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Walkie-Talkies (Handheld two-way radios)


Explorer
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On 7/3/2021 at 11:29 AM, Explorer said:

After reviewing my options (FRS, GMRS, CB, MURS, Ham radio) and their technical differences, I concluded that I am better off with a GMRS radio instead of a ham radio or my current FRS unit.

 

The main reason I chose GMRS is that when I go on these expeditions, most of the people just bring FRS radios, and I need to be able to connect to their frequencies quickly.

 

A GMRS will have the same frequencies as FRS but more power (5 watts) and better reception. The additional cost of an FCC license is just $70 for 10 years (with no test).

 

I purchased the Wouxun KG-805G for $100. See link below.

https://www.buytwowayradios.com/wouxun-kg-805g.html

 

I also got the GMRS license at the link below. It was not difficult to follow their web instructions and I got the license via email within a day.

https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/universal-licensing-system

 

Most of my outdoor explorations are by myself or with one other person, so I don't use radios for most of my outings.  Maybe twice a year I might get invited to join a group and do an expedition.

I already have a Garmin inReach-Mini, that I use for texting my location to friends and family and it has capability for two-way texting of messages via satellite.  In addition to its original purpose of sending an SOS for rescue.

 

With this Wouxun unit, I can change the antenna to 8 inches or 16 inches, but I will use the one that came with unit first (6 inches) to test its performance.

I will test it in August (when I will go back to WA for a similar group outing) and report back in BFF on whether it was any better.

 

A GMRS unit will definitely have more power but does it translate to longer and better reception/tranmission in heavily-wooded areas? I am almost always under the canopy of trees so there is virtually no line-of-sight transmission.

 

I don't mind spending more for a unit, and taking it to the next step by registering with the FCC, if a higher-powered GRMS unit will deliver better results in my circumstances.  Do you think it will work better?

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I tested my Wouxun KG-805G this summer in the Olympic Peninsula and it worked great.

 

I was able to hear clearly folks who were camping 3 miles down from me and they were able to hear me clearly too.  They also had a GMRS unit; different brand.

 

The area was very forested but there was no ridge in between us.  My position was about 400 ft above their camp, along a creek and dirt road, and there was forest all along.

 

I was not able to clearly hear or communicate with folks who were camping over the ridge.  But I was not expecting that to work.

 

I will continue testing the unit in more diverse settings.

 

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D861AEB2-3719-413D-AB58-A797F7EFCE16.jpeg.915276d1b1a1fee96a0c5dc1f5d5aee4.jpegHunster, did you immediately do the self test to check battery condition?

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On a slightly different topic, the Garmin Inreach Mini is on sale at REI for $300. The same price at Moosejaw and Cabela’s, and several other online shops. Don’t know if this is news anyone can use, but thought I’d mention it. Retail is sure gearing up with catalogs and internet ads for the “holidays.” Maybe there will be deals on  other high tech outdoor products. 

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8 minutes ago, Wolfjewel said:

On a slightly different topic, the Garmin Inreach Mini is on sale at REI for $300. The same price at Moosejaw and Cabela’s, and several other online shops. Don’t know if this is news anyone can use, but thought I’d mention it. Retail is sure gearing up with catalogs and internet ads for the “holidays.” Maybe there will be deals on  other high tech outdoor products. 

That’s a good price for the Mini.  

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10 hours ago, Catmandoo said:

D861AEB2-3719-413D-AB58-A797F7EFCE16.jpeg.915276d1b1a1fee96a0c5dc1f5d5aee4.jpegHunster, did you immediately do the self test to check battery condition?

 

Yup.

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When putting full reliance on a device, such as the InReach Mini (which I have and carry), one has to be particularly careful to be sure it is fully charged and your plan has $ left on it. If one of those is overlooked it could spell trouble.

 

That's one of the reasons I also carry an ACR PLB. Nothing to think about, or do, as no plan is involved nor does it have to be recharged. The only potential vulnerability is when you're nearing the end of the 5-year period. 

 

 

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It is a good idea to have redundancy 

Here in Canada there was a recall on a PLB as it didn't always function properly 

 

I have had a map unexpectedly blow off the edge of a mountain to never been seen again, I have had a good quality compass develop an air bubble when out in the mountains.

Anything can fail or get lost.

I have never had a gps fail me (except an early model bought in 1998), but I usually have map, compass and gps.

I have done side by side comparisons with cell phones, tablets and dedicated gps devices, and the non dedicated gps always lost or failed to gain reception before the gps did.

Often I have an electronic map on a tablet and phone in addition to the paper map and gps.

I am looking at a satellite communication device now to supplement my ham radio and cell phones (my rino gps also is frs/gmrs)

Far cry from years ago when I often went out without telling anyone where I was going, how long I would be gone for and no communication devices

Edited by MagniAesir
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With our recent floods, washouts, and slides, I'd hate to be caught on a backroad without some form of contact. As you know, I did the same as you, for many decades, but now that my age has caught up to me, I'm not hiking out 10 or 20 km for help.

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On 11/14/2021 at 10:35 AM, wiiawiwb said:

When putting full reliance on a device, such as the InReach Mini (which I have and carry), one has to be particularly careful to be sure it is fully charged and your plan has $ left on it. If one of those is overlooked it could spell trouble.

 

That's one of the reasons I also carry an ACR PLB. Nothing to think about, or do, as no plan is involved nor does it have to be recharged. The only potential vulnerability is when you're nearing the end of the 5-year period. 

 

 

I am obsessive about charging equipment and function checking the critical stuff before going out for this very reason.

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1 hour ago, MagniAesir said:

It is a good idea to have redundancy 

Here in Canada there was a recall on a PLB as it didn't always function properly 

 

I have had a map unexpectedly blow off the edge of a mountain to never been seen again, I have had a good quality compass develop an air bubble when out in the mountains.

Anything can fail or get lost.

I have never had a gps fail me (except an early model bought in 1998), but I usually have map, compass and gps.

I have done side by side comparisons with cell phones, tablets and dedicated gps devices, and the non dedicated gps always lost or failed to gain reception before the gps did.

Often I have an electronic map on a tablet and phone in addition to the paper map and gps.

I am looking at a satellite communication device now to supplement my ham radio and cell phones (my rino gps also is frs/gmrs)

Far cry from years ago when I often went out without telling anyone where I was going, how long I would be gone for and no communication devices

 

The potential for catastrophic failure is always a possibility. I've always made it a habit to carefully study the topo map of an area I plan on going into. I want to be able to visually recall the major terrain features east/west/south/north of the area i which I will be traveling.  If everything goes sideways and I'm faced with no map and no electronics, I can rely on my mind's eye and memory of that area's topo. Not in fine detail of course but I'll know what direction I should be heading and what I'm likely to encounter.

 

I think the best training for encountering failure is to purposely get lost and have to find your way back with nothing.  Start small in a controlled environment and your way work up to a larger area. It sharpens your powers of observation and forces you to stop, think, and deal with the notion of being lost without emotion. The obvious first reaction is to panic. I have to get out of here...

Edited by wiiawiwb
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39 minutes ago, BC witness said:

With our recent floods, washouts, and slides, I'd hate to be caught on a backroad without some form of contact. As you know, I did the same as you, for many decades, but now that my age has caught up to me, I'm not hiking out 10 or 20 km for help.

Which you know we appreciate 

We want you to stick around for at least another couple of decades

 

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