It seems as of late we’ve been asked more and more what we do for 2-way radios. Usually the answer is a cell phone. However sometimes the cell phone just is not as convenient as using a 2-way radio. 2-way radios are fast with no dialing, and that’s convenient. And when the need arises you can talk to multiple people at the same time. This often comes in very handy if you’re doing a caravan, off roading, hiking, etc. Just an FYI, you cannot get cell phone in all places as much as you would think you could. (I know you all knew that, I was just making a point.)
But let’s face it, all 2-way Radios are not created equally. Not by a long shot! I have always loved the claims of a 45 mile range!!! That’s total BS. Not unless you are in the Sahara desert with no other RF interference whatsoever and you’re standing on the tallest sand dunes at the tallest point that that might be possible. But again highly doubtful based solely on the amount of wattage that it is legally able to be putting out. I have no idea how these claims can even be allowed to be right on the boxes as it is clearly false advertising.
So anyway, what do we do? We spend money. Sounds strange to say it that way I guess, but it is what you have to do if you want radios that you can count on. Motorola makes all types of radios as you all know. But there’s a huge difference between consumer grade and commercial grade. And along with that is a large difference in price point. But if you want something that you can trust and count on to work, you have to go with commercial grade. IMHO
I know I’m going to get flooded with emails or comments about how “these radios are way to much money”, “these radios are better than those”, or “these radios work just as good for $10”. So how do I put this? I guess bluntly…I don’t care. All of this is by our humble opinion and I do not care if you think we spent to much. :) I’ve been asked about this topic time and time again, I’ve never talked about it because I never wanted to be attacked for spending the money I did on radios. Simple as that. Even in the last video I did on the Mach 8 air-conditioning hush kits, I got comments and emails asking me about the radios I was using to communicate with Brenda.
So anyways, if it makes anyone feel any better, I buy reconditioned radios, thus I’m not paying full price for new ones. Yippee! I found this great guy on eBay that does great work and was very good to work with. Here’s the link to his site …Bowden2way. He has many different refurbished models and will help you find the right fit. (If you purchase, please let him know we said hello.)
Don’t be shocked by the price for these are NOT toys. Well actually, go ahead and be shocked all you want, just don’t tell me about it. LOL We own four so when we are with friends we have them as needed. Be it driving In a caravan or hiking, these will do the job the “45 mile range” ones can not.
Their you have it and now you know. Let the beatings begin. Oh, I also did a quick video as videos can be quicker to make vs the time to write a blog post. Plus they can be more fun. :)
Are you properly licensed to transmit using these radios?
Hi Tom…As you of all people would know, it is based on how the radios are being used freq and power wise. The FCC asks that all users obtain a license. I read somewhere that like 95% of people do not acquire a license even though they should based on use.
FCC doesn’t base their equipment licensing requirements on “how radios are used and power”. If they did, people could simply say they’re “using their radios in ways that don’t require licensing”, and that would be the end of it.
It’s more complicated than that, and the answer deals with modes of transmission (AM,FM,SSB,TTY,etc), frequency, radiated power, etc. There are also rules on what kinds of information/data is allowed to be transmitted on those allocated frequencies. It’s not a simple proposition.
But on the choice of 2-way equipment for RVing, I agree with yours. I happen to be a licensed US Amateur Radio Extra class operator, so I do have some operating privileges that might give me some choices regarding 2-way RV equipment. However, I chose the Motorola MURS model RMM2050 tranceivers for use with our Tiffin Allegro Bus, which operate in a frequency band which requires no licensing.
They’ve lived up to the reputation earned by the Motorola brand name, and I’m totally satisfied with them. They’ve beat all the wannabe’s in terms of performance and durability by a lot, and I tried a bunch of the cheapies. These guys take a licking and keep on ticking.
David, Those statistics are probably accurate. The MURS (Multi Use Radio Service) radio bands are the only ones you can legally transmit on without a license and would probably perform great for applications similar to yours.
I used various brands commercial grade 2-way radios throughout my 33 year career in law enforcement. While you might achieve a bit of an advantage with the commercial grade radios, transmission and reception quality is almost always affected by LOS (line of sight), as you mentioned; the exception being the ability to use a commercial repeater system, which will not apply to RVers in virtually all circumstances. We have used “off the shelf” radios and I wholly agree that the “45 mile” range is complete BS. But we have found that, when caravaning, unless the units were more than 2 – 3 miles apart, they were more than adequate. Not a scientific study but just our experiences. Love your blogs and videos!
Hi John….I had not found one that worked more than 4 or 5 coaches back. LOL. Even around an RV park is up for grabs if those will work. After going through 5 sets of different radios, I finely broke down and spent the money to get ones I could count on. In a non-scientific test, actually did just over 8 miles with these radios. https://outsideourbubble.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/screenshot_1665.png
“I do not care if you think we spent to much.”
Great point. I say, “Spend more money up front and buy it once (and enjoy using it), or spend even more and buy it twice.” I’m sure I’m not the first to say this.
Love watching you two.
We use these radios while RVing, trekking and paragliding. Great radios for the $$