EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Looking for a good two way radio
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Looking for a good two way radio

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
It's been a while since I've looked at these but, with three of us skiing different terrain, it's finally time to buy.
The Motorolas used to be the tits back then but were somewhat limited in range.
What's the hot setup now?
post #2 of 28
I have alway had good luck with Cobra. Two years ago bought the PR 560WX, 6 mile radios. They work great. You can pick them up now for $30
post #3 of 28
Do the 2 way radios work in mountain settings - one skier on a trail sperated from another skier by a mountain range?
post #4 of 28
No, in essence, they are "line of sight", even the radios carried by coaches an patrol have "dead spots" on the hill.
post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by kid4lyf View Post
It's been a while since I've looked at these but, with three of us skiing different terrain, it's finally time to buy.
The Motorolas used to be the tits back then but were somewhat limited in range.
What's the hot setup now?

You are buying at a great time. The 8 and I blieve 12 mile motorollas can be had for less than $70 a pair. I upgraded from the 2 mile motorollas to the 5 mile motorollas a couple of years ago and got a huge increase in performance in the mountains where trees obviously impact line of site.

A buddy got the 12 milers and we could talk to one another from the front side of Snowbird over the ridge into Mineral Basin, and later from Alta to Snowbird.

The only downside with the 8s/12s is they run a bit bigger.

Go with the 12s and you'll be very happy.
post #6 of 28
Anything over 2 in the US and you need an FCC liscense which costs 80 bucks.
post #7 of 28
do you have to show your license when you purchase the over 2 mile ones like at dicks sporting goods in slc???? because i'm from canada and i'm going to slc in febuary and i'm thinking of buying these in canada they are about $40 more LOL but we dont need a license for anything under 16+ miles
post #8 of 28
I believe that sportsmansguide.com has Cobra 17 milers for ~$60.
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nevils View Post
Do the 2 way radios work in mountain settings - one skier on a trail sperated from another skier by a mountain range?
THAT'S the main reason I'm posting the this thread. I can just read the specs on any radios to see about the range. The kicker is on-hill performance.
I'm wondering which models have the best non line-of-sight performance.
post #10 of 28
Look for the watt rating on the radios. Forget the license.
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
Look for the watt rating on the radios. Forget the license.
Please explain to the less electro-literit of us out here.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by kid4lyf View Post
Please explain to the less electro-literit of us out here.
The FCC regulates transmitter power, not range, maybe?
post #13 of 28
Yes wattage, not range is what the FCC is worried about. I believe the GMRS frequences do not need a license.

Our old 2 watt motorla's would reach as far as you could see. We have spoken to friends and Okemo when we were at Mt Sunapee.
post #14 of 28
I would think that if you buy a Cobra or Motorola with anything over an 8-mile range, you will be happy. They can be purchased at Walmart or any sporting goods store. Just do not buy and off brand like Audiovox as they are junk.
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity View Post
Yes wattage, not range is what the FCC is worried about. I believe the GMRS frequences do not need a license.

Our old 2 watt motorla's would reach as far as you could see. We have spoken to friends and Okemo when we were at Mt Sunapee.
Correction. The GMRS service does require an FCC licence. You can buy FRS/GMRS radios without showing your licence. The kicker is getting caught by the FCC without a licence.

The thing about GMRS is that you have the ability to tap into a repeater. If your ski party is on the same repeater channel/frequency, line of sight is less of an issue.

I have an amateur radio licence and use a 5 watt walkie-talkie on the hill. If I'm skiing with other ham radio operators, we tune our walkies to a repeater situated at a higher elevation than where we are skiing. Occasionally we do have propagation issues but we can always fall back to point-to-point communications.
post #16 of 28
Hmm I bought a set of Midland 24km range radios for $80CDN at The Source (aka Radioshack) the other day. There were some better looking Uniden with less range but they were bigger in size. We had a set of blue and black Motorolas from 2 seasons ago but one of them won't hold a charge since someone dropped it on cement.

