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johnnywyoming

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Will be moving from Colorado to the Oregon coast at the end of August. Driving a Penske truck with my wife following behind in our truck. She is really nervous about the trip and I thought it would be a good idea to buy walkie talkies to keep in touch instead of depending on cell phones. Plus, it would be nice to have these while hiking. I have researched a lot and have come up with these two models as possibilities (both under $100).

BTECH GMRS-V1 GMRS
MOTOROLA Talkabout® T600

Are these good choices? Can anyone suggest good alternatives?
 

chief21

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You should be aware that the FCC recently approved certain changes to the Personal Radio Services, which include the MURS, FRS and GMRS services - so you may wish to see if any of the changes might impact the radios that you buy.

While handheld radios are convenient, you might have issues with batteries and range (especially using them in vehicles). And don't believe the mileage claims for FRS or GMRS radios! Mobile radios with external antennas and higher power will usually provide MUCH better range than handheld radios inside a vehicle. There are also a few inexpensive, mini-mobile types of mobile radios that are available for the GMRS frequencies that you may wish to consider. Another relatively inexpensive option would be two used commercial mobile radios re-programmed for GMRS.

Good luck on your upcoming trip. You are wise to consider two-way radios in your plans. I expect there are many areas between population centers in the west where there might be spotty cell service or none at all.

John AC4Jk
 

johnnywyoming

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Mobile radios with external antennas and higher power will usually provide MUCH better range than handheld radios inside a vehicle. There are also a few inexpensive, mini-mobile types of mobile radios that are available for the GMRS frequencies that you may wish to consider. Another relatively inexpensive option would be two used commercial mobile radios re-programmed for GMRS.

John AC4Jk
Can you give me some examples of these alternatives? I have not heard the of the mini-mobile types.

Thanks!
 

KD8DVR

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Will be moving from Colorado to the Oregon coast at the end of August. Driving a Penske truck with my wife following behind in our truck. She is really nervous about the trip and I thought it would be a good idea to buy walkie talkies to keep in touch instead of depending on cell phones. Plus, it would be nice to have these while hiking. I have researched a lot and have come up with these two models as possibilities (both under $100).

BTECH GMRS-V1 GMRS
MOTOROLA Talkabout® T600

Are these good choices? Can anyone suggest good alternatives?
Bear in mind, you will require a license to use these radios $70 fee. So consider that expense when making a purchase. The license would be good for both you and your wife.
 

johnnywyoming

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Wow, thanks for the great information!! The mini-radios are looking to be more expensive than I can afford. During our trip I don't expect to be more than a half-mile apart from my wife. Are there any of the less expensive handhelds that would be capable, or have the ability to add an external antenna on it, say one with a magnetic mount?
 

SteveSimpkin

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As was mentioned above, the range on hand held units through vehicles is very poor. With the moving truck you plan on driving not having a rear window, you may not even be able to talk to a car/truck that is right behind you. You really have to use an outside antenna in your case.

Unfortunately the GMRS mobile options are likely to add up in cost quickly. Even with a low cost mobile like the Midland MXT105 Micro Mobile when you add the required GMRS license, you are looking at around $270. And you can only use them as mobile radios. If you think you might like talking to other GMRS users then this is not a bad deal. It is expensive for a one-time use, although you could sell it afterwards.

Another option to consider is a pair of mobile/portable CB radios like the Cobra HH Roadtrip CB radio. No license required and they can be used as portable radios too.
https://www.amazon.com/Cobra-HHROADTRIP-40-Channel-CB-Radio/dp/B000069DOV
 

SteveSimpkin

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Thanks Steve, this looks interesting. Would I need an external antenna for this?
The HH Roadtrip version shown comes with the magnetic mount antenna and a cigarette lighter power cord. It also includes the portable antenna and battery holder needed for hand held portable use. It includes everything needed for mobile-vehicle or hand held portable use. You do not need to buy anything else. Here is a slightly better price.
Cobra HHROADTRIP
 

johnnywyoming

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This looks like my best bet, and I can turn around and sell them later. Thanks for the very helpful information... great forum!!
 

