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Talkies for kids?

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Delivers1234

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I have my tech and I'd like my son 4 and daughter 3 to start playing with walkie talkies.

Any recommendations? Frs/gmrs, ? Play ones from toys r us? Gi Joe?

I could see them using the radios at a park.

Or how bout 900mhz? We would also use them at home.
 
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jtech48

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Any of those options will work, however if you are considering the 900mhz route, some old nextel DirecTalk capable cell phones will work, they are cheap and most come in pairs, just make sure they come with SIM cards that were previously activated on the former Nextel network. I bought 2 i355's and 4 i560's for less than $200 for everything which included chargers for all, extra capacity batteries and better antennas.
 

mmckenna

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I've got an 11 year old son and a pair of 6 year old nephews and a 3 year old niece. A couple of FRS/GMRS radios set on an FRS channel work well.
Make sure whatever radio you pick has the following options:
1. Takes standard AA batteries or comes with a rechargeable pack with charger. Kids forget to turn them off, so run down batteries are a reality. If not rechargeable, make sure you get something with "normal" batteries. AA batteries hold more juice than AAA, so more time using the radios.

2. Make sure it has a "lock" function. This allows you to lock the radio on a single channel, squelch code (aka Privacy Tone), etc. Kids naturally want to push buttons, and more often then not they'll get off on separate channels. This causes frustration.

3. Durable. Kid proof.

4. Cheap. They are going to get lost, broken, run over, dunked in a puddle, etc. Might as well accept that now. You will be replacing them. Maybe even buy a couple extra. Remember to keep one with you to monitor what's going on and be able to call them back if they get to far afield.

5. If you do go with the FRS/GMRS radios, remember that GMRS requires a license. The FRS channels will run at lower power to stay within the rules. This is usually way more range than a kid needs, plus the lower power drain means the batteries last longer.

Some of the most fun I've seen my son have with his cousins is with a couple of walkie talkies and a couple of flashlights or glow sticks. Get them out camping and let them loose. Imagination takes over and fun begins. Seeing them running around in the dark with the flashlights, talking on the radio is pretty dang entertaining.

If they enjoy it, then as they get older introduce better radios. But start with the inexpensive stuff. Important part is to make sure they are "kid proof" and will have the lock function. Nothing turns a kid into a crying mess faster than when the frustration sets in. Although I'll add that the 3 year old niece will be quite happy when she's just got any radio, even if it doesn't have batteries in it. She thinks she's playing, and that's all that counts.
 

PrimeNumber

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Two weeks into this, I guarantee you, 3 and 4 year olds will try using their new walkie-talkies to talk to the pet goldfish or some such. (To a 3 or 4 year old, this makes perfect sense.) Go cheap, go FRS, test them out first (avoid kid frustration at all costs), then let them gleefully use them for however long they last. Then if they were a hit, have the next pair all ready to go when these croak.
 

W3AWF

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GMRS/FRS is definitely the way to go. The other factor with that is if you buy them GMRS/FRS radios and there's other kids around that have them they can all talk.

As a kid my father did just that. I was probably 6 or 7 years old when I got my first set of radios. At that time before cell phones got big every kid in the neighborhood had one, which is how I met my best friend. I had the radio on scan and heard him yelling at his brother about something, I chimed in and he asked me who I was. We became friends and years later joined the fire department together where we both ran at until after high school. That was the start of my interest in radios that has just gotten bigger and more expensive since then!


"Interoperability is not a luxury, it is a necessity!"
 

mmckenna

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bharvey2

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If this is just for your kids, I'd consider some cheap FRS only radios. They're inexpensive and low powered. The kids should learn proper radio etiquette and handling before advancing to a more powerful radio. (I'm thinking RF exposure here) Once they master that, then moving up to a radio that can work with GMRS repeaters, frequencies and power would be logical step.
 

Delivers1234

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If this is just for your kids, I'd consider some cheap FRS only radios. They're inexpensive and low powered. The kids should learn proper radio etiquette and handling before advancing to a more powerful radio. (I'm thinking RF exposure here) Once they master that, then moving up to a radio that can work with GMRS repeaters, frequencies and power would be logical step.


Makes sense. I'll get a 2 pack. I'll get a gmrs and frs for me
 

Delivers1234

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I ended up getting the a 3 pack of cobra cxt195. no lock no tones just the channels. we will stay on frs. anyone know if my call sign for my tech will be the same when i apply for gmrs?
 

bharvey2

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I ended up getting the a 3 pack of cobra cxt195. no lock no tones just the channels. we will stay on frs. anyone know if my call sign for my tech will be the same when i apply for gmrs?
It won't. You'll get a completely different call sign. You'll use your existing one for HAM activities and your new one will be just for GMRS use. Your GMRS call will be for your entire family so anyone can use it. Brush up on the GMRS rules as they differ a bit from HAM.
 

mmckenna

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anyone know if my call sign for my tech will be the same when i apply for gmrs?
It will not. They use a different format for those licenses than they do for amateur radio.

Many years ago when I still had a GMRS license, mine was WPQL444. They are still running that format for new licenses Wxxx###.
 

RayAir

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I bought i355's, i560's, and i570's up on eBay years ago and let the kids use them on direct talk mode.

They're interference free and private (no eavesdroppers or pervs). Cost me about $20/each.

You'll just need a sim card.
 

n1das

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I have my tech and I'd like my son 4 and daughter 3 to start playing with walkie talkies.

Any recommendations? Frs/gmrs, ? Play ones from toys r us? Gi Joe?

I could see them using the radios at a park.

Or how bout 900mhz? We would also use them at home.
Motorola TalkAbout GMRS/FRS 22-channel bubble packs are good way to go. Stay on channels 8-14 which are the FRS-only channels. FRS 1-7 is shared with GMRS. Channels 15-22 are the GMRS primary channels for high powered mobiles and repeaters and are not shared with FRS so stay away from those. My favorite FRS-only channel is 14 (467.7125MHz). I recommend getting a pair for the kids and one for yourself. Since they usually come in 2-packs, you'll probably end up with an extra one. That's OK because the others will get lost or broken.

Also I recommend getting out of the habit of calling them walkie talkies. That's the lay person's term for a handheld portable 2-way radio. Professional radio users simply call them what they are: Radios.

Have fun! :)
 
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