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Thread: Need a Walkie Talkie/Communication Device Recommendation

  1. #1

    Default Need a Walkie Talkie/Communication Device Recommendation

    I got a float hunt in the works with my son next fall and I need a recommendation for a good, reliable communication device. What I really want is a couple Garmin Rhinos, but that's just a little too much money for my budget right now. I would like to pick up a couple Garmin Rhinos in the future, just not right now. But I am willing to spend a couple hundred dollars or possibly a few hundred dollars to purchase some nice quality, long distance (say 3-5 mile range), waterproof (or at least water resistant), and preferably something that has a somewhat reasonable battery life. Got any suggestions? Don't worry, we wouldn't be using these for any unethical behavior, like communicating the whereabouts of game animals etc., these would be more for safety purposes, so that we can split up from each other and keep tabs on each other's whereabouts and whether or not we need help butchering or packing out an animal.

    Thanks in advance for any tips,
    Bushwhack

  2. #2
    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    Given the fact that you are going to be on water, it's technically legal to use a marine VHF radio. These are usually waterproof, and have better range than most FRS or GMRS radios.

    I have a couple of these:
    https://www.amazon.com/Cobra-Electro...07VMB2SGT?th=1

    And they work pretty darn good for the price.
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akheloce View Post
    Given the fact that you are going to be on water, it's technically legal to use a marine VHF radio. These are usually waterproof, and have better range than most FRS or GMRS radios.

    I have a couple of these:
    https://www.amazon.com/Cobra-Electro...07VMB2SGT?th=1

    And they work pretty darn good for the price.
    Good ideas, thanks for sharing. FYI, on a float hunt, typically you are not hunting from the boat, although I have shot moose from a boat, but that doesn't usually happen. Curious about your ideas though. Let's just say for sake of argument, if I did have say a small, portable marine VHF radio, wouldn't I have to have another radio to communicate with, or would it communicate with a walkie talkie? And my second question is about the walkie talkie you recommended. Looks like a good quality walkie talkie, do you know the range? I didn't see a range listed. It just said long range, but that's not very specific. I would like to have one that is good for about 3-5 miles.

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    The theory is that marine VHF is for water use only.....

    The reality is that many use it on land as well (don't tell te Feds!).

    You definitely need 2 at a minimum.

    In my experience, depending on terrain, 5-8 miles is no problem. Ehem- while on a boat (my Argo) cough, while talking to my friend (in the harbor), I've had no problem talking with him at 12 miles with a 1200 ft ridge between us.
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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    Caveat to add...


    regardless, if you don't have an FCC license, you're not going to do better than CB radio, or marine VHF. CB goes farther, but quality of sound and availability is lacking.

    Marine VHF is technically illegal to use in the way you describe, but would fit your needs perfectly.

    Otherwise, you and your son should start studying for your FCC HAM licenses... or get some Satellite Comms going.
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I've used radios for this purpose on float hunts in the past, and it's been a mixed bag with a lot of failures. Most of the failures were a failure to connect to the other party, and most of those were due to line-of-sight / range limitations. That said, here are some options you might consider:

    1. Motorola Talkabout. These come in different models, and they are great for communicating between rafts. We used them for navigating whitewater, logjams, and other hazards. Line of sight is best, but sometimes you can skip a signal around the corner.

    2. ICOM VHF aviation radio. Serves double-duty as a way to talk with your pilot. They work best on line of sight, but I have been able to skip calls into adjacent valleys if conditions are just right. Get the one with removable battery pack that allows AA batteries, stock up on batteries, and you're in business.

    3. Garmin InReach. I have no experience with these, but they do communicate to each other via satellite. There are no range limitations, however you do need a satellite overhead. This can be a challenge on some rivers at certain times of day, but it's generally much better than the other options. They also transmit your coordinates, which is nice. They work via text message.

    Of these options, only the first one is in your budget. If this is an essential tool for your hunt, you might consider tossing some more money at it.

    A call schedule is a good idea for any of these devices. It saves batteries because you only turn it on when you plan to use it. It also prevents loud electronic squawks while you're on a close stalk on a moose. If the other party misses the call window, you can set up a backup call window an hour or two later. Obviously you have to do this ahead of time.

