View Full Version : Which Two Way Radios are best 4 Hunting?

Northslope Nimrod
November 1, 2009, 10:55 PM
My Dad and I are tired of junk radios. We need something that has good range, is durable and accepts some kind of hands free ear-bud. They also cannot "BEEP" when changing the volume.

1. Name a good brand and model.
2. Indicate if it accepts an ear-bud device
3. I am not looking for $100 plus professional radios.... just a good value in the inexpensive models.

PS: I have used two Motorolla ear-buds. Both have devolped a short and no longer work.

November 1, 2009, 11:05 PM
good luck finding anything worth having for under $100 - they all seem to be toys. the only way to get a good radio is to pony up the cash and buy a kenwood or motorla...both are good but you'll pay upwords of $175 a piece for them.

November 2, 2009, 01:03 AM
Just get the Garmin "Rhino" radios... They are GPS units and radios in one... in fact your other unit will place on your screen as will his... Awesome units! More than a hundred but they really are nice!

November 2, 2009, 01:45 AM
Earlier this year I studied for several weeks and passed the test for a technican level HAM radio license. No morse code requirement anymore so it is much easier to pass.

What this allows you is access to some very good radios. CB radios are okay, but in hilly terrain it'll be difficult to keep in contact. In fact, with any point-to-point radio hills can block signals. Those small Motorola talk-abouts and other FRS (Family Radio Service) units are short range radios and do not play well with hills or buildings between the units.

GMRS radios - sometimes combined into FRS units - can be better. If you obtain the GMRS license and there is a repeater in your area, you can get much better coverage (8-12 miles) if you can access the repeater.

A repeater is a unit on a high point that receives incoming signals on one frequency (transmit) and re-transmits them on another frequency (receive or listening). The advantage is that you can use 1watt to hit the repeater and it then transmits up to 30 or 50 watts over a large area.

HAM radio makes extensive use of repeaters, both club oriented and "open" repeaters useable by anyone. Here in Silicon Valley, I can transmit to a repeater about 18 miles away with a 5w handheld and the repeater signal covers about 30 miles from a mountain top. Even better, some repeaters are internet-linked (via IRLP). I can use a local repeater that is linked throughout all of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. It now includes links to Florida, Texas, Chicago and is picked up in both Australia and the U.K.

A single-band 70cm band (440mhz) radio runs between $134 and $160. More expensive than you desire, but it can be used year around. A dual-band 2-meter/70cm radio costs a little more ($170-$200) but most include a scanner function to pick up air/police/business radios too. This is what I have and I use it a lot for both listening and talking on HAM frequencies.

The Garmin Rhino GMRS/FRS/GPS units start around $169 and go upwards. If you already have a GPS, it's extra money.

Since you didn't list your location or the area where you hunt, I can't tell you if there are any repeaters useful to you. There may not be any out in the "hinterlands". So you can look them up yourself using the links below.

HAM radio licenses are cheap (you pay a testing fee, the license is free and valid for 10 years). Average fees run anywhere from $20 to $30 for study guides and testing.

Some resources:
National GRMS Repeater Database (http://www.mygmrs.com/browse)
Ham Radio Outlet (http://www.hamradio.com/)
Ham radio repeater database (http://www.artscipub.com/repeaters/)
Ham Radio Universe (http://www.hamuniverse.com/study.html)

November 2, 2009, 08:08 AM
I am going to second the Garmins. Some models also allow you to text messages, a valuable feature. Of course depending upon where you are you could just use cell phones. You will have a tough time finding quality for under $100. They are mostly just Chinese junk at that price.