Good radios for campus setting

For roughly 10 years, we have used Motorola Talkabouts (currently are using some 6510s and 8500s with some old Talkabout Distance radios). For the last several years, we have noticed the quality decreasing. We use 15 radios for the staff of a private camp, covering about 2 miles of distance, in and out of wood and stone buildings, with topography that includes a large “ridge” with buildings on the low side of each ridge, effectively putting an earth wall between the two buildings. It seems that the battery life of the newer units is not nearly as good as the old ones and we’re looking for new radios. It would be ideal if they could communicate with the talkabouts, as some visitors use the talkabouts as well, but we may need to switch to a better radio. Cost and size are considerations (some of the workers store their talkabouts in their pockets). Can you point me in the right direction? Our summer staff is not always careful with their radios and we’ve had several dropped in lakes, holes, etc., so I hate to spend too much on these.

Any help you can give me is appreciated.


I would suggest one of these two options:

The Midland GXT800 may be a good choice because it has a lot of power, relative to similarly priced models. It is also waterproof (not submersible!), and has a typical battery life of 10-12 hours (based on typical usage).

The Kenwood TK-3131 is a GMRS radio (compatible with your Talkabouts). It is more expensive, but is business quality and is small and lightweight. It will get better range than your Talkabouts, but probably a little less than the Midland 800’s.