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Gear query: 2-way radios?

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Gear query: 2-way radios?

Postby strollinbones » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:29 am

Hi All,
I occasionally take trips with 4+ guys along longer stretches of water. We spread out, and we generally find each other around lunch or closing time, but it would be great to be able to communicate more regularly. This could be handy if a bite or hatch is on that should be shared among friends, or if a chunk of guys want to head back to the car and move elsewhere downriver... and of course, it could be VERY useful in case of crisis or emergency.

So, here's the question:
Do any of you utilize 2-way radios to keep in touch? If so, which kind? All the searching I've done for waterproof 2-ways has turned up Uniden and Midland, and that's fine... but they also appear to require some FCC License? What gives with that?
Is there a reliable, sturdy (and maybe light?) piece of gear out there that can reach fellow fishermen 1-2 miles off without the hoopla of a license?

All ideas readily accepted.

Many thanks,
StrollinBones



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Re: Gear query: 2-way radios?

Postby rlown » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:01 am

you don't need a FCC license.. that's a holdover reg usually associated with VHF and not FRS/GMRS (GMRS says you need one but..)

I'm assuming you're talking about CB style. The problem will be line-of-sight. I've done several trips with radios. The number one requirement is that it has to be turned on. Most I hike with bury them in their pack. Not really helpful.

Most CB's are compatible. The important thing is to pick the channel.subchannel before you hike. My Rino 530 has a scan feature so I can peruse channels if someone forgot to set theirs. Had a group that used theirs successfully to guide someone back from the wrong parking lot once.

If there's a ridge between you, good luck with the comms unless you get a lucky bounce.

Russ
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Re: Gear query: 2-way radios?

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:31 am

I have a pair of Motorola Talkabout T5920s that work well, but with too much obstruction in the way (ex: hills, mountains), the signal gets a little hinky at times. All, the same, I'd recommend them.
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Re: Gear query: 2-way radios?

Postby frediver » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:13 pm

When hiking with a buddy we use them, motorola 6220 FRS radios. I am not a fan of GMRS, the range they
claim is a joke. Don't count on more than .5mi unless you are in a very open area. We have done better than that with my motorola units, up to 1-1.5mi. but I just don't count on it.
When I was doing a lot of research on radios I found that the Motorola units seemed to offer better performance and reliability.
A zip loc will make any unit water resistant or you can buy a fancy pants water bag for the unit you select.
Remember, twice the range requires 4x's the power. Power equals batteries = time & weight.
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Re: Gear query: 2-way radios?

Postby strollinbones » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:44 pm

As usual, 4 minutes of time posting a question to this forum has proven more informative than a few hours of knocking about on Amazon, C-NET, and more. Thanks already, gents.

Shall I gather from the lack of disagreement that no license is required for any of the options mentioned by you guys?

Also, range is hardly my deal. We will be maybe 1-2 miles apart all day---just too far to whistle and signal. What I want more than that is waterproofness (I just made up a word). Yes, a ziploc does the trick, but it's one more hassle. Knowing my clumsiness, I want to be able to flat out drop it in the Walker and feel OK about it.

So, if anyone knows of license-free, shorter range, waterproof options, I am all ears.

MANY thanks for all the data thus far, guys. Superb!

Best,
SB
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Re: Gear query: 2-way radios?

Postby frediver » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:55 pm

Unless things have changed recently the FRS/GMRS do require a lic when used on the GMRS channels however it is also true the lic requirement does not seem to be enforced, likely do to the limited range and lack of freq. clutter.
Last edited by frediver on Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gear query: 2-way radios?

Postby rlown » Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:16 pm

there are these: http://moto.factoryoutletstore.com/cat/ ... s350r.html

my Rino is submersible as well. though I wouldn't do that to it.. still in a ziplock.
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Re: Gear query: 2-way radios?

Postby frediver » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:42 pm

To funny, 35mi. sounds like a Reeeal stretch, bet more like 1-1.5mi. tops in real use.
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Re: Gear query: 2-way radios?

Postby maverick » Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:29 pm

Frediver wrote:
To funny, 35mi. sounds like a Reeeal stretch


35 miles! :eek: Where, in a flat desert?
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Re: Gear query: 2-way radios?

Postby Chris B » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:36 pm

strollinbones,

Have a look at the Midland GXT 1050 - They claim to be waterproof but reading the text they actually mean splashproof. I picked up a pair from Frys for around $70 so not the end of the world if you break them. If you don't mind looking like an FBI agent you can use the external earpiece and mike and keep the radio safely in a sealed bag.

35 miles range...... OK not likely in the back country, That said we have used them to keep in touch when skiing different sides of the mountain and they worked surprisingly well. You have to make sure you select the right modes and channels for maximum range. In theory you do need a license if you use anything other than the basic FRS channels, saying that I have never met anybody with a license.

Great for staying in-touch, just don't rely on them essential comms.
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Re: Gear query: 2-way radios?

Postby Poopah » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:18 am

The midlands we have allow you to choose bwt FRS and GMRS. For GMRS you're suppose to get a license.....but no one has ever ticketed me for using it without one.

I dropped one of my motorollas in one of the Cottonwood lakes years ago. Took the batteries out and let it dry and it worked fine the next day.
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Re: Gear query: 2-way radios?

Postby Crawler » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:41 pm

We use 2 Meter radios 4wheeling in the Desert. They work surprisingly well in non line-of-sight scenarios. On the trails we are constantly down in deep canyons and can usually hit the dry lake bed where camp is located without issue on 3-5w handhelds. Two weeks ago I hit my friends from Lucern about 30 miles away towards Landers with my 5w handheld with a magnet mounted cheapo antenna on the roof of my 4runner. Not direct line of sight but no giant ranges between us either. You will need a license to transmit on these freqs but the technician test is very easy and should cost under $20. Not to mention you can pick up lots of local fire and police freqs on these, as well as NOAA weather service almost anywhere in the US. Much better then walkie talkies and about $100ea for the ones we use.

Amateur radio operators will put the world back together if the S ever hits TF. :paranoid:
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