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Two Way Radio Reviews and Buying Guide:
Consumer Search.com ^ | 11/19/12

Posted on 11/19/2012 7:44:28 PM PST by Kartographer

You might remember growing up with walkie talkies, well today they are called two-way radios. I remember going to Radio Shack to look at their selection of walkie talkies as a kid and always dreaming of having a high powered military set that had ranges of over a mile. Today almost all two-way radios have ranges from 1 to 2 miles and they are much smaller than the ones we had a decade or so ago. Two-way radios are very useful - they are great for long road trips when taking separate cars, on the ski slopes, at amusement parks, when hunting or camping, on backcountry hiking trips, or even in large shopping malls. Businesses can use two-way radios instead of cell phones in many situations as well. There are no per minute charges with 2-way radios which is one benefit over traditional cell phone use. Plus, if you are in the woods where cell phone don't always work, a two-way radio may just save your life. What should you look for in a two-way radio from the store? We get into two-way radio features in our buying guide down below.

(Excerpt) Read more at consumersearch.com ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: 2wayradio; ham; preparedness; preppers; radios
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I have been asked by a number of FReepers to start a Communications during SHTF thread. So here it is.

I myself have a set of Motorola TALKABOUT T9500XLR Two Way Radios and have been pleased with their performance.

1 posted on 11/19/2012 7:44:33 PM PST by Kartographer
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To: appalachian_dweller; OldPossum; DuncanWaring; VirginiaMom; CodeToad; goosie; kalee; ...

Preppers’ PING!!


2 posted on 11/19/2012 7:46:06 PM PST by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: Kartographer

I have a nice pair of Motorola Talkabouts with headsets, and a pair of Cobras. The Cobras were $2 at a garage sale, the Talkabouts were “free” at a garage sale because the people lost the charger (charger and 2 new NiMH battery packs was, I think, $30).

People are ditching the FRS radios because they carry cell phones and think they don’t need them.

In-ear headpieces are nice because nobody else can hear that chirp when you end a transmission.

I also picked up a few in-car CB radios in the same way, but I have not checked them out.


3 posted on 11/19/2012 7:50:25 PM PST by DBrow
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To: Kartographer

Why not get a armature radio license.
The entry level test is very simple.


4 posted on 11/19/2012 7:52:29 PM PST by jonose
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To: DBrow

I just picked up a pair of Trc217 the other day. They take ten batteries, don’t ya know.

$60 got the pair. One was still in the box.

Now if I can remember my CB call sign....


5 posted on 11/19/2012 7:53:14 PM PST by Vermont Lt (The dude abides.)
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To: DBrow

I’ve got some dual band FRS/GMRS radios, Uniden GMR3689-2CK. They work well enough, but no-where near their advertised maximum range, even in clear dry weather over open flat terrain. 36 miles? I’ve never had them work at more than about 4 - 5 miles. OTOH, I have some cheap Cobra FRS radios that I have used out to about the same range, and heard other’s talking from about 15 miles away. (ok, I was on a mountain side at that time looking down/out with direct LOS)


6 posted on 11/19/2012 7:57:51 PM PST by ThunderSleeps (Stop obama now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: jonose

I have considered it, but not sure of the advantage. I mostly just want something to use to communicate with my team.


7 posted on 11/19/2012 7:59:02 PM PST by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: Vermont Lt

Lt FReeper?


8 posted on 11/19/2012 8:00:50 PM PST by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: Kartographer
I'll have been a ham radio operator for 40 years, next summer.

I've used handi-talkies since they were called that and used peanut tubes and had B+ voltage.

During the great DX opening in 1999, I used a 5 watt handheld to talk from Texas to California on 6 meters (52.525Mhz)

More recently, I've relied on Icom and Kenwood radio for durability, functionality and reliability.

Batteries, batteries, batteries.

Know how stuff works. Choose your frequency based on your location, and operational conditions.

I agree with a previous poster. Get your ticket (license), and find an Elmer(old guy with years of experience) to guide you.

/johnny

9 posted on 11/19/2012 8:02:39 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: jonose

“Why not get a armature radio license.”

What is an armature radio?


10 posted on 11/19/2012 8:02:43 PM PST by Nik Naym (It's not my fault... I have compulsive smartass disorder.)
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To: Kartographer
Interesting note about radio licensing. I went to the FCC website to read about the GMRS license and there is a licensee search by name, city/state, etc.

