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Whats to look for when buying radios/Walkie Talkies??

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by Muddslinger12, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. Muddslinger12

    Muddslinger12 Vancouver Active Member

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    After reading the What You Did to prep today thread got me thinking what to look for when buying radios? They are highly overrated seems like. Whats a good unit for up in the woods? They are great for camping, hiking, gathering firewood can stay in contact with base camp etc.

    What brands and features to look at and frequency?? Maybe something battery operated? Maybe good old school CB?

    Any ideas appreciatted!
     
  2. Thebastidge

    Thebastidge 10411 NE Fourth Plain Blvd Vancouver WA 98662 Well-Known Member

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    If they have a specialized battery pack, see if there's also a kit that allows standard batteries. You never know when the lithium pack will go dead and you have no immediate way to charge it; you'll want to be able to stop at a convenience store and power back up immediately.

    Charging station for both 120v and cigarette lighter are must-haves.
     
  3. Muddslinger12

    Muddslinger12 Vancouver Active Member

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    Good ideas. Do you ever get anything like that thro your shop? I just checked out your site and being its not even ten minutes from my house (used to work at the uhaul right there too lol) Never knew it was there lol seems like a cool store I will try to find my way down there when I get some $ some of those storage containers would be great for a project I have in mind. plus i am needing a real holster too....
     
  4. Thebastidge

    Thebastidge 10411 NE Fourth Plain Blvd Vancouver WA 98662 Well-Known Member

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    We haven't moved into electronics yet, but we'll be working on it sometime in 2013. I started the biz two years ago, we're still working up to full offerings in some types of inventories. I have (so far) managed to do this without debt, like a good prepper should :)
     
    Sgt Nambu and (deleted member) like this.
  5. ATCclears

    ATCclears Seattle area, WA Well-Known Member

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    Are you considering these for communicating with neighbors, or other? What distance do you really need?

    Peter
     
  6. Muddslinger12

    Muddslinger12 Vancouver Active Member

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    The Bastidge- Thats awesome really the smart way to do it. I seen a few friends jump head first into debt trying to start there own business (painting) and fail. Really smart to just hammer down and make due with what you got both Financially or Brain-wise. But either way it is always Risk/Reward. Look forward to checking it out....

    ATCclears- Mainly for camping so I (or couple ppl from party) can go firewood, water gathering or just hike and maintain contact with the others at camp. Also if SHTF would be nice if it could pick up others conversation and see whats goin on. Realistically would need 1-5 miles (RELIABLY) so a higher rating and capabilitys would prob be needed. as they hardly ever have the range they put on the box. Just want a good radio I can communicate with my friends and family and listen in and communicate with others from unknown distances. So something reliable with good range really that uses or has the option to use normal batterys. I have an antique handheld CB but takes 8-10 flipping batterys so looking for something alittle less dated and more efficient.

    AND what type? IE: "CB" "Hamm" "gmrs" ......... What type is best all the way around. Like whats forestry dept use? can you buy use police/military style?
     
  7. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Well FRS/gmrs radios are going to be most cost effective. For less then $100 you have radios that will have decent 1-2 mile range.

    Getting into HAM will require a license to use. They run about $200 each and up if you want fancy. Not sure what simplex range is but guessing a couple of miles.

    The "forestry" radios we use are about $2000 each and still do not have a 5 mile range. With long antennas and the right condition 3-4 miles.

    These numbers are all based off handheld radios that have 5w max output. If you start talking about vehicle mounted radios with outputs up to 50w you have a much further range.

    The reason HAM/Forestry/LEO/Fire radios get amazing ranges is having repeaters set up high on hills with high power output.
     
  8. Muddslinger12

    Muddslinger12 Vancouver Active Member

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    Makes sense now thanks for the info!! So we are pretty well stuck with the basic "lie" about there ranges radios lol

    So I should prob get those Bi mart special 36 mile range ones and expect a 1-2 mile range? Any particular brand anyone has used in the past with good results? I want something with normal battery option and possible rechargeable too but normal batterys are priority for emergencies.

    NICE. well can you get vehicle mounted FRS/Gmrs? And will my CB in my truck work with the hand held frs/gmrs or diff frequency?
     
  9. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    I have had this set for just over a year and been happy, https://midlandusa.com/two-way-radios/product/gxt1000vp4/. Of course you can find them cheeper if you look around. I mostly end up using them on the ski hill to keep in touch with the GF when doing patrol duties. From the top of the hill they work really well. If you go from one low spot over a "ridge" the the next low spot it does not work very well. This is true for any radio though until you get into higher (UHF) frequencies that will terrain "follow" better then VHF.
     
  10. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    I bought a Midland GXT1000 FRS/GMRS radio pair ($60) on Amazon. The FRS is limited to 1/2 Watt power, the GMRS to 5 Watts. I read a review where the Midland was tested at 5.33 Watts. I am not sure the company would put out a radio that exceeded federal regulations, but user reviews indicated they got better range than with other radios in same catagory (FRS/GMRS).

    That the radio be able to operate on regular AA batteries I think a big plus. If you intend for a group to be keeping in touch, radios with the group feature that lets you set a channel, group ID and individual user ID is nice.

    Keep in mind there are only 22 channels. Radios that offer more are using one of the 22 channels plus a code that users can do themselves. It just saves time to pick a channel above 22 if the radio supports such.

    For me the wattage output and group feature were the most important features I was looking for.

    KEEP IN MIND: No matter which radio you may buy, only FRS band radios require no license. The GMRS radio use requires an $85 FCC license. This applies to FRS/GMRS radios also.
     
  11. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    See if you can find an old 5 watt handheld CB in 12vdc.

    I had one as my primary radio in a boat for years, running
    off of a cigarett lighter plug. I believe it was a Midland.:thumbup:

    Jack...:cool:
     
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  12. reloaderjoe

    reloaderjoe Keizer Member

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    Garmin Rhinos are sweet! anybody that is in you range with another rhino shows up on your gps every time they are qued.
     
  13. Muddslinger12

    Muddslinger12 Vancouver Active Member

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  14. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    A good hand held han set will run about 100.00 or so and you dont have anything to purchase. In fact I am going to buy mine in the net week or 2.
     
  15. Muddslinger12

    Muddslinger12 Vancouver Active Member

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    Is that haM? and do you need a FCC license for those? How much do the license costs? Is it a PITA with a bunch of hoops to jump thro?
     
  16. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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  17. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    yes it is HAM. yes you need a license.
    The license itself doesn't cost anything. The VEC's who administer the test are permitted to charge a fee, a maximum amount is set.
     
  18. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Muddslinger, I used my new Midland GMRS two-way's today, inside my home to call my wife to come and help me with a big project. They just paid for themselves in my book! These are GXT795VP4 models, with the quote, 36mile range. LOL!!! So far I have gotten 3/4 of a mile over a lake with a narrow screen of trees and brush on both sides, between the units. So far I am very pleased with them. I got them at Bimart, on special, for $49.99. Comes with two units, charger, cig. lighter adapter, battery packs, head sets (not real impressed with them), and are AA battery capable. 10 NOAA weather channels w/ severe weather alerts. Pretty good deal!
     
  19. Muddslinger12

    Muddslinger12 Vancouver Active Member

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    Thats cool just sucks you need to fork out an extra 85 bucks for a darn license. How would they know, Do you need the license before you can buy them or you cant use them til you get a license?
     
  20. Hook686

    Hook686 Northern California Active Member

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    You are transmitting radio signals. Anyone on that frequency can pick you up. As I understand it being caught without the license can be quite costly. I do not think you can, without risk, transmit on GMRS channels without having the license. Do you feel lucky ?