What are FRS and GMRS radios?
Although base stations are available, typically these radios are small handheld “walkie-talkies”. Of the 14 available channels, 7 of them are shared with the GMRS band.
GMRS: General Mobile Radio Service
GMRS radios are virtually identical to FRS radios. They too are UHF FM radios operating in the 462 to 467 megahertz range. Of the 15 available GMRS channels, 7 of them are shared with the FRS band. Originally intended for business use, the GMRS band has since been opened to the general public.
All current Cobra MicroTalk radios include both the FRS and GMRS bands, for a total of 22 channels.
What is CTCSS and DCS?
CTCSS: Continuous Tone Controlled Squelch System
DCS: Digitally Controlled Squelch
Cobra calls both of these features "Privacy Codes".
Privacy Codes are not extra channels -- rather they are a means for sharing a channel with other people without any annoying interference or cross talk. Even though there may be other people using the channel, you will only hear transmissions from those people who are using the same Privacy Code as you.
Not all models offer CTCSS and DCS. For those models that do, there are a total of 38 CTCSS codes and 83 DCS codes to choose from.
What are the FRS/GMRS frequencies?
TYPE OF RADIO SERVICE
Headset jack specifications
Plug size: 2.5mm (3/32”) stereo plug
Microphone Type: Electret
- The tip is the speaker
- The middle contact is the microphone
- The shaft is ground ">
The PTT switch is wired in series with the microphone element.
If the PTT function does not work or is unreliable, place a 2.7K ohm resistor across the microphone element.
Are GMRS radios safe to use near my medical device?
This is a question that is best answered by your doctor. Please let your doctor know that the Cobra GMRS radios have these general specifications:
Maximum transmit power: up to 4 watts (depending on model)
Transmit frequency range: 462 to 468 megahertz
My radios get short range
Please note that the advertised range is only under ideal conditions such as:
- Fresh batteries
- Absolutely no obstructions between the radios (for example communication over water or from mountaintop to mountaintop)
To maximize range, please make sure that the batteries are fully charged. If your radios use AA size or AAA size batteries, then you can try regular alkaline batteries.
Channels 8 to 14 are locked on low power per FCC regulations, so try using channels 1 to 7 or channels 15 to 22.
On some models you can adjust the transmit power level. Make sure it is set to HI.Please note that use inside a building or inside a car will reduce the range.
When I turn on my radio it shows low battery
When you turn on your radio it will perform a display test. Everything will light up on the display, including the low battery icon. The display test lasts a couple seconds, after which you will get the normal operating display.Please ignore the low battery icon during power-up. After the display test is done you can then see if the low battery icon is showing. If the batteries are low then the low battery icon will be flashing.
The CALL function is not working between different models
Cobra has used two different types of call signal: analog and digital. A digital call signal is used on models with VibrAlert, and is necessary in order to activate the vibrate feature. Models without VibrAlert use an analog call signal.
Digital call signals are not fully compatible with analog call signals. If your Cobra radio has VibraAlert, then it has a digital call signal that will only work properly with other Cobra VibrAlert models.
I purchased new batteries and they will not charge
Numerous models of Cobra handheld radios have a special feature which prevents accidentally charging alkaline batteries. If alkaline batteries are charged, they will leak!
To prevent charging alkaline batteries, the radio has a separate charge contact which touches the side of the battery.
The batteries that were originally supplied with the radio look like this:
As you can see, the negative end of the battery is exposed so that it can touch the charge contact.
Alkaline batteries have a plastic wrapper all the way down, so they will not touch the charge contact and will therefore not charge.
The issue is that other brands of rechargeable batteries also have a full wrapper, and so they too will not charge. The solution is to peel the wrapper from the negative end of the battery. Use a sharp knife to score all the way around, and then peel off the wrapper so that the battery looks like the picture above. Do it to all the new batteries.
Why does my radio switch to medium power when a headset is plugged in?
This is due to FCC regulations.
The FCC has set exposure limits on how much RF energy is allowed to be absorbed by your body. The transmit power must not exceed the SAR limits. The amount of allowed power will depend on variables such as the transmit frequency, proximity of the antenna, etc.
Typically when a headset is plugged into the radio, the radio is then worn on the belt using the integral belt clip. This places the antenna right up against your body. The FCC mandates that we must therefore lower the transmit power in order to stay within allowable exposure limits.
If you need absolute maximum transmit power, you will need to unplug the headset.
INTERNATIONAL USE OF FRS / GMRS RADIOS
Can I bring my GMRS radios into Canada or Mexico?
Yes. Your Cobra GMRS radios are legal for use in the USA, Canada, and Mexico. You can freely bring your GMRS radios into both Canada and Mexico. Enjoy your trip!
Can I bring my GMRS radios to Europe?
No. Most countries in Europe have adopted a different standard known as PMR ("Personal Mobile Radio"). While PMR radios are very similar to your GMRS radios, PMR radios use different frequencies. If you attempt to bring your GMRS radios into Europe, they might get confiscated in customs.
PMR radios are currently approved for use in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Does Cobra sell PMR radios?
Cobra manufactures and sells PMR radios and is a leading brand in Europe. PMR radios are not available in the USA because they are not FCC-approved. They are only available in European countries where PMR has been approved for use. Please visit local retailers in those countries.
PMR has been approved in the following countries:
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom