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Mountain Communications, walkie-talkies

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I will be skiing away from my main group most of this season because they cannot handle doubloe black runs .... ... so i am looking for a walkie talkie that i will be able to hear in the mess halls or a chair oe near othe rloud things, im looking for 5+ mile of range and under $50 for a pair. if you have any suggestions please tell me b/c the talkabouts i have now really suck, by the i would like to know of some that are any proce that have NOAA weather bands and are waterproof thanx. Email ME with the subject titled SKIING
post #2 of 26
We use cell phones most of the time...

Where are you skiing?
post #3 of 26
I thought anything with 5 miles of range required a license.
post #4 of 26
I can't think of anything that doesn't, but what do I know? Most of the radios that I know that are in the less-then-$100 category are short-range (1 mile or less). Longer range are commercial or related. I suppose a hand-held CB radio might work.
post #5 of 26
It's going to be hard to find anything other than FRS radios (like your talkabout) for under $50.

Llike others have said, more range = you need a license. You could operate a walkie with more range without a license but the fines are pretty large if you get caught.
post #6 of 26
How could you "get caught"? (Not that I would ever consider breaking the law--just curious)...
post #7 of 26
There are a number of ways, including ham radio operators who monitor frequencies (talk about geeks... whew!). You don't want to get crossways with a ham about radio, believe me! The FCC also does monitoring, and there are other agencies that do now (what with Homeland Security and all).
post #8 of 26
So they actually triangulate on your position and track you down on the mogul field or chairlift?
post #9 of 26
They can. Especially the hams. Ham field day at a ski area? I bet it happens...
post #10 of 26
I use a cell phone. Most of the resorts/areas I visit have reception, especially arround the lodge.
post #11 of 26
They're making FRS radios with a 10 mile range:
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=3984990
Yes, you do need an FCC license to operate them. No, it's not difficult to get (no tests, etc, just fill out a form and pay $80):
http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/per...generalmobile/

That being said, I know people who have used the 7 mile range ones without a license, and they've never had to go sit in the corner .

J
post #12 of 26
there's a company named Tekk, they make a NT series that is really good. i think they're vhf frequencies, but the 2 watt version is really a 3.7 watt, and has considerable distance. i lent them to my old man on his trip to taos. keep in mind that there's not much you can do about obstacles like mountains and trees, and if you want to spend sll the money, you still may be disappointed on a ski mountain. however, if you want to spend under $50, get a motorolla 2 watt, i have a pair also, they're good. tekk's cost $125-170 new, but they're worth it. they're way more durable, battery life is awesome, and you can program frequencies (ie. ski patrol, friends radios, etc...)
post #13 of 26
Motorola's (and others i'm sure) can be gotten CHEAP on eBay. I got several of the higher end 2-watt units at around $17 per radio, new in box. I'm sure you can get good prices on the higher watt units too.
post #14 of 26
what ever happened to "i will meet you in lodge at 1pm"worked for many years and hear its quite a bit cheaper and added value is that you will not have to ever switch channels
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
sometimes you have to change on the fly (weather, injury, loss of light). Or you want to show your friend something right away.
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky
I thought anything with 5 miles of range required a license.
No that is not true. Only certain frequencies require a licsense.

Any cheap radio will not work in mountainous terrain. Buy a Garmin Rhino 120. Has a great range works in most mountainous areas and even has gps on it for a decent price. If your other buddies have one you can even locate them with the GPS homeing on it. Most radios that say 5 or 10 mile range are lucky if they really get one or 2 unless your in some flat endless land. You get what you pay for in this department. I have been through so many radios in my life with hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing, you name it!
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jake75
They're making FRS radios with a 10 mile range:
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=3984990
Yes, you do need an FCC license to operate them. No, it's not difficult to get (no tests, etc, just fill out a form and pay $80):
http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/per...generalmobile/

That being said, I know people who have used the 7 mile range ones without a license, and they've never had to go sit in the corner .

J
You only need a lcense for certain frequencies. The range of the radio has nothing to do with if you need a license or not. Are you thinking of the FCC GMRS License?
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by huckingfellers
You only need a lcense for certain frequencies. The range of the radio has nothing to do with if you need a license or not. Are you thinking of the FCC GMRS License?
Whats the difference between FRS and gmrs

we bought---inadvertantly---the gmrs thangs and I was very surprised to find I (legally) needed a license - ha-fat chance.

Range is poor at best. And frequencies seems to be the same as FRS for the most part---nothing distint about the radio except the license and designation.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiStarr90
I will be skiing away from my main group most of this season because they cannot handle doubloe black runs .... ... so i am looking for a walkie talkie that i will be able to hear in the mess halls or a chair oe near othe rloud things, im looking for 5+ mile of range and under $50 for a pair. if you have any suggestions please tell me b/c the talkabouts i have now really suck, by the i would like to know of some that are any proce that have NOAA weather bands and are waterproof thanx. Email ME with the subject titled SKIING
In the mountains to get that kind of range you need real licensed VHF radios. We have a pair of Motorola VHF radios which work amazingly well (they are afterall what a ski patrol uses). They are expensive ($300-400 a pair) and require a FCC license which costs $125. GPRS radios like talkabouts are ok in line of sight and they don't have anywhere near the advertised range in rought terrain.

These are what we have:

http://www.mytoolstore.com/motorola/motindex.html

The single channel version. Be aware that licensing is complex and requires real formality on the air. Being caught with a VHF unlicensed radio is not a small matter, expecially if you are not properly registered and are in the Canadian border region where frequency coordination is required.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
They can. Especially the hams. Ham field day at a ski area? I bet it happens...
BUSTED !!! You wouldnt know to use the term -field day- unless you were probably a ham yourself

73's,

YOT
(former ham myself many years ago)
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiDeC58
How could you "get caught"? (Not that I would ever consider breaking the law--just curious)...
First off, licenses are required for many reasons, not the least of which is to ensure rules are followed in the use of the frequencies. Radios are not substitutes for cell phones and because they are like "party lines" there is a certain set of rules you live by.

