I am looking at various radio options for a multi-day Na Pali kayak trip next summer. I will kayak solo to the Kalalau camp about 11 miles from the put-in, and meet a group of people there who will hike along the trail.

I want to have a way to communicate to the Coast Guard in an emergency, but also want to be able to stay in contact with the group hiking onshore. From what I understand, GMRS is useless for emergencies because no channels are monitored. However, GMRS would work well for staying in contact with my group.

On the other hand, a VHF marine radio has an emergency channel as well as channels for other communication. However, wouldn’t it be illegal for me to use VHF to communicate with the group on land?

Is there any other option? I don’t really want BOTH a GMRS and a VHF radio. I have ruled out renting satellite phones because it would be $200 to rent two phones for a week. I would rather purchase a radio that I will use more than once.

Icom M88…maybe?
The Icom M88 allows programming what they call “LAND mobile channels” in addition to the normal marine VHF channels. They specify these “land” channels as being between 146.000 to 174.000 MHz. Is GMRS in this range? I don’t know.

The M88 manual is not very forthcoming as to exactly how you do this. It says, and I quote, “Ask your local Icom dealer for the LAND channel group setting and LMR frequency programming details.”


We Break The Law
I read somewhere that discussion regarding a rendezvous time and place was what VHF is for (other than calling for help).

I have no worries about the law if I’m talking to someone on land about a rendezvous time and place… especially after hearing fishermen chatter on and on about nothing.

We do, however, not hail one another on channel 16. We pre-arrange a different channel. 69 is easy to remember.

GMRS frequencies are in the 462 megahertz range.

The alternative would be MURS, which is a license-

free service which has 5 channels, 3 at 151 mhz

and 2 at 154 mhz. These could be programmed into

the M88. Use of VHF marine freqs on land requires

a license which is hard to get if you are not a

marina or yacht club.

Standar Horizon
makes one that has both VHF and FRS - might work for you.