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  • Check out our latest Blog entries
    A blog is like a diary and below we share with you some of the latest public blog entries.  All members of Gear Crushers can create a site wide blog or club focused blog entries and if you have permissions (meaning you are a member of the club(s) that have blog entries) you will see them here as an option or just go to the club and check out the blogs they have.

  • Blog Entries

    • By guru in GC Blog
      Ham Radio or CB Radio
      CB Radio
      Ham Radio
      License practice quiz https://myoffroadradio.com/courses/online-ham-radio-technician-license-class/
      Study Guides: http://www.w5yi.org/
      More Practice Tests: https://www.qrz.com/
      Here are some things to look for in a mobile ham radio for 4-wheeling:
      Dual band feature (2 m / 70 cm) - access any repeaters as you travel regardless if they are 2 meter or 70 centimeters. High output wattage - nice to have extra power to reach a remote repeater. There seems to be a tradeoff between power and dual band. Most single band 2 meter radios have more output power. Large memory capability - pre plan the repeaters for a long expedition and have room to store them all Easy to read display - size, contrast, back light, for driving safety and ease of use Removable control head - increases mounting options in the vehicle. The bulk of the radio and can go under a seat or in the trunk. Sealed radio - the cooling fan should not pull air (and, therefore dust) through the radio. NOAA weather alert - important to keep an eye on the weather when off road. Cross band repeater function - see above Ease of use. This is a bit relative. Today’s radios have so many functions, they can be challenging to program the first time. Another reason to get yourself a mentor (known as an Elmer). FRS
      Family Radio Service (FRS) is a low power, short range, radio system. FRS  walkie talkies are known as “bubble pack radios” because they are sold cheaply in the hang tab shelves of stores or in the toy section. They can be found nearly everywhere on the planet now, and are some of the most ubiquitous radio communication devices in the world. FRS radios are limited to a half-watt of output power (500 milliWatts) and have permanently attached antennas, preventing the addition of an external gain antenna. So, the normal range of FRS walkie talkies in a suburban environment is about a mile or less. FRS Frequencies are FM simplex, 7 channels at 462 MHz and 7 channels at 467 MHz in the UHF band. These channels are in between the GMRS frequencies. GMRS radios may also include FRS channels. The default PL tone for FRS is 67.0 Hz. It is also known as Privacy tone #1, or PL XZ, or Sub-channel CTCSS 01.
      General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a local distance radio system in the same UHF band as FRS. GMRS radios can be capable of longer distance range and greater dependability than FRS. GMRS is becoming more popular  as bubble pack walkie talkies (HT) include both GMRS and FRS channels. GMRS-specific frequencies are FM simplex or duplex with 8 channels at 462 MHz and 8 channels at 467 MHz in the UHF band. The maximum power level of a GMRS is limited to 50 Watts. The most common GMRS mobile, base, or repeater radios use external gain antennas. GMRS walkie talkie handheld transceivers (HT) have only 5 Watts or less, commonly with a ducky antenna. Full duplex repeaters can be used with GMRS. GMRS Repeaters have their input channel at 467 MHz, and their output at 462 MHz. The offset is exactly 5 MHz. For repeater use, the field units transmit on 467 Mhz and receive on 462 MHz. Most bubble pack GMRS radios are simplex-only, so they do not function through a repeater. They operate only on the repeater output frequency (GMRS Channels 15 through 22). The default PL tone for GMRS simplex is 67.0 Hz. It is also known as Privacy tone #1, or PL XZ, or Sub-channel CTCSS 01. In a GMRS radio, the GMRS channel number is often the same for simplex and duplex, but a secondary (programmable) feature of the channel controls whether it transmits duplex +5MHz split or simplex. The GMRS simplex and duplex (repeater) channels are included in this list and programming file. In the Channel Name, they are programmed and identified separately; the repeater channel has an R in the channel name. For example as GMR 20 is the simplex channel, and GMR20R is the repeater duplex channel. PL tones vary among different repeaters in various geographic areas. The default PL tone for GMRS repeater channels is 141.3 Hz, but it can be changed in the user’s radio programming to another PL tone frequency as required to hit specific repeaters.
      Personal Mobile Radio (PMR or PMR446) is a low power, short range, radio system similar to FRS. It is very common in Europe, Africa, and Asia.  Walkie talkie bubble pack PMR radios are sold cheaply. PMR radios are limited to a half-watt of output power (500 milliWatts). So, the normal range of PMR walkie talkies in a suburban environment is about a mile or less. PMR frequencies are commonly FM simplex, 8 channels at 446 MHz in the UHF band. An additional 14 digital channels are available for PMR446, but are less common. In USA and many other places, the 446 MHz band is assigned to Amateur Radio Service (Ham) so, all the PMR channels can be used by hams in those areas. The default PL tone for PMR is 67.0 Hz. It is also known as Privacy tone #1, or PL XZ, or Sub-channel CTCSS 01. The PMR Prepper channel (PMR 3) (446.03125 MHz) is somewhat interoperable with the Ham UHF Prepper channel (HAM U3) (446.030 MHz).
