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Old 02-05-2013   #1
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 47
Two way radios

As an outdoor enthusiast, I find that two way radios will be useful for many applications. I plan on using these on the river, skiing, and even for international travel where cell phone roaming is $$expensive. Does anyone have any recommendations for radios?

These Motorola's look pretty good for the river since they're waterproof: Motorola MS350R 35-Mile Talkabout Waterproof 2-Way Radio (Pair): Car Electronics


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Old 02-05-2013   #2
Avatard's Avatar
portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
you want waterproof and submersible, and something that floats. rechargeable is a plus as you don't want to be taking the batteries out all the time as this seam is a potential leak spot.

the ones i have are similar to these. Not enough long term use to recommend them however.

You can pretty much throw out the "quoted range" however in a canyon. Pretty much good around a bend but that's all you can expect ...

Cabela's: Two Submersibel/Floating 50 mile Range FRS/GMRS Radios

Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 02-05-2013   #3
glenn's Avatar
BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
I have a pair of the MT350R's which I picked up at Costco for under $50. I believe they are more or less the same radios. I think they are a little on the bulky side for skiing and don't plan on taking them on standard paddling missions. The range is much closer to 1-2 miles in typical ski terrain with cliffs, ridges and trees potentially separating you. That said it's more than sufficient. The radios also struggled with cold temperatures requiring them to be worn inside the jacket on a long day in the BC with temps in the single digits and teens. Once warmed up they came back to life, but I was un-aware that of missed messages until I tried to transmit and wasn't getting appropriate feedback from the unit.

FTC requires an $80 permit to use many of the channels at full power and some channels at all. These radios operating on some channels with adequate power may have the ability to tap into repeaters sending your transmissions hundreds of miles. The lower power channels have less distance but still sufficient for my needs. Enforcement in the U.S. is limited but the radio guys really don't like the abuse of the system. It's a somewhat complex issues with potentially changing laws down the road. Bottom line is if you buy a radio which opens up the doors to restricted channels please pay by the rules.

I would be quite wary of international traveling and radio usage as radio transmission laws vary by country, and using the wrong frequency/power combinations could be problematic.
The sunshine walked beside her
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Old 02-05-2013   #4
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 47
Great feedback. Some of my friends work with high powered, expensive radios, but I'm looking for something more practical. I'll do some additional research. In regards to travelling, it would be nice to have communication in a car/boat caravan, or simply to ask my friend to bring me something from the hotel to the beach. For the most part, I don't need tremendous range. I'd still like to get the most bang for my buck. Thanks.
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Old 02-05-2013   #5
hojo's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,234
I use HAM radios. Several manufacturers makes a few hand held models that have submersible ratings. With that said, I also have a HAM license which is a barrier to use in most respects. They can be modded to xmit on FRS/GMRS but it's technically illegal and they are expensive. Speaking of radios for the snow, BCA is coming out with a radio product specifically for back country educationalists. They were showing it at the SIA show but it's not on their website yet.
On the river, I can abandon who I am and what I've done. However brief it lasts, while on the river I am nothing important and everything insignificant. I am flotsam, and happy to be so.
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