I am the Director of Meetings for an Association who holds several meetings a year around the US. We have 8 staff members and hotel staff that will need to communicate with one another on conference floors (3) and from various other floors or locations in hotels (most hotels we use are about 30 floors). I need the radios to work well and all staff to communicate clearly with one another for the duration of the program. I also want all staff to get headsets or earpieces with the walkies. Right now I am debating between nextels and using direct connect or purchasing 2 way radios. I need to make sure that they work in all hotels as well as have 8-10 channels with a long battery life. Also, since we are an association cost is a big factor since we will be buying 8-10 of them. Which product would fit our needs?
For communications through 30 floors, I would usually recommend a full 4 watt UHF radio. With a one or two watt radio, you may start to see “spotty” coverage after around 20 floors of separation. Since you mentioned battery life was also a concern, my recommendation would be the Kenwood TK3202L. This is a 16 channel radio with a lithium battery that can provide up to 18 hours of use on a charge.
Typically, the most popular radios for hotels are the Motorola CLS1410 and the Kenwood TK3230. These are very small, lightweight radios with lithium batteries. The CLS1410 is typically able to penetrate at least 15 floors. The TK3230 has one and a half watts, and is good for at least 20 floors.