    Finally, for those unaware of this (you seem to be aware), radios or other electronic communicators are illegal for hunting in Alaska. You can use them on hunts, but the requirements are very strict as to how you can use them.

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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    I've used radios for this purpose on float hunts in the past, and it's been a mixed bag with a lot of failures. Most of the failures were a failure to connect to the other party, and most of those were due to line-of-sight / range limitations. That said, here are some options you might consider:

    1. Motorola Talkabout. These come in different models, and they are great for communicating between rafts. We used them for navigating whitewater, logjams, and other hazards. Line of sight is best, but sometimes you can skip a signal around the corner.

    2. ICOM VHF aviation radio. Serves double-duty as a way to talk with your pilot. They work best on line of sight, but I have been able to skip calls into adjacent valleys if conditions are just right. Get the one with removable battery pack that allows AA batteries, stock up on batteries, and you're in business.

    3. Garmin InReach. I have no experience with these, but they do communicate to each other via satellite. There are no range limitations, however you do need a satellite overhead. This can be a challenge on some rivers at certain times of day, but it's generally much better than the other options. They also transmit your coordinates, which is nice. They work via text message.

    Of these options, only the first one is in your budget. If this is an essential tool for your hunt, you might consider tossing some more money at it.

    A call schedule is a good idea for any of these devices. It saves batteries because you only turn it on when you plan to use it. It also prevents loud electronic squawks while you're on a close stalk on a moose. If the other party misses the call window, you can set up a backup call window an hour or two later. Obviously you have to do this ahead of time.

    Finally, for those unaware of this (you seem to be aware), radios or other electronic communicators are illegal for hunting in Alaska. You can use them on hunts, but the requirements are very strict as to how you can use them.

    -Mike

    Great, thanks Mike. I will look into the Motorola Talkabout and the ICOM VHF aviation radio. I actually already own a Garmin Inreach and I love it. I use it to communicate with my wife at home and the pilots in case I need an early pick up or in case of an emergency. I don't think it would work great for hunting purposes, because you don't receive the texts instantaneously in real-time like you do with your phone. You actually have to either send a message or request an incoming message in order to receive a message that has been sent. But yes, I agree they are an awesome tool. I like the idea of setting up a call schedule. That's kind of what I was thinking might work for us.

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    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Up in the villages on the Bering Coast everyone uses VHF radios. Each village monitors a station for the community and some people us it as their only means of communication. Heck, they even broadcast potlaches times and dates for funerals across the Sound to inform people and even basketball game times. When I send hunters to shore for bear season we use station 9 for communication to land. No one has ever bothered us or said anything. The greater range will help and you probably won't be anywhere near enough to a coastline to interfere with marine communications. Just stay on one station.

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    Member Andy82Hoyt's Avatar
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    I always thought villages used UHF


    Also a few years ago the FCC changed their ruling on VHF use on land. I donít remember the specifics but I think within 3 miles of water youíre good to use VHF radios.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy82Hoyt View Post
    I always thought villages used UHF


    Also a few years ago the FCC changed their ruling on VHF use on land. I donít remember the specifics but I think within 3 miles of water youíre good to use VHF radios.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    You might be right. Thanks for the correction if I'm wrong. I have been out of the villages for a while now. I remember a story between UHF and VHF, don't know which one they were using at the time but all of the belugas left and were no where to be found. Come to find out that one of them (UHF or VHF) was affecting the whales. They switched frequencies and the whales came back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    You might be right. Thanks for the correction if I'm wrong. I have been out of the villages for a while now. I remember a story between UHF and VHF, don't know which one they were using at the time but all of the belugas left and were no where to be found. Come to find out that one of them (UHF or VHF) was affecting the whales. They switched frequencies and the whales came back.
    Now thatís crazy about the whales, but makes complete sense with how they communicate.


