2 way radios

Discussion in 'Campsite Electronics' started by msbrown253, May 28, 2014.

  1. msbrown253

    msbrown253 Mike in CT

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    Looking for some opinions. I currently have a cheap set of 2 way radios (Cobra I think) that are OK, but the Ni-Cad batteries are about done, and while I can get new ones, the three will cost me almost as much as some new sets of radios. I love having them, because it allows my daughter to go off exploring while still being in touch. Who uses them, and what do you have? While I have three now, I really only need 2.
     
  2. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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    I have a set of the Cobras as well. The rechargeable batteries (AA) are done! I use lithium (AA) batteries in them now and they work great.
     
  3. medicmike5969

    medicmike5969 Been an Apache owner since 1991 - 2nd owner

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    I use regular alkaline batteries in mine & they work GREAT! I use them for the same thing - to keep in touch w/ my daughter while she's out & about the campground.
     
  4. Jeepin Dad

    Jeepin Dad New Member

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    I have a set of 16 mile Uniden and a set of 22 mile Motorola radios and have not had a problem with either. The rechargable battery pack in the Uniden are finally giving up after seven or eight years, the Motorola set is less than a year old. I use them for hunting, off-roading and camping and they both have an effective range of several miles even when there are ridges and valleys between us. If I had to pick a favorite I would probably choose the Motorola because the Uniden has a roger beep every time you stop transmitting that annoys my hunting partner.
     
  5. va3rbz

    va3rbz New Member

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    I use a set or Motorola's that have a battery pack or can take AA's if needed. They are all pretty much made to the same standards and limitations.

    You and your daughter could always get you ham radio license if you want to move up. Handheld amateur radios are limited to ~5W, but you get the ability to swap out for a higher gain antenna.
     
  6. msbrown253

    msbrown253 Mike in CT

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  7. CamL48

    CamL48 New Member

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    I got a pair of Cobra CXR-925 radios a few years ago. Looks like they're still current. For some reason, Camping World was closing out their stock, so I picked them up for just a shade over $40.

    I don't use them very often, but they've held up pretty well. Battery life is amazing on them. Good volume, great range, and easy to set up and use. I haven't used the NOAA weather channels or any accessories.

    Just note that the ranges given by these things are all crap. You're not getting 35 miles out of these things. Closer to 1-3 miles, depending on terrain. Buildings and enclosures limit. For example, car-to-car transmission is difficult, as we're driving individual farraday cages. I think I get less than a mile in cars ... though it's been a while.

    These FRS/GMRS radios are limited to 5W, but few actually go this high. The Cobras are a 3.5 W output radio. However, FRS channels will be limited to 0.5 W of output power. You're supposed to have an FCC license to use the GMRS frequencies. GMRS will use up to 5W, depending on the radio you have.

    You can get VHF radios and even step up to HAM radio.

    Here's a decent post I found: http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=304478
     
  8. WeRJuliIan

    WeRJuliIan If it's "Aluminum", why not "Sodum" and "Uranum"?

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    The best radio application we've found, so far, is pup parking... It saves all the neighbors from having to listen to all the shouts of "No, the OTHER way!!!"
     
  9. rexlxg

    rexlxg Member

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    I can definitely agree with that. me and the DW are ham radio ops, we use them when backing in and
    they are also very handy when we take 2 vehicles to the CG, she's in the vehicle behind the pup and plays
    spotter and/or blocker as needed
     
  10. gzank6

    gzank6 Member

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    we use motorola's, 22's i think. Same reason, to keep in touch with my son when at the campground and we use them on bike rides too so i don't have to yell i can just mount it to his handlebars and tell him to slow down, stop or turn. He doesn't get to far at 6 at the campground but last year we let him go with some kids to their site and it came in handy to call him back and keep in touch with him. They run on AA batteries which i like. I see a Hamm radio in my future and his when he's old enough.
     
  11. msbrown253

    msbrown253 Mike in CT

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    That's an understatement! I just sold my boat, but I don't think I could get 35 miles out of the VHF marine radio mounted in the boat, never mind my hand held!
     
  12. skiball

    skiball New Member

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    I have a set of 4 Midland GXT 1050 that we use for camping and fishing when we might have some distance between us. I put a piece of 550 cord on them so they can hang around your neck. Works just fine. I have 3 rechargable battery packs for each radio and I carry the 120v chargers and the 12v chargers with me. I keep the battery packs on a 6 month maintance schedule making sure they are ready to go whenever I need them. If need be, I can use AA batteries instead of the rechargable battery packs. The radios have a 35 mile range but that is unobstructed range. I tried it driving away from home and found that I lost contact after about 4 miles in town. It's probably better out of doors. Yes, they come with a price tag, but in the end, they are worth it.
     