These radios would be very useful in a natural disaster situation, but in a SHTF government collapse, "they" would have a list of potential holdouts (possible preppers).

Points to ponder.

11 posted on 11/19/2012 8:04:35 PM PST by 5thGenTexan
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To: JRandomFreeper

I spend to much time on here now. If I had a HAM license I never get anything done! ;-)


12 posted on 11/19/2012 8:06:05 PM PST by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: Nik Naym
It's radio that used a motor driven spark gap generator, like was on the Titanic. They aren't lawful, now. ;)

It's almost like an amateur radio operator, but a heck of a lot more dangerous. I shouldn't say much. I have problems with speeling sometimes.

/johnny

13 posted on 11/19/2012 8:06:16 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Kartographer
depends on what you need them/want to use them for, we use ICOM-U16's
14 posted on 11/19/2012 8:08:55 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Kartographer

Get an amateur radio operators license. Then you can transmit with some POWER!! :-)


15 posted on 11/19/2012 8:09:00 PM PST by ColdSteelTalon (Light is fading to shadow, and casting its shroud over all we have known...)
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To: Kartographer
Spend as much or as little time as you like. It's a resource. Get your ticket, and you are legal to transmit on the frequencies, modes, and powers that you are licensed for, even if you never transmit.

You don't have to make it a full time hobby.

Besides, with the crappy sunspot cycle, it's not very fun this peak.

/johnny

16 posted on 11/19/2012 8:10:09 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: ColdSteelTalon
The proudest QSO I ever logged was 50mw on the 6 meter CW calling frequency with a QRP rig built inside an Altoids box. Gotta love Field Day.

/johnny

17 posted on 11/19/2012 8:12:41 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper

Is the FR Ham ping list still operative? I don’t think I’ve seen a ping from this list for some time now.


18 posted on 11/19/2012 8:13:21 PM PST by miele man
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To: miele man
Don't know. I haven't seen any posts recently either. I don't remember who has the ping list.

/johnny

19 posted on 11/19/2012 8:15:57 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: miele man; Denver Ditdat
DD had the ping list, and apparently isn't active anymore.

/johnny

20 posted on 11/19/2012 8:19:27 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper; miele man
Was it this guy? http://www.freerepublic.com/~DenverDitdat.
21 posted on 11/19/2012 8:23:34 PM PST by scripter
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To: JRandomFreeper

Thanks, auto correct got me again.
But your response made me laugh.


22 posted on 11/19/2012 8:24:00 PM PST by jonose
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To: scripter
Yep. Last I heard, he had the list. Hope he's not SK.

/johnny

23 posted on 11/19/2012 8:26:55 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Kartographer
BaoFeng UV-5R -- 136-174/400-480MHz

Best deal in the verse!

DON'T pay more than 50.00 delivered!

Many Asian Ebay sellers...here is just one.

BaoFeng UV-5R

24 posted on 11/19/2012 8:28:08 PM PST by Bobalu (It is not obama we are fighting, it is the media.)
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To: Kartographer

Well, I am here for information and help.
I started in 1958 as K4ZKZ, specializing in working DX.
I made it to the ARRL “Top of the Honor Roll” in DXCC.
In the 90s, I took the call of W4EX, an old friend, totally blind since the 50s, but the very top DXCC operator in the world, and builder of very fine 4-1000 amplifiers, as well as able to repair anything, and climb his antenna towers.
His widow asked if I would like to take his call sign.

I have been inactive since leaving the USSA in 2000.
My last business was two-way radio sales and service.


25 posted on 11/19/2012 8:28:24 PM PST by AlexW
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To: 5thGenTexan
"they" would have a list of potential holdouts (possible preppers).

Life isn't for the timid.

/johnny

26 posted on 11/19/2012 8:28:54 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Nik Naym

It is related to coil radio in DC motor talk.


27 posted on 11/19/2012 8:29:18 PM PST by doorgunner69
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To: JRandomFreeper
No complaints on my Wouxun kg-uv6d 2M ($110), which I carry when I ride my dirt bike in the mountains (lots of repeaters up there). I'm not licensed, nor had an emergency yet so it has not been used to transmit (0.5 second initial test on family band frequency excluded).

