Newbie looking for advice

I am looking for a pair of long range radios that is reasonably cheap ~$120/pair and from my research something at or above 5W since I’m ok with registering with the FCC for a license.

I would also like something that doesnt get me in trouble with being on a frequency used by police,fire, etc. I’ve read some reviews online about Baofengs coming preprogrammed on these frequencies.

I don’t know anything about programming a radio but willing to learn if needed but would prefer something turn key. Also a radio that does encryption but not a must have.

Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Hi David, welcome to the forum!

Range is a relative term, and walkie talkies in general are considered "short range’ communications. Considering this, a recommendation for handheld radios is going to depend primarily on the frequencies and service you plan to use. Are you looking for radios to operate on FRS, GMRS, amateur (ham), business band, MURS, or some other service? Wattage will also depend on this, since some services such as FRS and MURS are restricted to 2 watts or less.

Baofeng radios may come pre-programmed to some frequencies that are not legal for transmit in the US and some other countries, such as police, fire and public service bands that you mentioned, so you don’t want to open the box, turn it on and simply choose a pre-programmed channel to use.

You mentioned that you don’t mind a licensed service. Depending on what you plan to use the radios for, it sounds like GMRS is your best option. Most GMRS handhelds are considerably less than 2 watts, but the Wouxun KG-805G is a full 5 watt radio, there are a large number of accessories available for it, it supports repeater channels, which can greatly increase range, and it has a removable antenna, which can increase range even more. A license costs $70 for ten years and covers your entire family, however there is currently a proposal by the FCC to lower it to $50. If approved, that would be even better.

While a pair of KG-805G radios is a little above your $120 range, it offers a lot of features that other GMRS walkie talkies don’t have, which makes it worth the price.

Hi, Rick! Glad I stumbled upon this forum.

Thanks so much for the great feedback. The Wouxun KG-805G does look like a great option. Appears to be turn key but programmable.

Also, based on your clarification it does seem like GMRS would be what I’m looking for. Are GMRS frequencies open to the general public for use or are there frequencies on GMRS that I would have to be aware of not to use? Otherwise, how would I know what a safe channel/ frequency would be to operate on?

Also, do I have to be a business to operate on a business band or is there any benefits of using business band over GMRS if its open to the basic consumer.

Thanks again!

GMRS is an acronym for General Mobile Radio Service. Athough some GMRS users treat it as a hobby, it’s really intended for general public use. It consists of 22 channels, plus 8 repeater channels, and all of them can be used. Channels 8-14 are restricted to a maximum of 1/2 watt, but radios that are FCC type accepted for GMRS are designed to operate at that low power on those channels automatically.

Frequencies on the business band require a license, and it’s not cheap. However, this frequency is assigned to your business and not shared by others in your area, which provides a measure of exclusivity and increases privacy.

This article is an overview of the various radios services that may be helpful. Types of Two Way Radios

Episode 75 of The Two Way Radio Show Podcast features a more in-depth discussion on them.