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Need walkie talkie recommendation 698

No Life Club Posts: 2,444 Learn to swim...
Need walkie talkie recommendation
« on: August 25, 2018, 05:03:36 PM »
Hey folks. I'm hoping to drag a few recommendations out of you all for a set of walkie talkies. I haven't used any since the 80's when I was a kid and really have no idea where to start.

The idea is keep a set up at the Ranch to help my brother, my dad, me and the kids keep in touch while running around up there. So here's what I think I'm looking for:
-good range. The Ranch is pretty much at the top of a small mountain in West Virginia and is only 11 acres so this may not be an issue but I feel like the more range, the more versatile.

-good battery life. Thinking it might be nice to have something rechargeable that will also accept AA or AAA NiMh eneloops or alkalines in case of power outage

-backlit display

-durable and preferably water resistant. If the kids are going to get their hands on them they'll have take at least a little abuse.

-weather channel might be nice

-Id like to limit the price to $100 or less for a pair


Any suggestions?
No Life Club Posts: 1,310
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2018, 01:05:24 PM »
I am prety sure that all sets should have similar features and capabilities really unless you can step up into models that let you swap antenna for more performance overall.

All of the readily available units are limited by the power outputs limited by the band they operate on so most in those bands will be equally capable.

CB has one set of maximum power,FMRS/GMRS has another and this along with most using fixed antenna will make them the same overall I think.

You might be able to find a CB unit that will allow you to improve the Antenna or allow for bigger longer lasting batteries but I have not really shopped for these in a long time either.

Or become a HAM and your options expand a lot!

I think you would be surprised at how easy getting a Ham Ticket is these days compared to what you had to do in the past. I know you used to be a Ham from the other forum.

73
No Life Club Posts: 2,444 Learn to swim...
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2018, 04:12:12 AM »
I am prety sure that all sets should have similar features and capabilities really unless you can step up into models that let you swap antenna for more performance overall.

All of the readily available units are limited by the power outputs limited by the band they operate on so most in those bands will be equally capable.

CB has one set of maximum power,FMRS/GMRS has another and this along with most using fixed antenna will make them the same overall I think.

You might be able to find a CB unit that will allow you to improve the Antenna or allow for bigger longer lasting batteries but I have not really shopped for these in a long time either.

Or become a HAM and your options expand a lot!

I think you would be surprised at how easy getting a Ham Ticket is these days compared to what you had to do in the past. I know you used to be a Ham from the other forum.

73

Thanks for the info! I do uhnd a set that seems like ticks all the boxes so I'll just go for them I think.  All this HAM talk is really starting to make me consider getting licensed again.  Have the rules and/or tests gotten easier since the early 90's?
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 21,867 Plumbers Know Their Crap!!
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2018, 05:34:05 AM »
I always wanted to get into ham but just never did, yet I brought walkie talkies up like half a year ago cause I was looking for something because of my medical, I gotta have someone with me 24/7, we fig if I can keep talking the other knows I’m ok, only thing if I’m pushing a snowblower and got no free hands what do I use to hold and press buttons?
JR

"The-Mad-Plumbarian" The Punisher Of Pipes!!! JR


Global Moderator Point Of No Return Posts: 37,833
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2018, 05:48:58 AM »
We've got a few different orcon and uniden sets.
Unless range is needed I carry the lower wattage ones because they are smaller.
Leave the higher watt unit with the cook, that way everyone can hear when dinner is ready.
Buy something that cradle charges, removing batteries to charge them is a royal hassle.
Friends have bought cheapo imports but they don't last that long.
No Life Club Posts: 1,310
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2018, 01:05:58 PM »
I am prety sure that all sets should have similar features and capabilities really unless you can step up into models that let you swap antenna for more performance overall.

All of the readily available units are limited by the power outputs limited by the band they operate on so most in those bands will be equally capable.

CB has one set of maximum power,FMRS/GMRS has another and this along with most using fixed antenna will make them the same overall I think.