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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy82Hoyt View Post
    Now thatís crazy about the whales, but makes complete sense with how they communicate.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Could you please explain why that make complete sense with how they communicate? The reason I ask is VHF and UHF RF frequency do not penetrate the water very far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    I got a float hunt in the works with my son next fall and I need a recommendation for a good, reliable communication device. What I really want is a couple Garmin Rhinos, but that's just a little too much money for my budget right now. I would like to pick up a couple Garmin Rhinos in the future, just not right now. But I am willing to spend a couple hundred dollars or possibly a few hundred dollars to purchase some nice quality, long distance (say 3-5 mile range), waterproof (or at least water resistant), and preferably something that has a somewhat reasonable battery life. Got any suggestions? Don't worry, we wouldn't be using these for any unethical behavior, like communicating the whereabouts of game animals etc., these would be more for safety purposes, so that we can split up from each other and keep tabs on each other's whereabouts and whether or not we need help butchering or packing out an animal.

    Thanks in advance for any tips,
    Bushwhack
    You only need one RINO as they will work with any inexpensive (or most) 2 ways and will show you where the other person is, if you are the one holding the RINO.
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    Have you actually done this? I don't think my cheap walkie talkies broadcast their position. Pretty sure you need 2 Rino's that have had the others id number entered to track each other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    Could you please explain why that make complete sense with how they communicate? The reason I ask is VHF and UHF RF frequency do not penetrate the water very far.
    Iím not the smartest guy and I canít remember much from oceanography anymore. I thought they communicate with high frequency clicks and whistles. These noises travel better in different zones in the ocean. Maybe something about noises traveling through the SOFAR zone. Thatís why whales have difficulty communicating in shipping lanes.

    Anyways I made all that up and has nothing to do with your question. The real reason is the whales heard the villagers talking on the radio about whale hunting and got scared, so they left town. The villagers changed frequencies and the whales were listening to the wrong radio so they never heard the villagers and came back. 100% the truth.


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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy82Hoyt View Post
    Iím not the smartest guy and I canít remember much from oceanography anymore. I thought they communicate with high frequency clicks and whistles. These noises travel better in different zones in the ocean. Maybe something about noises traveling through the SOFAR zone. Thatís why whales have difficulty communicating in shipping lanes.

    Anyways I made all that up and has nothing to do with your question. The real reason is the whales heard the villagers talking on the radio about whale hunting and got scared, so they left town. The villagers changed frequencies and the whales were listening to the wrong radio so they never heard the villagers and came back. 100% the truth.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    They do sounds wave not RF, a common mistake.
    I could not remember at what frequency so I asked Google and found https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._vocalizations.

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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnMike View Post
    Have you actually done this? I don't think my cheap walkie talkies broadcast their position. Pretty sure you need 2 Rino's that have had the others id number entered to track each other.
    Yes, I wouldn't say it works if I hadnt...! They dont broadcast their signal, but the RINO knows... I only assume the new ones do as well, although a quick read says RINO to RINO.....
    Mine is a older RINO.... ~2004, my wife bought when we couldn't find camp on a sheep hunt..dark, wet, etc.
    I have used it with some pretty cheap radios, its just has to be on the right frequency and channel. If I figured it out it cant be too hard...
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    I am liking the VHF for emergency purposes while out hunting. I have a handheld that I take with me on my boat so when I go to shore I have a way to call my boat or any other boat for that matter. Every year or so I'll do some radio checks and talk to a buddy when I know where he is at and it always amazes me how far it works. This is from inside a cove to inside another cove, so not line of sight. Maybe only 3-4 miles away but still! I haven't had as good of luck with my walkie talkies. Of course thay are an older set and I'm sure they must have improved them by now.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akgramps View Post
    You only need one RINO as they will work with any inexpensive (or most) 2 ways and will show you where the other person is, if you are the one holding the RINO.
    Quote Originally Posted by Akgramps View Post
    Yes, I wouldn't say it works if I hadnt...! They dont broadcast their signal, but the RINO knows... I only assume the new ones do as well, although a quick read says RINO to RINO.....
    Mine is a older RINO.... ~2004, my wife bought when we couldn't find camp on a sheep hunt..dark, wet, etc.
    I have used it with some pretty cheap radios, its just has to be on the right frequency and channel. If I figured it out it cant be too hard...
    That's good to know! Thanks for the tips. I might consider just buying the 1 Rino.

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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    I may have given you bad info, its been awhile since i have used mine. Its a 130. In any case i did get the rino and the walkie talkie to communicate. However i did not receive the location... its possible what I recall was with another Rino... i hope you didn't run out & buy one on my post.
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