We are looking for a highpowered set of handhelds for outdoor use mostly, range is a priority. Frustrated with the general consumer bubble-pack options and their over inflated range predictions. Ideally the radios would be GMRS compatable as others will continue to pack them. A weather rugged (no such thing as waterproof) set is also preferred. Open to suggestions. Currently considering options as varied as the Garmin 520 to programing a couple Motorola AXU4100s. I like the high W of these two at 5 and 4 respectively, does that actually translate to power at the antennae and distance? Comments on these two sets or other options are very much appreciated.

If you like the GPS functionality, the Garmin Rino 520 is an excellent radio. The GPS makes it more expensive, but as a GMRS radio you really can’t beat it. It is truly a high powered radio: 4.6 watts according to the FCC tests (FCCID IPH-00861). It is also repeater capable and has the unique feature of allowing you to locate the position of others in your party onscreen (if they have the same unit).

If the GPS functionality isn’t important to you, then you may as well save a few bucks and go with a Kenwood TK3202 or Motorola AXU4100 programmed to GMRS freqs.