Two Way Radios for Search and Rescue Training

Looking to refresh our supply of two way radios (10 to 12) which we use in ground, horse and quad search and rescue trainings (normally set in rural, mountain country).

If I understand what I’ve read, GMRS shouldn’t be a consideration being we won’t be licensing, leaving FRS as the reasonable option for this particular purchase. We currently have Garmin Rino 530HCx radios in addition to law enforcement issued radios, but try to limit their use in training being they are very expensive to repair/replace.

We are most interested in range, clarity, battery life/options and ease of use, but are not opposed to a few bells and whistles if it doesn’t complicate things too much, being the main goal is communication.

I have been reading and researching for a couple of days, but am just becoming more frustrated at not being able to wade through the pros and cons.

Suggestions would be so very, very welcome (and I would be happy to answer any additional questions to help determine appropriate suggestions). Thank you so much for your time and consideration :slight_smile:

You are going to have very, very poor range with FRS frequencies. You will get at best 1/2 mile. Because FRS channels are limited to .5 watts, any radio will work about as well as another. These are at least rather rugged:

FRS is honestly for use as a bit of a toy, and there are no FRS only radios besides some made for kids. Have you looked at getting MURS radios?

Also, you might be able to get federal and state grant money for a license.

Thanks Jeff. We have always just bought whatever radios seemed to be the best available on the shelf when we needed them :o , but never have researched them before. We haven’t ever had terrible trouble with the shelf products, but also have never known if we were using the best available. (We do have licensing access through the department, but have never needed to use before.) This led me to this forum to research and hopefully buy.

We’ve been looking at Midlands and Motorola Talkbouts… but again, just not sure if we’re looking at the right radios, and if so, which will provide the best range, clarity, battery life/options and ease of use… oh, and it would be nice for them to stand upright on a work surface. Thanks for being so patient and helping us out with this.

If you can operate under a license through your department I would recommend something like this:

If you are going to stick with FRS/GMRS radios, Midland makes the sturdiest ones at the moment. Most of the Motorola radios have a round base and will not stand up on a desk all that well.

Thanks, they want to steer away from using license.

So if Midland offers the best FRS/GMRS radios, what are a couple of good Midland models to chose from?

We are ready to order (and will also be ordering a couple more Garmin Rinos for communication with Tech Team).

Again, thanks so much for your continued patience… I know this is grueling.

I would go with these since they are on sale:

These are another option:

We also have Garmin radios:

Thank you so much, once again. Due to last minute deadline, we had to place order before I heard back yesterday… ended up ordering 10 Midland GXT760VP4s and 2 Garmin Rino 520 HCx with GPS (after verifying model with Tech team, and standing corrected). Hopefully the Midland model we actually ordered was a good choice also :confused:

I’d have to say, ‘training’ with a different radio than you intend to USE in a ‘real’ mission is no training at all.

While the radios are all similar, they are not the same, and learning to use one by rote (as so many do) will not help them use a different radio much.

You are most correct… for the most part these radios are used to facilitate the training, but are not part of the training, which allows us to limit the use of the devices used for actual call-outs to only those who will be handling them.

The 760s are good radios, they are essentially the same as the 740. Let us know if you have any questions!