View Full Version : Two way Radios
Could anyone point me in the direction of a set of two way radios with a great range (10 miles or so). I'd prefer of satellite phones, but at £500 a time they aren't really worth it! What I want to be able to do is to talk to other members of my team in the mountains, up to at least 5 miles away. I know that mountains will dramatically shorten the range. Thanks!
Motorola do good ones I think but i've not used them. I think they are under £100 now.
With that sort of range in the mountains you're talking licenses etc I think.
And of course a price to match.
I have a trio of Cobra radios for beating but they have a much shorter range, and line of sight matters more.
There's a drive that we do where the guns stand one side of a hill and the beaters start form the other. It can be a struggle to talk to each other even though we're only a few hundred yards apart. With line of sight intact it will go a mile and a half without too much problem.
Good luck, let us know when you find one.
As Mark says, you are going to need a licensed radio for that sort of range. Unlicensed radios are only allowed to work on the frequency 446.
If you do a search on PMR 446 you'll come up with more information.
The gist is, that 446 is UHF which doesn't go through solid objects very well, hence line of sight is best. I've seen a report of someone getting a signal over 100 miles, but that was to someone in a plane!
You might think you can just change the aerial but legally you are only allowed an integral antenna with a maximum output of 500mw.
Some companies state their PMR radios will give 5 miles of range whereas others state 3 miles. In my experience, they are overstating the "real world" capabilities.
Our fell rescue team has the full licenced fancy 2 way radio system that will also connect to police, RAF etc. In the Dales where line of site isn't possible we still have have to reguarly relay message even over relatively short distances.
Even with the best hand held systems range can dramitcally reduced by the terrain.
Our fell rescue team has the full licenced fancy 2 way radio system that will also connect to police, RAF etc.
Just out of interest, do you know how much it costs them?
The only way to get that sort of range is by license.... that means either a amateur radio licence (ham radio) or PBR (bussiness freq).
On our site we use PBR. License is cheap and you get 15 channels (shared with those in you local area with the same license) You can 'buy'/rent frequencies which only you can use but they are very expensive.
We get about 16km range on motarola GP100's on PBR
There is no easy answer to this; it is difficult to deliver reliable comms over 5 miles in mountainous country. The solution usually used by RAYNET and the Royal Signals is to put an unmanned repeater station somewhere high up and configure the hand held radios to relay through it. This is not really a long term solution though (mind you, Canadian radio amateurs install solar and wind power and just leave the weatherproofed repeater up the hill. Works for them.). An alternative is to use a technique called NVIS which will give reliable comms in this situation, but requires horizontal wire antennas several metres long.
PMR 446 radios. Dirt cheap, UHF, licence free, but only half a watt to an integral antenna. Realistic range a mile at most (but >20 miles hilltop to hilltop). You will not be able to talk from valley to valley, as it is approximately line of sight.
Private business radio. VHF at 5 watts or UHF at 4 watts. Base or mobile stations can have more power. Licence needed, but thsis just needs money and no qualifications. 2 to 10 times the cost of PMR 466, but range slightly better, and equipment more robust.
CB. Up to 4 watts out. You might get 1 to 3 miles on ground wave even in the mountains. Hand helds available and cheap. Two sets of HF frequencies around 27MHz, UK only and European. UK freqs might be withdrawn in 2010 (no decision yet). As wavelength around 11 metres, really needs a long (2.5m) antenna to be useful, and 'rubber duck' aerials will be inefficient. You will get a lot of interference ('skip') in sunspot maximum years.
Amateur Radio. Three levels of licence. exam needed, plus 15 pounds a year. Can use up to 400watts on highest class. No commercial use allowed. All operators must be licensed and use government allocated callsigns. VHF and UHF handhelds -same pros and cons as private business radio. Satellite use possible but not helpful in this scenario. Some amateur repeaters are well sited and you might be in an area with good coverage.
Wow! Thanks for all the info!
So the kind of thing I'm looking for, is either Citizen Band radios, or a licenced PBR. Thanks again, I'll search for those :-)
So the kind of thing I'm looking for, is either Citizen Band radios, or a licenced PBR
To use PBR you need to be a registered company or a charity and you can only use then for that specific business use. If you only occasionaly want them for planned events it is possible to hire the radio units as the person renting the radios will hold a special license that will cover you for the time you are using them.
Oh ok. A CB radio then :-)