When there’s a wide-scale disaster like a hurricane, earthquake, or flood, how do you communicate with others to get help? How do you reach out to family and friends to check on them and to see if they need assistance? During these catastrophes, the power grid may go down and cell towers may be inoperable. In such cases, you might not be able to rely on your cell or smart phone or landline.
That’s where two-way radios comes in the picture and helps in emergency communication. They’re by far the most reliable methods for communication not merely during crisis situations, but additionally when you’re off-grid in the midst of nowhere or in an outdoor environment. Two way radios, then, can also needed when you are hunting, backpacking, or fishing, along with other outdoor recreation in which you are unable to control the environment. During these emergencies or outdoor sports activities, two-way radios could be the only gadgets that operate.
Packing these radios in your survival or emergency kit will give you security and peace of mind. All you need to do is turn your radio on, push the talk button, and you’re ready to instantly communicate with a loved one or friend.
Two-Way Radios explained: They are communication devices that have the ability to both receive and transmit a signal, allowing someone to have a conversation with multiple people who are on the same radio frequency. This is different from a smart phone where you can only speak to one person at a time.
What are Two-Way Radios: They are radios that have the ability to both receive and transmit a signal, allowing someone to have a conversation with multiple people who are on the same radio frequency. This is unlike a cellphone where you can only speak to one person at a time.
Two-way radios are comparatively cheap and able to take a beating. They carry no user or roaming charges, contracts or monthly plans. Now let us see a few of the Two-Way Radio Features.
Range: Manufacturers often claim their ranges are around 40 miles. Then, when you test the two way radio, you might only get a mile and that anything over is just static. Ranges can never be achieved in the real world. The high estimate is based on optimal conditions, when the radios are in the same line of site, and without obstructions. Trees, rocks, hills, and mountains will restrict your range. Climactic conditions, metal surfaces, topography, walls, buildings and houses will also impede your range. Manufacturers says they test their radios on the tops of mountains and down in valleys, and based on what I’ve seen I’m comfortable saying they are exaggerating their range specifications.
Weight and Size: It’s more comfortable to keep your radio in a backpack or survival kit without it occupying too much space. And a compact radio means you’ll be able to carry it in your hands or pant pocket.
As far as the range of two way radios, Family Radio Service (FRS) bands have shorter range (around 5-6 miles) but don’t require a license. General Mobile Radio (GMRS) bands, which are more powerful, with a range between 8-25 miles, require a license.
Waterproof: Your radio needs to be weatherproof, able to withstand rain when you find yourself camping or skiing. However, waterproof two way radios are better choice they just don’t malfunction even after they have been submersed in water. You may as well want a radio that can float. The buoyancy permits easy retrieval if dropped in water.
Waterproof: If you are camping or skiing, your radio needs to be weatherproof and need to withstand rain. Some two radios floats too and can be retrieved if fell on the water
Now let us explore the Emergency features that emergency two way radios needs to support. Radios with Emergency Alerts send an emergency signal along with other radios in your group. Radios with a flashlight are effective in emergencies, like when there’s a power outage.
Voice Activated Transmission: You don’t always have hands free support in walkie talkies. Voice operated transmit (iVox/Vox) turns your radio into a speakerphone instantly, enabling hands-free communication. Weather Alerts: Weather updates or a built-in NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio from the National Weather Service is essential during disasters like winter storms and flash flooding. Following is few of the best GMRS survival radios in the marketplace.
MOTOROLA T605 35-Mile Talkabout T605 2-Way Radios: The T605 weighs only .54 pounds. (with battery). Included are 2 radios, 2 whistle belt clips, 2 NiHM rechargeable batteries, 1 Y cable adapter with dual micro-USB connectors, 1 car charger with 2 USB ports, and 2 USB charging cables.T605 cost about $119.99 The NiMHs last for 9 hours. 3 AA batteries last for 23 hours. The T605 features an emergency alert button, iVox/Vox, 11 weather channels (7 NOAA), a built-in LED flashlight, auto squelch, keypad lock and keypad tone and scanning. The T605 is waterproof. It can withstand submersion in water of up to 1meter for 30 minutes. It can also float to the surface. And, with the water-activated flashlight, it’s easy to find in the dark. The T605, unlike the T400, has VibraCall and PTT which, when activated, extends the transmission range by increasing the transmitter power output.
MOTOROLA T480 Talkabout 2-Way Radio: The T480, which weighs in at only .43 pounds, only includes 1 radio, which is sold for reasonable price. Incorporated are 1 Ni-mh rechargeable battery and 1 micro-USB wall charging cable. The following two features result in the T480 stand out. Aside from the emergency alert are PTT and NOAA weather channels, additionally, it includes a Radio which you can use to hear your preferred FM channels. The flashlight immediately switches on during a blackout and once unplugged so you always have light. The NiHM battery lasts up to 10 hours. 3 AA batteries last up to 26 hours.T480 is weather proof radio and complies with ip54 standards. To make it water proof and dust proof, the ports and openings are covered with rubber enclosures so that dust and water does not get in.
MOTOROLA T480 Talkabout 2-Way Radio : The T480, which weighs only .43 pounds, only comes with 1 radio, which accounts for the modest price. Included are 1 NiMH rechargeable battery and 1 micro-USB wall charging cable. Two features make the T480 stand out. Besides the emergency alert, PTT and NOAA weather channels, it also has a FM radio that you can use to listen to your favorite FM channels. The flashlight automatically turns on during a blackout and when unplugged so you always have light. The NiHM battery lasts up to 10 hours. 3 AA batteries last up to 26 hours. A drawback is that the T480 is weatherproof, not waterproof.But it may be OK unless and until you do not drop it in the water
Before you buy survival two way radios, make sure you check our excellent buying guide for buying Emergency GMRS two way radios guides and walkie talkie/two way radio buying tip and guides