Do you remember when cell phones did not exist and we had to rely on a schedule and advance notifications via land lines and face-to-face communication? While the new generation considers the cell phone a permanent staple, the Baby Boomers grew up without them. We used hand-held 2-way radios to keep in touch when we were traveling outdoors, going in different cars, or in case we split up during an outing.  Technology has changed all of that. Nowadays, we have mobile devices to keep us connected. Zorro and I realized that depending on cell phone coverage when hiking the Appalachian Trail or camping in remote areas, was not a good idea. So we decided to bring along walkie-talkies a/k/a hand-held radios.

We got, as a present, a set of Uniden 2-way GMRS Radios, 22 channels, and a bunch of features that included a 16-mile range. Small, light weight, and with belt clips, they seemed perfect for our outdoor adventures. We tested the Two 16 Mile/22 Channel FRS/GMRS Radios units twice and we found out that coverage was roughly ONE MILE. Yeah, you got that right! Less than 1 mile radius. Even Baron disapproves of these! His morning walks take us about 2 miles. So much for good old fashion Walkie-Talkies… Baron gives this one 4 paws with all claws out!

We will use this units just to keep in touch when wandering around the campsite, no more than that. Does anyone out there has other brand recommendations? Please leave us a comment… Thanks and Happy Trailing!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Eric Udell

    I’ve used a variety of GMRS/FRS radios, some of which have claimed even longer maximum ranges than these and I would say your results are pretty typical. While under ideal circumstances ( open ground, across water, between high elevations without obstructions ) such radios can achieve better performance, my experience is that they’re unlikely to in real world situations. Land or foliage obstructions can cause even shorter range than you experienced.

    A higher quality business class radio ( $250/ea. ) with a better antenna might extend the range some, but you’re not going to get anything like 16 miles. You will likely also need to register with the FCC and they’ll probably be significantly heavier than the Unidens.

    I would hang onto them, though. While they may not let you always stay in touch, they could be useful you have a problem and the other radio holder is trying to find you. That 1 mile range is a lot longer than someone can hear you yell for help.

    1. ZORRO

      Great information Eric. We will definitely hang on to these… not the best but, like you said, could get out of trouble in a pinch.


      Hi Eric
      Thanks for your comments. I never really thought about the obstructions, which would cause poor performance even on higher end models. We are definitely keeping them. Thanks for the advise.

      Happy trails!

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