I have done a search and have not been able to find my answers.
Sorry if this hase been asked before but here it gos.

I have had a bunch of two way radios over the years. What we need is a set that will really work over a couple of miles or even a mile in the suburbs and out in the woods.

Any ideas what I should get? I spoke to Motorola today on the phone and they told me to get the business versions. Well they cost like a ton of cash. Is there any other options?
Thats the question.

The short answer is Nope.

A business radio is going to cost more not only because you can achieve slightly better range but also because of the quality of parts, manufacturing, durability, and versatility. Business radios can be reprogrammed to different frequencies as your needs change, or work with a repeater for longer distances. The battery, audio, and accessory options are also numerous for business radios.

The *type of business radio you should choose will depend on the features you need, including the “feature” of a cheap price :slight_smile:

Tell us, what will your main usage be? What type of terrain do you want to tackle and what are the distances? Are you rough on your radio or do you take care of your electronics? Max shift you would use the radio for before reprogramming?
Fill us in and we can make some recommendations. Although you will never achieve the stated distances on retail packing, it’s not uncommon to get 1-2 miles in the woods and 1/4-1 mile in suburbs like what you are looking for.

Main use is around town for the kids. I am trying to get about 1/4 of a mile straight line. The buble pack units I have dont work. They go 1/4 mile in one direction. There are no trees and less houses. The other direction are a ton of trees and more houses. I want to be at home and be able to get him.

They would also be used out in the woods on the trails when we take the Jeeps. The distance can be maybe 1/2 a mile at times.
I am easy on my electronics but you know kids. Even on a good they they are not as easy as we all like.


I just joined the forum and saw that you were looking for a good 2 way radio that’s not so expensive. Have you looked at the Motorola PM1200 with the enhanced keypad microphone? It would probably do what you want. They cost for just over $1000 for the set with the transeiver. I have a never used unit in the box I’m trying to sell for $600 if you are interested, let me know.

I don’t know what kind of bubble-pack radios you are using, but if you use the top of the line bubble pack radios (labeled 36 mile range) you should get a little bit better range than what you described…and you’re already aware that the reasonable range claims are way overstated. I’ve done personal range comparisons with motorola,cobra (bubble-packs) puxing, and a commercial motorola ht and they all seem to have more-or-less the same useful range. The only other alternative that I could see would be the hand held CB radios- don’t know their range but I’ve seen an SSB model - the hand helds are usually large and heavy- not something that the kids would want to carry around…good luck in your search!

I have used Midland, Motorola and Uniden.
Some have had the 36 mile range. The big problem is here at the house.
Like I have stated when my son gos to one of his friends house it just does not work. Maybe there is some thing that is blocking the signals between our house and his buddys. Thats the only thing I can think of right now.

gixer, have you considered using a base radio or using a commercial radio with an external antenna? I’ve had very good luck with an old Kenwood TK-2100 with an external base antenna hooked up. Max range was 8 real miles when my buddy was on the 2nd floor of his house.

With a commercial radio you can use it with the stock antenna or hook up an external antenna and feedline, and switch back and forth as you see fit.

Can I use a base station with the bubbl pack radios that I already have?
That would be great since I have a buch already.

Sure can. A base radio (or commercial portable) with a base antenna can be programmed to operate on the GMRS channels to match your bubble-pack radios. Make sure you set the channels for narrowband on the base radio since most bubble packs are preprogrammed narrowband.