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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-24-2012, 10:57 PM
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Default 5 watt handheld radio transmit distance

What would be the average miles at the most a 5 Watt handheld radio
Will transmit ?

Thanks
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:42 PM
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 6_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/536.26 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/6.0 Mobile/10A523 Safari/8536.25)

It depends. Average? Coupla miles. Oh, you're on the balcony of the 20th floor? Then much more.
Not really, you say? More like in a basement? Then much less. In a car with a rubber duck antenna? Then less. Oh wait... You say the car is on a scenic overlook? Then much more. Now you're in a building, but before you were on the roof? Then much less. You are using WHAT frequency? Then more or less depending in terrain, foliage, elevation, and construction materials used in nearby structures.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:44 PM
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This is a difficult question to answer. Many variables would determine the range of a 5 watt HT. All of the following factors would affect range:

-Efficiecy of antenna. Most use "rubber duck" types which are VERY inefficient. There are some "after market" (and longer) antennas available for most radios which ARE more efficient giving your radio more gain for transmitting and receiving.

-Terrain. Range is much better over flat, unobstructed ground. Trees, hills, buildings, powerlines, etc., all have a negative impact on range.

-When talking through a repeater with a HIGH antenna, range can be greatly improved. When working with other ground level HTs directly (SIMPLEX), range is limited by terrain, obstructions, etc.

IN GENERAL....I have found that a typical 5 watt HT in an crowded urban area has a SIMPLEX range of abount 1 or 2 miles, or less. That's talking directly with another HT. Yes, you might be able to talk farther, but not reliably. That same HT communicating through a repeater with a HIGH antenna can reliably reach that repeater 5-10 miles out in the same urban environment. Distances would be much greater over flat, open country, like along the beach, etc.

I have easily talked simplex distances of 40-50 miles (and even more) when located on a high mountaintop, like Pikes Peak.

So, there is no simple answer to your question without knowing all the parameters involved in your situation.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:52 AM
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Like the others say, the range of a 5 watt HT depends pretty much on two very important things. How high you are (assuming you're in the clear) and how high the other party is (also assuming that they're in the clear). I was able to regularly use my HT (2 meters pushing 5 watts out) to hit a repeater about 70 miles away. This was only when I was on the roof of a 16 story building and the repeater was near the top of a 1500 foot tower. At the base of that very same building, I could barely hear that same repeater using my mobile rig and 5/8 wave antenna, let alone using my HT.

One thing to think about when using an HT to transmit is what we most often hear during a Skywarn net when someone checks in using an HT. That is the net control station asking them "Station attempting to check in, can you improve your location?". It can be done, but be aware that an HT will have limited range, especially when talking to another HT. For a mobile or base station the range will be a bit better and when using a repeater, the range will be even greater. Any guesses on what those ranges are will totally depend on your location and the location of the other station (or repeater if you're using one).
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Old 11-25-2012, 1:23 AM
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There is no 'average transmitting distance' with any hand held radio. Distance is a terrible way to compare HTs or 'regular' radios. It will always depend on the antenna's location of both parties, not just the one using the HT.
HTs are for convenience only, they are a substitute for a "real" radio in very specific instances. The first compromise with an HT is it's antenna, and that's probably it's biggest compromise. Their second compromise is probably their power source, and the third it's usability or ease of use, making changes etc. Their use is almost always going to be less than the users expectations.
Nothing 'new' in this post, just a summary of what's already been said. In general, they certainly can be of benefit in specific instances, but will never have the abilities of more inconvenient means of operating.
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Old 11-25-2012, 1:28 AM
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Although the OP did not mention the type of HT, band, or frequency, because it is posted here, my comments apply to scanning ham frequencies. Modulation of each radio can make one easier to hear at longer distances than some. HT to HT is variable. To reach a repeater, often depends of the sensitivity of the repeater, it's antenna, height, etc.. Or search the files hear and you will find various answers. But HTs make good for monitor repeaters or simplex up to 20 miles. If you really what greater distances, then bigger power radios are required.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:13 AM
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I love pushing the limit of my HT. I have hit repeaters 40 Miles away from inside Everglades National Park.
1) Make sure your batteries are fully charged
2) Use a good antenna
3) Height is your best friend.

If possible use a directional antenna. I built one and it works well Tape Measure Yagi Antenna Construction
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:23 AM
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Think of an HT as a flashlight and ask yourself how far will someone be able to see the light from your flashlight if you shine it at them.

If obstructions get in the way like woods or buildings, you still may see the light from the other side but it will be diminished. If you are on the rooftop of a building and shine it down to someone on the sidewalk, they'll see the light very strongly. And terrain can also effect it. Just as a car coming over a hill towards you at night, you will see some of their headlights before they get to the top of the hill, terrain can block a lot of light just as it can block a lot (or all) of a radio signal.

But that's line-of-sight for ya.

