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Communications Radio – Need Opinions


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I was wondering if anyone has an opinion on a radio that will actually work for say 10 miles? I’ve tried a couple of hand held models but seems they are only good for maybe a mile (even though they claim 5 miles plus)

We do a fair amount of day camping where some part of the group is on the beach and would like to communicate with the boat.

Thanks!

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I was wondering if anyone has an opinion on a radio that will actually work for say 10 miles? I’ve tried a couple of hand held models but seems they are only good for maybe a mile (even though they claim 5 miles plus)

We do a fair amount of day camping where some part of the group is on the beach and would like to communicate with the boat.

Thanks!

VHF is what is used on commercial boats. Might be regulations not allowing them for pleasurecraft though......

AF1

Edited by Air Force 1
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I was wondering if anyone has an opinion on a radio that will actually work for say 10 miles? I’ve tried a couple of hand held models but seems they are only good for maybe a mile (even though they claim 5 miles plus)

We do a fair amount of day camping where some part of the group is on the beach and would like to communicate with the boat.

Thanks!

VHF is what is used on commercial boats. Might be regulations not allowing them for pleasurecraft though......

AF1

Errr, no VHF radios are for all boats.

I would say your only option is going with a mounted VHF w/ antenna to get the range you are looking for. Maybe you could do a quazi permanent install mounting the antenna to the tower only when you need it?

-Chris

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I and most of my lake buddies have VHF radios in our boats. VHF is line of sight reception. So on a lake that has hills, trees, and coves it will not reach 10 miles, but may work 5 to 6 miles with a good antenna. You would have to be on open water or very flat land to communicate 10 miles.

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What about a CB radio? I've only used them on the hydroplane race course, which is maybe 2 or 3 miles long.

Seems like it works over hills & valleys when in a truck. And 10 miles isn't that far.

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I have a hand held VHF that we sometimes use to talk to the mounted house boat VHF radio. The hand held is only good to about 2-5 miles around most of our lake I'm sure farther if it was line of sight. The HBs full size radio works a lot better. But to be honest most of the time we just use the cell phone, it works at many spots all over our lake now :)

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Back home (WI) my buddies and I used VHF radios for hunting purposes. All had them in our trucks and w/ the large, whip-style antenna's got about 25 miles range out of them. We used ICOM VHF receivers as they are very powerful and have great range and programmability. Only downfall is that you need to have someone that knows how to program them for what you want to use them for. Oh, and they are very expensive.

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I've done a lot of research on this topic and over the years have progressed to a system that works great!! It aint cheap, and it requires some configuring, but the end result is a very clear communication system with a good range.

I hooked up some ICOM and Motorola UHF radios and programmed them onto GMRS frequencies. They work very, very well. UHF typically has better range than VHF, and does not have to be line of sight. The most important thing is antenna length and the height of the antenna in respect to the terrain you are on. 99response is right on with the semi-permanent mount idea. If you could climb a tree and strap a 4' UHF antenna 10 or 20 feet above grade you would be in very, very good shape.

Check out www.GMRS.org for some good info.

Here are the devices I use

- I’ve got one of these installed in the boat, another one in our lake house. It works all over our lake with no problems, but I've never tested the range beyond that. Audio quality is loud and clear! http://cgi.ebay.com/UHF-GMRS-Kenwood-TK-80...p3286.m20.l1116

We've got a few hand held units similar to this that are programmed on the same frequency and work with the rest of the radios: http://cgi.ebay.com/Icom-IC-F40GT-256ch-4W...p3286.m20.l1116

The hand held units by them selves are only good for about half a mile or so in the woods and mountains. A few miles over water. But when you go hand held to mobile base unit your range increases dramatically. You get the best range if you go mobile base to mobile base unit.

The whole system works great! I love it, and its nice to have a base station installed in the boat and in the house. You could install one of the radios in a vehicle if you wanted too.

The range and audio quality is awesome. Comparable to what police and fire use. Police and fire get good range since they have repeaters stationed at high locations. The average consumer cant easily do this, but with some good equipment, and good antennas placed in good locations you should easily be able to get 5 or 10 miles with the equipment I gave you the links too.

Keep in mind:

1 – technically you should get a GMRS radio license (no test required, just a small fee for a block of several years of usage).

2 - some GMRS frequencies overlap with FRS frequencies (the ones the cheep blister pack radios families use). If you are in a densely packed area with lots of FRS radio use (ski area's and amusement parks come to mind), you might end up not being able to find a un-used channel (then you simply have to listen to others occasionally). This almost never happens to me since we use them in a fairly remote area, and there are many channels to choose from.

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