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What walkie talkie sets do you use?

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#11 BobM


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Posted 10 April 2014 - 11:16 PM

This is my favorite method:
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#12 Lighthawk


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Posted 11 April 2014 - 04:09 PM

This is my favorite method:

:D  :D  :D

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#13 madhatt


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Posted 30 April 2014 - 05:29 PM

I've been using a set of Motorola’s MS350R for skiing and paddle/hiking trips. They have been decent for communication amongst the group (i.e. when too far apart in the Canoes to talk easily, or separated in the trees on a ski run). I would recommend splurging on the waterproof ones, however. I think they were only $15 extra, and I managed to drop a friend's in the lake the first time we took them on a paddle trip (I replaced it, of course).



Edited by madhatt, 30 April 2014 - 05:29 PM.

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#14 PaulT


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Posted 05 August 2014 - 06:23 AM

New to the forum. Long time ham. Have and have used all modes mentioned. Each has its place. We use mostly ham but always have FRS with us as others in group may not have ham license. We hams in ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services) train with CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) using FRS. Most comms are using FRS within a team but hams provide comms between teams. Works well usually.

A few years ago, a climber on Mt Hood fell and broke his leg. They used their FRS to contact some kids 70 miles away to call for help. Line of sight is easier when some 7000 ft above average terrain. Still the injured party had to convince the kids' dad that it was a legit call for help.

Use what you have and are comfortable with but many members like to get away from civilization with its easy communication. If you don't want to invest the effort and money to go ham, then consider a Spot or other satellite emergency comms device. It could be the most important piece of survival gear if you or someone else is sick or injured and out of cell phone or FRS range.

This is a great forum. Glad I stumbled onto it via the FWC site.

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#15 SD_Beaker



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Posted 29 October 2019 - 02:58 AM



I do a bit of convoy driving with peeps in the back country.  We have used CB's for years but it seemed that FRS/GMRS with the privacy codes had some advantages.  After quite a bit of research here's what I've come up with:


HAM works for talking to your group, but it shines when reaching out to others and/or seeking aid.


FRS/GMRS works for talking to your groups, with a shorter range but the privacy codes keep your radios fairly quite when your group is not chatting.


So I went with a Midland MXT400 (40 Watt) GMRS radio.  If you look on YouTube over the ocean (very line of sight) these guys got almost 90 miles.  That's pretty good.  The plan was to hand out Motorola Talk-About radios and we could communicate.  I also have some Cobra CXT595's so they should all work together, right?  Well, it turns out to be a bit more complex than that.  


Motorola privacy codes goes 1 - 121: codes 1-38 are CTCSS Freq 67 to 250 and 39-121 are DCS 1 - 104.  Throw in Cobra and they name their CTCSS codes 1-38 but they too require a DCS 1- 83 to complete the Motorola set 39 to 121!  


Add in the fact that the Midland MXT400 is a GMRS radio and not a FRS, hence they do not even have channels 8 - 14 and the Motorola Talk-About stays in high output mode (~1.0 watts) when on channels 1 - 7 and technically this then requires an FCC license.


All this was boiled down to the attached chart.  Once this was figured out, now I am able to use almost any radio and know what the others need to be set at.  Using the upper channels (15 - 22) you can use higher power and this seems to provide plenty of range for off road travel as well as for hiking, but you need to get the FCC license (It's like $80 for 10 years so that should not stop anyone).  


Hope this chart helps



12/1/2019 - UPDATE


Well after all the research put into the chart, lo and behold it turns out that not all Motorola radios have the full set of 121 privacy codes!  We were out in the desert and we had a Talk-About that did not go over 38.  Pair that with CTCSS on the Midland the screen actually says "T SQ", I thought it was worth updating the chart.  The good news, (although they made fun of me) when I whipped out the chart we were able to get everyone talking in about 5 minutes.  Here's the updated chart "R1" , (I deleted R0 as there's no reason use it now).  Enjoy  

Attached Files

Edited by SD_Beaker, 01 December 2019 - 06:23 PM.

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#16 roverjohn


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Posted 29 October 2019 - 03:20 PM

Licensed ham here. I'm pretty sure the FCC just raised the power limits of FRS to 2 watts on most of their 'channels' so we should be seeing a whole slew of new, more powerful, FRS gear out there. Not that the power matters and the new rules don't allow swappable antennas on anything but the higher powered mobile radios (dumb).


