Wich Radio for Tactical Usage?

Hi Guys !

I have a question about my radio choice.

I need:

  • a minimum range of 3 Miles
  • Waterproof
  • Programmable frequencies
  • Dead man mode (not that important)
  • GPS
  • Possibly encrypted.

Thank you in advance for your answers.

Questions back, I’m afraid. where in the world are you? The GPS function is usually very undeveloped - pretty much it just gives you a lat.lon in the display. Waterproofing has various standards - how waterproof. Goes from shower proof to floating! Encryption complicates it because it mean digital not analogue.

Lastly, 3 miles range. Totally terrain dependent. Obstacles can mean hundreds of metres, not miles.

As my friend has said, we need lots more information. What country are you located in, what type of radio (handheld or mobile) and how much are you willing to spend. Those are the big ones.

The good news is, assuming you are looking for an inexpensive, handheld, licence-free radio, you can get all of the following:

  • GPS enabled
  • Possibility of encryption
  • A possible range of 3 miles in ideal conditions
  • Waterproof
  • Programmable by computer or by keypad
  • Licence-free
  • Inexpensive

Now the bad news. There is no such thing as a magic radio that does all of this. You will need to pick any two of the above.

Tell us more about your priorities from the list above, and there are folks in here who may be able to help.

Many thanks for the quick response.

I’m from Germany and need a handheld radio for an expedition to South Africa this summer.
The radio must be capable of taching at least 5 meters of water.
The most important thing after that is encryption.
The price should be a maximum of $ 6000 or € 5000.
Frequency restrictions with regard to illegality are completely irrelevant.
It does not matter whether digital or analog radio

5m? That’s going to push it. I guess you need to dive with them? I can’t see any that can cope with this. Not being rude, but you don’t seem to quite up to speed on radio things. If you want encryption, then this means digital radios. Analogue had all kinds of scramblers but they were somewhat variable. Most weren’t secure so you need to take care. You do not just buy radios in the higher budgets, you buy systems, so range will be an issue. To solve it involves more kit, usually vehicle mounted repeaters and pump up masts to create cells where comms within the cell works, with the area centring on the vehicle, not the people.

From personal experience, though, point of entry officials are thorough, certainly at joberg. We went in with some gear, including camera gear and some simple radios. The radios were seized because the European channels in them were unavailable. We hired replacements and got them back on exit. Taking expensive kit into South Africa is not welcomed. If you are buying specifically for this visit, find a South African radio dealer and buy in country and collect them on arrival. Importing this kind of thing is difficult and the frequency spec is VERY critical. If I go there again, I wont risk it, we got off ok, but their officials are, er, very official. On the way out one of our guys want thinking and when they asked him if he packed the case himself, he said no, because we’d all shared case space. He got marched off with a machine gun escort!

Thanks for your reply,

Our knowledge is currently only based on basic military knowledge.
Yes the radio must be ready for diving.
There is no option to buy the radios in south africa, customs will not confiscate the goods under any circumstances.
We can not have a vehicle mounted repeater, we have to be agile and mobile with a backpack.
In our car we have already satcom but we have to leave the car at some point.

They were quite forceful about it, and I made a few enquiries with friends who work in SA, and there are plenty of radio dealers who can supply you with digital radios - with encryption but the water depth is going to be a serious issue, so probably IP67 and underwater soft housings are your only realistic option. Military spec equipment is going to mess your budget - and I can’t find very much that is waterproof to 15m. Your range problem is the likely killer of your project - in flat terrain you should be fine, but once it’s hilly, it drops off quickly. Best of luck.

Seriously - why not give Kenwood a ring? Or Icom.