Walkie-Talkie recommendations?

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John From Detroit

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2005
Davison Michigan
My kid bought these Baofeng 5R-8W units. I've got a set of Midlands.

We used them during the hurricane for inter vehicle comms. I was very impressed with the battery life. We used them with disposable AA enegizers. We turned them on at around 7am. Drove until about 9pm Live Oak-Tallahassee-Live Oak-Cocoa.

2 days later we turned them on again and drove 3+ hours to Live Oak.

(ETA - I just turned on the one I was using and it has one bar of battery left so it's probably 30 minutes to dead. 17 hours battery life isn't bad IMO.

My Midlands on disposable batteries won't last more than 8 hours.

On the freeway we were good for about 1 1/2-2 miles. Maybe a little less in congested areas and areas where we lost line of sight.

They are more expensive (especially this kit) but come with a nice array of accessories.

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I do agree the Baofend UV-5R is a nice radio there's one behind me as I type
YOU NEED A LICENSE TO OPERTE IT and you don't want to know the fine if you don't have one (35 bucks for 10 years. and yes I have one).
The web site advertises it as 8 watts.. NO it's 5
(The one I have was advertised as 10 but I knew better before I ordered it)

it's not type accepted for GMRS/FRS and 8 watts is illegal on FRS
Bofeng does make some nice GMRS radios that are Type Accepted for GMRS and again the license is 35 for 10 years (You only need one for the family) and yes I have one of those too.

One option. this one takes a bit more work, is an Amateur Radio license.(The UV-5R is type accepted for amateur radio in the US) still 35/decade but you need to take a one time test.
In addition to the low power hand held.. I have the ability to run higher power radios (Mine are 5/26/r50 watt and variable 5-100 watt depending on which radio I use) and on many frequencies (Too many to list) plus we have some amazing technology.. GMRS now has local repeaters so you can talk hand held to hand held across town... Ham has LINKED repeaters so I can and have talked hand held to hand held across the planet.. I kid you not I've had two conservations with hams where when I ask what time it was they give me the same time as on my local clock. only AM on one and PM on the other.. The hand held I was using runs 100mw in Super low mode or zero in terminal mode (I am not sure the first time which mode but terminal the second) Terminal it talks to a raspberry pi (10 bucks when I got it) and from there to the internet and from there to whatever is on the other end.. super lot.. well I have a few pi's and 3 of them have radio "HATs" (Hardware Attached Technology) ... It's an amazing time.
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Doc Roads

Well-known member
Jun 7, 2017
Southern Arizona
Midland Handheld radios should do the trick … however … Check out GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) (not Ham)… must have a license ($35, 10 year renewable, FCC call signal)… however, there’s no test and your license is good for you and your family (wife friendly, no test) … look at MYGMRS.COM … you can get handheld radios of varying capabilities … some do repeaters, programmable; you can go simple too. The GMRS community is growing and becoming more popular with the off road clubs. YouTube videos help too.
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