Two-way radios

In recent years Burning Flipside as an event and as a community has grown. One service that the Flipside Safety departments have not offered in the past is a remote way for theme camps, art projects, and participants to get help. However, we are now providing such an option.

While all the conventional ways to get help are still available (find a Ranger and know where Safety HQ is), we wanted to enhance safety by providing an option for those who might have a specific concern or for those who just want be helpful to others in their neighborhood. Starting in 2014, the Flipside Safety departments will test a new method to call for emergency or Ranger assistance, by monitoring the license-free MURS (Multi User Radio Service) radio band.

MURS is a service similar to FRS (the frequencies that Motorola Talkabouts and similar radios use). As radio users can tell you, FRS is extremely overcrowded. FRS radios are also not powerful enough to effectively communicate throughout Pyropolis. MURS, in contrast, is currently not in common usage and operates at a higher power so it can communicate across the entire event site.

We hope that with the introduction of this safety channel before MURS use becomes widespread will set the expectation that this channel will be for emergency use only. You will need to purchase your own MURS radio to contact the Flipside Safety Teams, but its other 4 channels can also be used by you and other MURS radio owners. Large camps or villages might also choose to make one part of their group planning efforts and store it in a public way for neighborhood emergency use.

Why do I want one of these when my FRS radio works just fine?

  • If you’re part of a large theme camp it could be a good investment to have a MURS radio around to call safety for your group, especially if you have members who have known health issues or the risk of injury is of special concern.
  • Camps that are far from a Safety HQ don’t have to send runners for help when an emergency arises.
  • The other 4 channels on MURS can be a great alternative to crowded FRS channels, especially if your camp has an art-car or event-wide project they want to coordinate.
  • The Flipside Safety Teams cannot be reached on an FRS radio.
  • This is the same frequency and system which Burning Man uses. So the same radio can be used both at Pyropolis and Black Rock City.

Calling Flipside Safety:

For all MURS users we ask that all Burning Flipside participants respect that channel 5 will be used as a safety channel only. While the other channels are fine for use as an alternative to FRS, we want to stress that channel 5 on MURS please be kept open for emergencies and not used for any other purpose.

Set your MURS radio to channel 5, code 11 (154.600 / CTCSS 97.4) to reach the Flipside Safety Departments. Using any other “privacy codes” on channel 5 will interfere with 911. Instead please choose channels 1-4 for personal use and share this information with new MURS users you meet.

If you have further questions or need help in finding a source for radios, please email radiocommunications15 (at) burningflipside (dot) com for more information.

You can find radios by searching for “MURS” and “portable.” A partial list of compatible models:

  • Dakota Alert MURS portable (operational controls just like common FRS radios, with selectable channel and code on the display) $89
  • Fostek MURS Radio (set-up is easy with just a few switches to set internally) $94
  • Motorola XV100 Business band radio (operational controls just like common FRS radios, with selectable channel and code on the display) $189
  • Baofeng UV5RA $40

(the list of suggested models in no way endorses them over other brands or compatible model radios)