What Radio should I buy??

clocarno52

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Hi there, my name is Chris - long time lurker. I really enjoy the forum.

Here's my issue. My hunting partners and I have terrible radios.
I've purchased the base Motarolla and Midland models and no matter the range we can't seem to hear each other more than half mile , maybe. Truth be told I knew they probably wouldn't work, but trying to save a few bucks - I know better. We hunt central - northern Vermont and a little New Hampshire.

I'm thinking I have to pony up some real money and get "real" radio's.

So - looking for advice - I'd like to be able to talk to each other 5-7 miles if possible.

Thank you and good luck to everyone.

Pretty slow hunting here in Ctr Vermont - passed a small pointer on Monday, maybe 110 pounds? seen few doe, but mostly quiet.
 

lester2

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Hi Chris -

Not sure there’s a portable radio out there that has the kind of range you’re looking for. My hunting partners and I switched long ago from the type you describe to hand held VHF marine radios. Depending on terrain we’ve talked up to a couple miles apart, sometimes more, sometimes less. Now that we all carry smartphones we use them as well when service is available to text back and forth. Between the two devices we always manage to stay in touch. Hope this helps!

Lester
 

lester2

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Most VHF handhelds have a hi/lo power feature. If you go this route I recommend finding ones that have a power output of 1 watt lo and 5 watts hi power. The one I use is a New Horizon HCX 300. Cost was about $130 on Amazon.
 

clocarno52

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Most VHF handhelds have a hi/lo power feature. If you go this route I recommend finding ones that have a power output of 1 watt lo and 5 watts hi power. The one I use is a New Horizon HCX 300. Cost was about $130 on Amazon.
Thank you Lester - frankly if we could get 2 miles - that would be incredible.
We used our phones this last week too but service was 50/50 at best -
Great info - thanks again
 

Pine-lock

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Our group has used these for a bunch of years.


They are OK. Range is limited by terrain more than anything else. Line of sight, mountain top to mountain top, we can easily get over 5 miles, but in the woods or just from one side of a ridge to the other can be spotty even if you're under one mile apart.

Cell service is slowly creeping in to more of our hunting spots. In the end I think that'll be the solution but for now we carry the radio's and will text if service is available.
The newer models of the Garmin Rhino's will allow radio and text communication as well as showing the location of other parties. They run around $500. Some of our group has been looking into them for future seasons.
 

clocarno52

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Our group has used these for a bunch of years.


They are OK. Range is limited by terrain more than anything else. Line of sight, mountain top to mountain top, we can easily get over 5 miles, but in the woods or just from one side of a ridge to the other can be spotty even if you're under one mile apart.

Cell service is slowly creeping in to more of our hunting spots. In the end I think that'll be the solution but for now we carry the radio's and will text if service is available.
The newer models of the Garmin Rhino's will allow radio and text communication as well as showing the location of other parties. They run around $500. Some of our group has been looking into them for future seasons.
Thank you Pine-Lock - these are exactly what I bought this year. The biggest thing I see is the terrain / range. I think in a straight open line we'd get 3-4 miles, but hills / woods boy we struggle and it is very spotty under a mile, I agree.

I was afraid, but expecting, to hear Garmin Rhino. I'll research that and the VHF Marine radio's - Between the Midland and some old Motarolla I probably could have bought Rhino's by now.

Thank you
 

Pine-lock

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The rhinos run on the same Frs/gmrs frequency so they will likely have similar range as the midland types. But they have lots of other functionality. The marine radios will have might higher output.
 

Fixed blade

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Been running the rhinos for a long time. They work well for me and my hunting partner. I always make sure I’m on a 5 watt channel though. We use them more to triangulate our locations and work the woods for each other. We try not to be on the radios much. They have been great tool for us but when you have guys that are tech illiterate or challenged radios can cause major frustration. Anytime we can use text via cell we do also.
 

clocarno52

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Been running the rhinos for a long time. They work well for me and my hunting partner. I always make sure I’m on a 5 watt channel though. We use them more to triangulate our locations and work the woods for each other. We try not to be on the radios much. They have been great tool for us but when you have guys that are tech illiterate or challenged radios can cause major frustration. Anytime we can use text via cell we do also.
Nice - thanks for information
 

medrhunter

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VHF Radios are Marine band radios.
They are typically 5 watts and are meant for unobstructed Point to Point communications.
UHF Radios are generally used for construction sites.
These are typically 4 watts, meant for shorter distances, but do better with obstructions (walls of building / Trees) than VHF radio's.
My group uses UHF and we find these the best out of the three (FRS/GMS - UHF - VHF)
You do need an FCC license to legally operate these, but its easy to get.
The ones we have run about $150 each.
One note of caution, they are not typically waterproof so be careful.
Weight the cost of a set of these with an In-Reach set up and I you'll find these are still the most cost effective option.
All depends on how much you need to talk
 

sneaky_pete000

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I've been doing some research on this too. The one thing about the Rhino's that interests me, besides the pretty good range, is that you can see/share locations. My cousin has one, and he could see that he was approaching another hunter this week and he altered his approach to avoid that person. I thought that was pretty cool - but the Rhino also had the most range out of all the different radios we tried.
 

Fixed blade

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I've been doing some research on this too. The one thing about the Rhino's that interests me, besides the pretty good range, is that you can see/share locations. My cousin has one, and he could see that he was approaching another hunter this week and he altered his approach to avoid that person. I thought that was pretty cool - but the Rhino also had the most range out of all the different radios we tried.
Not sure how that would work Pete. In order to see someone you have to be provided permission or call them and have them accept you. Where this feature works well is seeing every one in your hunting party and making plans to hunt towards each other or as a team. It’s not perfect but I find it helps a ton with hunting partners who get the tech. Also great with hunting with a kid.
 

sneaky_pete000

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I'm sure you're right - I think he mentioned the hunter offered to "friend" him, which might have helped with the location. I'm sure thats not the right term either, but you're right - using this with a newer hunter would be great.
 

clocarno52

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VHF Radios are Marine band radios.
They are typically 5 watts and are meant for unobstructed Point to Point communications.
UHF Radios are generally used for construction sites.
These are typically 4 watts, meant for shorter distances, but do better with obstructions (walls of building / Trees) than VHF radio's.
My group uses UHF and we find these the best out of the three (FRS/GMS - UHF - VHF)
You do need an FCC license to legally operate these, but its easy to get.
The ones we have run about $150 each.
One note of caution, they are not typically waterproof so be careful.
Weight the cost of a set of these with an In-Reach set up and I you'll find these are still the most cost effective option.
All depends on how much you need to talk
This is great information. Thank you very much.
Would you be willing to share make / model that your group uses please?
 

medrhunter

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This is great information. Thank you very much.
Would you be willing to share make / model that your group uses please?
We use ICOM F-4001.
This is an older model. Newer ones are a bit smaller and lighter.
FYI. They have to be programmed. Some sites will do it for free. Others may charge you.
I have a friend in the Radio business so that was not an issue for our group.
 

clocarno52

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Thanks again to everyone for your help. It is greatly appreciated.

Have a great holiday.
 




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