Just get a Tech license unless you have a large group. The rules are easy to follow and the gear works. If you have a larger group GMRS or MURS is probably the way to go as there's no testing. All the FRS/GMRS frequencies are basically 70cm and the MURS frequencies are pretty much 2m so the performance is similar as long as the radios are the same.


CB, 11m, can also be surprisingly effective and the gear is everywhere. The handhelds are usually a bit bigger but they can really get out when needed.

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#17 ckent323


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Posted 19 February 2022 - 10:01 PM

For those who want to be able to communicate between vehicles (or even between vehicle and people on foot) and who are not interested in a HAM license for any reason (or are travelling with others who are not licensed HAMs) we found during our 82 day Alaska/Canada trip this past summer the new GMRS radios to be quite useful for vehicle to vehicle communications.

I have owned FRS handheld radios for years and used them on ski trips and on a previous Alaska road trip in 2018.  They are not very satisfactory due too their low pawer and short range.  I have also used CB and gave it up years ago due to crowded on air channels and consistent bad behavior on air by too many operators.  We found the GMRS channels to be largely wide open with few other operators even when passing through various cities on our travels.  In addition we did not encounter any bad on air operator behavior in Alaska, Canada (Alberta, BC, Yukon), Montana or South Dakota.

Recap:  Wendie and I along with another couple took our trucks and FWC Keystone campers to Alaska in August of 2021.  We purchased a Midland MXT-275 15 Watt mobile radio for each truck.  In addition, I purchased a Wouxun KG-905G GMRS handheld Two Way Radio.

I bought both a Midland MXTA26 6db gain whip antenna and a Midland MXTA25 3db Ghost antenna for my mobile rig.  Our travelling companions used the standard MXTA13 2.1db gain antenna that came with the MXT-275 radio.

We found that even on winding roads through heavy forest and some hilly terrain that we were able to clearly communicate between the trucks when separated by up to 7 or so miles.  I think the limiting factor on range was the 2.1 db antenna on the one truck.  I was not able to distinguish much difference in range when I switched between my 3 db and 6 db gain antennas.

My handheld came in handy to communicate with either or both vehicles when I got out of the truck to scout ahead on foot dirt tracks and campgrounds spots.   I was easily able to communicate with the vehicles using the handheld from at least a mile away in heavy forest during my solo hikes.

We did not try to use the repeater capability of the radios.  

We all found the convenience of the microphone with integrated controls very convenient and it allowed us to hide the actual radios out of sight.

The cost for these radios was minimal and the convenience of being able to communicate vehicle to vehicle was worth every Nickle and mitigated issues with real time navigation and route change decisions (including restroom. fuel and other stops).  I felt much safer walking around in the woods by myself having the ability to clearly communicate with the others.

The inexpensive FCC license required to legally operate these radios requires no test and applies to all family members, so only one license per family is needed. All four of us could legally operate the radios and the radios are simple to operate.

I recommend the GMRS radios for those who for any reason do not want a HAM radio.  GMRS mobile radios are available up to a legal maximum of 50 watts and that should facilitate clear communication of at least 15 to 20 miles even in forested areas.  Handhelds are available up to the legal maximum of 5 watts which should be sufficient to clearly communicate up to about 2 - 5 miles depending on terrain.

Midland has come out with a new 50 Watt mobile radio, the MXT-575 and Wouxun has come out with a new 5 watt handheld, the KG-935g which are reasonably priced and have gotten good reviews.

P.S. I am a licensed HAM but our travelling companions are not and were not interested in obtaining a HAM license.


I hope this information is helpful,



Edited by ckent323, 19 February 2022 - 10:35 PM.

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#18 craig333


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Posted 19 February 2022 - 10:24 PM

CB's are going to fm. Not sure that'll give em much more life though. Definitely stay away from ham radio. I just had contacts with Finland and Sweden. I'm not sure I can get back out of the rabbit hole :)

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#19 Dadocut



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Posted 20 February 2022 - 08:22 AM

We use 4w handheld GMRS radios and they have been way better than the 0.5 watt FRS radios.  The GMRS radios allow for attaching better antennas and the antenna quality makes a big difference.


One more thing: stay away from radios that take three AAA batteries.  There isn't much power in a AAA and the radio blows through the batteries in no time.  We found radios with rechargeable lithium batteries that last all day long, even with their higher output power.

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