Two-Way Radio Choices???

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Quote Originally Posted by windwalker View Post
Okay, so the Midland radios work pretty well but what about going to the next level like they described above? What about a radio that has more power out with a better antenna and receiver?

This goes into the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) level instead of the Family Radio Service (FRS). I know it is against the law to transmit in the FRS frequency in high power which in reality is operating in the GMRS band since channel 5 is shared by FRS and GMRS. So, if you are worried, get a license, there is no test of any kind. It is kind of expensive at $85 but it is good for 5 years. A couple of us did, I was approved and had my call sign the next day. There is an online licensing service at Once you have a license, all members of your family are also covered.

These are the GMRS rules.

A good explanation of FRS and GMRS.

This is the Wikipedia explanation of GMRS.

Now I can transmit up to 5 watts, use repeaters and can run a more powerful radio with changeable antennas. The normal 1/2 watt for the FRS is barely adequate to go more than a mile but a good radio running 5 watts with a good antenna can communicate much further and receive much better.

Normally, the GMRS radios are quite a bit more expensive at over $100 per radio but the Chinese have been making a very affordable GMRS radio that works well. The Baofeng (pronounced bow fong) UV-5 or UV-82 are two of the radios that I would recommend, there are plenty of variations. I just purchased 2 of the UV-82s while Paul in Austin purchased the UV-5 and a UV-82. We will have to experiment and see just how far of a range we can get with the more powerful radios. Some people are reporting the Midland radios get about 1.6 miles and in the same area, the Baofeng radio getting 3-5 miles. People are reporting hitting repeaters from over 20 miles away.

These radios are programmable with up to 128 channels of frequencies. The UV-82 can transmit and receive on 2 different channels without changing anything, it has 2 push-to-talk buttons. One channel could be for the group and another could be to talk to the run leader or sweep directly if they have dual transmit and receive capabilty. The radios charge in about 5 hours and can last up to 30 hours in standby mode and the battery is more like a cell phone battery. The UV-5 costs about $30-40 while the bigger UV-82 costs about $50. They come as single radios so if you want a set you have to buy 2. They do communicate with the bubble-pack FRS/GMRS radios that we currently use, they just work better. Another benefit is the that the voice frequency is not so compressed and sounds more natural.

Amazon has the radios, extra mics, earpieces, antennas, etc. at great prices and Amazon is starting to stock the radios and accessories so they come fast, 2 days if you use Prime. I got one of the security earpieces for $3 (Midland - $39.99), 2 extra Nagoya antennas for $5 and $11 as well as a microphone/speaker like the police have on their shirt for $8 and a spare battery for $14. One thing that I have found since I received the radios is that they are very loud as well as the mic/speaker and I can adjust the volume to suit what I want to hear. The squelch works very well with 9 levels of adjustment. The UV-82 is the same size as the normal Midland GXT-1000 FRS/GMRS radio but feels more sturdy and well made, much like what firefighters or police would carry.

You can program the radio from the keypad or by computer and upload your channel sets to the radio. One default set is the the FRS/GMRS set of frequencies. They also receive the FM band 65-108 Mhz and can transmit & receive VHF 136-174 Mhz (marine radio) and UHF 400-520 Mhz (amateur radio). To talk to the FRS/GMRS radios - FRS is 462 Mhz and GMRS is 462 & 467 Mhz. Channel 5 which we use exclusively is 462.6625 Mhz. This opens up a whole new world for the handheld radio to do more than just be able to communicate with the car club and if you are a prepper then you will have a better radio for communication in an emergency.

Here is a link to Amazon where the radio is selected. Below are some of the accessories. The antenna is a SMA Female.

Here is a video that introduces the radio.

Don Privett

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