      Amateur Radio Service, widely known as Ham Radio, is an internationally allocated radio service for non-commercial radio communications. It has frequency bands in all areas of the spectrum. The ham radio frequencies in this list are only a few of the most common VHF and UHF channels used by ham operators for local FM simplex. Additionally the list includes the Prepper Ham VHF simplex channel (146.420 MHz), the Survivalist Ham VHF simplex channel (144.550 MHz) and the Prepper Ham UHF simplex channel (446.030 MHz) that is somewhat interoperable with the PMR Prepper channel 3 (446.03125 MHz). The default PL tone for Ham is 100.0 Hz. It is also known as Privacy tone #12, or PL 1Z, or Sub-channel CTCSS 12. Most hams also make use of repeaters in the VHF and UHF bands, but the channels for these repeaters vary according to geographic area. There is no universal repeater channel frequency or PL tone that is valid in all areas, they are all different. When programming your radio, it is advisable to include the repeater channels and PL tones in your area. See a repeater directory for more information.
      Marine radio service in this list includes the most common simplex VHF channels in use by boats and ships, for inter-ship and safety communications by FM voice. Marine VHF radio is used on the high seas, inland waterways, lakes, and rivers by vessels and shore stations. No PL tone is used by Marine VHF radios, it is all carrier squelch. The Marine channels have the transmit PL tone turned off, and use Receive Carrier Squelch. Most Marine VHF radios also have duplex channels for use when communicating with shore radiotelephone and port operations. The duplex channels are purposely not included in this list, in order to keep the total number of channels below 99.
      Business radio, or commercial VHF and UHF radio channels, are generally set up for specific companies in a local geographic area. There are also a few business radio channels, called Business Itinerant, that are devoted to operation anywhere. These are low power simplex channels, and only 2 of them are included in this list. The Red Dot (151.625 MHz) and the Purple Dot (151.955 MHz) channels are common Business Itinerant channels, and they are some of the most popularly used channels on VHF for commercial or rental HT walkie talkies. The default PL tone for the Business channels is 67.0 Hz. It is also known as Privacy tone #1, or PL XZ, or Sub-channel CTCSS 01.
      For EMERGENCY ONLY, SAR is a service channel for Search and Rescue (SAR) or Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) . The primary interoperability channel in USA for SAR is 155.160 MHz FM simplex. This is a very important channel to keep clear for emergency purposes, and should never be transmitted on for non-emergency communications! The purpose is to provide mobile, HT, and base communications for field operations of land or ground search and rescue teams, ambulances, and medical personnel at the scene of incidents. It is identified in the list as the channel name SAREMT. The default interoperability PL tone for SAR EMT is 127.3 Hz. It is also known as Privacy tone #19, or PL 3A, or Sub-channel CTCSS 19.
    • By wildweaselmi in GC Blog
      I have two boys that love to run there four wheelers around our 9 acres but watching them drive reckless (like they are unstoppable) made me gather some videos I wanted them to watch to bring them back to reality and show them other kids that also thought they were unstoppable until they were stopped dead in there tracks.
      Girl, 12, dies after ATV crash Up North, organs donated
      14-year-old boy dies in ATV crash
      Police: 14-year-old boy dies in Bethlehem ATV crash
      14 year old dies in ATV accident
      PGPD chief: This is a tragic situation | 8-year-old boy dies after ATV accident in Temple Hills
      7-year-old boy dies after ATV crash in western Kansas, highway patrol says
      9-year-old girl killed in ATV crash
      Waverly boy killed Sunday in Schuyler County ATV crash
      12-year-old Belgrade boy dies in ATV crash near Three Forks
    • By wildweaselmi in Cool Gear
      No matter if you are into Nascar or Offroad racing or whatever we all need to communicate.  CB Radios are a thing of the past.  From reading articles, forums and other online research they all lead to either BaoFeng Radios or the more expensive Rugged Radios.  Pros and Cons to both.  They can both be programmed with the freeware software called Chirp (its available on Mac, Windows, Linux).
      BaoFeng BF-F8HP

      REFERENCE: MyOffRoadRadio.com for information on how to use
    • By wildweaselmi in 4xFools Blog
      A common question is "what modifications should I make to my vehicle to make it trail worthy?"  Reading the offroad magazines, you might think gears, lockers, armor and a radical suspension is required.  Below is our take on what it takes to Fool Around offroad.  Note that modifications are listed in order of importance and each level assumes you have done everything in the previous step.

