Hi folks, very informative site, I have been browsing but cannot find the specific info I am looking for so hopefully yall can help me out.
I am a wilderness first responder and guide, and try not to rely on technology too often because in the woods, if it fails and you rely on it, even with a great warranty and customer service, its useless. I am new to radios, other than using them occasionally, but after a few cheap motorolas saved the day in a search and rescue of a lost group member on a wilderness expedition last week, I have a newfound respect and value for two-way radios as tools for emergency communication. He had lost the trail being forced to navigate around flooded terrain, and wound up in the wrong valley headed further into the mountains. Using these simple radios, we were able to establish and maintain contact, and organize a successful rescue within a very short time period, before the situation had a chance to escalate, and didnt even need to resort to any serious measures beyond communication to help him re-orient his direction to basecamp.
So now I am looking for some quality, backcountry capable radios for dedicated use to prevent and aid in the event of a similar situation, as well as to help communications on open water and river trips to aid in scouting of conditions and river hazards.
I am not looking for anything fancy or complicated, but rather something that will be ideally waterproof and rugged, and provide effective range in the backcountry. My colleague has recommended the “Uniden Submersible 50-mile range” units, and while they certainly look to have all the features I need for use, the charging and battery options appear extremely limited. Being restricted to a wall charging cradle would not make this unit appropriate for extended use in the backcountry.
I have a portable solar panel charging station which can charge devices via USB, car charger adapter, as well as recharge AA/ AAA rechareable alkaline batteries. The Uniden Submersible does not appear to function with any of these options.
The radios we used were cheap and old, but did the job needed. They ran on simple AAA alkaline batteries, which we all had many of, and could have easily been changed during the search. Any radio that does not have this option as a back up I feel would be inappropriate for emergency backcountry use, being restricted only to the life of the battery, and access to a wall charger.
So; I am basically looking for a radio that is as rugged as possible, with an effective range for backcountry use, preferably floating or waterproof, but also versatile enough to be charged from either a car charger adapter or via USB( not ONLY wall charger) and can also be run on alkaline or lithium batteries in a pinch. If anyone has any suggestions I would be extremely appreciative, and so will my next group member who gets lost in the woods!
Thanks for all your help and taking the time to read, sorry for being so longwinded just want to be specific about my needs!