What type of radio is best for me

Good morning, I don’t have any experience with 2 way radios other than having a CB with my friends back in the 80’s.So yes its been a while lol. Looking at the world in general i feel an increasing need to find a way to keep in touch with my girls in case the sh*t really does hit the fan.
I live in southern NH and both my daughters live in Mass roughly 40 miles away but separately One south of me and one to the southwest. I have been watching video’s and reading what i can but every time i think i have it figured out i end up with another question. Both girls live in apartments and my buddy owns the house i live in. Between radio types and antennas and repeaters i just know that i need help trying to figure out what will work (if anything at all). So i thank you for your time and any advice you can give.

40 miles is too far for most radio - without resorting to clever and complex systems - like beams - directional largish antennas. Repeaters are all fine but need electrikery to work, so if it’s for emergencies, that means batteries chargers, solar panels, expense and complication.
Emergency comms is perfectly possible - but you didn’t mention budget or operator skills?

Ignoring the legal side of things, you could link a system so somebody with a portable in one house - gets linked to another house where a portable would also work - with outside antennas and proper planning.

What you cannot do is just buy a few radios that will just do it.


thanks, i was coming to the same conclusion that without an complicated setup it wasn’t going to work. I really don’t have the skills to set up and maintain some thing like that. Most of the time people are just trying to sell you something so there is a lot of contradiction that’s presented. That’s why i figured a forum would be a more honest assessment. so i thank you. I really like the gmrs radios so i may just get a few of those so they will have them even if they cant reach me at least they could figure out what was going on and reach someone for help if they needed it.

I guess that in times of trouble - families would just get together till the danger passes. Sometimes being able to talk could be worse than not talking!

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Don’t give up. First, go on mygmrs.com. Look for repeaters in your area. Contact the repeater owner and ask if the repeater is on emergency backup power when the grid goes down. Make sure it has the coverage/area you need. Then go shopping for a GMRS radio. If you want strictly GMRS, look at Midland. If you want something that can scan EMS/Fire frequencies look for a radio like the Wouxun KG-935G Plus GMRS Two Way Radio. That’s a great starter radio. Has many options. Or the (2nd Gen) TIDRADIO H8 GMRS Radio with Bluetooth Programming Repeater Capable Long-Range Radio for a lot less money and just as good.

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Thank you very much, I will look into those radios, i did want something that can scan the emergency channels. I have been traveling for a few weeks and will be home in a few more. Then i will spend some time looking into it all.

WRP, I’m pleased you deleted the first comment, because the initial post was about buying some simple radios. Repeaters, and renting space on a tower is a huge expense that might be way out of proportion. I was intending to put him off wasting money on just radios that often have huge claimed range and don’t work. You are not going to get away with buying cheap kit to install on a commercial tower. Your second post is far more balanced. Your GMRS option makes sense, but although we don’t have them in the U.K., I thought most were intended for leisure chatting now? This SHTF thing I thought, probably wrongly, was for when the public infrastructure fails, and many repeaters have minimal battery backup operation times. Normally the solar charging and battery time is for short power outage periods. A repeater install for longer term no power use costs real money, and is a more commercial operation. The OP has a long distance to cover. Best case is an existing free to use repeater right on the path between the users.

Be aware that the ability to scan emergency channels such as police, fire and EMS is rapidly disappearing. Almost all major agencies in North America have moved or will be moving to digital radios. This was necessary for inter-agency operability and accessing federal funding.

For safety and privacy reasons, almost all EMS and police (and even some fire) agencies have also gone to encrypted digital communication that cannot be monitored even by the best analog and digital scanners that can even follow trunked (frequency-hopping) transmissions.

There are lots of inexpensive radios marketed as being able to receive police bands, and this is completely false. The Wouxun KG-935 Plus can receive many VHF and UHF frequencies outside the GMRS bands, but you will note that legitimate radio dealers like our forum hosts here do not advertise them with the ability to pick up police, fire or EMS. The number of smaller agencies that still use non-trunked analog radios are dwindling quickly.

GMRS radios are great for line-of-sight conversations within their design limits. They will rarely if ever be suitable for monitoring emergency channels. Even the best scanners on the market will not be able to monitor much beyond corporate, commercial and business traffic.

When I first started programming digital radios, it’s all about tick boxes. Do you want this, or this - and then there is that box that says encrypt. At first, I used to just ignore it, but now, many dealers tick the box automatically, and use something like their phone number if the radio needs a digital code entering. For many it’s not a serious need to prevent people listening, it’s just like being asked for a password for your PC when you first buy one. Few of us really care about friends and family using them - but we could sidestep the password, but we don’t.

Every time a new system is commisioned, the installer picks a password, or ticks encrypt for no reason other than just that they can.

thanks for the input. It really is a shame we can’t monitor emergency channels to keep up with what is going on around you. So what is the best way to keep myself informed with what is going on in a wide spead outage or SHTF event? There is a widespread ATT outage today and it just threw this right back into front of mind and i need to figure this out for my own piece of mind. Keeping myself informed would be number one then getting in contact with my daughters is number two. again i thank you all for the input.