You might be able to find a CB unit that will allow you to improve the Antenna or allow for bigger longer lasting batteries but I have not really shopped for these in a long time either.

Or become a HAM and your options expand a lot!

I think you would be surprised at how easy getting a Ham Ticket is these days compared to what you had to do in the past. I know you used to be a Ham from the other forum.

73

Thanks for the info! I do uhnd a set that seems like ticks all the boxes so I'll just go for them I think.  All this HAM talk is really starting to make me consider getting licensed again.  Have the rules and/or tests gotten easier since the early 90's?

YES!
Now the Tech test is just a multi-question test and there are online tests that you can practice with that use the same actual questions as the real test pool.
Sp many take the tests online until passing them easily and then you are set to take and pass the real thing.

So the quality of the process might be diluted somewhat by the online testing but the ease of getting you ticket now has gone up a lot, hopefully.

Once back in the fold you can get the Yaesu VX-150 for example which is a 2 meter Vertex Commercial HT made entirely of metal for $50 used pretty much all the time.
I use these for Emergency Comm Work and with a better antenna and Eneloop battery pack they will go all day long and are almost indestructible and a far cry from any of the cheap radios for sure.
No Life Club Posts: 1,310
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2018, 01:11:43 PM »
I always wanted to get into ham but just never did, yet I brought walkie talkies up like half a year ago cause I was looking for something because of my medical, I gotta have someone with me 24/7, we fig if I can keep talking the other knows I’m ok, only thing if I’m pushing a snowblower and got no free hands what do I use to hold and press buttons?
JR

Most HAM HTs have a VOX or Voice Operated transmit feature so that merely talking switched the transmit on and off but of course Snow Blowing might well add another set of problems for the VOX circuits I imagine?
You can always rig a headset and on body switch somehow to signal if you go down too. I have not done this myself yet though so am just spitballing here but in general HAM are a clever problem solving bunch too and I am sure this is not the first challenge like this to come up!
No Life Club Posts: 2,444 Learn to swim...
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2018, 01:53:29 PM »
I am prety sure that all sets should have similar features and capabilities really unless you can step up into models that let you swap antenna for more performance overall.

All of the readily available units are limited by the power outputs limited by the band they operate on so most in those bands will be equally capable.

CB has one set of maximum power,FMRS/GMRS has another and this along with most using fixed antenna will make them the same overall I think.

You might be able to find a CB unit that will allow you to improve the Antenna or allow for bigger longer lasting batteries but I have not really shopped for these in a long time either.

Or become a HAM and your options expand a lot!

I think you would be surprised at how easy getting a Ham Ticket is these days compared to what you had to do in the past. I know you used to be a Ham from the other forum.

73

Thanks for the info! I do uhnd a set that seems like ticks all the boxes so I'll just go for them I think.  All this HAM talk is really starting to make me consider getting licensed again.  Have the rules and/or tests gotten easier since the early 90's?

YES!
Now the Tech test is just a multi-question test and there are online tests that you can practice with that use the same actual questions as the real test pool.
Sp many take the tests online until passing them easily and then you are set to take and pass the real thing.

So the quality of the process might be diluted somewhat by the online testing but the ease of getting you ticket now has gone up a lot, hopefully.

Once back in the fold you can get the Yaesu VX-150 for example which is a 2 meter Vertex Commercial HT made entirely of metal for $50 used pretty much all the time.
I use these for Emergency Comm Work and with a better antenna and Eneloop battery pack they will go all day long and are almost indestructible and a far cry from any of the cheap radios for sure.

Good info.  I remember having to learn Morse code to get the plus license in order to use a handheld.  Will definitely look into this.
No Life Club Posts: 1,310
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2018, 01:55:32 PM »
No Code required at all for a Tech now.

I am prety sure that all sets should have similar features and capabilities really unless you can step up into models that let you swap antenna for more performance overall.

All of the readily available units are limited by the power outputs limited by the band they operate on so most in those bands will be equally capable.

CB has one set of maximum power,FMRS/GMRS has another and this along with most using fixed antenna will make them the same overall I think.

