Two way radios and rafting - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-21-2019   #1
 
Dr.AndyDVM's Avatar
 
Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2014
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Two way radios and rafting

I was going to buy some 2 way radios for camping. Then I got to thinking, they could be really great for rafting. Either on day run situations with multiple boats or multi day trips too.

Do any of you have any experience with these?

Do places like Hells Canyon have GMRS repeater stations to expand range?


Are those Garmin Rino’s worth the $$$. Should I stick to the cheap blister pack from Costco? Should I get a marine band set or get an FCC license for the GMRS or UHF or VHF?

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Old 04-21-2019   #2
 
Norcalcoastie's Avatar
 
Eureka, California
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Iím a big believer in comms. For what itís worth I like the reasonably priced (~$100) waterproof FRS radios. In my day job, Iím a Coast Guardsman and canít tell you how useful a radio is. Not only in daily comms (side canyon hikes, comms between distant rafts, etc) but also in rescues. Kids also think theyíre super cool. I make sure each raft leader has a radio in their pfd if i can help it. Iíve gotten my raft good and stuck on rocks before and it was really nice to be able to chat with my rescuers and develop a plan.

GMRS radios are cool - but require more understanding and a license. If you can do it, my understanding is that they have more range. Though Iím far from an expert. In my opinion FRS is awesome for the casual user and any comms are better than none.

Also when shit really goes wrong itís very nice to to be able to chat with professional rescuers. 9 times out of 10 we donít know the whole situation. Make a comms plan in which everyone knows which channel you will be using as a group, and what channel pros will be on (ch 16 VHF, 156.8 MHz) during a rescue. Additionally I carry a PLB, but some of the areas I float are rather remote.
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Old 04-21-2019   #3
 
Hillsboro, Oregon
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I have the rino 530 HCxís. We used to use them for hunting, otherwise I wouldnít have them.
I use the gps function as well, as I like to know how many miles weíve floated, speed, etc.
Batteries last about four days.
They are only good for line of sight though. Someone gets around a corner and they wonít hear you.
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Old 04-22-2019   #4
 
MT4Runner's Avatar
 
Kalispell, Montana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norcalcoastie View Post
Also when shit really goes wrong itís very nice to to be able to chat with professional rescuers. 9 times out of 10 we donít know the whole situation. Make a comms plan in which everyone knows which channel you will be using as a group, and what channel pros will be on (ch 16 VHF, 156.8 MHz) during a rescue. Additionally I carry a PLB, but some of the areas I float are rather remote.

Knowing what channels the pros are on is huge--as is knowing your own channels. If you write down the channels you will be monitoring--(with frequencies, not just "Ch. 1, Ch. 2")--it could also make things that much easier for rescuers to help YOU.

Note that it's generally illegal to transmit on the pros frequencies, but it's not illegal to have them programmed into your radio, and you're probably not going to get in trouble for using that freq if you're having a very bad day and need to communicate with them.


Both commercial VHF and Ham radios can be programmed with frequencies of your choosing. You should have a Ham radio license to xmit on a ham radio, but again, if you have an awful day, you should use it and apologize later. There are two VHF frequencies allocated for public use, but you're limited to 5W transmit power:

Blue Dot 154.570 MHz MURS Green Dot 154.600 MHz MURS
These are the same frequencies that McDonald's/etc use in their drive-throughs. You could use these without a license for coordinating a group rescue...but don't bump the power trying to reach out or you'll mess with other licensed and unlicensed users..adn the FCC can levy some hefty fines.


There's always that one ham nerd on every online discussion about comms...most of them are know-it-alls and deathly afraid of the FCC. I've got a good general idea of the "dos and do not's", feel free to ask...or maybe i'm just the annoying nerdy kia. haha.
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Old 04-22-2019   #5
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 89
Baofeng GT-3WP.

$39 each on amazon, water resistant, battery life is awesome, range is good, includes FM radio, flashlight, & other features. We have one on every boat.
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