s are:

  1. Standard for 4x4 world
  2. Always in the Jeep (you can’t “forget” it)
  3. Can be mounted/installed with the optimum in convenience and audio clarity. Many of us added external speakers and some mount their mike on a retractable cord.

The minuses for CB’s:

  1. Need to install and tune
  2. Not easy to “borrow” a CB if needed quickly
  3. Extra expense for an antenna

The pluses for FRS;

  1. Excellent for out of the Jeep communication (as long as people carry it)
  2. Easy to borrow one if needed
  3. Good when traveling to a trail with people that trailer their Jeeps. Doesn’t do them any good on the road if their CB is mounted in the Jeep on the trailer
  4. Less expense than a CB (not sure about this one)

The minuses for FRS radios:

  1. Biggest complaint is volume/audio quality when in the Jeep. Especially with the top down on the highway.
  2. Most people just put them on the seat or console and they get bounced around and end up on the floor when you need it.

I hope you can help us is solving the #1 minus for FRS (from a Jeepers perspective), volume/audio quality.

So first, what FRS radios would you recommend that have the best audio quality/volume (stand alone)?

Second, what accessories like external mike/speakers or headset booms would you recommend?

Thanks in advance…

I say stick with CB’s.

Your CB cons:

  1. You only need to install it once and tuning is no big deal with decent antennas.
  2. True, unless you get a handheld, but range is very limited with a CB HT.
  3. True, but they are not expensive and again, you only have to do it once. Unless of course you roll the Jeep. :stuck_out_tongue:

I say for the extremely cheap price of FRS/GMRS radios these days why not go with both?

That is what we decided to do. We are keeping CB’s on out mandatory trail equipment list. Then use FRS for back ups. Probem is we keep using the FRS more and more and not enforcing the rule, but that’s our problem.

Anyway, do any FRS radios stand out as far as volume and audio quality?

I have been trying to find some of the output levels for you, but so far I have not found anything. FRS/GRMS radios though are not all that loud. Some of the commercial radios are (they are designed for use in very loud work environments). They often have 700mW+ audio output, which is very loud.

With most radios, you can also (with a bit of connector/adapter work) plug a secondary powered speaker into the output jack.

Anyway, I would stick with CB radios, and perhaps a few basic GMRS radios for back-up. We now carry Galaxy CB radios along with Cobra and Uniden: We also have a few hand-held CB radios you might want to look at.

I have a related question. Since the CB radios seem to work in the Jeep of roading are they also adaptable to an ATV or UTV?

If you have a decent 12v aux supply yes, they will work fine.

A lot of ATV/UTV’s have cig lighter/aux sockets these days, don’t they? If so that is an ideal circuit to use.

We run Motorola business-class DTR radios when communicating between gun trucks. They are expensive, but are built to mil-spec standards, are highly water resistant and operate on the unlicenced 900MHz frequency band. They are digital, so they are very clear when in range. (Like any other VHF or UHF radio, they are still line-of-sight.)

They have 2 watts of transmit power, so the range should be at least as good as the best GMRS or FRS radio.

I also looked up the audio output based on what Jeff was saying, and they are 1 watt (1000 mW) audio output. That is about as good as any two-way radio gets! They can also be programmed for use in louder areas so that the mic sensitivity can be ramped up when in high noise areas (such as four-wheeling) while an accessory mic can be set to low sensitivity so that you can hear a whisper when using a headset.

I can even plug them directly in to my Peltor tactical ear muffs.

They are expensive, but for those rare folks who need top quality radios that will last years, instead of consumer grade radios that will fall apart after months of heavy use, they are a good alternative.

They also cannot be monitored because they use a frequency-hopping technology.

The Motorola DTR also has text messaging, call forwarding and a few other nice features.

I would not say they cannot be monitored though. They are difficult to monitor in that you need the right gear etc… but it can be done if someone is determined enough. :slight_smile:

I agree, but as of this date, I don’t know anyone who has successfully monitored a transmission for more than some carrier waves.

But I am not the expert. Jeff, have you heard of anyone who has been able to do this? (I need to get it right because I am working on a magazine article on these radios as we speak.)

Some of the people here have done it or know how. You just need a near-field receiver. DTR radios are a bit more secure than TriSquare, but anyone with the right gear and time can listen in. You need to decode some of it on the DTR, but you can pick it up. The range is also limited, you have to be rather close.

I sent you a PM as to where to look for more information. TriSquare radios are not that hard, the DTR series does make you work for it.
That said, the person listening in often has to be so close they could, well just listen.

Thanks Jeff, and I love your comment about being so close that they could, well, just listen. (Can I quote you?)

Nothing is totally secure, I suppose. Given enough motivation, I suppose anything can be monitored.

The fact that the DTR radios would be ALMOST impossible to monitor with consumer-level gear wasn’t really what drove me toward them, of course. I loved the mil-spec construction, the audio output and the clarity.

They are not for everyone of course, but for people who are going to use their radios a LOT and would end up having to replace their bubble-pack radios every year or so, they would be a good choice, depending on how much they wanted to spend.

Like everything else in life, there is a law of diminishing returns. You get an incrementally-better radio for a LOT more money. For some people - such as myself - it is worth it. For others, not so much.

But I am very glad you folks carry the DTR radios as an alternative for those few nutbars like me who love to spend money on “the best” so to speak. (The DTR410 model that you folks carry has a TON of value for the money!)

Danny I think was the one that first joked you would be close enough to listen in without any help. I was just repeating him here. :slight_smile:

i konw finding a perfect radio is not any easy eork to do. Because we have to keep such kind of things in our minds: our budget, quality, sound, etc. So when I am try to find solution for you and i just find an article which i thought helps you so much in finding Bst FRS radios for jeeps. You can check this here.