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 Two-way Radios

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Posts : 265
Join date : 2013-04-11
Age : 46
Location : Marinette County, Wisconsin

PostSubject: Two-way Radios   Tue Jun 24 2014, 10:45

A few months back I purchased a pair of Motorola T5720 Talkabout radios.  They aren't bad; they work just fine, although I do have to prop one of them to fit properly within the charging station (Goodwill purchase).  The specs are posted below, along with an image of the device.  The specs came from C|net.

Quote :
Channels 22-channel
Power 0.5 watt / 1 watt
Max Talk Range 5 miles
Call Alerts 10
Controls push-to-talk (PTT) button
Indicators TX
Two-Way Radio Display Information battery level indicator
Sub-Channels Qty 38
Voice Operated Transmission (VOX) with optional accessory
VOX Sensitivity 3-level
Audible Call Alert Yes
Keypad Lock Yes
Talk Confirmation Tone Yes
Time-Out Timer Yes
Weatherproof Yes
Type LCD display
Backlit Yes

A couple weeks ago I did some research on two way radios for my work supervisor.  What follow is a portion of the email I sent her regarding my findings.

Me wrote:
Saw a few radios that would work rather well for us, all with a 20+ mile range, 12 hour battery life, multi-channel / voice scramble, with a price ranging from $55 to $135 a pair.  I marked a few that I liked, but then started checking consumer reviews.

Seems that range is drastically cut depending on weather, line-of-sight, and whether or not you are indoors or out.  In most cases, range can be reduced to ½ mile.  A few manufacturer sites did make mention of utilizing a repeater to strengthen the signal, but that would be an extra cost that {client company's name removed} shouldn’t have.  Also, it seems that a lot of the general public two way radios are like that: great advertised range, crappy real world application.

Did some more looking (I actually like researching… yay learning!).  Longer antennas and higher watts is what we would need to yield better results in range and clarity; looking at about an eight inch antenna and 5 watts of transmitting power.  This is equal to the radio used for {client's company name removed}, as well as the radios used by the {neighboring company's name removed} security staff.  The downside is that we’d have to get a special license in order to broadcast at that range.  Well, not us, but rather {my company's name removed}; they probably already have one for a different client, so the question should be asked if they can extend that license to cover us, or if, because it is in a different geographical area, if a different license would need to be acquired.  Can’t stress that enough: for clear indoor to indoor communication, at range, this is what you want to do, no question.

Anyway, if we go for the readily available but most effective radio we can, then what you would want is the Motorola MR352R.  35 mile range under ideal conditions, about a two mile range in an urban setting.  Weather proof, 22 channels, 15 hour battery life (takes both regular AA batteries or a recharge pack), has a built in weather radio (seven, actually), flashlight, vibration feature, hands free communication (eats more battery power though), and so on.

While the T5720s are all we really need, after I looked into this for my supervisor, I reasoned that perhaps NLPRS could do with an upgrade.  Did some checking, and I found out that the local Walmart had these in stock.

Turns out they didn't.  What they did have though were the Motorola MR355R.  Image and specs below.  The specs come from the Motorola website.

Quote :

Maximize your camping, sporting or hunting experience by **improving your radio transmission coverage when talking to family or group members who sometimes wander far beyond the line of sight. Thanks to the built-in repeater channels, the MR355 works well with a local repeater station to carry your signal further. Take advantage of this value-added feature by switching to GMRS channels 15R-22R, but don’t forget you’ll need a **GMRS license and an accessible repeater station to take advantage of this unique feature.

The MR355R includes an emergency alert feature, allowing you to enjoy your escape to the great outdoors with confidence that others can be informed of any dangers that may come your way. When the alert button is activated, the radio transmits an alert siren followed by transmission of spoken or incidental sounds. This allows you to send the signal to other radios and warn of impending danger. The MR355R also features a built-in LED flashlight for peace-of-mind during evening adventures or unexpected emergencies and power outages.

Designed to fit every lifestyle, the MR355R allows you the convenience of charging four distinct ways. Use the provided desktop charger at home or a mini-USB car cable on your way to soccer practice. Pack a mini-USB wall cable for recharge in the hotel during your family vacation or simply charge from your PC when no power outlet is available using a mini-USB PC cable. (Mini-USB car, wall and PC cables are sold separately.)

Want to keep in touch with changing weather conditions during your family camping adventure? No need to stop the fun - weather alerts will provide your group with warnings of incoming storms or dangerous conditions. And, by tuning in to one of 7 NOAA channels (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) on your MR355, you will always know what to pack with continuous local and regional weather broadcasting.

Push-To-Talk Power Boost, when activated, allows you to extend the transmission range by increasing the transmitter power output while saving battery life when no power boost is necessary.

Exploring the wild or simply enjoying your outdoor passion? Use your earbuds as a convenient clutter-free way to speak and listen to other two-way radio users. Designed to comfortably fit in your ear, just plug the earbud connector into your MR355R radio and snap it to your lapel or shirt. Experience an unrestricted and discreet way to communicate when the pleasure of nature captivates you.

Exploring the wild or simply enjoying your outdoor passion? Use your earbuds as a convenient clutter-free way to speak and listen to other two-way radio users. Designed to comfortably fit in your ear, just plug the earbud connector into your MR355 radio and snap it to your lapel or shirt. Experience an unrestricted and discreet way to communicate when the pleasure of nature captivates you.

Blend into the wild and add stealth and fun to your outdoor adventure by masking your radio’s normal ring tone with a quacking duck, a cackling goose, a gobbling turkey, a bugling elk, or a howling coyote. You will find this a helpful way to blend into the untamed habitat of the wild.

The VibraCall™ silent vibrating ringer is especially useful for locations where ringing can be intrusive. This feature is also great when noise from a sporting event would drown out your ring tone.

MR355R includes

• 2 radios
• 2 belt clips
• 2 (AA) NIMH batteries
• 1 dual drop-in charger
• 1 charging adaptor
• 2 Earbuds with PTT (Push-to-Talk)
• 1 Emergency Preparedness checklist sheet
• 1 User's Guide

So why do we have two way radios? In the event that we are in an area without cell phone coverage, if we're in a situation where it may not be advisable to carry a cell phone, or so that we all can have a direct line of communication with each other at the same time.

Sure, I could have bought the higher grade radios, but why? They cost more while having the same functions. They may require the use of a repeater, an extra cost we don't need... but should it be required in the future, at least I'm safe in knowing that these radios can utilize that function.
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