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Looking for some advice on walkie talkies

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Looking for some advice on walkie talkies

Postby WouterB » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:17 pm

I'm looking for a good pair of walkie talkies. Although there's some reviews of them here, there's not nearly as much as I'd hoped. Can't really find the info I'm looking for on the web either. Especially since I don't know much about the subject. Basically what I'm looking for, from most important down to least important:

Range (>10km)
Battery life (I prefer not to have an internal rechargable battery)
Rugged/durable
Hands Free or Accessory VOX
Talk Confirmation Tone (like saying "over" or "roger")
Keypad Lock
Time out timer
If I forgot something handy here, let me know. As I said, don't know much about this.


The radio won't be used much for rock climbing, but mostly on hikes and high altitude expeditions. So temperature might be an issue.
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Postby Mountainjeff » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:22 pm

You might have to look in to Ham Radios if you want to get a solid 10 km range, but that would require taking a test to get a license. Most other radios will not be high enough power to reach that far. Be aware that what the manufacturers list as a range is usually tested with a direct line of sight, which will be nearly impossible to duplicate in the mountains.
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Postby WouterB » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:27 pm

Mountainjeff wrote:...


I've seen some radios over here in Belgium that offer >15km ranges, but indeed, that's what it says on the box... .
Last edited by WouterB on Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Hotoven » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:31 pm

I have used some older ones but no longer use them because of all the A-holes who break in on your channel. I haven't used them in a while though, and maybe now that they are not as popular, their wont be as much interference. When I did use them, there were kids who would have scanners, and if you were in their range, they would try to chat and talk. This would only happen in suburban areas though. I haven't used them in high mountains yet, but I'm guessing the signal won't be able to travel far. Before cell phone we would use them on road trips to communicate in between cars, and this was a big problem with the scanners too. Now that cell phones are hip, I'm sure there's not as much of that.
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Postby WouterB » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:55 pm

Hotoven wrote:...

A cell phone isn't really an option as calling each other constantly abroad would cost a small fortune. I'm not too worried about other people interfering. As I said they'll be mostly used up high.

When I went to Zermatt with SP'er JanVanGenk he brought his Motorola TLKR-T3. Zermatt is quite a busy place and although we did have interference at first, as soon as we changed away from channel one, we didn't have any problems. So I'm sure I'll be fine in more remote areas.
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Postby Hotoven » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:58 pm

WouterB wrote:
Hotoven wrote:...

So I'm sure I'll be fine in more remote areas.


I'm sure you will be fine. You know us Americans and our considerate ways! :D
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Postby MoapaPk » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:56 pm

WouterB wrote:
Mountainjeff wrote:...


I've seen some radios over here in Belgium that offer >15km ranges, but indeed, that's what it says on the box... .


Last I looked, the typical FRS/GMRS radios were operating at a maximum of 1 watt, and that power is used only for the GMRS mode (which officially requires a license in the USA). The chipsets may have gotten a bit more sensitive, but for the most part, the radios are unchanged from the days (say 6 years ago) when they advertised 8km range.

There are exceptional circumstances when even the FRS mode will give a much longer range, but more circumstances when the range is much less than 8km. Basically, they need line-of-sight to get the best reception, without intermediate hills or thick woods.
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Postby rhyang » Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:14 pm

In the US we use FRS / GMRS walkie-talkies -- the frequencies are allocated by our FCC. As I understand it, there is a similar (but different) frequency band called PMR446 in Europe. The PMR446 frequencies overlap amateur radio bands in the US (necessitating a license), and in Europe the FRS bands may be used by emergency services. Sounds like you might want to check out those types of radios unless you want to get into amateur radio licensing.
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Postby Buz Groshong » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:20 pm

rhyang wrote:In the US we use FRS / GMRS walkie-talkies -- the frequencies are allocated by our FCC. As I understand it, there is a similar (but different) frequency band called PMR446 in Europe. The PMR446 frequencies overlap amateur radio bands in the US (necessitating a license), and in Europe the FRS bands may be used by emergency services. Sounds like you might want to check out those types of radios unless you want to get into amateur radio licensing.


Because these bands do not require licensing and therefore are available to a lot of people, the power output must be limited in order to limit the distance so that interference will not result. So if you want distance, you've got to deal with licensing that effectively limits the traffic to prevent interference.
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