best radios for hunter?

hi everyone im new to the forum and a complete amateur. I have had a set of midlands radios ( showerproof) and have found them good. i looked at replacing them with a set of the gxt5000 versions but now see they have been discontinued? Anyway thought someone might be able to suggest a good quality set that will tolerate the weather and give the best range. Thanks in advance for any tips.

Ford / Dodge / Chevrolet…

When I went to school, some 30 odd years ago, the discussion around the lunchroom table always boiled down to Ford / Dodge / Chevrolet.

Each man had his own opinion.

Some people likes to talk about watts - they think that any problem can be solved with more power - just like Tim the Toolman on Tool Time.

Some people likes to talk about antenna’s - since we can see antenna’s, and we can perceive a louder signal.

Some people likes to talk about Technology - and they think they can solve the worlds problems with a mode advanced radio.

The bottom line is range is determined by how large the antenna is, how many watts signal you have, how high up off the ground the antenna is and your locations. Things like DCS and CTCSS - what some manufacturers calls Frequency Interference Eliminators - doesn’t make your signal stealth, they just block out some unwanted interference.

The best walkie talkies are the ones that works with everyone else’s equipment.

Not all of the bubble pack radios are interchangeable in their frequency designation numbers and their interference eliminator codes.

In my opinion, the big M does not stand for Motorola, it stands for MONEY…

Companies such as GE were electronically correct, while Motorola was politically correct.

If you want a good radio, just look at which ever one costs the most money.

If it costs $100 each - and the bubble pack radios are 2 for $80 - then the $100 radio must be a better radio right?

If the battery is not dead on the radio you now have, and it works with everyone else’s radio - then leave it alone.

There is nothing to be gained by buying a more expensive radio - except to get one that had gimmic’s such as a flashlight, all weather radio, a strobe light, a commercial FM radio, or other things to convince you to buy their product.

Commercial radios use commercial frequencies and requires the user to have a license. They have detachable antenna’s and more power then the cheaper models and usually have a better battery and battery life.
And they are not disposable…

I doubt if everyone in your group wants to buy a GMRS license.

I doubt if everyone in your group wants to earn a Ham radio license.

And I doubt if everyone in your group wants to spend several hundred dollars on a new radio - of some quality other then the cheapest ones they can find.

The ones I use are the T7400 Motorola - they work slightly better then the cheaper bubble pack models.

dosplus - Take a look at the Motorola MS350R. It sounds like waterproofing is important to you, so I think you’d probably be happy with those. The Midland GXT1000 and GXT2000 might be worth a look as well. Those are not as waterproof as the MS350R, but have a little more power. The GXT2000 uses lithium rechargeable batteries, which last longer and are lighter.

TowerTech - Good points. I do want to point out though that the Motorola and Cobra bubble pack radios DO talk to each other. As long as we’ve been doing this (since 2002) all bubble pack radios have followed the same FRS/GMRS channel and frequency standard.

I have some neighbors that has some Cobra or Midland walkie talkies and I always had Motorola’s and there was something different.

Come to think of it, I had to decypher the CTCSS codes on my Motorola - when trying to determine what they were with my Yaesu FT 8900 - which could do FRS and GMRS if I wanted it to.

At first, it was a mystery since the numbers did not match, then I found a web site that gave the frequencies and the PL and they did match.

I have a Bearcat scanner that will tell you the PL being used, but it couldn’t read the PL on the Motorola’s for some reason.

I personally do not like the Cobra’s, and I do not worry about any radio being weatherproof.
I lost a Motorola T5620 while hunting about 8 years ago - when it was new.
A neighbor found it along the trail about 6 months later.
I had posted a reward - just for kicks and giggles - to see if anyone would find it.

When I got it home, the PTT was a little corroded and the battery needed charged and cleaned, but after using it a couple of times, you cannot tell it from the one that did not lay out in the bitter cold, snow, rain for 6 months.
It still works to this day.

My Motorola Radius radios will work even after being submerged to a depth of at least 15 feet in fresh water for 15 minutes.

I don’t think anyone would be stupid enough to submerse it in salt water.

Even a 20 year old Radius will still outperform a brand new bubble pack radio.

The Radius cost’s about $500 each - new / with all the perepherials and they require a license to use.

its not something you would want to buy - just to use two weeks out of the year to go hunting.

Your compatibility issue was probably related to the CTCSS/DCS codes. In the Motorola bubble pack radios, they number them 1-121 (actual number varies based on model) and do not differentiate between CTCSS and DCS. Cobra and Midland separate their codes into CTCSS (1-38) and DCS (1-83). So… if you have a Motorola Talkabout on code 40 for example, you’d have to put your Cobra or Midland on DCS 2. A few months ago Anthony did a Radio 101 video touching on this.

As a dealer, it would be great if everyone that needed a radio for hunting purchased a top of the line $500 radio but I agree with you that it doesn’t make sense to do so. For most hunters, I really think “bubble pack” GMRS radios like the Midland GXT1000 or the Motorola MS350R make the most sense. While they’re definitely not the best quality radios in the world they have a few advantages in this case…

  1. They’re cheap. That makes them an option for someone that is only going to use them a handful of times per year.

  2. They’re widely available. If you go hunting with other people, there’s a good chance they’re also already using a similar radio so chances are good you can talk with others in your group who already have radios.

  3. They’re configurable. Most high-end radios are designed for business use and will not allow you to change things, like the CTCSS code, without using programming software and a PC.

  4. Headsets and accessories are either included with the radios or are widely available and at a reasonable price.

  5. Features like built in NOAA weather channels and support for AA batteries.

You’ll find a lot of dealers that knock the cheap FRS/GMRS radios, but I’m not in that group. There is a lot that I don’t like about these radios, but there are situations where they are the best choice.