scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Re: walkie talkie
Sun Aug 27 2000 - 15:33:47 CDT
Mark Arend wrote:
> What's the experience out there? Are they worth the expense or an
> unnecessary frill?
I regularly use 2 types of radios at work. 1)FRS Radios,
Motorola FR50's and FR60's and 2)"business band" Radios,
Motorola Spirit II's
The FRS radios do not require an FCC license, the Spirits
do. Neither type requires a repeater or base station.
We use the FRS radios in large buildings to keep in contact
and for testing. The work within a building 200,000 -300,00
sq. ft. in size and within a 1/2 mile or so outside. They
use disposable batteries and if you don't do lot of
"gabbing", 3 AA batteries are good for about 16-24 hours of
continuous standby time. They cost around $80 for a pair.
We use the business band radios in multistory, steel
buildings and in campus environments. They seem to work well
within a 1- 2 mile radius. Advertised ranges are up to 4-5
miles but we don't use them in vehicles and I've not had the
opportunity to test them beyond 2 miles or so. They use a
rechargeable battery and yield anywhere from 12 - 20 hours
of standby time. They cost about $180 each.
FWIW, we carried a pair of FRS radios on a backpacking
outing about a year ago. I don't remember the brand but
they were not Motorola and they only had 2 channels.
I think they (the FRS radios) are dangerous for use on the
road since you have to stay fairly close to the other
vehicle(s) and end up "convoying" and/or speeding to stay in
range. At least, that was my experience.
On the trail (Ramsey's Draft, George Washington National
Forest, VA - mountainous and heavily wooded), while hiking
in 2 small groups, the lead group easily outran radio
coverage within a 1/2 mile or less.
I wouldn't want to rely on the FRS radios for emergency
communication. I don't think the business band radios would
be a practical alternative either because of cost and the
need to recharge them.