SteveSimpkin

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Yes, I don't think this is necessarily my "ideal" recommend solution (that would be getting a ham license for you and your wife) but I think it may be the best choice for your use case.
Please let us know what you choose and how it works out.
Good luck with the move:)
 

lmrtek

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Motorola FRS/gmrs radios are hard to beat

I have a pair MR350 radios I picked up for $49 that work great

And although many generic Chinese radios are capable of operating on these bands, none are legally allowed to

If the radio can operate on FRS, it must have a "fixed" antenna to be legal for example
 

SteveSimpkin

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If you don't mind a mobile-only CB option and are comfortable wiring up a cigarette lighter plug to the radio, you can buy two Midland 1001Z 40-Channel CB Radios ($28.32 each), Tram 703-HC mag mount antennas ($6.94 each) and cigarette lighter power cords ($3.93 each) for around $80 total plus shipping and tax.
See the "frequently bought together" section in the following link.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000...l+cb+radio&dpPl=1&dpID=41JtT1IRXrL&ref=plSrch
 

mmckenna

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Last time I rented a large moving truck, moving my brother in law from Seattle to California, the rear boxes were a composite material, not steel or aluminum.

I don't think you would have an issue with one of the Motorola TalkAbouts with 1/2 a mile between you and your wife.

Don't overthink the solution. If all you need is 1/2 - 1 mile range, then a simple FRS/GMRS radio will work just fine.

If you both have cell phones, getting outside the 1 mile range can always fall back on cellular until you get closer, but I don't think it's going to be as much an issue as you think.

CB can be a good option, but they are of little use for most people once you are done with the road trip. At least with the FRS/GMRS radios you can use them on your hikes.
 

johnnywyoming

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If you don't mind a mobile-only CB option and are comfortable wiring up a cigarette lighter plug to the radio, you can buy two Midland 1001Z 40-Channel CB Radios ($28.32 each), Tram 703-HC mag mount antennas ($6.94 each) and cigarette lighter power cords ($3.93 each) for around $80 total plus shipping and tax.
See the "frequently bought together" section in the following link.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000...l+cb+radio&dpPl=1&dpID=41JtT1IRXrL&ref=plSrch
Looks like another good option. Wiring the cigarette plug should be a no brainer. Do the radios need to be grounded, or can they simply sit on the seat next to us in each vehicle? Will talk to Penske about the hood and box composition, and to make sure the trucks have cigarette lighters in them. What about tuning the antennas, how critical is that and is it easy to do?
 

SteveSimpkin

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Looks like another good option. Wiring the cigarette plug should be a no brainer. Do the radios need to be grounded, or can they simply sit on the seat next to us in each vehicle? Will talk to Penske about the hood and box composition, and to make sure the trucks have cigarette lighters in them. What about tuning the antennas, how critical is that and is it easy to do?
While it is recommended for best results, I don't believe the radios *have* to be grounded for this application. The Cobra HH Roadtrip CB radio would not be grounded.
As for tuning the Tran 703 antenna, tuning is always recommended for best results (using an SWR meter) but several of the reviews mention it is pretty well tuned out of the box.

mmckenna brings up a very valid point. I may be overthinking the problem. Find out if the Penske trunk box is made from aluminum or composite material. If it is composite, a pair of Motorola MR350R hand held FRS/GMRS Radios (about $60 for the pair) would probably do the job you need just fine. Even if the truck box turns out to be metal, the MR350Rs (or equivalent "35-mile" radio) *may* still work for this use, you just couldn't be sure until you tried it.

Note because of the recent FCC rule changes, you do NOT need a GMRS license to use these "bubble pack" hand held, 2-Watt (approximately) FRS/GMRS Radios. Also for these 22-channel radios, avoid using channels 8-14 as these are FRS-only channels and are limited to 1/2 Watt output power. The other channels can be set to output about 1.5 Watts which will probably help with the communication range and reliability in your case.
https://www.amazon.com/Motorola-MR350R-35-Mile-22-Channel-Two-Way/dp/B001UE6MJ8
 
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