I purchased 6 radios we will be using again for an off-road adventure through the desert. Last year we did the same track and had some issues hearing out of the 6 radios everyone clearly. I had the squelch turned to 5 and kept on the appropriate Chanel?s is there a setting I missed or does adding an antenna work? Each car is about a mile apart and sometimes more ??
Are they all Baofeng UV-5R plus radios? What type of vehicles are you using off-road? Are you using any antennas attached to the vehicles externally or are they the stock antennas attached directly to the radios? What band and frequencies are you using? Is it flat or hilly desert terrain?
I purchased all the radios and they are
All the same radios. We are not currently using an antenna but I was considering purchasing one. It seems there is interference and I am assuming it is because of distance. The type of off road car is razors we do a 900 mile loop over 6 days it is critical to be able to communicate start and stop commends
It is hilly terrain at any given point one car is at the top of a hill and another st the bottom
Okay, so it’s an open air off-road vehicle and you are using handheld radios with their stock antennas.
Well, there are a number of factors to consider.
What band and frequencies are programmed into the Baofengs? this carries some weight, as whether you are using UHF or VHF can determine your range outdoors.
On flat, open terrain with nothing around, there won’t be much to get in the way of the signal, but hilly terrain will be problematic and can greatly affect range.
Your antennas will play a key role in connectivity and signal strength. If you are using handhelds, your antennas will be situated lower and behind some framing in the vehicle. An antenna attached to the vehicle externally is better.
A suggestion would be to use mobile radios with higher wattage that can be mounted in the vehicles and connected to antennas mounted on the top of the cars. These will work better than handhelds and will be easier to manage with a hand mic when driving or riding in the vehicle. There are a number of mini mobile and micro mobile radios on the market now that are specifically designed for use with off-road vehicles.
Conversely, if mobile radios are not an option for you, it is possible to “convert” a handheld such as a Baofeng for use as a mobile radio with a proper external antenna, adapter, mount and DC power cord.
One other item. if you are located in the US, be aware that some of the frequencies require a license, and the Baofengs may not be FCC type accepted to use them. There are, however, CB mini-mobile radios available for off-road vehicles, and the CB band is license free.
Our radio range chart can help you determine what your range capabilities and limitations are for your situation. Although it was written for GMRS range considerations, it applies to most every type of consumer radio.
Also, in episode 84 of our podcast, The Two Way Radio Show, we talk about how to turn a handheld radio into a mobile.
TWRS-84 - How To Turn a Handheld Radio Into a Mobile
Or you can listen here: