My husband and I are going on safari in Africa. We want to buy two way radios so we can contact each other or the group during times we are separated. Two questions (1) Can we use these radios in Africa without the license and have them function at higher distances? (2) What radios are most appropriate for this type of need?
Other than this trip, I don’t think we would use them except for keeping track of kids, camping, and family vacations.
As far as the radios, Midland’s have good range for the price. The GXT710VP3 or the GXT800VP4 would be good choices and should provide 1-2 miles of range, depending upon the terrain. The primary differences are that the GXT800’s are waterproof and include headsets. Since you are going to be using them outside of the US, you may even want to consider the GXT700. This is a high power, no frills model - no charger, no weather channels, etc., but in Africa weather channels aren’t important (they only work in the US and Canada) and AA batteries may be better because the charger will likely not plug into an outlet without a converter.
Licensing is a different question, one that I can’t give you a good answer on. You would certainly be able to use the high power channels without a standard FCC licence, because those licenses only apply for use within the US. The question, however, is whether the countries that you will be visiting allow public use on the frequencies that GMRS radios use. If those governments have allocated those frequencies for other uses, then GMRS radios may not be permitted.
Unfortunately I do not have any specific information on the legalities for Africa. I can tell you that we have customers in Africa that buy GMRS radio’s from us, but that does not guarantee their legality.
Thank you very much for the suggestions on a radio. I will consult with the safari tour operator for details on if they are permitted and licensing.
Great! Please come back and let us know what you find out. I’m sure there are others out there who will have this same question.