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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to perhaps go the Rugged radio/intercom route on my KRX. Just wondering if anyone here has any input. I may have an opportunity to get a discount so I am looking at the 6100 intercom radio package.

I am a licensed amateur radio operator, but can't get any of my friends to get licensed so when in Rome, do what the Romans do I guess. My Pioneer has VHF capability (90 watts repeater capable for a whopping $160), but no one to talk to. My understanding is that you can either purchase a family license or one piggybacks on the radio. Being an Amateur, I have to be well within the law as I can't plead ignorance.

I'd be grateful for any feedback.
 

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Which kit, 6100 just brings up intercom? What are your friends running?

RR has some business channels (uhf) licensed to them (WRCL361) you can use their licenses on. Anything else and you need a license. I assume by family you are talking GMRS freqs, in which case there are better options. Most of this stuff is gray area stuff as with other companies selling offroad radio's. As a HAM you should know most of this and how to find call signs and freqs as RR keeps a lid on actual frequencies. None off there stuff seems "well" within the law if you start looking real hard.
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Discussion Starter #3
I researched the subject a bit today. I managed to come up with a list of VHF frequencies that "appear" to be under the Rugged licensing umbrella. I can see why they guard them. They seem to be running a basic TYT9000 Chinese commercial (and HAM) band unlocked radio as their basic package. It can that they can be easily read by chirp software from what I'm reading so far. My area needs 2 meter VHF to work decently because of the terrain. So GMRS is a non starter. Friends are all comm free at the moment. I tried to get them to do the HAM thing. Hell, I even gave out programmed Baofeng UV5s for Christmas a few years ago, but that simple technician test seems to be Mount Everest for them.

It's a simple matter to program an older unlocked Baofeng handy talkie to the frequencies, I mentioned, or even a unlocked TYT9000 (which appears ro be a Rugged platform) and kind of fake running under their "licensed" channels and probably no one would be the wiser. RT services, Ruggeds programmer of choice has a You tube tutorial (which uses CHIRP) software to to exactly that for Ruggeds. It even lists the frequencies Rugged1, Rugged 2, etc. They appear to be VHF commercial frequencies. The tutorial even kind of suggests using some VHF marine frequencies "because hey, your far from water, right?" Some very sketchy stuff from a legal stand point.

To run legally, all radios need to be type certified for their particular use and I'm starting to suspect Ruggeds are not. Another too good to be true thing. Hoping I'm wrong on this. I should get some calls returned tomorrow. Good news is their intercom will interface with some of my gear. Being licensed, I can run a non type certified on amateur bands as I assume responsibility for interference. That doesn't help comms with friends and family. We might be stuck with some kind of bluetooth mesh arrangement.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
PCI RACE Radios site has some links that kind of clarify the process. There is a link to a Frequency Coordination company that has FCC frequency package info. Basically, it looks like you can apply for various frequency privileges in various geographical areas depending on circumstance if you are a business. This is most likely Rugged's strategy. If you purchase their programmed equipment, you "kind of" become part of their commercial network I think. A lot of grey in this arrangement.

The question than drifts to type certification for the equipment. The radio you use has to be type certified for it's specfic useage. Just because it works doesn't matter. The FCC, in the past, has spanked folks like volunteer fire fighters for buying and using their non type certified radios (that work fine) for fire comms because their department couldn't budget type certified for all fire fighters. I think this may be the case with some of the radios out there on the off road market. As a fire district managing board member, I can tell you type certified comms definitely cost more by significant margins.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yep, you get it now.

Take a look at some terratrip intercom stuff.
I started down the Rugged road because I have several of their headsets which I use with my radios. They are decent and compatible with the Rugged intercoms I'm looking at. This off road comms deal is starting to look like the CB radio scene in the 70s.
 

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I've had mine installed for two weeks and so far been its been great. Purchased from dealer for 1525 out the door. Has the helmet kit instead of headsets. Install was very easy and RR did a good job with the mounting kit as it fits really snug-no moving or rattling. Clarity with Bluetooth, intercom, and push to talk is good. Only gripe I have is the radio does not sit flush. You can see from pics below it sticks out about 1.5 in. Guess you cold Dremel the opening to make a bit larger to have it fit flush, but it was not that big a deal to me and honestly, I don't even notice it. Overall, solid purchase IMO.
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Discussion Starter #8
Looks awesome! Where did the antenna mount? If I do this I will want to do headset and in eventually helmet.
 

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I've had mine installed for two weeks and so far been its been great. Purchased from dealer for 1525 out the door. Has the helmet kit instead of headsets. Install was very easy and RR did a good job with the mounting kit as it fits really snug-no moving or rattling. Clarity with Bluetooth, intercom, and push to talk is good. Only gripe I have is the radio does not sit flush. You can see from pics below it sticks out about 1.5 in. Guess you cold Dremel the opening to make a bit larger to have it fit flush, but it was not that big a deal to me and honestly, I don't even notice it. Overall, solid purchase IMO.
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Why does the kit stick out so far from the dash? Is the radio very deep?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I guess if you get approached by the FCC, you should have a work related excuse documented plan for using your radio as they are licensed for "commercial/work" purposes only. Our company actually uses several UTVs (PIONEERS) to service remote repeater and telecom sites so we are good to go. The KRX is now designated for hi speed emergency responses, for which we must practice driving skills 😉. Use at your own risk and there is safety in numbers.

