Hi, my son is an avid mountain climber in the summer and cross country skier in the winter - I am disabled and stay with the car while he does his activities. Usually, I’m within line of site of where he is, with distances ranging up to 10 miles. He’s up there in the trees, can find open areas, maybe a few thousand feet higher than where I’m down in the parking lot.
I’d like to have some kind of communication with him. Cell phones are useless, the areas are too remote to have coverage. I’d like suggestions on 2 way radios less than 100 bucks. Thanks!!
If you need to stay under $100 total, I would suggest the Midland GXT800VP4. These are the most powerful radios in this price range. Midland claims 26 miles of range in the scenario you describe (mountaintop to valley), but I have never spoken with anyone that has actually achieved it. With these radios, I would expect that you would typically get 4-7 miles in your scenario and possibly up to 10 if you have clear line of sight.
Hi Danny, thanks for the quick reply. If I went up to, say, $200 for a pair of radios, would that make that big a difference?
$200 total isn’t going to make a big difference. To noticably improve your range, you would need to go with a 2 watt or higher VHF radio. VHF signals travel better outdoors than UHF, and a true 2 watt VHF radio would be more powerful than the Midland GXT800, which is around 1.6 watts. The Motorola XV2100 and Kenwood TK2200V2P are popular 2 watt VHF models. I expect that, with one of these models, you would see a 25% to 50% range improvement over the Midland models.
Keep in mind that many 2 watt VHF radios, including the models above, can be used on MURS frequencies which do not require a license.
Danny, those look like they might be worth the extra money. I’m looking harder at the Motorola because it can use AA batteries. Will these be reasonably 16 yr old kid skiing proof?
I ordered a pair, and these Motorola ones work perfectly for the conditions I’m dealing with. However, when your 16 year old son, skiing down the hill drops one into the snow, thats another issue. “Uh, musta been about 2 miles back, Dad”
Ordered another one. We’ll see if we can find the lost one next weekend, its a pretty remote and he’s the only one who skis the area.