Just a quick follow up to this.
The radio I chose happens to come in two flavors; a USA version and an international, aka "General" version. Turns out, to convert from the USA version to the general version is very easy. Its literally a matter of removing two teany tiny grain-of-sand sized resisters off a jumper board. A hot low wattage soldering iron with a needle tip on it, and a steady hand, gets the job done nicely:
So what's the point? It bugs me that I have this spiffy nifty nice new radio beautifully installed... and I most likely wont be able to use it to communicate with my buddies in the desert who like their FRS radios.
After a little investigating, I discovered that FRS "channels" happen to be shorthand for frequencies in the 70cm band. Specifically:
Radio Service - Frequency Mhz - Channel - Notes
FRS,GMRS - 462.5625 - 1 - .5w max
FRS,GMRS - 462.5875 - 2 - .5w max
FRS,GMRS - 462.6125 - 3 - .5w max
FRS,GMRS - 462.6375 - 4 - .5w max
FRS,GMRS - 462.6625 - 5 - .5w max
FRS,GMRS - 462.6875 - 6 - .5w max
FRS,GMRS - 462.7125 - 7 - .5w max
FRS,GMRS - 467.5625 - 8 - .5w max
FRS,GMRS - 467.5875 - 9 - .5w max
FRS,GMRS - 467.6125 - 10 - .5w max
FRS,GMRS - 467.6375 - 11 - .5w max
FRS,GMRS - 467.6625 - 12 - .5w max
FRS,GMRS - 467.6875 - 13 - .5w max
FRS,GMRS - 467.7125 - 14 - .5w max
GMRS - 462.55 - 15 - 5w max
GMRS - 462.575 - 16 - 5w max
GMRS - 462.6 - 17 - 5w max
GMRS - 462.625 - 18 - 5w max
GMRS - 462.65 - 19 - 5w max
GMRS - 462.675 - 20 - 5w max
GMRS - 462.7 - 21 - 5w max
GMRS - 462.725 - 22 - 5w max
And, it also turns out that FRS "quiet" or "privacy" codes are nothing more than tone offsets. Specifically:
So, it looks like I can hear my buddies who are on FRS... I just can't talk with them :doh:
But waittaminute... whats the deal with that general version of my radio again?
Well well... lookie there... If I were to mod my radio like suggested above and turn it into a "General" version...
Now I need to point out that technically speaking its "illegal" to broadcast on FRS at a power over 500 miliwatts or on GMRS at a power over 5watts, and in both cases its "illegal" to use anything but a handheld (HT) unit to do it. And, of course, I would never think of doing something so heinous; my ICOM wont broadcast at anything less than 5watt... 10x the max power allowed in the US on FRS frequencies, and obviously its not a handheld, so I would never think of using for these purposes obviously. All this is just academic of course you understand.