  13. dion

    dion Member

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    My ham radio club has a nine year old member, and he's had his license for almost a year now, getting his license at age 8. He actually was the first one in his family to be licensed, beating his father by a few weeks. Yeah, he's unusual, more in his desire and motivation to get a license than in his raw ability. The test itself is not hard, compared to the other tests that kids that age take in school. I think most nine year olds with reasonable reading skills could do it if they tried. It does require some preparation, though.

    Ham radio gives MUCH better range and reliability, and ability to do things like use repeaters, high gain antennas, even satellites. But for local short-range communications around the campground, the typical FRS walkie-talkies work pretty well. I'm a licensed ham, but I use FRS walkie talkies with my kids because they're not licensed yet (the four-year-old can't read the exam, and the seven-year-old isn't very interested).

    I've got several that use AA batteries. I usually use NiMH rechargeables, but can use alkalines or any other type of AA battery.
     
  14. skiball

    skiball New Member

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    I have wanted to get into ham radio ever since the CB radio craze in the 70's when I was a kid. I just wanted to be able to reach out much farther. Now as an adult, I still think about it. I just wouldn't know where to begin. Learning from my past endeavors, I tend to jump in, buying the best equipment (things only experienced opperators might need) then find that I wasted my money. I guess, if I knew a local opperator who would be willing to show me the ropes before making an investment might be the best path. Problem is, I don't know any ham opperators. I have tried web searches for how to begin but I guess I haven't found the right site.
    Oh ya... Then there is the scariest reason not to get involved. I can just hear DW saying. What are you wasting money on this time? Oh well, She does have our best interests at heart and she is usually right when she says something.
    Oh... Sorry for hijacking the thread. I just had a thought that I had to type out... Lol...
     
  15. Sumoman

    Sumoman New Member

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    The little hand held shave come a long way. Mine have a (unobstructed) 36 mile range, along with multiple sub channels to keep off others and keep private. Worked awesome in Disney world though keep in mind that's based off power and in the case of cities interference from other radio signals like cell towers. For most part never issues even between parks. For CG use they are a bit much, Walmart has some tiny little things with 10 mile range that would cover most CG well with little trouble.
     
  16. dion

    dion Member

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    I don't want to hijack this thread too far, but I thought I'd point you toward some information in case you or others are interested.

    In the USA, the best starting place is http://arrl.org

    To find a local club, try http://www.arrl.org/find-a-club There are clubs all over, and most of them have generally friendly people who are very generous with their time when an interested newcomer asks for advice.

    To figure out how to get licensed, try http://www.arrl.org/licensing-education-training

    The licensing requirement isn't difficult, it's a 35 question multiple choice test, and you can study the pool of questions and answers before you go in to take the test. It's also not expensive, costing around $15.00. Once you get a license, it's good for 10 years, with free renewals thereafter. You can self-study for the exam, or a number of organizations offer "ham cram" sessions, where they turn you into a ham in one day, starting with a class and finishing with the exam.

    If there are more detailed questions on this topic, it might be best to start a "ham radio" thread. Or of course, there are other boards devoted to deep discussion of ham radio topics.
     
  17. swordfish

    swordfish Well-Known Member

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    I am using 2 marine radios - one by Icom and one by Cobra. They are more reliable than Motorola walki talkies. Besides, I use them when I am on water or to listen to boat traffic.
    We still have 2 Yasue 2-meter radios for my wife and myself (we both are hams) before cell phones became popular. But marine radios are more useful these days where I live.
     
  18. 77starmaster

    77starmaster New Member

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    I have old cheep cobras, every year we go on a trip I bring the camper and my wife or daughter brings my small 14' boat. They work great talking back and forth while on the road. I got them years ago for my kids when younger to keep tabs on them at the camp grounds. I would defiantly use them again for the younger ones, kinda makes them feel like dad is watching and better be good [;)]
     
  19. turborich

    turborich Active Member

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    Mine are rated for either 15 or 20 miles (unobstructed) however in town I'm lucky to get 1/8th of a mile. I've had a few different sets and they all suck in a large city. I'll try them out while camping and see how they do. [2C]
     
  20. msbrown253

    msbrown253 Mike in CT

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    The Motorola two ways I bought at Cabela's before our big trip were absolute crap. They claimed 23 miles. Yeah. Right. I didn't expect anything close to that, but a 1/2 mile in a campground would have been nice. I returned them as soon as I got home. My old ones I think are actually better, just the rechargeable batteries are starting to go.
     

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