Last edited by rapidcharger; 11-25-2012 at 11:09 AM..
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:58 AM
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Everyone has made an assumption here, and the answers given are predicated on, that the OP is talking about VHF/UHF HTs. This is a pretty "safe" assumption because that is going to be probably a good deal more than 90% of the people who use the term HT.

If the OP is talking about an HT in the HF range, admittedly unlikely, but possible, the answers are less applicable.

To the OP, what freqs or freq ranges are you interested in? If VHF/UHF the answers given so far pretty much cover the all the basics. If HF, there are other factors. Something like 6M falls between and shares factors from each group.

T!
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Token View Post
Everyone has made an assumption here, and the answers given are predicated on, that the OP is talking about VHF/UHF HTs. This is a pretty "safe" assumption because that is going to be probably a good deal more than 90% of the people who use the term HT.

If the OP is talking about an HT in the HF range, admittedly unlikely, but possible, the answers are less applicable.

To the OP, what freqs or freq ranges are you interested in? If VHF/UHF the answers given so far pretty much cover the all the basics. If HF, there are other factors. Something like 6M falls between and shares factors from each group.

T!
My word you mean to tell me they make an ht in high frequency? well slap me naked and hide my clothes where can you buy one of these radios and who makes them?
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:38 PM
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"Everyone has made an assumption here, and the answers given are predicated on, that the OP is talking about VHF/UHF HTs."

Take another look at post #6. Nothing was said about VHF/UHF, nothing was said about frequency at all. It's a generalized statement, not frequency specific. More 'true' at VHF/UHF, but applicable to any frequency range commonly used.
- 'Doc
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k3cfc View Post
My word you mean to tell me they make an ht in high frequency? well slap me naked and hide my clothes where can you buy one of these radios and who makes them?

The OP used the term hand held radio, not HT, I used the term HT as several others in this thread have reverted to.

While hand held HF radios are pretty few and far between today at various times in the past they were more common. Since the OP has not stated what he uses or owns I myself have no idea of what kind of second hand radio he might have picked up someplace.

In the past things like the Mizuho MX series (80 to 2 meters, single banders), Tokyo High Power HT-750 (40 to 10 meters), and lots of 10/11 meter rigs, like Cherokee, Magnum, even Radio Shack all were hand helds, even HTs, in the HF range. I could probably name 20 or more examples, but that is not the point.

For that matter the Elecraft KX3 is hand held, AA battery powered, smaller than the first 2 meter HT I ever owned, and covers 160 to 6 meters. Other, more traditional HTs, cover or have recently covered 6 meters.

T!
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Old 11-25-2012, 2:19 PM
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With VHF and UHF, .5 W will provide maximum achievable range in most conditions. That is because "maximum achievable range" is the horizon, which on average handheld-to-handheld is around 2 miles. 5 W will improve reception within that horizon by allowing for some additional signal penetration through RF obstructions such as foliage and reflection off of taller obstacles into RF shadows.

If you are talking to a repeater, which typically has a very high antenna location, then the distances can be much greater, and are practically limited by the repeater's antenna height, not your own, and in that case your handheld's transmit power can be a factor.

You can get a rough idea of line-of-sight distances between antennas using the method described in the following thread:
http://forums.radioreference.com/gen...i-receive.html
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Old 11-25-2012, 2:43 PM
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What's the difference between a 'hand held' radio and a 'HT'?
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Old 11-25-2012, 2:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtDoc View Post
What's the difference between a 'hand held' radio and a 'HT'?
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HT comes from Handie Talkie which is (or used to be) a Motorola trademark.
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Old 11-25-2012, 2:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nd5y View Post
HT comes from Handie Talkie which is (or used to be) a Motorola trademark.
Around my parts everyone seems to think it stands for "Handheld Transceiver", which is nicely descriptive, but your idea sound reasonable too.
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Old 11-25-2012, 7:02 PM
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Default handheld transmit range

I would like to transmit 30 miles on 2 meter and 70 cm.
Alot of trees and mountains. Can I transmit 30 miles on a handheld radio
Or how can I get 30 miles range with a handheld.

Thank you.
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Old 11-25-2012, 7:09 PM
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Unless you are standing on a mountain top or working a repeater on a mountain top that is within your line of sight you probably aren't going to be able to work 30 miles on a hand held through "a lot of trees and mountains". The same would likely be true even if you had a 100W mobile radio.
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Old 11-25-2012, 7:14 PM
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Default handheld range

What would be the most range with a after market longer antenna.

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Old 11-25-2012, 7:31 PM
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As was stated before it depends on your surrounding terrain and how high your antennas are. If you are in a valley between mountains it doesn't make much difference what kind of antenna you have you might not be able to work more than a few miles. If you are in a relatively flat area like the eastern half of Texas you might be able to work 10 or 15 or 20 miles between mobiles.

When I lived in El Paso I could work a repeater about 120 miles away on a mountain top near Silver City NM with a 5 W hand held standing in the front yard. When I lived in the DFW area there were repeaters 10 miles away that I could not work with a hand held but during good tropo openings I have worked repeaters in Houston and Oklahoma City from the DFW area.
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