Output Power Lies

How is it that the makers of the majority of these radios can get away with advertising 5 watts of output power when they barely put out under 2 watts? Doesn’t anyone hold them accountable for their lies?

We try to be sure people know the truth. It’s the super-exaggerated range claims that cause us more trouble than the wattage claims, but both are bad.

There’s not a lot that can be done because technically they’re not lying. From what I understand, these radios actually do have a 5 watt transmitter. The problem is that by the time the signal gets from the transmitter to the antenna it has dropped to an effective 1-2 watts. Range is a similar situation. Twenty five miles of range is achievable with these radios, but you would have to be in a line of sight situation such as one radio on a mountain and another in a valley below. Clearly not a typical scenario. Even over open water the curvature of the Earth causes you to miss the signal after around 6 miles or so.

I can sympathize with the manufacturers to some extent. If one of them is making these absurd claims, the rest have to follow suit or else they are at a disadvantage. Think about it, most people don’t know much at all about radios. If the average person is standing in Wal-mart trying to decide between two sets of radios. One says 2 mile range and the other says 25 and the price is the same, what would they choose?

It’s definitely a strange industry. Maybe things will get better in the next couple of years. In the meantime, all we can do is try to reasonably set expectations before people spend their money.


Thanks Danny, for the explanation. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I guess I can understand what they are doing. To me the problem is that the general public is uneducated about radios, antennas, power, etc. I have been in amateur radio for 42 years and it just frustrates me to see manufacturers take advantage of people’s ignorance about such things. I appreciate dealers such as yourself that do make an effort to educate people as much as you can. Thanks.