Good radio choice for a heavily wooded (forested) area

Hi Folks, I am new to the forum and new to two-way radio technology (other than being a naive user of walkie talkies as a kid).

I have reviewed several similar posts to the one I am about to make, so if you feel that my question has already been answered, please let me know. No one wants to repeat themselves!

Here is my situation. I have recently purchased a 236 acre property in rural New Hampshire. The property is reasonably flat (no more than 150ft elevation gain anywhere on the property). However, it is heavily wooded (basically a modestly dense forest).

Unfortunately, given the rural location of the property, cell phone coverage is very poor. That won’t be a problem around the house since we can use Wifi calling (the house is served by high speed fiber optic internet). I plan to install “farm-wide” Wifi do provide Wifi coverage in the ~10 acres of cleared (no trees) area in proximity to the house. So, in this region, person-to-person cell phone coverage should work fine.

However, there are several miles of cut trails through the property’s forests that would not have Wifi or cell phone coverage and I would like to have communications in those areas. I am interested in communication from the house to someone hiking on the trails, and person-to-person communication of people hiking perhaps very different areas of the property.

Here are some factors that are important to me:

  1. I don’t care if other people can hear the conversations. We are rural enough that we will not likely have many other people on a specific channel.

  2. Battery life is not my primary concern. At most people will be on the trails for 4 to 6 hours and would not be using the radios at any significant frequency.

  3. My primary goal is to make sure we can contact people on the trails if there is something urgent (e.g., please return to the house, or, hey I am hurt, come get me).

  4. The cost of the radios is not a significant factor. I am prepared to buy higher-end (commercial-quality) equipment to meet my needs if consumer-quality equipment will not work.

  5. I have no problem getting a GMRS license for family use if GMRS is the solution.

  6. I am not looking for any fancy features, but will accept them on the radios if they meet my other goals.

  7. I have been trained as a computer programmer, so I don’t anticipate too many problems programming radios if I need to.

  8. I would be willing to install a repeater(s), but I prefer not to (any repeaters would have to work on solar power and be installed in a weatherproof enclosure).

  9. I have read reviews of radios like Tera 505 and Baofeng UV-82HP (using VHF) that sound promising.

I would really like to find reviews by people who have actually tested radios in the field under somewhat similar conditions. The only (really good) review I can find is by Martin Lorton — which is where I got the Tera and Baofeng recommendations.

I am very interested in the insights from the much more knowledgeable people (than me) on this forum.


They will all perform about the same. I’d go with GMRS to get up to 5W, not FRS. I’d use a mobile radio with higher wattage (20W-50W) and an antenna mounted to the house to reach people in the field. I really like the Wouxan KG905G and 805G. The others are too much money, IMHO, and don’t do all that much more.

Thanks, I appreciate the recommendations. Sorry for my ignorance, is it legal to use a device with 20W-50W on GMRS frequencies? Thanks!

Channels 15-22 and repeater channels 15R-22R allow up to 50 watts.

Sent you a private message, krubin, with some helpful links.

Thanks for the clarification!

You are welcome. The band/channel plan is a little complicated at first. This nice thing about most Part 95 certified GMRS radios is they won’t allow transmission power higher than what is allowed for the channel you are on. You can use less power but not more. Radios that are not Part 95 certified is a different story.


The thing to spend money on is the antenna system and something to get it as high as you can. Topography could be the most useful - a repeater, maybe solar powered/recharged on the highest part of your land, above all obstructions, and they don’t need to be a circular radiation pattern - you could use directional antennas to make the signal work where you need. Licensing I n’ comment on not being US based - but we do this in the UK.

Thanks Paul. We will be looking into a base unit (with an appropriately sized antenna) for the house. If we need to, we will look into repeaters as well.

Considering the requirments, it does sound like GMRS may be the way to go, especially since it is already a consideration to get a license for your family. It is not at all uncommon for family farms to go this route, and it has been become more viable lately with the availability of full power GMRS handhelds and mobile/bas stations such as the KG-935G and KG-1000G. In fact, the versatility of the KG-1000G and it’s ability to be configured as a repeater system has made it quite useful on farms. As others have already stated, antennas can help your situation the most. You can greatly increase coverage just by strategically planning height and placement of antennas on your property.

TRAM WSP1400 Aluminum 6dBd Gain VHF 135MHz-174MHz Base Station Antenna, Silver This is the Antenna we use here out it the country on our house … This Antenna works wonderful and I Can talk to the house as far as 35 miles away depending on terrian (around the corner of the Mtn ) But it has outpreformed all other antennas ive tried Here in Canada

Thanks Rick. Looks KG-1000G and a couple of KG-935G handsets and a base station power supply and a good roof antenna might do the trick.

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Thanks for the antenna recommendation!