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Two Way radio recommendations

Discussion in 'The Main Board' started by Overlander, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Overlander

    Overlander Well-Known Member

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    We have a small group of 6 guys heading out into the wilderness in a few weeks. None are licensed to operate any HAM equipment, so I'm looking for the best value two way radios / walkies that I can find that are legal for everyone to operate. The market is so filled with crap that I'm hesitant to buy anything that I don't have a personal recommendation for.

    Can someone shed some light into what a good purchase might be? The last thing I want is to lose someone and not be able to contact them. We'll be out for 3 days, so the ability to replace batteries is pretty high up on the list of needs, since we'll have no way to recharge the packs.
     
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  2. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member Survival Class Instructor

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  3. Overlander

    Overlander Well-Known Member

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    I figured I'd come to where I know someone who knows radio.

    So since I know nothing about radios (Though I am interested) can you give me a brief primer on the various types of radios/frequencies/special licenses required? What is this little $100 radio capable of? Can it communicate with cheap walkies? Can it communicate via repeaters to HAM operators? (Sorry probably a stupid question, I know nothing of this type of stuff)
     
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  4. Overlander

    Overlander Well-Known Member

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    Additionally, I was reading (Though I probably misunderstood) that comms on GMRS requires a license. Is that not the case?
     
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  5. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member Survival Class Instructor

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    The GMRS license is nothing like the ham license. Many people don't even bother with getting it. Obviously I am going to recommend it if you plan to transmit, but it probably doesn't matter.

    The radio I linked will not do ham frequencies. It will do GMRS and MURS frequencies. Some of the little bubblepack radios do include GMRS frequencies, so you would be able to talk with those. The limiting factor would be the transmit power on the little guys. It would be best if everyone in the group had similar radios with similar transmitter watts and similar antennas, but I know how this goes. It really is going to depend on the budget of each individual.
     
  6. Overlander

    Overlander Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I've been reading up on GMRS and MURS for the past hour or so. It's all starting to click a bit now.

    So I know with ham, it's useful in disaster scenarios because you're likely to have someone hear your calls for help. Is this also the case for GMRS? IE, say I could talk everyone into buying these (Or other compatible devices), what are my chances of being able to be heard by someone in the event of an emergency? There is a GMRS repeater near where we're going that we *might* be able to reach, depending on how many hills get in the way, so getting our voices out may be possible. But once I successfully transmit out of the valley, is anyone going to hear me?

    Thanks for all of the info you provide into this subject. It's really overwhelming to try and research on your own.
     
  7. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member Survival Class Instructor

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    It seems unlikely it would be useful in that way, but GMRS radios could definitely have a place elsewhere in several types of scenarios. Unless that repeater has a dedicated group of folks who are always monitoring it, or it is linked through the internet to other repeaters I would seriously doubt it would be useful when you absolutely needed it.

    The first question that comes to mind is, during your trip will you be without cell service? If so I would make sure to follow all of the usual precautions like letting someone know what your location is and schedule, etc.

    If you are really concerned about being able to call out for help and there will not be cell service I would tend to point more towards a SPOT type device or possibly renting a SAT phone for the trip. Those would be the best options.
     
  8. Overlander

    Overlander Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, no cell service and 30 miles from the nearest road. Only access is via river and really bad forest roads.

    My wife and I had already decided to invest into a sat phone and service when we move back to PR, just so we can contact the outside world when the next Maria hits (And allow our friends and neighbors to do the same). I may look into those. I'm also thinking about something simpler like the Delorme InReach, which would at least allow me to text out if needed to coordinate rescue efforts.

    As with all of my trips, my wife will know my exact planned location on each day, but I do worry about the what-ifs, especially with such a large group (The majority of whom have no back-country experience, 2 have never even camped before)
     
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  9. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member Survival Class Instructor

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    In that case, an InReach and some cheap radios would probably be the best investment.
     
  10. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member Survival Class Instructor

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    Oh, and dont forget to have a good time! It sounds like it will be a great adventure.
     
  11. Overlander

    Overlander Well-Known Member

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    I think I'm going to go with the InReach. Better safe than sorry, and if I ever have to use it, I'll be glad I bought it.

    Thanks for your help! I'll report back with photos if I think to take any.
     
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  12. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member Survival Class Instructor

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    That would be great!
     

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