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Asking for advice on walkie talkies

Rathwulven BC

Extremely Talkative
Messages
236
Points
470
Age
31
Hi all,

I wasn't sure whether to put this into the prepping category or into communications, but I am kind of looking for advice on walkie talkies for both for a crisis scenario as well as everyday life. To give you some more info:

I used to communicate with a fixed CB radio I got when I was a kid but never really got into amateur radio communication and such. Now I am looking for a mobile radio communication device which does cover long distant communication for as much as it is possible, and it should be easy for beginners. I do not really know where to start, but one thing is for sure: I am not looking for walkie talkies like the once we use for the medic team in our company - those are Motorola TLKR T41. Using them indoors, they barely cover a distance of a single kilometre; outdoors they manage a max distance of some 2,5km instead of the advertised 4km.

I am wondering if there are devices that do cover a range of some 10km or more or whether this is just unrealistic. I did see portable radios advertised to be able to cover some 25km in ideal conditions, so on flat land or from mountain peak to mountain peak.

I hope you can help me get a better understanding here despite that vague posting - still starting out with that topic... Maybe you can shed some light on experiences, on dos and don'ts, and so on? :)

Thanks in advance!
 

Harry Palmer

Very Addicted
Messages
1,251
Points
860
VHF/UHF walkie talkies work fine 'line of sight' peak to peak. Put the same radios indoors or woodlands and range drops through the floor. Another let down on a typical walkie talkie is the antenna and power output. 'Rubber duck' antennas are as much use as a chocolate tea pot and often the output power is very low, so....

Baofeng UV-5R III Tri-band Walkie Talkie long range UHF VHF Ham FM Two Way Radio 604348981795 | eBay

I'm a radio ham, I've got an icom hand held which cost me over £250 and I've got a £20 Baofeng and guess what the difference is? SFA in reality. The Baofeng has great power output for its size and there are plenty of antennas cheap enough that help things along
UK fits Baofeng Nagoya NA771 Antenna Female SMA Dual Band UV5R UV-82 10W 656209165615 | eBay makes a big difference and its flexible, i.e. you can fold it in half and keep it folded with a rubber band.

So, two radios, two better antennas for £40 so whats the problem?
Well they do come pre-programmed with a lot of channels you can use for walkie talkie, you can manually programme them, or you can buy a data lead and plug the radio into laptop/PC and programme it with free software

Home - CHIRP don't be put off by that, as I said you can use straight from the box (you can also listen to BBC radio on them).

You can charge them from a USB power bank when away from home or run them off AA batteries 3800mAh 6AA Battery Case Pack For BaoFeng Radio UV-5R PLus UV-5RB TYT TH-F8 A103 | eBay

Overall, cracking little radios which will do you proud, lots of youtube vids on these too. Also, don't be put off getting a ham license which is super easy these days. There are three tiers of license, the basic Foundation license is a multiple choice test and your local ham radio club will get you through that in no time. When I was in England we'd get candidates through with only about 10 hours tuition and that included pub time after the club closed.

Have fun.
 

Rathwulven BC

Extremely Talkative
Messages
236
Points
470
Age
31
Thanks Harry, that is already helping a lot.

Just to clarify: What exactly do you mean by SFA? It has been a long time since I did CB communication and then I was mostly familiar with the German terminology, so I honestly do not know the meaning of this abbreviation at the moment haha.

I also have to dig into the ham license issue - also there I can only relate to the situation in the mid 90s: Back in the days it was virtually impossible to wrap my head around that, being still a kid.

About the Baofeng in particular: I heard from some folks that Chinese products like these generally do disappoint. No further reason given, so I am a little confused on whether it would make sense to invest more money into a Western product to be honest. Again, I know very little about devices and simply want to avoid one single thing: Buying cheap stuff as in my experience, buying cheap means buying twice."Cheap" and "affordable" are two different things though, of course.
 
Messages
1,098
Points
810
Thanks Harry, that is already helping a lot.

Just to clarify: What exactly do you mean by SFA? It has been a long time since I did CB communication and then I was mostly familiar with the German terminology, so I honestly do not know the meaning of this abbreviation at the moment haha.

I also have to dig into the ham license issue - also there I can only relate to the situation in the mid 90s: Back in the days it was virtually impossible to wrap my head around that, being still a kid.

About the Baofeng in particular: I heard from some folks that Chinese products like these generally do disappoint. No further reason given, so I am a little confused on whether it would make sense to invest more money into a Western product to be honest. Again, I know very little about devices and simply want to avoid one single thing: Buying cheap stuff as in my experience, buying cheap means buying twice."Cheap" and "affordable" are two different things though, of course.
Yes Harry, what does it mean, I'm looking forward to the explanation. :lol:
 

Rathwulven BC

Extremely Talkative
Messages
236
Points
470
Age
31
Oh, just a question now that I am looking through the links in detail: If a walkie talkie does feauture both UHF/VHF etc as well as ham funktions, is it possible to buy and operate these without any license for as long as one does not actively go ham?

I am not really sure if a device which has the respective feature automatically requires the license even if one does not intend to use the particular function.

Tried to find a radio communication club in my area too, but unfortunately there is none - so if someone could shed some light on that I would highly appreciate it. Thanks!
 
Messages
3,754
Points
1,110
The HAM foundation test is pretty easy, 26 multiple choice questions, mainly about good etiquette, some really easy technical questions and a couple about the laws regarding transmitting. You could probably pass just by common sense. There are sample questions online if you'd like to try a few. I think you need to score about 80%
 
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