Some fine print to check off before you can check out at the Rugged site...."I understand and agree that use of the radio I am purchasing must be restricted to commercial/work-related operations (including professional racing). I have the knowledge to be fully aware of RF emission requirements and to exercise control over RF exposure, and will comply with all of the RF exposure and training requirements set forth in the user manual for this radio."

The joys of bureaucracy :poop:
 

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Why does the kit stick out so far from the dash? Is the radio very deep?
Radio and intercom are deep. You could cut out the back of Kawasaki dash and use something else to flush mount. Tons of room behind the dash. Included mount does not bother me, but I could see how flush mounting would allow for more room and a cleaner look.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So a 6100 intercom kit and a (supposedly according to a Rugged Email) Part 95 compliant 25 Watt GMRS radio are on the way. Thanks for the deal PRO UTV!

UTVs generally suck for a ground plane source to reflect antenna radiation because they are often plastic. Wanting to run an efficient 5/8 wave antenna and needing a ground plane source, I came up with this mounting idea. Almost 1/2 of the ground plane will be under the roof rear overhang, and if needed for tuning, a set of 1/4 wave radials can be added. This will mount to the middle of the rear horizontal cage bar with a set of bar clamps and just clear the tire carrier. Next step is a media blast to clean it up......and wait for more parts. The "Frogger" is going to be in pieces next week I'm thinking.


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So a 6100 intercom kit and a (supposedly according to a Rugged Email) Part 95 compliant 25 Watt GMRS radio are on the way. Thanks for the deal PRO UTV!

UTVs generally suck for a ground plane source to reflect antenna radiation because they are often plastic. Wanting to run an efficient 5/8 wave antenna and needing a ground plane source, I came up with this mounting idea. Almost 1/2 of the ground plane will be under the roof rear overhang, and if needed for tuning, a set of 1/4 wave radials can be added. This will mount to the middle of the rear horizontal cage bar with a set of bar clamps and just clear the tire carrier. Next step is a media blast to clean it up......and wait for more parts. The "Frogger" is going to be in pieces next week I'm thinking.


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I thought you didn't want to go the GMRS route?

Rugged's GMRS is a TYT-8600 that is locked down. I don't know if locking software is enough to make it compliant. It's also only 20 watts on UHF bands that GMRS falls in. Don't forget the GMRS license.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I thought you didn't want to go the GMRS route?
You are right, I didn't, and still am having reservations about the choice on a personal level. From a practical stand point, GMRS is the only legal, non commercial, option I have ( speaking as a way for car to car family comms), Even a commercial license dictates "for work purposes only. "

The upside is there is a potential for adding local GMRS repeaters. I am involved with responder groups and broached the subject at a meeting last week with one of the Emergency Communications System board members. There is great enthusiam to add GMRS repeaters to try and cover some of some of the more popular riding areas. In fact, the USFS has been doing this for a few of years with great success with solar powered remote units. I doubt they would let the public use their system, but it is a good proof of concept model. One of the targeted areas is the Taylor park basin. I've spent a lot of time this last week putting an action plan proposal outline together on the subject. Perhaps even including grants for some remote lodging businesses to help them sponser GMRS repeater sites. Hopefully this all comes together as it would really provide a great benefit for the OHV community.

So, that said, we're trying GMRS with a very hi gain antenna design and mount as a test bed for our KRX . A VHF ham radio, which I can use legally, will be in the car also.

There are still a ton of details to work out on this but if you don't start the journey your guaranteed to go nowhere.

One of our local USFS remote solar repeater sites.

Edit to add that the Rugged "LOCK DOWN" VHF/UHF is not part 95 FCC compliant according to my research (ironically I can use it legally, but not my family) Rules from the FCC are pretty draconian on this , which encourages folks to just take matters into their own hands.

Reedit: According to an email I got from Rugged, the GMR25 is part 95 compliant. ( it appears to be a TYT 8900, that has been locked out, intercom leads attached to the interior circuitry and 95 compliant) I was confused by the TYT8900 description and had it mixed up with another Rugged model in my mind. I am going to be pretty irritated if it isn't compliant and I was lied to.



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Discussion Starter #19
Just for the record....I was requesting info on the GMR25 model.


"Thank you for your inquiry with Rugged

Our radios and intercom systems link together without the use of additional jumper cables. The Radios will come with a 5 pin accessory port to link to the intercoms.

As far as the Part 95, I just received a confirmation from my R&D team, and they are Part 95 certified."
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well, after a bit of a fight, we got the 5/8 wave length antenna in along with what should be an acceptable ground plane mount. This shoud give pretty efficient GMRS performance. To stay legal and be able to use Amature and GMRS bands, a Rugged GMR 25 and a TYT8600 are going in next. There will be a separate 2 meter antenna for the TYT 8600 mounted on the driver side rear whipmount. Also a Rugged 6100 intercom intercom.
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