Will post in this thread when I try them out, the old Mot's were decent at Lake Louise/Sunshine even without direct line of sight, these new ones have over twice the range and a hi-power mode as well.
post #17 of 28
just to kind of re-kindle this discussion but from a Canadian perspective, since the licence thing isn't really an issue does anyone have any recommendations for a product?

We're heading to Tremblant after christmas and I wanted to get something for my wife and I.

Looking at the Motorola FRS/GMRS Recharge Pack Two Way Radios (T5530R) or something in the sub 80 dollar range.

is it worth it at this hill? since I live in Ontario (where there aren't any ski runs longer than 2 minutes) I don't need top of the line, just enough to com at Tremblant.

any feedback would be appreciated.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buddah Bar View Post

The thing about GMRS is that you have the ability to tap into a repeater. If your ski party is on the same repeater channel/frequency, line of sight is less of an issue.

I have an amateur radio licence and use a 5 watt walkie-talkie on the hill. If I'm skiing with other ham radio operators, we tune our walkies to a repeater situated at a higher elevation than where we are skiing. Occasionally we do have propagation issues but we can always fall back to point-to-point communications.


 

Thought I'd revive this old thread and specifically this comment above.

 

I've had a pair of Motorola 5-mile T6250s for about 8 years and they've worked well enough -- we use a speaker/mike clipped to our jackets -- no futsying for the radio.  Not a lot of chit chat, just use them to find each other.  With my older son starting to become old enough to split off with his buddies, was thinking of grabbing a used one on Ebay (it's really small which we like) but thought while I'm at it, I'd see what the current crop is looking like.  Motorola's MR356R carries a feature this post touches on: 

 

"REPEATER FUNCTION - IMPROVES YOUR COVERAGE BEYOND THE HORIZON
Maximize your camping, sporting or hunting experience by **improving your radio transmission coverage when talking to family or group members who sometimes wander far beyond the line of sight. Thanks to the built-in repeater channels, the MR356R works well with a local repeater station to carry your signal further. Take advantage of this value-added feature by switching to GMRS channels 15R-22R, but don't forget you'll need a **GMRS license and an accessible repeater station to take advantage of this unique feature."

 

At first glance, I didn't pay it much mind figuring the "local repeater station" must be something the radio users must set up or something.  But this 2006 post I'm quoting seems to suggest that repeater stations usually exist (maybe to assist ski patrol)? 

 

What's the deal?  Are repeater stations found at most mountains (particuarly out West where you may be skiing over several peaks)?

 

Aaron



 
 

post #19 of 28


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity View Post

Yes wattage, not range is what the FCC is worried about. I believe the GMRS frequences do not need a license.

Our old 2 watt motorla's would reach as far as you could see. We have spoken to friends and Okemo when we were at Mt Sunapee.


GRMS does need a license per the FCC where as FRS does not. http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=service_home&id=general_mobile

post #20 of 28

I'd go with Vertex two way radio - it is cheap and quality. Been using that two seasons already - no problems seen. there are budget models as well

 

Ask a vertex user your questions :)

post #21 of 28

Never got a good reply on this question and I'm thinking about upgrading my "7-mile" walkies to these new "35-mile" walkies.  I wonder if they're all basically the same output and the manufacturers (eg. Motorola) are simply finding better ways to increase optimum conditions for greater claims.  Anyway, if I opted for one with the repeater function, are "repeater stations" common near destination-ski resorts?

 

Quote:

 

"REPEATER FUNCTION - IMPROVES YOUR COVERAGE BEYOND THE HORIZON
Maximize your camping, sporting or hunting experience by **improving your radio transmission coverage when talking to family or group members who sometimes wander far beyond the line of sight. Thanks to the built-in repeater channels, the MR356R works well with a local repeater station to carry your signal further. Take advantage of this value-added feature by switching to GMRS channels 15R-22R, but don't forget you'll need a **GMRS license and an accessible repeater station to take advantage of this unique feature."

