Walkie-talkies for a hike

Walkie-talkies for a hike

Walkie Talkies

Immediately, we note that radio amateurs may find this article rather superficial, since it gives only general advice on the use and selection of walkie-talkies for a hike. However, a radio amateur is unlikely to pay attention to this article, but information about walkie-talkies may come in handy for a hiker.

Walkie-talkies for tourism

At first glance, it seems that tourists do not need radios at all. Indeed, somehow our ancestors went hiking without walkie-talkies. Shout "Hey!" everyone can, and the echo in the mountains is strong. Why take a walkie-talkie with you? Only carry additional load. However, not all so simple. If the organizers are seasoned people, the group goes along the route in a regular mode, and in the mountains it catches a mobile connection, there really is no need for walkie-talkies. However, if mobile communication does not catch, and this happens most often, then a walkie-talkie is a very good solution, especially since it weighs only a pound with an additional set of batteries, and in an emergency it can save a lot of effort, time and even save someone's life.

Imagine that one of the tourists went for a walk and got lost. One of the instructors went to look for him, and the second sits in the camp and waits for news. If the tourist has given a signal with a smoky fire, you can use the radio to coordinate his search by directing the instructor directly to him. At the same time, negotiations can be carried out constantly, and mobile communication (if there is any at all in that area) is not free. If something is wrong with the tourist, the instructor can report it by radio, and the camp will prepare to provide first aid to the victim. In ski resorts, tourists are also often off track and need to be looked for. And radios are also very helpful when exploring a new route, when instructors need to split up to scout several trails. Also, walkie-talkies can help cyclists, whose group sometimes stretches for several kilometers. If someone is seriously behind, the instructor who closes the group can always give a stop command to the group leader. There are many such examples and an experienced tourist himself can come up with them.

How to choose a walkie-talkie for a hike?

The first criterion is lightness. If you go on several dozen hikes per season, the weight of the walkie-talkie is a very important criterion. Still, walkie-talkies are not needed so often, but they have to be worn all the time.

The second criterion is power. On the territory of the Russian Federation, walkie-talkies with a power of up to 0.1 W are allowed, which is quite a bit and allows you to talk at a distance of up to 1.5 km, and then in line of sight. However, it is known from experience that law enforcement agencies do not find fault with tourists' radios, so you can take a model with a power of 1 W or more. It is important to understand that a 10km range will give you few advantages. In the mountains, line-of-sight is rarely more than 500 meters.

The third criterion is autonomy, which is directly related to the power supply of the radio. It is best to choose a walkie-talkie powered by AAA batteries and buy batteries for it, which you will charge between hikes.

The fourth criterion is the frequency range. Everything is simple here - choose radio models that are allowed in your country. But remember: the more channels, the better, as in a ski resort you may not be the only one using a walkie-talkie.

It is fun to play with amateur radios on hikes. They are comfortable to chat on while racing ATVs, but they can also become an important (and even the only) means of communication when traditional communication lines fail. When natural disasters strike cell towers, Internet antennas and landline phone stations, walkie-talkies are often the only means of communication on the front lines. No matter what emergency scenario you are preparing for, you will definitely need one or more portable radios.

the best walkie-talkies for emergencies and survival

Although walkie-talkies are considered hobbyists, some require a license to use. Obtaining a license is beyond the scope of our conversation today, but state residents, for example, can visit the National Association of Amateur Radio (AARL) for more information on how to obtain a license.

There are many handheld amateur radios out there now, and it takes some technical knowledge to determine which ones are really good and which are junk. To understand which type and which model is best for you, you need to answer yourself a few questions about how you will use the radio. These are the questions:

  • In what type of terrain and in what conditions should the radio station work?
  • What types and brands of radio stations do your comrades use?
  • How far will you be away from those with whom you have to communicate on the radio?

The best walkie-talkies for emergencies and survival

To help you with your search, we have compiled a list of the “Best Handheld Survival Radios”. Each walkie-talkie on this list offers a unique advantage, whether it's maximum range, compatibility, frequency, or signal quality. All of these radios are highly rated, highly recommended by users, and guaranteed to increase your chances of survival in emergencies.

The second generation of the classic UV-82 series raises the bar high in the standards and capabilities offered by walkie-talkies on the market today.

