radios for experimental theatre event

Hello radio buffs! I am totally ignorant on this subject but i want to adapt simple shortwave radios or walkie-talkies into an integral part of an experimental theatre piece. Here’s the deal: volunteers will sign up to participate in this experimental piece, they will be given these cool hats/helmets with a radio earpiece and then given instructions that will lead them into the game/story. I’ve done a couple pieces like this before, once with prerecorded instructions on iPods and once by sending mass texts, but the event I am organizing for has often had in the past a lot of dropped calls etc. because people use too much bandwidth. So I thought why not use an older, more reliable form of telecomunications: short-wave radios. So some questions are: what kind of radios can i use? can i just get a bunch of old walkie-talkies, set them to the same or a few different channels and fit them into hockey helmets? Where do I begin? I got this idea, and proposed it to the San Antonio Arts Council and they liked it and want me to produce this thing on a small budget in 6 weeks! AND I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT RADIOS! HELP!?!:eek::eek::eek:

Let’s start here: What is the maximum range you will have to transmit to these volunteers.

no more than 1000 feet. thanks for responding?

Well, I think it’s safe to say any old FRS radios will do you just fine then. The “old walkie talkies” you reference in your first post will suit you well assumin you are talking about the little ones kids used to get as toys or the radios you pick up at any electronics/department store. The newer radios use a combination of FRS and GMRS frequencies whereas older models will only have FRS frequencies in them.

Here is the technical info you will need. When buying radios used or new you will commonly see a “22 channels” or “14 channels” or “1001 channels” advertised on the radio. The first (or only) 14 channels in a pack of radios you buy at the store are FRS channels (7-14 shared with GMRS). You may use channels 1-14 on low power without a license- note: if there is no low power option on the radio then those channels will probably already be low power. FRS frequencies are license free when used at .5 watts or less and with a fixed antenna with a type accepted radio (don’t worry the manufacturers have figured all of this out for you).

My suggestion would be to buy a couple used or new sets, buy the corresponding earpieces, and distribute them to your group. If you want to talk individually to every person, they must each be on a seperate channel. If you need more than 14 seperate channels, use the “quiet tones or sub-codes” to basically allow more users. These radios should cover you for 1/4-1/2 mile give or take the terrain and area you operate in.

Are you looking at used radios or new?