I'm the driving force behind our CERT at a 55+ community in FL, USA. We have different brands of FRS radios but not all will communicate with each other. None of us are radio/electronics savvy (where's that Grandkid when you need them?) All of the questions I have seen here reference more powerful radios, with digital displays. Most of our radios don't have any kind of display. Any help, including pointing me in the right direction would be much appreciated. Please reply as if talking to a kindergarten kid so we have a better chance of getting it. Thank you
All of the questions I have seen here reference more powerful radios, with digital displays.
The term "amateur radio" in this site's name technically refers to a specific FCC-authorized service that does involve higher-powered and more flexible radios once the operator is licensed.
We have different brands of FRS radios but not all will communicate with each other.
Services like FRS, CB, and MURS are personal radio services that only require licensed equipment (radios) to be used. When all your equipment is approved for FRS usage it should all be compatible automatically on the same numbered channel.
The most common culprit that trips people up is something that goes by different marketing names like "talkgroup tones" or "privacy* codes" or sometimes even "subchannels". There's an article at https://www.k0tfu.org/reference/frs-gmrs-privacy-codes-demystified.html and a video at https://www.buytwowayradios.com/blog/2012/12/midland_motorola_privacy_codes.html that discuss these in a bit more depth.
The basic gist is: sometimes these extra signals aren't compatible between brands. Or sometimes they are compatible, but if you're not actually using them any radio that expects them will appear not to work.
The intent of the feature when it's working properly that you won't be bothered by transmissions from anyone using a different setting, even if they're on the same channel as you. But when the feature goes wrong, you simply don't hear all of your own group's transmissions on some of the radios.
(* Note there's not really any actual privacy involved, since anyone with a radio set to listen on just the plain channel will hear all communication there, regardless of whether anyone is also sending an extra group-specific tone/signal or not.)
$\begingroup$ Thank you for the links to more information. I will check them out. OK, I read the first article. It says "...you turn the privacy code off by setting it to 0." Using what knob/button? I have an on/off/volume, Channel selector, and PTT and 2 other button looking things under the PTT. Is one of those what I'm looking for? $\endgroup$– ConfusedJul 25, 2022 at 18:56
1$\begingroup$ @Confused - how one changes the setting on a particular radio should be in the instructions for that radio, and those may not (likely will not) apply to other brands. This is true for amateur radios as well... $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2022 at 19:10