Truly Hands Free


Is there a type of 2-way radio that requires no button-pushing at all? I would like to be able to interact with someone on horseback (range several hundred yards) but obviously the rider must have a hands free speak/listen capability. The rider obviously also has to have a helmet on.



Yes, many GMRS/FRS radios do support a hands-free option. The feature you want to look for is called “VOX” and you would need a VOX capable headset to make it work best.

With a helmet, you will want to be sure that the style of headset you choose will work with your helmet style. If the ears are covered, a surveillance-style headset may be the best choice, but because the earpiece goes inside the ear canal with this style they might not be best if many people are sharing. If the ears are not covered by the helmet, you have more flexibility and can go with an earpiece that is more stable.

Both Motorola and Midland have radios that would suite your needs if you only need a few hundred yards of range. I recommend that you start by choosing a headset that you like best, and then choose a VOX capable radio from that manufacturer.

From Midland, the LXT440VP3 or the GXT710VP3 would be great, along with either the AVP-H3 or AVP-H4 headsets.

From Motorola, I think you would be happy with the T8500R radios. Motorola’s VOX capable headsets are the 56320 and the 53725.


That’s great. After reading about the VOX feature in your links, obviously this will work. Much easier than I thought. Your forum has performed- thanks!



I should also mention that when you use hands-free mode with two way radios, you can run into some issues that are unexpected. Some people are disappointed with VOX use, primarily because their expectations were not initially set properly.

When radios are used in hands-free mode, the microphone is basically waiting for the sound level to break a certain loudness threshold. When this is reached, it starts transmitting your voice.

Due to the way this works, there are two sometimes undesirable results. Usually there is a delay of less than a second between when you start talking and when the radio starts transmitting. This means the first part of your transmission can be missed. Also, if you are trying to use VOX mode in an area where there is background noise, this background noise can break the radio’s threshold and cause unwanted transmissions.

Hope this was helpful. Please let me know if you have any other questions.