The Baofeng UV-82HP offers three power settings so you can easily control your broadcast range. The dual push-to-talk function allows you to transmit a signal on two frequencies using the PTT voice communication standard. The radio can also be used to scan channels, frequencies, CRCSS and DTS signals. You can also use the half-duplex receiver to “watch” the two channels on different frequencies, and the radio will give a higher priority to the station from which the call is coming. This feature works even while listening to an FM broadcast, so your music won't interfere with an important call.

The UV-82HP supports most common analog signals, including CTCSS, DCS, and DTMF, which can be configured for use with group calls. When connecting the UV-82HP to your PC, you can use the free BaoFeng software to sync one PTT button for quick communication with your partner. You can also use the software to lock the frequency mode, set VFO limits, program up to 128 channels, and assign unique alphanumeric names to channels.

  • Output power: 1W (low), 5W (mid), 7W (high).
  • Range: line of sight.
  • Push-to-Talk: single or double.

We are confident that nothing beats the BaoFeng UV-5R5 when it comes to value for money. This walkie-talkie is very light and compact at only 11.5 cm (without antenna), so it is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. But don't let the size fool you - the radio delivers clear, crisp reception, and the rugged outer casing is resistant to damage.

Like its bigger brother, the UV-5R5 has a dual receiver that can scan two different frequencies and prioritize incoming calls, even when you're busy listening to FM broadcasts. The UV-5R5 supports VOX, multicast channels, and can even send DTMF tones that include ANI (Caller ID) and remote commands. Using the same software as the UV-82HP, you can program the UV-5R5 and name a maximum of 128 channels and fully customize your walkie-talkie.

Using cellular networks to maintain communications is not always a reliable option in situations where fast and efficient coordination is required. It can make connecting with the rest of your group - not to mention friends and family - a real challenge.

For those few adventurers who literally travel to the ends of the earth, a satellite phone overcomes these difficulties. But for the rest of us, good old two-way radios (walkie-talkies) remain an effective and affordable option for standalone communication.

In our ranking of walkie-talkies, we have collected the best models currently available.

How to choose a walkie-talkie: what to look for when buying

Let's start with a small educational program: without a license in Russia, it is allowed to use three ranges:

  • CB (aka CBC or "civilian" band) (26-27 MHz).
  • LPD (433-434 MHz).
  • PMR (446 MHz).

Those who passed the exam for the fourth amateur radio category are allowed to work in the 144-146 MHz high-frequency (VHF) range, and for those who passed the third category, it is allowed to work in the 430-440 MHz ultra-high-frequency (UHF) range ... The higher the frequency, the less the walkie-talkie is susceptible to electromagnetic interference.

Other bands are reserved for aircraft, police, maritime services and other government and commercial organizations.

If you need a radio for urban conditions, choose a radio that works in the UHF range. Outside the city and during fast movement on the highway, it is of little use due to the rapid signal attenuation.

If you plan to use the device on rough terrain, especially covered with deciduous forest, then VHF or CB is better suited.

The best walkie-talkie for truckers is the one that works in the 27 MHz band and has support for amplitude modulation (AM). Currently, truckers are practically the only users of AM modulation, while motorists and taxi services have switched to FM (frequency modulation) due to its high range and greater intelligibility of radio communications.

When choosing a walkie-talkie, pay attention to the following features:

  • Waterproof and dustproof. It is essential if you are looking for a good walkie-talkie for a tourist, hunter or fisherman. Reliable protection is provided by models with an IP5X or IP6X rating.
  • Battery life. Important for users with unstable access to charging stations. This means that tourists, fishermen and hunters, most likely, will give preference to "long-playing" walkie-talkies with a Li-ion battery of 1500 mAh or more, as well as the ability to connect a charger. If you use the radio in your workplace or at home, AA or AAA batteries will suffice. Some models support both battery and battery operation.
  • Power. Most models have a power of 5 W, the required minimum is 2 W. At the same time, they have a menu item or a button that puts the device into low-power mode, within the framework of what is allowed in Russia. You, of course, can not press it, but at your own peril and risk. There is no point in chasing high power, since doubling the range will require a fourfold increase in power. Sometimes it is easier to install a longer antenna.
  • Single or dual band radio. The second option is better, since you can switch to the desired range if necessary.
  • Voice activation via headset (VOX). Thanks to her, the walkie-talkie can go on the air as soon as it hears your voice, if the voice disappears, then the walkie-talkie stops broadcasting.

