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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
One of the problems when riding in a group which is most to all the time is staying in contact with each other. This is more so when the group gets split up or someone makes a wrong turn and get lost or has an accident.

We have tried several types of radio or walky-talky. Most of our riding is in CO and UT, some AZ. In this country the CB is useless and the Family radio is much the same. Put a few trees or mound of dirt between you and others and no contact.

We have found one great radio system; that is the line of BaoFeng radios. These radios are quite cheap (reasonably priced) and do a great job. Everyone in the group carries one. We have used them in UT's Sand Rafael Swell area and talked back to the women in the MH's from 17 and 24 miles. This distance was measured by the use of GPS. This country is very mountainous, to say the least.

We all have the BaoFeng UV-82HP High Power Dual Band units. You can monitor 2 channels at the same time. They do have/use the family channels but you are required to use low watt power. WE USE THE HAM CHANNELS. The ham channels are 8 watts. BECAUSE THEY ARE HAM RADIOS YOU SHOULD HAVE A HAM LICENSE. If you wish to get a license it is very cheap to get and you no longer need to know morse code. it is a simple test and given by many Ham clubs in most towns and cities.

The radios measure 5 1/4 x 2 1/4 x 1 1/4 and weight 8 oz. I mostly carry mine in a shoulder holster with an added hand mike. They easily fit in a shirt pocket.

We have been using the UV-82HP model. Ours are generation 2 and now they have a generation 3. Price is still about the same; less than $63.00 each & comes with one battery that will last more than 2 days; on about 12 hours. We mostly charge them every day but will go more than 2 days on a single charge. There are days that we may not need to talk on them and that greatly increases the run time. We have about 12 riders each with one and none of the radios have yet to have a problem. They have been in use for at least 5 or 6 years.

Baofeng also makes a small unit that will mount in a UTV very much like a CB but is much smaller yet. They cost about $125 but have 3 times the output of 25 watts. Model is UV-25x2

https://baofengtech.com/baofeng-radio
 

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Thanks for the info! I was just thinking radio communication on our trip last week. I wondered about walkie talkies but don't know how thew would work on the trails we usually ride.
 

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We use chatterboxes on GMRS. Have been using them for years for snowmobiling. They get a mile or so, and are mounted on our helmets.
 

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As is mentioned, these radios broadcast and receive on ham radio frequencies that do require an amateur radio "technician" license at the minimum to operate. If there are radio repeaters in the area they are capable of communicating over great distances. Still, a license is required by the FCC. Standard "walkie talkies" do not reach as far but also don't require a license.

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As is mentioned, these radios broadcast and receive on ham radio frequencies that do require an amateur radio "technician" license at the minimum to operate. If there are radio repeaters in the area they are capable of communicating over great distances. Still, a license is required by the FCC. Standard "walkie talkies" do not reach as far but also don't require a license.

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Thank you for the clarification....it helps those of us that are not familiar with the radio world. I figured they were talking ham radio but was going to ask for clarification.

I don't think I/we are ready to go into ham radio for communications. Are there other options that can work? Most of our trail riding has been in Wisconsin with some in Michigan. We did go Hatfield/Mccoy trails this spring so I could see a different need in the mountains.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
As is mentioned, these radios broadcast and receive on ham radio frequencies that do require an amateur radio "technician" license at the minimum to operate. If there are radio repeaters in the area they are capable of communicating over great distances. Still, a license is required by the FCC. Standard "walkie talkies" do not reach as far but also don't require a license.

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We tried some of the best family radios advertised. They claimed up to 35-mile range. In most cases, we were lucky to get 1 mile. To us, safety comes first. If someone is lost or injured they need help now.

Before buying this brand of radio we researched them and several ham users in places like Georgia and Florida were claiming ranges of 50+ miles.

As far as the license the FCC is now making it easier to get one than a drivers license. The whole TEST is now posted on the internet for you to read before you try and get one. The test questions along with the answers are there for you to read along with an explanation of why the answer is the right one. The ham clubs are the ones that administer the test, not the FCC. You can take the test and if you fail you can take the test over again at the same time; In fact, I believe you can take it over the 3ed time all for the same price. And as I said before you no longer need to know morse code.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
rainmanx is this similar to what you're using?
This one says good only to 100 yds. The hands-free helmet mount is what I like.
https://www.fc-moto.de/en/Oxford-Chatterbox-Bluetooth-Kit

This is like it..Ours are older and no longer available.

https://chatterboxusa.com/collections/main-units/products/x2-slim-p?variant=13756898755

The two radios are very similar and yet very different. Chatterbox is more a toy geared to those that want all the bells and whistles and have the money to pay for them. The Baofeng is for business and survival.