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/10060

28 posted on 11/19/2012 8:29:58 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not Nurture™)
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To: Bobalu
BaoFeng UV-5R Reviews on eham
29 posted on 11/19/2012 8:33:29 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not Nurture™)
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To: Kartographer
I got a license years ago, then realized I was not much of a talker, so stayed on the tech side mostly.

Recently resurrected a couple older HTs that had been idle for years. Might try to get active a bit, but the Hawaii JAM scene is pretty dead. Still not much for gabbing anyway.

30 posted on 11/19/2012 8:34:28 PM PST by doorgunner69
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To: Kartographer

What does one buy while one still can? I have FRS radios of course, but If I was to take up a notch, what should I buy. I know radio people are knee deep into their radios, but If you have one week to go buy a communication platform what would it be? Regards.


31 posted on 11/19/2012 8:35:16 PM PST by samadams2000
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To: Kartographer

What does one buy while one still can? I have FRS radios of course, but If I was to take up a notch, what should I buy. I know radio people are knee deep into their radios, but If you have one week to go buy a communication platform what would it be? Regards.


32 posted on 11/19/2012 8:35:22 PM PST by samadams2000
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To: steve86
Nothing personal, it's about me.

I prefer American engineering for ham radio.

If you haven't transmitted, and used the radio, you haven't got a characterization history of battery usage, etc...

Gear you haven't broken is gear you haven't tested.

Good to carry any kind of xmit radio in the mountains though. Saved my life, once.

/johnny

33 posted on 11/19/2012 8:35:30 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: steve86

From eham

Even if it was twice it’s $50.00 the UV-5R would be a great radio for value\features\performance. I have the “ Full combo plate” ( 3600 Mah battery, hand mic, MFJ 1717 ant., progamming cable ) and am well pleased with my set up. Even without all the extra’s it is a capable radio system. The standard battery lasts a long time,Fit and finsh rival more expensive radios, the audio and TX is more than good, and the other features ( dual watch ) make one wonder why the Japanese companies are not worried. We’re talking $50-60 here not $100-300+. The radio looks good, construction is very good ( especially the Plus model) and the darn thing just works well. Yeah..., it’s VERY easy to program with the cable and software but do not listen to the whiners about manual programming... just go to YOUTUBE and look at the tutorials.Manual programming CAN BE DONE

If.. as people say ...,the Chinese GOVT. is subsidising Baofeng in order to penetrate the hand held market, I have no problem with that. Heck, we’ve been doing that for decades with US agricultural products to penetrate the world food market . That’s capitalism and just old fashioned business. To see a non-capitalistic country ( China ) practice capitalism is refreshing proof that our model of subsidies is not bad business Why pay more just to support overpriced Japanese radios? Buy two UV-5R’s and enjoy an affordable and competent radio. How can you go wrong for the price?


34 posted on 11/19/2012 8:36:42 PM PST by Bobalu (It is not obama we are fighting, it is the media.)
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To: Kartographer
Time to rediscover the CB radio, good buddy. You got a copy, come on?... over.
35 posted on 11/19/2012 8:36:56 PM PST by MileHi ( "It's coming down to patriots vs the politicians." - ovrtaxt)
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To: steve86
KB9IBZ here. Been a ham since 1992. Have only used the license in Mongolia from 92-94. 98% of calls were DX! And the pile ups when the conditions were right were phenomenal. Ticket just expired last month. Unfortunately I really don't know the technical aspects the way I hear people talking about them. I have a Tech+ but I was pretty good at memorizing test questions.

I keep threatening on getting back in. Oh, I did operate last year at a field day in the Virginia Beach area. They gave me the "night shift". Nice of them...
36 posted on 11/19/2012 8:39:55 PM PST by tenger (It's a good thing we don't get all the government we pay for. -Will Rogers)
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To: JRandomFreeper

Like I said, just passing on what I saw. In a real SHTF situation, I doubt “they” will have a lot of spare time to enforce GPMS license compliance.


37 posted on 11/19/2012 8:41:02 PM PST by 5thGenTexan
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To: 5thGenTexan
If I'm not on several lists, I'll be disappointed. Better to be hanged for a goat, as for a sheep.

/johnny

38 posted on 11/19/2012 8:45:30 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper

Yup.