Hello everyone! In this review, I will tell you about the best radios for hunting and fishing. In this TOP, I have included 7 models from different manufacturers, which, in the opinion of many fishermen and hunters, have the best functionality for their cost and provide excellent communication.

Baofeng UV-R

I'll start this TOP with Baofeng UV-5R. This is an inexpensive but well-proven walkie-talkie for the best price-performance ratio. It surpasses many expensive analogs in terms of communication range and reliability, works well in cold weather, has a wide range of functions and is compact and lightweight, which makes it comfortable to carry with you. The walkie-talkie has a clip that securely holds the device on a waist belt or pocket. Also, complete with it there is a strap for comfortable carrying the walkie-talkie on your hand. The device supports simultaneous operation in the UHF and VHF bands. Thanks to a 5 W transmitter and antenna, the walkie-talkie is able to receive and receive a signal at a distance of up to 10 kilometers in open areas. In addition, due to the possibility of connecting external antennas, the range can be significantly increased. To display information in this model, a small two-line display is used, on which, in addition to the frequency of the two channels, special characters are displayed, such as the channel number, split and battery level. In addition, the walkie-talkie allows you to change the color of the backlight and its operating time, and also has a flashlight. Its brightness is low, but in an emergency it can come in handy. The flashlight even has two modes of operation: constant light and blinking. Among other features of this model, it is worth noting the 1800 mAh battery, which is enough for 12 hours of operation. And due to the fact that the battery is removable, if it is discharged, it will be possible to install a new one, thereby significantly increasing the uptime of the radio.

  • Power: 5 W.
  • VHF/UHF.
  • 136 - 174/400 - 520 MHz.
  • FM modulation.
  • Battery: 1800mAh.
  • Operating time: 12 h.
  • Sensitivity: 0. μV.
  • Loudspeaker: 1000mW.
  • 129 memory channels.
  • Channel scan.
  • Keypad lock.
  • Adjusts the backlight.
  • Lantern.
  • Working temperature: -20 ... + 50⁰С.
  • Dimensions: 58 x 110 x 32 mm.

Baofeng UV-

Our TOP continues - Baofeng UV-82. This radio is an improved version of the previous member of our TOP - UV-5R. This model has a battery already installed with a capacity of 2800 mAh, which provides 24 hours of battery life for the device. Of course, this was reflected in the size and weight of the radio. It is larger and heavier than its predecessor. However, it remains the same compact and lightweight. The radio has two modes of operation - channel and frequency. It has an FM receiver, and it can operate in two UHF and VHF bands. The output power of the radio is 5 W, and there is also a modification for 8 W and with three levels of its adjustment. Due to this, the device is capable of receiving and transmitting a signal at a distance of up to 10 km in open areas and up to 3 km in urban conditions, even with a standard antenna. Also, one of the advantages of this radio is a fairly high-quality modulation. This feature improves speech intelligibility and enhances sound saturation. Other features of this walkie-talkie include a display with detailed information and adjustable backlighting, a flashlight, a clip that holds the device well on clothes, a removable battery, as well as a wide operating temperature range that allows you to use such a walkie-talkie for a long time even in winter at temperatures down to -20 degrees. In general, if you need an inexpensive long-range radio with a long range and wide functionality, then I recommend paying attention to the Baofeng UV-82.

  • Power: 5 W.
  • VHF/UHF.
  • 136 - 174/400 - 520 MHz.
  • FM modulation.
  • Battery: 2800 mAh.
  • Working time: 24 h.
  • Sensitivity: 0. μV.
  • Loudspeaker: 1000mW.
  • 129 memory channels.
  • Channel scan.
  • Keypad lock.
  • Adjusts the backlight.
  • Lantern.
  • Working temperature: -20 ... + 50⁰С.
  • Dimensions: 60 x 132 x 35 mm.

