Long Range Walkie Talkie Versus Short-Range Radios
The long range walkie talkie, also referred to as the two-way radio is a small handheld device that receives and transmits radios signals for long-range communication. These devices allow you to remain in touch with employees, friends, family and co-workers even when you’re in a type of remote location where cellphone signals are nonexistent. These two-way radios can also come equipped with additional features such as weather alerts, Amber alerts and other notifications which can help to keep the users safe when they’re out in the wilderness.
Long-Range Two-Way Radio Performance
Walkie talkies receive and send information via radio signals, which means they can rely mainly on line of sight for stronger communications. While some models can transmit through obstacles such as walls, they tend to work best in unobstructed, wide-open areas. This is why range can be somewhat limited, especially in suburban areas.
There are a couple of main configurations for walkie talkies:
GMRS models are high powered and operate on one or two watts and can be used up to fifty channels. Consumers will need a license in order to use certain channels. Originally, this type of walkie talkie was only available for commercial use, but these days, now you can purchase recreational models. You don’t have to have a license in order to buy a GMRS set.
The FRS walkie talkies work on a half watt and are able to transmit on a total of fourteen channels, however, twenty-two channel models are also available. You don’t have to have a license to use this type, which is probably why the majority of consumer models operate as FRS radios.
Additionally, you can breakdown walkie talkies into two other categories:
Handheld models are standard, while vehicle mounted models operate on juice that’s powered by a vehicle’s battery. Users can also augment their range using an external antenna.
A desktop based station works by drawing their power from an AC adapter. Once again, you’ll need to use an external antenna in order to boost the radio’s range.
The range capabilities on long range models can vary quite a bit. Some models are able to handle up to forty miles with ease, while others will struggle at twenty miles. Be very cautious of claims that these models can handle this type of range even in town because that’s simply not true. If you’re using your radio on a flat plain, then you will probably enjoy full range, otherwise, buildings and dense brush can interrupt the signal, providing only a fraction of the range.
So basically, regardless of the type of range you see on a package you’ll generally only get reception for up to five or six miles in a suburban setting. Using them in the open wilderness is ideal, especially with flat terrains like a valley or the desert. Believe it or not, even the user’s body can block out a signal.
One thing that’s super helpful to know about power potential is that it can actually boost range. For the best range, you’ll need a model that operates on a higher wattage. Because of this, if it’s essential that you have a higher range it will definitely be worth it to obtain a license to operate using GMRS channels.
Keep in mind that if you have a GMRS radio if you use it to transmit on an FRS channel, you’ll typically drop to a half-watt while using one of those channels. Because the GMRS channels require higher wattage is exactly why a license is required and you’ll enjoy a stronger signal as a result.
Models that utilize FRS signals can work for many purposes, but at a very limited range.
When you’re considering range, the antenna is also important. So keep in mind, the bigger the antenna, the better. A large antenna will feature more effective radiated power, which works to extend range. The only reason you would want a model with a small antenna is if the range isn’t important or you need a more compact model to carry around.
Regardless of the type of walkie talkie you get, it’ll probably come with twenty-two channels, each with over a hundred privacy codes. These privacy codes can help to minimize interference on the same channel.
But if you’re in a busy area where there are a lot of people around, you’re bound to experience interference on every channel. However, privacy codes can work to allow you to speak privately without interference. While you still may occasionally pick up random chatter from other code channels, it will be reduced greatly.
Must-Have Walkie Talkie Features
Most models will function on triple or double A batteries. Others will include rechargeable battery packs. Your best bet is to purchase a model that can operate on both. While rechargeable batteries are a good way to save some cash, they often lose their charge at a much faster rate. This can be especially true in colder environments. If you choose a model that’s compatible with both types of batteries you can switch to regular alkaline batteries once your rechargeable ones are drained.
Waterproofing can be another important feature to have if you plan on using your walkie talkies on outings. But not all models are fully waterproof. Play close attention to a model’s waterproof rating, which can tell you the type of wet conditions a walkie talkie can actually handle. The higher the rating, the more waterproof the device will be.
Vox is a popular feature that stands for Voice Activated Transmit. This feature will allow you to talk on your radio hands-free. When a user speaks, the radio picks up the sound, automatically transmitting it. This is perfect for people who are hiking, rock climbing or hunting.
Recommended Long Range Two-Way Radio Model
Now that you know the benefits of both long and short range walkie talkies, you can purchase a new set based on your needs. A popular long range set the Motorola MR350TPR Talkabout two-way radio allows up to three years and comes equipped with many of these popular, useful features.