Jump to content

2 Way Radio


jnshapiro
 Share

Recommended Posts

a lot more cell tower coverage now than there was 2-3 years ago. they have giant cell towers that look like trees now.

anyway, I find that people are always on my frequencies, even if i use the sub-channels and such. lately, my cell phone has been seeing more use on the slopes than my radios. that, and my radio almost broke my ribs last time when i fell on it...

if you do get radios, get some with longer ranges. the 3-mile ones don't cut it. the 12 mile ones are overkill, but i find that they work better. get a pair that has it's own charging station too, like a cell phone (not ones that use AA or AAA bats). motorola or cobra seem like their decent brands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've used the FRS radios a fair amount on the slopes. The high power ones might (emphasis on 'might') be considered overkill for the most part. This is because they are all "Line Of Sight" in their operating frequency range. If you get on the other side of the ridge from someone there can be little chance of them receiving you no matter how much power you crank out.

Having said that... I use 5 watt radios (12+ mile) and turn down the xmt pwr to 1 watt to conserve batteries. If I'm not looking for someone or expecting a call I keep my radio fully squelched to stay quiet. When I need the range I'll the power up to full (on the GRMS frqs).

Regarding batteries... Look for radios that have a recharge dock AND can accept standard batteries. Few things are worse than needing to depend on a radio that someone has left on overnight and killed the battery. I have rechargeable NiCd pack that came with the radios, high capacity NiMH AA size rechargeables (they vary, some are like only filling your gas tank 1/2 full... high capacity will cost more too) and I usually travel with a few alkaline batteries as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you get a radio with a longer range, use the upper channels (15+??) for longer range and less cross-traffic. I've been pretty happy with Moto over the years. You can often get them a pair at a time at Costco with a remote wired speaker/mic. The Moto brand external mic on a curly cord works great, even in snow. If you have the mic, you can keep the radio inside jacket where its warmer. Or if you have a properly sized arm pocket, that sometimes works.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the cell phone comment. We've been using cells more and more as well. Though the other person (or you) can rarely pick up as the call comes in, a message can be left, unlike on a talkie. The main time we use our motorolas are when we are skiing in a loose group trying to stay on the same runs. Then we will turn them on because everyone runs at different speeds or sometimes make wrong turns or branch to different runs that we (or they) expect. Handy when coordinating pictures or film, too. But when we are all out and about and broken up into small groups all over the mountain, they get shut off since only 1 out of 10 times will the party have line of site or NOT be out of range over a ridge line or in the lodge. The other time we use them most is actually first thing in the morning when everyone arrives at the slopes. Helps coordinate and find each other in the masses or give a heads up that you just arrived and will be 10 minutes changing before coming outside so "don't head up the hill yet! I'm almost there!" (we get that a lot). hehe.

On the mountain, no matter what channel or subchannel we are on, there is always some little kidd playing around or asking repeatedly "Dad, are you out there?" Even worse for me since that usually sounds like Chad. I usually replied, trying to be my helpful self, with "There are a lot of dads on this channel. Why don't you ask for your father by name rather than by Dad". But after 14 times a day, it got old and click, off they go. Then I check my cell phone for missed calls/messages every 30 - 45 minutes.

BJ has it right with using a rechargable that also allows for regular alkaline AA or similar. Definitely stay away from AA only. With rechargables, you will save a lot of time, effort, and cost over the years. Besides, the NiCD or lithium work better in the cold. Alkaline lose their juice if they get cold so if you use alkaline, you'll need to ensure the walkie stays in an inside pocket.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have bought and used many FRS and GMRS radios over the years. I personnally found the Motorola has the best reception and sound over Cobra and other brands. At one point, I received Cobra as a gift when the GMRS came out and I had to return 2 sets because they were missing my "demo test". I'm always testing the radios after purchase in a very easy setup: opened area, within 300 feet so hand signal is working. I had Cobra that failed that test so now I switch to Motorola forever.

As far as batteries, I look for a FRS model with "AA" batteries. I use Nimh "AA" rechargeable batteries with the highest output possible ( Energizer makes 2500 mAh for reference ). "AAA" batteries are limited to + 850 mAh. This setup last at least 2 or 3 times as long vs the rechargeable pack that come with the radios, ( winter conditions ). For better batteries life, try to find a warm pocket within your jacket. An auxiliry mic is the best practice possible for battery life + good sound.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Off Topic tidbit of information that may or may not be true...

Motorola got its name ages ago when they tried to develop their first product. Victrola had been selling home record players, and so Motorola tried to play off that name with a record player for automobiles. Truth or fiction???

I've got 4 of the high end Midland FRS/GMRS radios (were very inexpensive at the time) I've been statisfied so far, 3 yrs. I do have thoughts about how well the finals (amplifying transistors in the transmit path) may be handling the heat transfer at 5 watt output and so I don't get long winded when on HI xmt pwr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What do you guys do about the crappy sound transmission on the radios. Do some frequencies work better than others. Mine work fine and even will transmit around our mountain but most of the time, it is nearly impossible to hear what they are saying because of crappy sound.

The Patrol radios sound much clearer and crisp. Mind you they are around 500 bucks each. Is it the frequency they use?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not the frequency, it's the crappy radios. FRS radios are cheaply made and have horrible audio amplifiers and speakers. You might get an improvement going from NICADs or NIMH batteries to alkalines, because the lower the battery voltage, the more distortion there is. Sometimes an extrernal speaker sounds better. Turning the volume down usually reduces the distortion.

If you really want decent radios, get ham licenses and use those, you will be a lot happier :biggthump

A radio that takes AA only can still be used with rechargable AA batteries and an external charger, just get generic NIMH AA batteries and a charger. I use rechargables in all of my stuff that was made for AA alkalines only.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

due to cost pressures, a lot of the poor performance comes from very crappy margins in the transmit path coupled with very crappy front end (receiver) section on the receiving radio. On top of that you have the very underpowered audio amplifier that clips the sound and you get a barely useable comm link.

If you can realize the system shortcomings and work within their limits they are just fine. We ask a lot from these radios in the mountains.

Best short answer... cell phones. Put the ski partol HQ on speed dial.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share



  • Recently Browsing

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...