Suggestions for buying local?

I have signed up to pick some brains for an answer I am struggling to find.

I am in the market for a pair of two way radios for personal use around our homestead. For various reasons, I would prefer to purchase a North American made product. Anyone have any ideas whether such a thing still exists or if everything has been outsourced to China?

Also, a more conventional question - Much of my property is hilly and heavily wooded, so my ideal radio would be able to get through a mile or so of that type of terrain. I realize that may be pushing it range-wise but would welcome any suggestions. I live in Canada so have slightly more leeway than some in terms of licensing regulations.



I have the same Issue with the hilly area’s around my property. I have had the best luck with the Midland GXT 1000’s. They are available right here at TWO WAY RADIO. com

Hi Red, welcome to the forum!

We’re based in the US, so usually I would recommend going GMRS and using a combination of handheld and mobile radios with antennas that could be positioned or mounted for optimal range in hills, but since you live in Canada, that really wouldn’t be an option for you. As I understand the rules there, GMRS mobile and base stations are not allowed.

Several of our forum members are in Canada, so they may be better able to answer your question.

Thanks Bilko. That is one of the radios I was strongly considering but am struggling to find in Canada. I didn’t see it on the site but will look again. Also not sure if they ship to these parts.

Thanks for the welcome and the reply Rick. I am still a bit hazy on the regs but will look into that issue too.

Incidentally, on my other question re country of manufacture, I have contacted Motorola, Midland and Uniden but have yet to receive a response.

Canada has not changed their rules, mostly because they were always compliant with the new U.S. FRS/GMRS rules anyway. GMRS is legal in Canada but must be 2 watts or under. So any new FRS radio will be legal in Canada. There are no licences required.

There is no specific regulation against the import of higher-power GMRS radios, although that is up to the discretion of CBSA. As for using 5-watt GMRS radios or 50-watt mobile GMRS radios, I suppose that will be a personal decision. Even in dense urban areas, there are few GMRS radios used here in Canada. We have cell phones, and if the cell service goes down, we can hitch up our dogsleds and head to the nearest general store anyway. Unlike MURS - which is not legal in Canada - there are no commercial operators using GMRS frequencies as their assigned business frequencies. Lots of retailers, drive-through and sled dog drivers use them of course, but because they have always been 2-watts or under, there was never much interference after 10 city blocks or so.

In addition to licence-free radios in Canada, the 900MHz spread spectrum radios are also completely legal here too.

Hope this helps.

As far as the origin of the products, I can answer that one. Uniden is based in Japan, so those radios are typically manufactured there or in other asian countries. As for the domestic US big brand companies, even their radios are either completely manufactured overseas, or designed here and assembled overseas. The only manufacturers I can think of at the moment that promote their products as made in the USA are Ritron and Blackbox, and even the latter has imported at least some of their product, as is evident by the Blackbox Base Station.

This is still very much on topic, so I’ll add a personal observation. I also like to buy American when possible, but when it comes to electronic products, particularly radios, that’s a tall order indeed. That’s why I find the whole “cheap radios from China” mantra a bit meaningless these days.

Taking off my BTWR hat and putting on my own personal “just another ham and GMRS consumer” cap for a moment, it kind of bugs me when some of my fellow consumers label all imports as “cheap chinese junk”, when there is an elephant in the room that everyone is aware of, but refuses to acknowledge, and that is that most all of this stuff is manufactured overseas, or at least incorporate certain components that come from China. This is no big revelation. It’s just a simple fact, it’s public knowledge, and everyone knows it.

Now, is there cheap import junk out there? Absolutely! And there’s a lot of it, too. Are there substandard clones and counterfeit product made with little or no quality control and minimal to no standards? Of course! And that’s the stuff you want to be completely aware of.

However, having said all that, there are also some reputable factories and brands in China that put real effort into their manufacturing processes and do manufacture good quality products, with collaboration or some quality oversight of domestic brands and companies. Motorola and Midland all do this. So do we. Examples of reputable brands we do business with are Wouxun and TYT. Both companies have a long standing positive reputation.

We get solicitations from Chinese manufacturers almost on a daily basis. I have an inbox full of emails from them. Most of it really is junk. Occasionally we’ll purchase a demo or two to test ourselves and it will go through a rigorous vetting process. Danny, Anthony and I all have shelves full of these demos in our offices, and a lot of them are products that don’t meet our standards. Those are radios we don’t sell. Sure, you can get them on Amazon. But we’re not Amazon. We have standards. And that’s why you won’t find those products on our site.

Fifty years ago the same thing was said about products “made in Japan”. It became sort of a cliche for poor quality. Now when I hear recommendations for top quality ham radios, it’s either Icom or Kenwood. Both of these companies are based in Japan. Last I heard, Japan is still an asian country.

On the flip side, I’ve purchased my share of products made in the USA that are also junk, so I don’t put that much meaning into origin labels anymore. I concentrate on the quality of individual manufacturers, brands and their products.

So, when someone says “it’s all chinese junk”, it’s a bit of a misnomer, because it’s a blanket statement that doesn’t necessarily apply to every chinese company.