      Vehicle selection
      Before doing any modifications, make sure you are starting with a good platform.  Most any short wheelbase vehicle whose transfercase has high and low range works well on the trails in our area.  The Jeep Wrangler is by far the most popular choice, but you would be fine with a Toyota pickup and 4Runner, Nissan Pathfinder, Suzuki Samurai, Chevrolet Tracker, S10 pickup/Blazer, Jeep Cherokee etc.  Full size pickups, Blazers and Broncos are too wide for the trails we run.

      First step
      A stock vehicle will go amazing places.  Get a CB radio.  Install tow hooks front and rear if you don't already have them.  Get your tools and recovery equipment and figure out how to store them securely.  Get the biggest, knobbest tires you can fit. Consider a second set of tires just for the trail if this is a daily driver.  Wheel it in this state for a couple of years to see if the sport is really for you.  You will learn a lot of off road skills.  Spend time watching other rigs and figuring out what your ultimate goal is; mild, moderate or wild and most importantly - how big of a tire do you want.  Once you have made this decision, you can start to modify your rig without wasting money on mods that you end up replacing later.

      Mild build
      Most likely a daily driver, at home on easy trails, but capable of moderate trails.  The good news is that after your "First Step" you already have a mild rig.  You might think about adding a selectable rear locker like an ARB, improving body armor with rocker protection and ground clearance with "belly up" skid plates.

      Moderate build
      With this target in mind, you are probably going to keep the stock axles.  Your first modification should be a roll cage.  Then find out how big of a tire your stock axles can support and choose a tire this size or smaller.  Then figure out how much lift (or better yet, sheet metal trimming) you need to fit it.  These tires will need lower gears and you should add a rear locker at the same time.  You might want to think about a winch and front locker or limited slip.  You will begin to see the wisdom of a tow rig and trailer to get home should you break something on the trail.

      Wild build
      At this level, you are probably talking about a dedicated trail rig.  You should keep it street legal as some venues require driving on local roads to get to the trail head.  You should mount seats to the roll cage and install four point seat belts.  Heavier duty axles, front and rear lockers, and a winch are mandatory.  Once tire size goes over 38" you will need a hydraulic ram to assist steering. 
    • By wildweaselmi in 4xFools Blog
      Basic Equipment
      Every vehicle should carry these and they should be securely fastened down (like everything else).  You should be able to reach the flashlight and fire extinguisher from your seat.  Factory seat belts do not release if you are upside down (don't ask how we know this).
      CB radio Flashlight First aid kit (include any of your family's special needs like EpiPens or insulin) Fire extinguisher Complete change of clothes Full size spare tire Jack Wrench to remove tire (and key if you have locking lug nuts) Tow hooks front and rear Specialty tools for your vehicle
      Good to have
      With the exception of the Hi-Lift, every vehicle really should have these too.
      Tow strap (no hooks on ends!) Shackle Short piece of chain with washers and bolt that fits through middle links Small tarp or blanket Hand towel(s) Rachet strap High lift jack
      Basic Tools
      Regardless of your mechanical skills you should carry these to fix your rig of someone else's. 
      Philips and flat screwdrivers Adjustible wrench Set of combination wrenches (metric or SAE to fit your vehicle) Pliers Ball peen hammer Duct tape Zip ties Small roll heavy wire Spare fuses Fan belt(s)
      Optional Tools
      These are really more for the skilled mechanic, but consider carrying a few of these as well.
      Schrader valve and removal tool Chisel Punch Socket set Small vice grip Channel locks Allen wrenchs Torx bits (if your vehicle is cursed with them) Stubby and offset screwdrivers Hacksaw File Teflon tape WD-40 or wire dry spray Scissors Electrical tester Wire strippers Electrical wire, tape and  connectors Misc. nuts and bolts Extra fluids (motor oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, ATF, gear lube)
  • Check out our Recipes
    Just about anywhere we go, we need to eat.  Restaurants can get boring, repetitive and so anytime we run across a recipe we really like, we share it here.  I hope you share some of your favorite recipes as well.  I know since I quit smoking in 97 I really love food.

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