Other postings like this in the past (you may want to search the forums for prior discussion) usually come back to "the pro models are better" the bubble pack models are anemic.
I've gotten FRS signals a little over 3 miles clearly but I never count on it, figure 1 mile for ANY FRS or GMRS bubble pack, I've tested quite a few, some 4 watts and boasting 14 miles (they achieved approx 1000' more than the FRS 1/2 watt model)
From personal opinion, the Motorola radios are fine for general consumer usage and they feel much more rugged than some other bubble pack radios on the store shelves.
Of course, FRS/GMRS are line-of-sight frequencies so the real range you will get with them mostly depends on the elevation and surroundings where you plan to use them. 5,10,14 mile ranges are not realistic if you are using them in hilly areas or in dense urban areas.
If you want to get some serious range (40+ miles) with FRS/GMRS radios, make friends with anyone operating a free, open GMRS repeater in your area. You can start with
Some repeaters work with these bubble pack radios by a store and forward method of which I'm not all too familiar. Other repeaters will have input frequencies ~5MHz above the standard GMRS operating frequencies. To use those repeater types you will need a GMRS radio that is repeater capable.
If you are looking for a great commercial FRS/GMRS radio that is mil-spec and repeater capable, I'd take a look at the Icom IC-F21GM (FRS/GMRS) or Icom IC-F21BR (FRS/GMRS/BRS).
How do you change pl's on the Icom F21GM. If you need interoperatability with other persons using GMRS/FRS as on a cruise, you may need that abililty. If you are going to be talking to other members of your family on the same channel/pl, then the Icoms may be better.
The HT1000 and MTS2000 appear to be fine radios, but if I'm not mistaken you need to have the motorola software in order to program them.
Also, as N_Jay brought up to use the FRS frequencies you cannot transmit more than 1/2w of power, and both of those motorolas transmit 1w to 4w, so I wouldn't recommend using them for FRS.
As far as the Icom IC-F21GM radio, setting the CTCSS is as follows:
o While pushing and holding [PTT], [MONI], [W/N], turn [OFF/VOL]
to power ON.
o Select the desired CH 1 to CH 15 that you want to assign the
CTCSS tone frequency to.
o Push and hold [MONI] until a beep (Pi) is emitted.
o Push [PTT] the necessary number of times to choose the 10 digit
of the desired channel from the channel list.
o Push [MONI].
• Conﬁrmation beep is emitted. (See p. 17)
o Push [PTT] the necessary number of times to choose the 1 digit
of the desired channel from the frequency list.
o Push [MONI].
o Turn the power OFF, and then ON again.
I would get something that runs off of AA batteries, that way you're not limitted to those proprietary battery packs. AA batteries are cheaper and easier to replace for uninterrupted use.
At least you'd have the option of using alkalines which have great shelf-life unlike rechargeables, so when you go to use the radio four months down the road the stupid batteries won't be dead.
Some of the FRS-included chargers are moronic because both chargers are stuck together which means both radios hafta be charged at the same location. When your batteries die, everyone has to get together to recharge them. :roll:
Meanwhile, you're waiting 15 hours before you can use the radios again. I could go on and on.