Baofeng has a much better bat for longer use, but no great speakers, stereo or FM radio. From what I see there is no bell missing from the Chatterbox but the range. The Baofeng greatest advantage is the range. 50 miles to infinity using the repeater stations. Chatterbox is 1 maybe 2 miles and that is with everything in your favor. Baofeng is $65 to $75 depending on the unit. Chatterbox is $375 and up depending on the extra accessories you went and there are many.
The biggest advantage the Baofent has other than range is it also has the FRS and GMRS channels. YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE A LICENSE TO USE THE bAOFENG IF YOU USE THE FRS OR GMRS CHANNELS. The catch here is you MUST switch the radio to low power (1 watt). You do not need a license to own the radio only to use the HAM channels. The FRS and GMRS are not ham channels.

The Chatterbox uses the family channels (FRS-GMRS) so anyone with a cheap family radio can talk to them but this is true of the BaoFeng also. They can be on one family channel and one ham channel. The Baofeng can also scan multiple channels to see if anyone is there.

So you can get the Baofang for a quarter of the price with FEW bells and whistles but in an emergency be able to get out. Or pay top $$$ and pray you never have the need for range.

For us range is what matters. If we can not contact each other why spend the money and carry the bagage.
 

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I’ve also been disappointed in the “family radio” option. They are basically line of sight radio. It should be noted though that even the ham radios that are being discussed here are line of sight if there is not a ham radio repeater near by that it can hit. If you can hit a repeater the worlds the limit. It is also true that getting a basic ham license is pretty easy. They are also good for 10 years before needing renewal.

My work around is to ride with a buddy or, if I ride alone, not to go out further than I want to walk back.


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Discussion Starter #11
I’ve also been disappointed in the “family radio” option. They are basically line of sight radio. It should be noted though that even the ham radios that are being discussed here are line of sight if there is not a ham radio repeater near by that it can hit. If you can hit a repeater the worlds the limit. It is also true that getting a basic ham license is pretty easy. They are also good for 10 years before needing renewal.

My work around is to ride with a buddy or, if I ride alone, not to go out further than I want to walk back.


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I can not speak for other brands of ham radios but the Baofung is NOT line of sight. In UT Swell country we got out to 17 and 24 miles distance which was back to the motor home where the woman had a unit. We have never made use of repeater station but I did check maps in CO and UT to see if there were repeater stations and was surprised how many there were. In CO I do not recall not being able to keep in contact with someone in the group that got lost or made a wrong turn. In these cases, though I'm not talking about 10+ miles. In most cases, it would have been more like 2 or 3 miles at most. And one or 2 miles in CO and put a hell on a mountain between you. When we were using they family radios which were advertised power to reach 35 miles were quite often unable to get out 1/4 to 1/2 mile.

The person here talking about the chatterbox radio I get the healing that is how they use them. They never let the channel go dead. When we were out over the 4th of July 2019 we rode 5 days for 283 miles and did not use them more than 3 times. And in this area we found the cell phones useless 99% of the time. In fact, the cell phones were useless within a mile of camp
 

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Can these other radios use a push to talk and helmet speakers/microphone? We use these snowmobiling, usually to warn when traffic is approaching or there is a hazard.

One time I had to call my buddies because a machine past me up, and then crashed. The machine was turned over and bodies were laying on the trail.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Can these other radios use a push to talk and helmet speakers/microphone? We use these snowmobiling, usually to warn when traffic is approaching or there is a hazard.

One time I had to call my buddies because a machine past me up, and then crashed. The machine was turned over and bodies were laying on the trail.

Not sure what you mean by push to talk. They can take a helmet mike as I recall but no one in the group has one. I keep mine in a shoulder holster most of the time and use a remote mike like most police which has a button to talk. I keep the mike in my shirt pocket on the left side. The radio will monitor 2 channels at one time The mike button on the radio can be pressed on the top to talk on (A) channel or on the bottom to talk on (B) channel. The hand mike also can talk to either channel by the way you press the mike key.

Here is the web site for Baofend if that will help for more specks: https://baofengtech.com/baofeng-radio
 

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Ham tech lic. was only $15 and practice tests are on the net. Waterproof Tyt 8600 mobile fixed to ROPS. Baofeng F8HP for handheld.
 

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Been using the Baofeng radios for several years in Idaho. Depending on how it's programmed, coverage is better than any FMR / GMRS radio out there.

As for your buddies making a wrong turn, perhaps you may consider using a system where you wait for the person behind you to see you and where you turn, confirmed by a signal from both, before proceeding further.

That or use the cone system.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
As for your buddies making a wrong turn, perhaps you may consider using a system where you wait for the person behind you to see you and where you turn, confirmed by a signal from both, before proceeding further.

We have done that for years and have gotten one particular person much better at staying at the turn off till the next person is in sight.
And then too there is the new person that just thinks they will get lost and not hold back.
Then there is that case where the person leading makes a wrong turn and you need to call them back.
 

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Interesting. Radios are something I have brought up on here a few times in the past and am still looking for something better than what we are currently using. Midland X-traTalk GXT1000 FRS/GMRS and the range sucks in the woods. Also these seem worse and more muted than the older Midland X-traTalk GXT-450 FRS/GMRS we had till one got damaged after being separated and out of communication in northern Wisconsin.

These Baofeng look a bit like the Rugged Radios I have been looking at this year, but haven't yet decided on. How do these compare to those?
 
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