2006-10-24, 09:43 PM
Any owners/users of modern GMRS/FRS walkie talkies out there? I saw a pair of rechargeable Cobras for sale at Home Depot but I'd like to know how well this type of hand held radio performs in the real world (examples please)... which brand is best? Any downsides?
2006-10-25, 08:39 AM
We bought a pair of Uniden family radios at Wal-Mart in the U.S. for $24.00, including charging stands.
Don't know the model number because Mrs. Chumley has them in her vehicle, about 100km away from here. They have a scan function which is neat, because you can use it to eaves-drop on others with in heavily congested areas. It's quite amusing.
I would just buy the cheapest pair I could find with charging stands.
2006-10-25, 09:09 AM
I have a pair of Cobras and they're great. I probably paid around $30 at Costco. They have a useful range of about 1/2 km.
I picked up some Motorola's at Costco a few years back. They are extended FSR or some such thing (they claim up to 7 km). I have found in a suburban environment about 1 KM is the max. Open highway is better. Line of sight is not required but the range is very short if not. One feature to make sure of is the batteries are NiMH.
2006-10-25, 10:08 AM
Original FRS radios were limited to 500 mW and basically had an effective range of maybe a kilometer (no matter what was advertised!)
Newer GMRS radios are up to 2 W and will talk farther but nowhere near the 20 km claimed by some manufacturers, even on open water!
As mentioned above, ones that come with NiMH battery packs are preferable because they tend to have higher capacities (will last longer than NiCd's).
I have a set of Cobra FRS's that were among the first to be legally sold in Canada (bought them in mid-2000). Cost me about $100 at the time! They work fine but the range is very limited.
One thing to consider with UHF radios like these: their range will be severely reduced in heavily wooded areas. Trees and foliage attenuate UHF radio waves. In such a situation you're probably better off with a pair of old handheld CB radios.
I need to correct my previous post. They are Cobras and GMRS. Advertised range was 14 km. :o Maybe with a 10m mast.
You might like this (http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/internet/insmt-gst.nsf/en/sf08478e.html#annex6).
The other thing to consider with these devices is where you intend to use them. They have become quite popular over the last couple of years so depending on where you are it may be very difficult to find a free channel. My wife and I and another couple went to Whistler to do some skiing last winter so I brought a set of these to help us communicate when we were separated for a while. However, virtually every channel I tried had a number of other people using it so I was constantly receiving transmissions from others. It got annoying to the point where we finally just turned the darn things off and stopped using them. Also, the effective range is way less than what the manufacturers claim which also limits their usefulness.
2007-02-02, 12:17 PM
Do the GMRS radios work in shopping malls, across small towns, etc? Can they be used as a cell phone substitute amongst two or three people? Is FRS "good enough" or is GMRS the way to go? How is the signal quality? Ease of use?
2007-02-05, 10:35 AM
FRS/GMRS are great at:
- Shopping malls - she can go to the kids/baby section, I can go to the auto/ electronics section.
- Big shows (like the Toronto boat Show)
- Skiing at most places (Large BC Ski areas, Out East or even Blue in ON)
I have 2 sets of Motorolas.
an older FRS only "Talkabout FR60", that are clear, good volume, and run on 3AA's.
- GMRS/FRS (t5500??) , that are a pain, cause they aren't loud enough, and have a hard time picking up voices.... They do have confirmation on the PTT button. It has a rechargeable battery pack or can run on 3AA's