You might be able to find a CB unit that will allow you to improve the Antenna or allow for bigger longer lasting batteries but I have not really shopped for these in a long time either.

Or become a HAM and your options expand a lot!

I think you would be surprised at how easy getting a Ham Ticket is these days compared to what you had to do in the past. I know you used to be a Ham from the other forum.

73

Thanks for the info! I do uhnd a set that seems like ticks all the boxes so I'll just go for them I think.  All this HAM talk is really starting to make me consider getting licensed again.  Have the rules and/or tests gotten easier since the early 90's?

YES!
Now the Tech test is just a multi-question test and there are online tests that you can practice with that use the same actual questions as the real test pool.
Sp many take the tests online until passing them easily and then you are set to take and pass the real thing.

So the quality of the process might be diluted somewhat by the online testing but the ease of getting you ticket now has gone up a lot, hopefully.

Once back in the fold you can get the Yaesu VX-150 for example which is a 2 meter Vertex Commercial HT made entirely of metal for $50 used pretty much all the time.
I use these for Emergency Comm Work and with a better antenna and Eneloop battery pack they will go all day long and are almost indestructible and a far cry from any of the cheap radios for sure.

Good info.  I remember having to learn Morse code to get the plus license in order to use a handheld.  Will definitely look into this.
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 21,867 Plumbers Know Their Crap!!
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2018, 05:45:14 PM »
What do you need in order to get your #? Well beside a lot of $ for the equipment.. I thought you needed to learn code, no?
JR

"The-Mad-Plumbarian" The Punisher Of Pipes!!! JR


Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,821 Hidalgo, Castillo del Hook
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2018, 07:49:55 PM »
What do you need in order to get your #? Well beside a lot of $ for the equipment.. I thought you needed to learn code, no?
JR
Trimmed and slightly edited for clarity:  :cheers:



YES!
Now the Tech test is just a multi-question test and there are online tests that you can practice with that use the same actual questions as the real test pool.
Sp many take the tests online until passing them easily and then you are set to take and pass the real thing.

So the quality of the process might be diluted somewhat by the online testing but the ease of getting you ticket now has gone up a lot, hopefully.

Once back in the fold you can get the Yaesu VX-150 for example which is a 2 meter Vertex Commercial HT made entirely of metal for $50 used pretty much all the time.
I use these for Emergency Comm Work and with a better antenna and Eneloop battery pack they will go all day long and are almost indestructible and a far cry from any of the cheap radios for sure.

Good info.  I remember having to learn Morse code to get the plus license in order to use a handheld.  Will definitely look into this.
No Code required at all for a Tech now.

Hooked, like everyone else. ;)

All hail the hook!
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 21,867 Plumbers Know Their Crap!!
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2018, 08:21:27 PM »
Ok, so ham is now as small as a walkie? But how far can you talk, a few miles?  Or are you telling me you no longer need that 20’ tall poll up in the backyard to talk to someone overseas?
JR

"The-Mad-Plumbarian" The Punisher Of Pipes!!! JR


No Life Club Posts: 1,310
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2018, 09:31:06 PM »
Ok, so ham is now as small as a walkie? But how far can you talk, a few miles?  Or are you telling me you no longer need that 20’ tall poll up in the backyard to talk to someone overseas?
JR

Huh?

Amatuer Radio has always been about using the right tool for the specific job.
Luckily the way RF and Frequency interacts allows for use of many different bands of frequencies to deliver the performance needed for different uses in the RF spectrum.

So Ham has ALWAYS been about both Handheld Radios for short local talking mainly and also getting huge long metal radiators way up in the air and everything in between depending on where and how far you need to reach.

An Antenna suitable for one thing is often not OK for another in general terms.

The main purpose or reason many become Hams is to learn how and why this is and explore how to use and build the tools to make it possible,again in general terms.

So you can just get your Ticket,buy a cheap radio ad go to town and many do this just locally to start.
You can also make a life long hobby of learning how to be self-sufficient and communicate anywhere with little gear and it all just depends on your specific interests.

