2 Way Radio Communicating

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#1
I am considering purchasing 2 way radios for communicating as many of the areas I ride lack cell service.

Do any of you use such devices while riding? Can you tell me what sort of limiting factors there are on their use: range, terrain, battery life.

Is there a particular product you would recommend?

Thanks.

Ryan.
 

High Lord Gomer

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#3
Right place, just not a subject many people will have experience with. Since MX and trail riding takes all of your concentration, the distraction of trying to talk to someone while doing it would be difficult at best and dangerous at worst.

I tried the Chatterbox units from HJC for use on the street bike a couple years ago and was not impressed. I think they would do even worse in an offroad situation.
 
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#4
Thanks for your reply. Actually someone thoughtfully relocated this misplaced thread shortly after I posted it.

I'm not intending to use the radio for talking "en route" so much as for a safety feature in the event of trouble. I'm probably being overly optimistic to consider this a possible back up plan. I suspect distance will be an issue, although I can't find any information on range for the unit I looked at.

It seems like a lot of money to throw at it if it isn't going to accomplish the task. Thank you.
 

XRpredator

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#6
ryankdx12 said:
Let me broaden the question: What about GPS trackers? What are the limiting factors of those?
Far as I know about those, you only know where the other guy is as long as he has his turned on.

I hope Kiwi chimes in, I think he's spent some time with these.
 
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#7
I use Midland GXT600VP4 with an advertised range of 18 mile. I assume thats over water thought, but they will reach over a mile deep in the mountains. I use mine out the races (harescrambles) and there lots of other people with 2-ways that interferes with them somewhat. They have privacy codes that you can use that enables you to only hear your own radio's but if someone else keys down it can still step on your signal.
They are pretty good for the money depending on how you want to use them. From what I can tell the next step up would be commercial 2-ways at about 400 bucks each I'm not ready to go that route yet.
 

TwinSpar

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#9
As a general rule of thumb, 2-ways will get you about a mile for every watt of power that they transmit at. That's a general estimate that is probably more real world than what you will see some advertising proclaiming. Many of the distances that they advertise are in optimal conditions (i.e. flat ground/lake or mountain down into a valley).

I've used 2-ways between vehicles (2 watt units) that were usually good to about 2 miles. You have to keep in mind that there was no external antenna so the radio was transmitting from within a vehicle interior. Different vehicles will have different levels of antenna performance than others. I had a BMW and a Toyota truck, and was moving from KS to MD. I had to get an external antenna for the BMW to even use the radio outside of a 1/2 mile separation. I think it must have been shielded in lead. LOL
 
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#10
I looked at the ones in rockymountainatv.com 's catalog for awhile. They have a noise cancellation feature, and are hands free. We were talking about trying them out when we go out in big groups in the event someone gets separated. They had some decent reviews on different websites, but I didn't try them out myself. Something more important always comes up when I think about buying them. :)
 

dirt bike dave

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#11
A decade or so agao, my buddies and I had some cheap ones from Radio Shack. We wanted to be able to communicate on the trail, and so the lead guy could say what way he went at a fork in the trail, instead of waiting for the next rider. I think we used them twice before shelving them.

Range was supposed to be 1 mile, but actual in the woods/mountains was maybe 1/2 that. We tried push button activation and external mics, as well as voice activated (ear piece inside your ear). The voice activated ear units were annoying to ride with, and often would not transmit when they were supposed to. The button activation was more reliable, but it was awkward to use while moving.
 

kmccune

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#12
Amy and I use them with a headset when we ride together. This allows me a little more freedom to ride my own pace, with out stopping at every corner. It is a little strange to have a voice in your ear when you are concentrating on not hitting a tree or falling off the side of a hill though :laugh: But it is a good safety item for us. I think ours are 2 watt midland units and they work well. The head set (actually a ear piece with a mic boom) make it a little bit of a pain to put your helmet on, but it works out OK.
 
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#13
I often carry one of the GMRS (higher powered version of the FRS radios) when I ride. Not to communicate while I am riding but to communicate back to camp if needed.

There have been a couple of times it came in handy.

Once my son (20 years old), a friend (30 something) and my nephew (age 9) were out riding and my nephew got separated. My nephew knew the way back to camp so he just returned. The other two were frantically looking for him. Unfortunately, we were in a riding area that has 58,000 acres of open riding (you can go anywhere/direction you want) and the possibilities were endless. When they back tracked and didn't find him they radioed camp and we informed them that he was already back.

Another time my bike broke down and my son had to go back to camp to get the trailer. I was several miles from camp and not in an easily recognized spot, which made returning to the same spot a bit difficult. I could see his dust from quite a ways, however. Having the radio allowed me to say "nope, you need to go left now!"

With a VHF/UHF radio the transmission is basically line of sight. If you can see the other station you can talk to them, even with very low power. If you can't see them then you are relying on a signal bounce, off a canyon wall, mountain, building, etc. If there is a mountain between you and the other station you are just plain out of luck.

I have been thinking about using a VOX system when I ride with my wife. I get tired of looking back all the time and stopping frequently to see how she is doing.

I wouldn't use it when I ride with my son. It would be too embarassing to have everyone at camp hear my screams of terror as I try to follow him.


Rod
 

kmccune

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#14
rmc_olderthandirt said:
I have been thinking about using a VOX system when I ride with my wife. I get tired of looking back all the time and stopping frequently to see how she is doing.


Rod
Works well... just don't let her hear you make even a single remotely negative peep over her headset, or you will be in deep trouble mister. Trust me on this one :whoa:
 
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#15
rmc_olderthandirt said:
I often carry one of the GMRS (higher powered version of the FRS radios) when I ride. Not to communicate while I am riding but to communicate back to camp if needed.
Rod
Rod, do you know the range/other limitations on these?

ryankdx12 said:
Let me broaden the question: What about GPS trackers? What are the limiting factors of those?
Are these a sort of "Locater" beacon? You know "Mom fell off the cliff here"..."X marks the spot?"

Can anyone tell me more about these? Kids are going back to school... It's time for me to go riding! :cool: