1. Welcome to Tacoma World!

    You are currently viewing as a guest! To get full-access, you need to register for a FREE account.

    As a registered member, you’ll be able to:
    • Participate in all Tacoma discussion topics
    • Communicate privately with other Tacoma owners from around the world
    • Post your own photos in our Members Gallery
    • Access all special features of the site

2 way radio recommendation

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by 682bear, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. Sep 10, 2019 at 12:32 AM
    #1
    682bear

    682bear [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2018
    Member:
    #252192
    Messages:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    West GA
    Vehicle:
    2006 SR5 DC and 2015 TRD OR DC
    I need a good set of 2 way radios... my 81 year old father enjoys walking in the woods behind his house... he walks 2 miles every day that the weather permits. There is no cell phone service there and he has no other way to call for help if he was to fall and hurt himself.

    I had bought a cheap set and tested them, (I don't remember the brand), but at the back of his property, about 1/2 mile from his house, the reception was unreliable... so I sent them back and ordered a set of Motorola radios. They were advertised as having a 25 mile range under perfect conditions. They were worse, with the reception disappearing completely at 600-700 yards.

    The property is heavily wooded, and sort of shaped like half bowl, with the front at the top of a hill and the center of the back line is in a creek bottom. Total elevation change is probably less than 50 feet. The farthest point being a little less than 1/2 mile from his house.

    Any recommendations on a good, reliable set of radios that will cover this? Preferably something light and easy to carry, of course.

    Thanks- Bear
     
  2. Sep 10, 2019 at 11:10 AM
    #2
    ecoterragaia

    ecoterragaia Everyone lives downstream.

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Member:
    #49786
    Messages:
    1,749
    Gender:
    Male
    Central Virginia
    Vehicle:
    '06 RC, 4X4, 5 speed
    Any objects like trees, rocks, etc will significantly reduce the range. Also, the higher the radio frequency, the more those objects will cause issues. The portable radios you've been testing are FRS/GMRS and operate at higher frequencies than, say, a portable CB radio. But a portable CB also operates at slightly lower wattage, and their antennas are less-than-ideal for the lower frequencies, so that may negate any advantages.

    There's only so much you can do without getting a license to operate more powerful radios. If you're not worried about cash, then you could try a couple of portable CB's, but theres a chance they may not give you what you need. Plus if you're near a highway you may not be able to find a consistent open channel.

    I am not even close to an expert, but there are a number of HAM folks on this forum, hopefully someone can speak up and tell you which brands hit that sweet spot and get the best range.
     
    whatstcp likes this.
  3. Sep 10, 2019 at 11:12 AM
    #3
    BartMaster1234

    BartMaster1234 American Auto Horns

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Member:
    #195197
    Messages:
    31,698
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Tyler
    San Francisco, California — SFSU
    Vehicle:
    1998 PreRunner 4x4 Conversion
    4x4 Conversion Power Door Retrofit '85 DeVille Horns
    Go get your GMRS license from the FCC. It covers you and your immediate family, I believe all it costs is $75 for 10 years. GMRS broadcasts at a higher power band than FRS, give you more range. However it's still limited without clear line of sight.
     
    whatstcp likes this.
  4. Sep 11, 2019 at 6:32 AM
    #4
    jethro

    jethro Master Baiter

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Member:
    #21734
    Messages:
    4,817
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Geoff
    Southern NH
    Vehicle:
    2017 Black GMC Sierra SLE 5.3L
    Get him a SPOT device or a Sat phone. RF communications can only do so much.
     
  5. Sep 11, 2019 at 6:57 AM
    #5
    0xDEADBEEF

    0xDEADBEEF Hmmm

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2019
    Member:
    #285037
    Messages:
    950
    Vehicle:
    2000 4WD MT Single Cab
    Rust, dents, miles.
    I like this, although you need a clear view of the sky for satellite, which may or may not be easy to do in his situation. I have a Garmin Inreach and it has worked extremely well. In either case though theres also a service fee.


    If you want the widest possible range of radios for a civilian setup and and an people that might be able to help, it'll hard to beat ham radio. A 2 meter (144Mhz-ish) radio can be had for $50 and depending on conditions can go many miles. I've had conversations with my cheap Chinese one at roughly 15 miles.


    You'll need to get ham licenses though to use them.
    A ham radio license is free, although sometimes it'll cost $15 or so to take the test. The lowest level, a technician class, is not difficult to obtain, and would be fine for your needs.

    Short of that, gmrs is going to be the next best bet.

    The FRS radios that are cheap and easily available are mediocre even in the best circumstances.
     
  6. Sep 11, 2019 at 7:30 AM
    #6
    682bear

    682bear [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2018
    Member:
    #252192
    Messages:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    West GA
    Vehicle:
    2006 SR5 DC and 2015 TRD OR DC
    Thanks for the replies... my dad has been a ham operator since the 50's, but doesn't own a handheld unit... maybe I need to explore that option...

    Thanks again... maybe we can figure out something.

    -Bear
     
    0xDEADBEEF likes this.
  7. Sep 11, 2019 at 7:52 AM
    #7
    whatstcp

    whatstcp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2018
    Member:
    #261584
    Messages:
    3,516
    Gender:
    Male
    IE, Ca
    Vehicle:
    2006 Tacoma Regular Cab 2.7l 4x4
    OEM Kings F/R non-adj. Icon AAL. Camburg UCA, Locked Offroad hydros rear, superbumps front
    you can try to find a higher powered handheld radio unit to see if that helps, but the heavily wooded area doesn't help much. Even in the military in the North Carolina woods low frequency radios are limited in their capability. You can do the gmrs route (probably best route to take, since studying for ham radio at 81 may be difficult) to find something that punches out at 10 watts or so with a good antenna.

    Besides that, find a nice comfortable fanny pack for him that can hold some water, snacks, a emergency whistle, and maybe something like a pen flare or a bear deterrent pistol to signal for help. Flourescent comfortable clothing like hunters wear can be bought from Walmart for relatively cheap (especially during off season when it goes on clearance).

    Provide a nice weatherproof watch that he can read and instruct him that if something were to ever occur, to stabilize himself if possible, make himself visible, and that at the top of of every hour he should blow the whistle/fire a flare straight up/or fire a bear deterrent. Also that he should find a way to announce that he is going out for his walk so that you can keep an ear open or eyes scanning tree tops if he doesn't return soon, and his route should be the same always.

    bear deterrent
    https://fithops.com/products/sight-...J-ogfJF4Y5um0jJpEIwegI44ac-23gnBoCE5MQAvD_BwE

    flare pen (this one can do both flares as well as bear bangers)
    https://www.cabelas.ca/product/4357/tru-flare-pen-style-flare-launcher-starter-kit
     

Products Discussed in

To Top