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Old 18-08-2006, 18:40   #16

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When a radio (FRS or otherwise) claims a range in "miles" but does not specify the effective transmitted power (power output multiplied or divided by antenna gain) you have to be skeptical, because they are referring to ideal conditions over flat water with zero interference and brand new batteries. And a direct line of sight, antena to antenna, which is still only going to be three miles for two people standing at sea level.
Possibly more under a full moon with atmospheric bounce.<G>

With a 5-watt VHF radio, I can get 20 miles with understandable audio (not great, but understandable) but that's also with the antenna at the other end being about 60 stories up. And being a wee bit better than the one on an FRS radio.<G>

I suppose, if you don't mind parasailing or climbing something really realyl tall, you can get similar range from really good FRS radios under ideal conditions.<G>

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Old 19-08-2006, 17:26   #17

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I think Coot's onto the correct solution. A CB. If there is no cell service, VHF's are illegal on land, and you don't want a high power transmitter next to your brain....

CB is the answer!

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Old 19-08-2006, 19:55   #18

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CB might work, if you were willing to use base stations (not handheld) and 8' long antennas mounted aloft. But in ht's...nope.

"Stupid physics!" <G>
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Old 19-08-2006, 23:51   #19
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GEEZ.. I stepped away for a few days, gotta catch up.

S/V Elusive.. I beg to differ, the radio in question deffinately is marine VHF. A photo of the actual radio is on

And Alan Wheeler.. not me!! 2HP honda on the dinghy! I am dedicated to being lazy and am NOT satisfied with my progress to date, but I will keep trying...

FYI. The radio is a 5 watt hand held. the instance I refer to was when I was off Hook Island in the Whitsundays. I called my wife back on our boat anchored in Nara Inlet but used channel 81 which in our neighbourhood is a repeater. The station is located on the mainland a good 12 miles from Hook Island. There have been other times where I thought the signal went further but couldn't give a real specific but this one I do know.

VHF is "line of sight" so "your milage may vary" as the saying goes but we do use the thing a lot and find it good if not perfect.... but what is.

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Old 20-08-2006, 16:38   #20

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I've also seen a handheld low power VHF work over long distances. But, that's a product of propogation, skip, optimum conditions, etc. and it is NOT something that you can promise will happen every day, or even 51% of the time, for the average user. Also, you may have a 5-watt marine VHF, but the FRS radios and other "discount store" unlicensed radios are unlikely to exceed one watt in output. That's intentional--so one or two chatterboxes can't wipe out an entire time zone.<G>
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Old 10-11-2006, 02:57   #21
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Up Close and Conversational with FRS Radios - BoatUS Foundation Findings #36
Family Radio Service (FRS) radios are limited to one-half watt, also expressed as 500 milliwatts or mW. This gives a line-of-sight range of roughly two miles, although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says you can expect less than a mile, consistently. Radios in this class offer up to 14 channels with up to 38 subchannels, which means you have over 500 ways to find a clear signal.
For FRS, we found that less is more. Two basic models, the Cobra FRS 130 and Motorola T5320, are easy to use, dependable, no-frills models, and a good value.

General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) radios available for recreational use transmit at up to two watts. They offer 22 broadcast channels (a mix of low wattage FRS channels and higher wattage GMRS channels). The extra wattage gives ranges of up to five miles or more but be forewarned, it comes at a price. You must buy a $75 FCC license to use the GMRS channels legally
Our top GMRS performers were the Midland, by far the clearest signal, the Audiovox, heavy but dependable, and the Motorola, ergonomic, water-resistant and an all-around favorite of our testers.

Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 10-11-2006, 03:19   #22
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Gord - those prices are a year out of date, and probably MSRP - Street prices are really cheap. For example, the 8 mile (mfg. claimed) set were recently advertised for $40/pair .. included charger and the units had weather radio on them too - I don't know if they had an electronic compass also (some do).
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Old 13-11-2006, 13:13   #23
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How about a hand-held VHF?

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