New long range walkie-talkies ?

Discussion in 'Equipment Discussions' started by specweldtom, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. specweldtom

    specweldtom Well-Known Member

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    Have started seeing 20+ mile range walkie-talkies advertised. Do any of you use them? If so, what do you recommend looking for? My old ones have about a 20 foot range.

    Thanks, Tom
     
  2. rtv900

    rtv900 Well-Known Member

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    Most of the radios do not have anywhere near the range that is stated on the package. You will not be able to get 20 miles out of the radio no matter what. You will get a longer range than the ones that say 5 miles. I have always been disappointed with the range of "packaged" radios. I have gone to using some Motorola HT1000's and HT750's in VHF. You can get them from a Motorola dealer or off ebay. I have been very pleased with them. The only down side is they have to be programmed by the dealer. There are also issues with wattage and things like that. The dealer can explain that. Bottom line is you get what you pay for in radios.
     

  3. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I can help on the wattage issue .Anything over 4 watts require a license from the FCC.

    I have seen Walkie Talkies thad had 7 watts and have a best case range of 26 miles.

    But I would think that they should work 8 to 10 miles with line of site conditions.

    Most are 2 t0 4 watts and will work a couple of miles with line of sight.( I have a set that has
    3 watts and thats about it under good conditions ).

    They are very handy when hunting if you know there limitations .

    J E CUSTOM
     
  4. teddy12b

    teddy12b Well-Known Member

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    I have used the 5 mile radios in open kuwait desert and they didn't go 3 miles. They same 5 mile radios didn't go 1/2 mile in thick woods of michigan's upper penninsula.

    I have a set of motorola 25 mile radios and I'm very happy with them. I don't think they'll go 25 miles, but they'll go at least one or two in thick heavy woods & bush. I used these on my last two bears hunts in Canada and they worked very well. The first trip we were about 1 to 2 miles apart through very thick bush-like woods and the radios worked. The last trip I actually got "turned around" in the woods and ended up using my radio at over a miles distance through very thick bush-like woods. I'm a believer in those radios after that whole experience.
     
  5. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    From my experience with handheld and mobile radios on the job and handheld Marine VHF's and FRS/GMRS radios, the more wattage to tx, the further the signal will reach.

    I've got one 5 watt Marine VHF (these don't require licensing in the US and the new Garmin Rhino 500 series transmits at 5 watts as well and they must have a variance for that unit/freqs as well) that is 1 watt low tx and 5 watts high tx power and another that the high tx power is 6 watts on. Will the 6 watts reach much further than the 5 watt version? Very unlikely.

    From what I've been able to determine, to have a significant increase in tx distance, the wattage output needs to be doubled. My understanding of 5 watt tx power handheld VHF's is that you might expect a 10 miles line of sight (not trees or anything in the way) tx power. If you get more than than, you're lucky.

    25 miles on a handheld? That would be impressive, but possible. But I sure wouldn't count on it unless there some super duper battery and tx capability that is way beyond the 'norm' of 5 watts for a VHF handheld.

    I was once on northern Vancouver Island on the Brooks Peninsula on the west coast of the island and thought I'd give my Verizon digital/analog phone (typically tx at 3 watts if I recall correctly) a shot knowing there weren't any towers for well over 100 miles. Somehow, I got through to my wife at home. The bill indicated that I had connected to a tower down in Oregon--probably at least 300-400 miles south. I asked a Verizon tech about what happened and they couldn't explain it. Go figure.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  6. specweldtom

    specweldtom Well-Known Member

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    Since I started this thread, I've done some more research. Also made the mistake of stopping at a Cabela's and going into the Bargain Cave. Bought 3 different sets (for peanuts) to try out. 2 sets claim 20 and 24 mile ranges respectively, and one set claims 26 miles. All are discontinued Midland brand, and the big set appears to be 8 watts. They all say that to reach the max range, you have to be over water or open ground. Like most of you, if I can get 5-6 miles in rough terrain, I'll be happy. 2-3 miles is probably more realistic. Still much better than the 20 foot range of my old ones.

    JE Custom is right. The instruction books say that GMRS channels 1 - 7 and 15 - 22 require FCC licensing. FRS channels 8 to 14 are limited on power and can be used without a license. I'm not clear on using the GMRS channels at the low power setting, whether it requires a license or not. My impression is that you have to use the higher power GMRS channels to get the 5 - 10 mile range, no matter what the radio's advertised range is.

    Aside from the power issue, there are some handy features available on some of the sets. Water proof or water resistant is good, voice activation is handy sometimes, battery availability is a consideration, optional remote mike and speaker is good also, and some sets receive the NOAA broadcast.

    The Midland sets can use either AAA or AA alkaline batteries or rechargeable NiMH packs.

    Good hunting, Tom
     
  7. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    Tom:

    Please post your findings after you've tried them. I'm in need of a set myself, but don't want to spend $$ needlessly.

    Thanks!
     
  8. specweldtom

    specweldtom Well-Known Member

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    esshup, will do. In the meantime, JE Custom tested a pair of the Midland "26" mile radios this past weekend in rough terrain. Maybe he'll jump in.

    Tom
     
  9. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Well I did some testing and this is what I found out.

    I bought the GXT 750 VPS , Midland .

    They worked very well under hunting conditions and the features that I liked were, call
    alerts with animal sounds because they did not spook game when calling other hunters
    and they were more natural than beeps or ring tones. ( I used the turkey call and
    the crow call ).

    The NOAA weather alert was also a great feature and easy to use. We had some severe
    weather changes and this feature kept us informed as to what was happening.

    As to range, Where we hunt it is very hilly and there is lots of thick brush and trees ,And as
    long as we stay'ed on level ground range was very good.

    With two mountains between us and on different levels range was cut to 2 and 1/2 miles.

    I did not get to test on flat ground ( Line of site ) to see what they will do but I feel that
    if used in mountains with line of site ( No major obstructions ) they will work fine for 8 to
    10 miles.

    The GXT 750 is rated 7.5 watts and 26 miles and under optimum conditions they may work
    that far but untill I can test that out I'm not so sure about that.

    I am very happy with these walkie talkies and would recomend them or the better models
    ( more wattage ) for hunting.

    I hope this helped
    J E CUSTOM