Second, because radios transmit, the signals can be "homed" to and an FCC monitor with the right equipment can find you. And because in some areas (I live in New England) when you apply for a license, depending on the frequency and other factors you may be required to obtain frequency coodination with Canada.

The point is, there are laws which govern the airwaves and they have ample tools to find you -- if they didn't it would be a free for all -- and real emergencies or other vital comms couldn't occur.

It took me a few hours to figure out the FCC forms, but now I have my license for i think 5 years, and my two VHF radios are legal.
post #22 of 26
I use the motorola 5 mile range ones and they have been great. Just keep in mind that 5 miles is not los its over the contours of the land. At Whistler the monster that it is they were marginal at best often not working because of range reasons. At Jackson Hole they seemed ok though....

Alfonse
post #23 of 26
Try
Midland GXT400 X-TRA TALK
If you do a search in yahoo shopping, you will find these for around $50.
Make sure you get the battery packs & chargers, & bring extra batteries. The downside of radios with extended range, is they eat batteries.
We have 4 midlands w/ a 10 mile range, and they are much better than the motorolas we previously owned, but they do go through batteries.
Hope this helps.

PS If you order, look at the size & weight.
Some radios are much larger than others.

Ray
post #24 of 26
My understanding (which may be wrong, so correct it if it is):

FRS (Family Radio Service) doesn't require any license. This is the frequency range that the standard-issue cheap(ish) walkie-talkies (like Talkabouts) all used, exclusively, until a few years ago. On your walkie-talkie, it's channels 1 through 14. Regulations limit the power you can use to half of a watt. This gets what's usually described (for marketing purposes, anyway) as a 2-mile radius, though that really only applies if the other side of your conversation is in sight of you.

GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) requires an easy-to-get license that costs money, but doesn't require any tests or training. This is the frequency range that's now on the newer cheap(ish) walkie-talkies. It's the channels above 14 (usually - some brands may number the channels differently). Regulations allow higher power in this range (5 watts, I think), which yields the "5-mile" marketing radius. I believe that the newer walkie-talkies do, in fact, adjust their power, so they transmit with .5 watts when you're using an FRS channel (<= 14) and 5 watts when you're using a GMRS channel (> 14). It seems likely that a lot of people who buy walkie-talkies never bother to get a GMRS license. I doubt anybody will ever track them down, particularly at ski areas.

There's also CB (Citizen's Band), which was, of course, a big fad many years ago. It's also low power and doesn't require a license. Because it's much lower frequency than FRS and GMRS, it can get a longer range if used with a big antenna ... not that you're likely to go skiing around with a 10-foot antenna sticking out of the top of your head.

A whole variety of other frequency bands are out there, which are used for all sorts of things. Some of these are used for two-way voice communications, but allow higher power and have much longer ranges, so they're much more regulated -- there are real rules about how you're supposed to use them, they require more expensive licenses, getting the license requires you to show you know the rules, and in some cases getting the license requires you to show you're going to use it for its intended purpose. It would be a really bad idea, I think, to start using aviation radios (e.g.) around the ski area..
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston
<snipped>
A whole variety of other frequency bands are out there, which are used for all sorts of things. Some of these are used for two-way voice communications, but allow higher power and have much longer ranges, so they're much more regulated -- there are real rules about how you're supposed to use them, they require more expensive licenses, getting the license requires you to show you know the rules, and in some cases getting the license requires you to show you're going to use it for its intended purpose. It would be a really bad idea, I think, to start using aviation radios (e.g.) around the ski area..
Correct. Its a very bad idea to use any regulated form of radio 1) without a license or 2) for a purpose that it wasn't intended for.
post #26 of 26

baloney!

I am not "into" the radio thing, but I'll offer the following coments anyway.

Something like seven years ago I paid the ($ amounts are estimated), $65 dollars for my VHF marine band license for my boat. At the time, I only had a 5 watt Apelco hand held for my 17' skiff.

The following year I jumped up to a 23' cuddy Pursuit with a 25 watt unit and about the same time I, got a notice in the mail from the FCC, that they were offering a "deal". The "deal" sounded too good to be true; for only $150 dollars they would send me a five year license, but I had to "act quickly" and get the check in the mail pronto! You can interject that "Aussie" miracle broom and tub an tile cleaner guy's voice here, cause it sounded like an info-mercial to me ..... but, it was a legitimate offer from our FCC so ............. I popped the check in the mail and gave myself a pat on the back for being ahead of the "curve" for once. My new license arrived about a month later.

Now, (Paul Harvey voice), the "other half of the story!"

"FCC announces ( about a month later), that they are DEREGULATING all of the lower wattage VHF frequencies, starting NOW!

What a screw job! Tell me that they didn't know about the deregulation prior to that "offer" ..... bullpuckey and baloney, it was a quick way to get a few years of revenue from suckers like me.

The only folks who "knew" the real story were the industry folks and those that read every word in the Congressional Record.

Run out and get a VHF 5 watt, hell, you are on the "water" .... it's frozen but it is water .... and it'll give Gonzo something to do as I'm sure he would donate a little "pro bono" action for any "busted Bear"!

What are the chances of the "feds" setting up stations at ski areas and doing a major "civil enforcement" action on say, 1000 "moms and kids" caught "in possession" on a Sunday afternoon at Killington?

Get real!
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