2 way radio for moutain use
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
Kip Krenz 02-Feb-19
Dale06 02-Feb-19
Aspen Ghost 02-Feb-19
JSW 02-Feb-19
bb 02-Feb-19
From: Kip Krenz
Looking for a new set of two way radios to use in the mountains. Have the Garmin 665 t but don't seem to work that good. I see some of the new ones have 8 watts and also would like to have them water proof. Any suggestions on ones you have used and liked?

From: Dale06
I’ve tried all of the Motorola, and others that supposedly have up to 16 and even 32 miles of range. I’ve found them all to be barely better than two soup cans with a strike strung between them. With a complete unobstructed line of sight, I got 1 mile from one set of radios, one time. Most of the time it’s a few hundred yards at best.

From: Aspen Ghost
Mountains block hand radio signals so the distance you get is very dependent upon the terrain. I used to use a Motorola and now use a Garmin. I haven't noticed any difference in range. Dales experience is unusual. If he is only getting a few hundred yards with unobstructed line of sight his radios might be broken or he is forgetting to turn them on. Even cheap kids FRS radios will get you 1 mile in those conditions. Put a mountain in between and no hand radio will work.

From: JSW
I've been fairly happy with the Garmin 650's. I don't know that the radios work any better or any worse than others I've used. Hound hunters use marine band radios, they are hands down the best but they are also illegal for land use. I don't know anyone who actually got fined for using them.

I absolutely love how the Garmin gives you the exact location of the person you are talking to. Push "go to" and walk right to them. I got these years ago when my daughter started hunting with me and I won't go back.

From: bb
What you want is radios that operate in the lower frequencies of the spectrum. VHF like the 150 range is good, if you can get lower frequency that may be better. Don't buy radios because of the advertised range. That range is based on table flat land with no obstructions. It doesn't take much of a radio to give you that range under those conditions. There are inherent properties to radio frequency that has nothing to do with the brand of radio. Start there, then worry about antenna gain and power. The higher frequencies are more line of site, short distance and and are blocked by terrain features. Their pluses are they carry data well, think cel phones or higher. The lower end of the spectrum follow terrain features rather than getting blocked by them and and are capable of much longer range. Think AM Radio. If you are serious about being able to communicate with two way radio in the back country, I would try to locate a radio shop locally that specializes in two way radio they can get you the best available. They may even operate a trunked network that works similar to a cel phone system. You transmit to an antenna that is built on the top of a mountain, transfers through a switch and broadcasts to any other tower or radio on your channel. The down side is you can only use that radio on that network. You may be able to rent from an operator like that. Think Northern AZ. Niles Radio has a trunked radio network where you can do just as I described. If you go to a box store and buy a couple of radios from there, you will have an anemic radio communications system at best, regardless of what the packaging claims.

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