One of the most common questions we receive is “Can I talk to other radios not of your brand?”. The short answer is “Yes!”. Now the next question is “How?”.
This article will go into the three different scenarios most riders encounter on the trails and while riding. We will also touch on the differences between the COM-G95 (GMRS radio) and The COM-DB90 (Race frequencies).
Why does the COM have two different radio models?
Due to the FCC rules we are forced to offer 2 different radios to cover all the popularly used frequencies that are used in the UTV/SXS industry. The eastern united states typically use GMRS frequencies and the west coast typically use Race frequencies. The FCC rules do not allow GMRS frequencies to transmit on the COM-DB90 (part 90 certified) and likewise we can’t program race frequencies to transmit on the COM-G95 (Part 95 certified). That said you can still monitor (receive but not transmit) GMRS frequencies on the COM-DB90 and likewise you can monitor race frequencies on the COM-G95.
Learn about our Feature Rich Radios!
This video explains what features to look for in a 2 way radio for your SXS / UTV, including the frequencies being used by the SXS Community, FCC rules and more. It includes a training walk through of the COM DB90 (The COM G95 works the same way, just has different transmission abilities)
What are the differences in the radios & what should I buy?
GMRS frequencies are the easiest to understand and are the most commonly used across the great USA. GMRS stand for “General Mobile Radio Service” (GMRS). GMRS is a licensed radio service that uses channels around 462 MHz and 467 MHz. The most common use of GMRS channels is for short-distance, two-way voice communications using hand-held radios, mobile radios and repeater systems. Most people can relate to your common walkie talkie or bubble pack radio. Why use GMRS?
- GMRS is for individuals and their family.
- One license covers the licensee and their immediate family members (see this article on how to obtain a license) .
- You must be 18 years or older to apply for the license, but anyone within your family (regardless of age) can use the radios.
- Equipment must be certified for GMRS use (like the COM-G95)
- You can only transmit on frequencies designated for GMRS (see the frequencies list here).
Race frequencies were derived from the race industry and have been used for 40+ years. They are commonly used by our competitors and racers. They are business band frequencies and do require a license (See more info on the FCC site). Race frequencies are most popular in the western US but the GMRS frequencies are quickly picking up steam. That said there are plenty of VHF race radios still in play and is the reason we offer both radios. The COM-DB90 is a Part 90 certified radio and capable of being programmed. We typically recommend the COM-G95 unless you run with friends that have Rugged or PCI radios that are programmed with the race frequencies, then we recommend the COM-DB90 race frequency radio.
4 steps on how to tune TheCOM to other radios or vice versa:
This graphic is a quick summary of the expandable steps below (simply click on the steps below the graphic for a greater explanation) or you can skip down to the video below and go through a training video that summarizes these steps.
This step tells you which band (A, B, C, or D) you will need to select to pair with others.
Bands A and B (top 2 in red of the graphic) for GMRS frequencies (walkie/talkies). Remember the these are listen only on the Race frequency radio (COM-DB90) but can be transmit or receive on COM-G95. Simply match our number to the other riders number channels 15-22 and you are good to go. Little tip some radios have decimal point i.e. channel 15.1 or 15.2 etc. Make sure you are on channel 15.0, 16.0 up to 22.0 or the decimal is on the #.0.
For our competitors Rugged and PCI users their radios are usually name driven. Use Band “C” (marked in blue in the graphic) and match the name and you should be good to go. Remember our channel numbers will not necessary match other radios, because we program our first 22 channels to match GMRS/FRS frequencies. so match the name on this band. These frequencies are listen only on COM-G95 but are transmit and receive for the COM-DB90
Band D is for unprogrammed radios (last row marked in white of the graphic). look at the 6 digit frequency that you are on and have the unprogrammed radio tune to the same frequency.
Bands A & B (first two lines in red in the graphic above) are for GMRS walkie talkie type radios.
Band C (3rd row in blue in the graphic above) is name drive radios like Rugged and PCI radios
Band D (4th row in the graphic above) is for unprogrammed radios and displays your channels frequency number first and the corresponding channel number that the frequency is programmed into on the little number on the right.
Once you are on the proper band scroll to the agreed upon channel (Bands A&B rows 1-2 in red in the above graphic), Name (Band C row 3 in blue in the above graphic) or frequency (Band D row 4 in white of the above graphic) and you should be good to test.
Do a test transmission. Press and hold your PTT button and have your friend listen for your transmission. Watch the transmission bar on the radio light up and it should be between 70 and 500 while you are speaking and near “0” if you are not. Once your friend confirms the transmission listen for their transmission. Again watch the radio to light up with an “R” and a number.
Please note if other radios have sub tones (ctcss or DCS) codes the squelch of TheCOM radio may not open. Most of TheCOM programmed frequencies have the tone codes off. If the radio you are tuning to does have these codes please refer to our user manual to turn the codes on or have your friend turn theirs off.