 



 
 

post #22 of 28

Repeaters are usually owned or leased by the frequency's licensee's. Unauthorized use of most repeaters is forbidden.

post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

Repeaters are usually owned or leased by the frequency's licensee's. Unauthorized use of most repeaters is forbidden.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Mobile_Radio_Service

 

GMRS / FRS.   is open to the public.  so getting authorization/license is trivial.

 

I know a lot of ski patrols monitor the FRS channels, but unknown if the resorts use repeaters.  

 

I suppose it depends what radio frequencies the ski patrol themselves use for operations, and if they setup repeaters for their own operations, and the repeater also happens to repeat the GMRS/FRS frequencies as a bonus.

 

That being said, i rarely see people using frs radios anymore on the slopes as everybody has a smartphone.

You are better off with just sending text messages, as a resort is more likely partner to get wider cellphone coverage as an ammenity over a frs/gmrs radio repeater.  

post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by raytseng View Post

 

 

GMRS / FRS.   is open to the public.  so getting authorization/license is trivial.

 

 

 

My business has a VHF repeater and we pay the FCC for the exclusive use in this area.  Most ski patrols/ski areas/heli ops would do the same.  You can monitor their frequency legally, but you cannot transmit.

 

Since it's open to the public, there is little incentive to buy a GMRS repeater, just to get stepped on all the time. Most are probably owned by ham radio clubs and use one frequency.

 

I don't think most patrols monitor GMRS/FRS frequencies.  Too much banter.

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

 

 

My business has a VHF repeater and we pay the FCC for the exclusive use in this area.  Most ski patrols/ski areas/heli ops would do the same.  You can monitor their frequency legally, but you cannot transmit.

 

Since it's open to the public, there is little incentive to buy a GMRS repeater, just to get stepped on all the time. Most are probably owned by ham radio clubs and use one frequency.

 

I don't think most patrols monitor GMRS/FRS frequencies.  Too much banter.

 

They monitor on a specific channel/channels that they put up signs on usually 9-11.   

but yea, 15years ago, lots of FRS radios,  now everyone just uses a smart phone when the cellphone companies realized they should invest in getting resorts covered

post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by raytseng View Post

 

They monitor on a specific channel/channels that they put up signs on usually 9-11.   

but yea, 15years ago, lots of FRS radios,  now everyone just uses a smart phone when the cellphone companies realized they should invest in getting resorts covered


agree, but here in CO we personnally have had poor results/coverage still at places like A Basin and Eldora (admittedly not the typical larger CO resorts).  Also with younger kids would rather a cheap 2way radio be lost/destroyed than an expensive smart phone...so we still charge up and drag out the radios for family ski days.

post #27 of 28
I would not worry about getting a license for ski area type radios. In 15 years of using them I have never (nor have my friends) had a problem with the FCC. I think they have better things to do.
post #28 of 28

We use those little motorola radios to keep tabs on our 9 and 11 year old kids when they are wandering around the neighborhood and at friends homes.  Don't trust them with cell phones at that age yet.  However, being kids they've managed to destroy quite a few of these while playing so we have a broad assortment if different models ranging from 2 miles to 22 miles.  None of them seem to have a real reliable range beyond about 3/4 of a mile when one handset is inside of our house (house has aluminum siding), but all of them work well within the radius the kids are allowed to roam in.  I've also taken them camping and skiing and again, the ones rated at 22 miles don't work nearly that far in practice.  I would assume they might work peak to peak longer distances though.

 

I'm a child of the 70s CB radio craze.  I had a base station when I was in Jr High and had the FCC license and call sign.  I'm pretty sure they haven't required those for standard CBs in decades though.  As for range, I can recall days when unusual weather conditions allowed "skip" signals to travel across several states, but that was rare.   I also own a handheld 2 meter ham I picked up cheap but haven't gone through the trouble of getting my license.  I don't use it as that is definitely illegal, but I hope to get around to getting bone fide on that someday. I have the training book with the guides and how to get the license.  I've read about half of it.   It is just stashed away in a bag along with a handheld 40 channel CB and some other emergency type stuff. 

 

But, for most resorts the Motorola MicroTalks work just fine assuming you don't mind sharing channels with other flakes hahaha..

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Looking for a good two way radio