There is also a sort of recent integration of the Internet with Ham Radio that actually does allow one to talk from an HT to anywhere in the world using the Internet to link Radios and/or Computers and while many crusty old fart Hams have a huge issue with the notion of communicating not with RF and calling it Ham this is a growing ad viable new area as well.

Some of us think this idea of adding to pour bag of tricks by learning and experimenting is a good time while others see this as a tool for when times are bad and comms are needed.

Many embrace it all,like me!
Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 21,867 Plumbers Know Their Crap!!
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2018, 09:56:40 PM »
Yeah I always thought ham was that big block of radios in a room with a mic with push button attached to a huge antenna outside.. and of course all costing like $3000 and up..
   Then came comps and chat rooms, I used to talk to someone all the way in Australia, heck it’s how I met the wife who was 200mi away..

"The-Mad-Plumbarian" The Punisher Of Pipes!!! JR


No Life Club Posts: 1,622
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2018, 01:27:48 PM »
About 10 years ago I had a set of Cobra FMRS I used at work and I thought they were very good for my needs at the time. Don't recall make or model, but when I got out of that business, I gave them to a friend who was still in that business.

For the last few years, I had an old craigslist Cobra 25 with Dynamic Mike and Weather in my big Chevy Blazer. I transferred it to my Grand Cherokee but havent hooked it up...trying to decide where to put it.

With it, I used to hear every Cajun Cowboy from. Boston to FLA on channel 6, and I used to hear folks from Canada, and from Puerto Rico on channel 9, although I obviously couldn't reach them. Not many CB users here in North eastern US. Really would like to have a nice CB setup in the Grand Cherokee, though.

Had a number of cheap walkie talkies when I was a kid, and eventually destroyed them all.

Please correct me, but my basic understanding is that CB' s in car or handheld are 40 AM channels, usually no more than about 4 to 6 watts (5 miles-ish, unless somehow skipping) and Ham allows for much more powerful wattage and many more channels, usEd to need to know morse code, and need a special license. FMRS need no license, can communicate for a good distance, but when you want to use it for its best potential of 35 miles or so, an infrastructure of (already existing) repeaters and towers is used much like cell phones?

If that is correct, then when the zombie apocalypse happens, that kind of infrastructure could become useless, and CB / Ham may be the easiest, simplest, most reliable form of communication over 5 miles?
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,821 Hidalgo, Castillo del Hook
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2018, 01:56:28 PM »
Portable sets only, we all know the zombies will pull down HAM towers?  :think:

Hooked, like everyone else. ;)

All hail the hook!
No Life Club Posts: 1,622
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2018, 08:40:11 PM »
Portable sets only, we all know the zombies will pull down HAM towers?  :think:

Back in the '70's I had a set of Star Trek communicators that were just kid's walkie talkies. Would those do?

https://trekfederation.com/starbase1/star-trek/vintage-1974-mego-star-trek-communicator-walkie-talkies/
« Last Edit: September 03, 2018, 08:44:07 PM by ThundahBeagle »
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 13,821 Hidalgo, Castillo del Hook
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2018, 08:44:04 PM »
Portable sets only, we all know the zombies will pull down HAM towers?  :think:

Back in the '70's I had a set of Star Trek communicators that were just kid's walkie talkies. Would those do?
I’m thinking of a backpack sized unit.  :think: :D
With retractable antenna!

Funny how we have satellite phones, which are pretty much exactly like Star Trek communicators in real life.  :ahhh

Hooked, like everyone else. ;)

All hail the hook!
No Life Club Posts: 2,444 Learn to swim...
Re: Need walkie talkie recommendation
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2018, 04:21:26 AM »
Thought I'd stop back in here and follow up.
I ended up with this 4 pack of Arcshells.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B071WBN7TT#Ask

Cheap and had good reviews.  Only have tried them around the house but I'll stretch my legs next time I'm at the Ranch and see what kind of range they get.  Rereading the replies in here reminded me I need to look into getting a new game license.   Thanks everyone!

 

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