Baofeng BF-S

The next heroine of our TOP is the Baofeng BF-888S radio. An excellent option for hunters and fishermen who do not require wide functionality, but need a walkie-talkie with a stable and powerful signal. It operates in the 400-470 MHz range and has 16 memory channels. This is quite enough for the vast majority of civilian users. Under normal conditions of open space, the radio provides stable reception and transmission of a signal at a distance of 3 to 6 kilometers. And in the forest, the range of signal reception and transmission is from 1.5 to 3 kilometers. The most important thing is to be in touch with your comrades on the hunt. The device has a very simple control and indication of green and red colors, indicating the reception or transmission of a signal. The lack of a display has a positive effect on the autonomy of the device. With a battery capacity of 1500 mAh, the walkie-talkie will provide 12 hours of active use. In addition, the removable battery allows you to replace it with a new one if necessary and continue using the device. Among the other advantages of this model, it is worth noting a long time of work in the cold, the presence of a flashlight, a clip and a strap for wearing on a belt or hand, as well as its compact size and weight of only 180 grams, which makes wearing such a walkie-talkie more comfortable compared to heavier ones. devices.

  • Power: 5 W.
  • UHF.
  • 400-470 MHz.
  • FM modulation.
  • Battery: 1500 mAh.
  • Operating time: 12 h.
  • Sensitivity: 0. μV.
  • Loudspeaker: 1000mW.
  • 16 memory channels.
  • Lantern.
  • Working temperature: -20 ... + 50⁰С.
  • Dimensions: 57 x 116 x 35 mm.
  • Weight6 180 g

Baofeng UV-R Plus

What are the main criteria when choosing radios for hunting:

What portable radios are sold in Russia:

bands 27 MHz, 136-174 MHz and 400-520 MHz.

Legality of using portable radios in Russia

Of the portable radios that are actively sold in Russia, only the following are legal for civil radio communication without registration of radio stations in Roskomnadzor and payments for using the frequency in the Radio Frequency Center:

  • radios of the 27 MHz range (cb, the transmitter power level of 4 W is allowed in FM/AM modulation modes, in SSB up to 12 W, but to make a convenient and adequate portable radio with modulation SSB has failed so far)
  • 433 MHz (lpd - allowed power level up to 0.01 W, FM modulation)
  • 446 MHz (pmr - allowed power level 0.5 W, modulation type FM).

Almost all radios sold under the guise of "allowed" radios of the 400-520 MHz range (including the 433 and 446 MHz frequencies allocated for civil communications by low-power radios) are actually powerful (from 2 to 10 W), i.e. de facto for civil radio communications are not allowed (but when working with permitted low power levels, the communication range is negligible).

Thus, from powerful portable radios legally - without any permits, registrations, payment for the frequency - you can only use radios of the 27 MHz range.

For the legal use of powerful radios in other frequency ranges (136-174 MHz and 400-520 MHz), an individual will need to pass an exam for the radio amateur category (having studied 220 pages of questions on the website of radio amateurs of the Russian Federation) at the Radio Frequency Center (must be in within an hour, correctly answer 19 questions out of 25 of those contained on these 220 pages, the exam is paid, you must first fill out an application for "checking the compliance of the Customer's operational and technical readiness with the minimum requirements for the operators of the amateur service of the corresponding category"), after successfully passing the exam issue an amateur radio call sign (in the same place - in the Radio Frequency Center), if successful, the radio will need to be registered with Roskomnadzor.

Not that all this was not real - but a narrow circle of those revolutionaries who have gone through all this.

Radio communication range in dense forest conditions and elevation differences

It is widely believed that "high-frequency" radios (136-174 MHz/400-520 MHz) work better in the forest than radios in the 27 MHz range. It is supported by the sad experience of working with imported portable radios of the 27 MHz range (which do not differ in adequate parameters and are not able to provide a normal radio communication range).

Really? if the parameters of portable radios of the 27 MHz range provide a high level of noise immunity (necessary for operation in the low-frequency part of the spectrum, in which the level of natural and industrial electromagnetic interference is higher than in the high-frequency part of the spectrum), receiver sensitivity, efficiency (resonant amplification, correct tuning, taking into account the influence hands of the operator, etc.) of a standard antenna-emitting system - then the communication range of such radios in a dense forest and elevation changes (taking into account more efficient obstacle avoidance and a lower level of absorption by foliage and trees at these frequencies) exceeds the communication range of high-frequency (136- 174 MHz and even more so 400-520 MHz).

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