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Thursday, 8 March 2018

How To Find The Best Walkie Talkie


The process of finding the ideal walkie talkie can be long and tiresome, involving quite a bit of research. If you’d rather just pick one of the year’s best devices, we suggest that you read top walkie talkie reviews here. However, if you want to get into the nitty-gritty of walkie talkies and learn how to choose one on your own, read our comprehensive guide below:

The Considerations

There are a lot of factors to consider before you pull the trigger on a walkie talkie, from its build quality to the range it offers. The best approach is to think about what you’re going to be using the walkie talkie for and then figure out what features are required for that purpose. For instance, if you’re going to use it on hiking or camping trips, you’d ideally require:
  • Long-range or coverage
  • A rugged build
  • A waterproof design
  • Emergency features
  • A backlit LCD screen
  • Dedicated weather alert channels

Here are the factors you need to consider when determining which two-way radio is the best for you.

Range

The range is the maximum distance over which you can send and receive radio transmissions. There are a few things that affect the maximum range of a walkie talkie. First and foremost, physical objects like trees and buildings can obstruct the path of the signal. Hence, the more open the area is, the greater your device’s coverage will be.

However, certain walkie talkies aren’t all that limited by trees and buildings. These are devices that operate on VHF (Very High Frequency) bands rather than UHF (Ultra High Frequency). VHF signals have longer wavelengths than UHF ones and so are better at penetrating solid material such as stone, wood, brick, and concrete.

Power output is another factor that impacts the range that a walkie talkie is able to achieve. When the power output is greater, the radio signal is endowed with more energy, which in turn allows it to penetrate obstructions better.

Last but not least, you’d need to acquire a GMRS license in order to unlock the maximum potential range of a walkie talkie. A GMRS license permits you to use repeaters, which are large structures that boost the strength of your signal, allowing you to transmit over extremely long distances.

Build Quality

While build quality may not matter much for light personal use, it definitely does for outdoor activities and commercial applications. For instance, if you’re planning to take your walkie talkie on a rock climbing trip, then you ideally need one that can take a beating.

The most rugged walkie talkies are those that are specifically built with outdoorsmen in mind. This includes units such as the Motorola MR350R, Midland GXT1000VP4, and Cobra CXT1045R-FLT.

Number of Channels

Certain walkie talkies like the Midland GXT1000VP4 offer around 50 channels. These are ideal for large-scale commercial operations such as mall security, where you’d need to be in contact with many personnel.

In contrast, the typical walkie talkie should give you about 20 channels, which is ample for day-to-day use. In addition to the number of regular channels, you should pay attention to the amount of weather alert channels offered. Thankfully, you will get around 10 dedicated NOAA channels with most walkie talkies.

FRS and GMRS

Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) are two types of channels which walkie talkies operate on. While both FRS and GMRS occupy the same frequency band, only the former can be used without a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license. The GMRS license costs about $70 and is valid for ten years. You have to be at least 18 years old in order to apply for one.

Due to the license requirement, GMRS channels are more private than FRS ones, making them ideal for business applications.

As mentioned previously, GMRS licenses also allow you to use repeaters and boost your signal over great distances.

Battery Life

Battery life is particularly important for outdoor activities. You’d ideally need a walkie talkie that runs for at least 8 to 10 hours on light use.

Most cheap devices run on either AA or AAA batteries, which don’t give you that much power. If you want a walkie talkie with a really long lifespan, we suggest purchasing one that runs on Nickel-Cadmium, lithium-ion or nickel-metal hydride batteries.

Some walkie talkies like the Retevis R27 offer battery-conserving features which can really come in handy during an emergency.

Extra Features

Things like a built-in flashlight, Privacy Codes, and a VOX feature are extras which are nice to have, especially for those who participate in intense outdoor activities. However, when picking out a walkie talkie, priority must be given to things like range, build quality and battery life.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to consider before you purchase a walkie talkie. You need to think about what kind of coverage you’ll need, whether the design should be particularly rugged, whether you’ll need more than 20 channels, how many hours you would use it on a single charge and more.

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