39 posted on 11/19/2012 8:48:00 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (In the game of life, there are no betting limits)
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To: Kartographer

All range claims of over 1/4 mile or so with FRS and a mile or two with GMRS radios using rubber duck antennas are bogus. With a decent “real” antenna fed with low-loss coax mounted 30-40 ft high you could reasonably expect to get 10 mile radius coverage on GMRS with the typical radio. Add a yagi (which you can easily make out of hardware store materials) and yes, 35 mile range is probably possible. The problem with the advertising is, they omit about 90% of what I just said and that just pisses people off. This ain’t rocket science, but it is radio science.


40 posted on 11/19/2012 8:48:27 PM PST by bigbob
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To: Kartographer

VX-150, by Vertex Standard / YAESU

Probably the best, portable hand held radio in it's class for the money. About 160 bucks.

2 meter, with a range of anywhere from 25 miles to around the globe using links/repeaters.

Amateur radio license required.

41 posted on 11/19/2012 8:51:41 PM PST by dragnet2 (Diversion and evasion are tools of deceit)
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To: JRandomFreeper

But isn’t lowering your profile also smart? Isn’t the first rule of prepping to not let people know you’re a prepper?


42 posted on 11/19/2012 8:51:41 PM PST by 5thGenTexan
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To: 5thGenTexan
I'm not a coward. I'm an American. I do what I do without hiding. If I die doing that, that's ok (Jesus and I are good). What I won't do is hide out of fear.

/johnny

43 posted on 11/19/2012 8:54:20 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Kartographer

Also -

Your FRS/GMRS radios are fine for the purpose you have in mind, in an emergency there will likely be a boatload of them on the air and the potential to form neighborhood nets and segregate traffic by channel is a plus.

But if you’re looking for SECURE digital mode voice communications that would provide similar secure comms to military SINGCARS take a look at: http://www.trisquare.us/

These are 900 mhz frequency hopping spread spectrum radios, meaning their are virtually impervious to eavesdropping and jamming. These radios would serve a different - but vital - role in emergency comms, because they would be immune to the congestion and interference that may easily render FRS/GMRS unusable. Plus, you might want a private and secure channel that could not be monitored by anyone else.

The range of these digital radios is no greater than any other radio of similar power. In fact, Trisquared’s “truth about range” is a good no BS explanation. About $70 a pair.


44 posted on 11/19/2012 8:57:23 PM PST by bigbob
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To: bigbob
LOS(Line of sight). It's not just a good idea at VHF/UHF freqencies. Unless you get sporadic E skip (not this cycle).

I have used an FRS radio effectively at over 2 miles.

From a mountaintop, looking at where I was trying to communicate with.

Step back in the tree-line 60 ft, fergetit.

I don't know anyone today that knows what a Smith Chart is. But there you go.

/johnny

45 posted on 11/19/2012 9:08:27 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: 5thGenTexan; JRandomFreeper

I am 95% sure my work here alone on FR has placed me on a couple of list.

There’s even more than one FReeper who hates preppers so much I am 100% sure they will make sure I am on some list if it be in their power.


46 posted on 11/19/2012 9:15:16 PM PST by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: bigbob

According to the manual, outdoors over flat terrain the TSX300’s effective range was about one and a half miles.

Throw in buildings, RF, hills etc.....well..


47 posted on 11/19/2012 9:15:37 PM PST by dragnet2 (Diversion and evasion are tools of deceit)
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To: JRandomFreeper

I’m not a coward. I’m an American. I was just passing on an observation to an interest group (preppers) that tend to care about staying under the radar (they came up with “Rule #1”, not me).


48 posted on 11/19/2012 9:18:47 PM PST by 5thGenTexan
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To: bigbob

I guess it is OK to share this on freerepublic, we are all trustworthy patriots that can keep our security concerns secret, and only among ourselves.

I developed a code that I think is unbreakable, I even tried it with a special operations radio operator and he could only roll his eyes when he was totally baffled by it’s complexity.

To use it, the first consonant (or consonant cluster) is moved to the end of the word and an ay is affixed (for example, computer yields omputercay or truancy yields uancytray). The objective is to conceal the meaning of the words from others not familiar with the rules.

With practice, skilled operators can use it to quickly share information, safe from the prying ears of the NSA, and others.


49 posted on 11/19/2012 9:20:34 PM PST by ansel12 (The only Senate seat GOP pick up was the Palin endorsed Deb Fischer’s successful run in Nebraska)
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To: 5thGenTexan
I prep. It's not a rule I recognize.

Perhaps you have a false concept about an 'interest group'.

/johnny

50 posted on 11/19/2012 9:21:25 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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