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How Do I Choose the Best Long-Range Walkie Talkies?

Considerations when selecting a long-range walkie talkie include battery life, communication clarity and number of channels.
Most walkie talkies feature the basic push-to-talk button.
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  • Written By: Maggie J. Hall
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2014
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The best long-range walkie talkies are handheld transceivers that are equipped with the appropriate characteristics to accommodate your specific needs. Many companies worldwide manufacture walkie talkies that vary in communication range, special features and price. You should compare battery life, communication clarity and number of channels available in various models. Certain walkie talkie systems also require that you get a radio operator’s license to be in compliance with communication laws. Communication laws vary from country to country, and a two-way radio that is accepted for public use in one location might be prohibited in another.

The simple push-to-talk button is basic on most long-range walkie talkies. Most design versions include clips for hands-free portability, and one type allows users to wear the device as a pendant or as a wristwatch. These walkie talkies, along with earbuds, headsets, over-the-ear headsets and a voice-operated microphone (VOX), provide hands-free communication capabilities.

Battery life is key factor in determining the best walkie talkie for your needs. Lithium ion batteries typically last longer than conventional alkaline ones. Many walkie talkie systems use rechargeable, nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, providing eight or more hours of usage on one charge. The number of features and weather conditions also affect battery life. Some long-range walkie talkie designs include power-saving features that ensure optimal battery performance.

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Walkie talkie range, or the maximum distance of communication, varies with the amount of power the transceivers produce. A 0.5-watt system might require users to be within 100 yards (91.4 m) of each other, while a 5-watt system might extend that distance up to 10 miles (16 km). The maximum communication range is generally determined under perfect conditions, meaning that there are no forms of obstruction between the two walkie talkies. When buildings are in the way, the range of indoor communications is typically reduced dramatically because of the various elements of building construction.

Long-range walkie talkies receive and transmit signals over a radio frequency. Usually, they use the ultra high frequency (UHF) band and frequency modulation (FM). Each walkie talkie channel represents a different frequency, and some systems have one or two channels, while other transceivers are equipped with more than 20. Some channels are acceptable for general public use, but others require a professional radio operator’s license. Certain frequencies are barred from public use in various regions of the world.

Manufacturers design long-range transceivers with a variety of special features. Some contain clearer sound modulation and noise-suppressing capabilities for use in loud environments. Dust and waterproof models enhance durability for outdoor use. Some units contain global positioning systems (GPS), weather advisory functions, flashlights and thermometers.

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anon295608
Post 5

I always have two FRS radios in my car. Its very convenient when you out of the town and have no cell phone coverage. I also always keep my UAWIFI UA3 wifi adapter on the roof of my car in case if I need to extend the range of my laptop's wifi signal. You cannot rely solely on a cellphone. You must always have a second communication method.

Mykol
Post 4

We have a set of Uniden walkie talkies that we have had around for a long time. My husband will often take these when he goes hunting.

They cannot always guarantee that everyone will have cell phone reception, so they carry walkie talkies. You can set them up so everyone is on the same channel and everyone can know what is going on.

Sometimes there is quite a large party of people, and this is easier than making sure everyone has the correct phone numbers.

sunshined
Post 3

We go camping and backpacking in the mountains every year. There is no cell phone reception where we are, so we rely on walkie talkies for communication.

It takes a couple of days to get used to not checking the cell phone all the time. It makes you realize how much you rely on them for so many things.

After a week of not using it though, I must say, it is also kind of refreshing. Using 2 way walkie talkies is not as convenient as using a phone, but they are much better than not having any way to communicate with each other.

There are many places we camp where we don't have electricity, so I always have to make sure we have extra batteries that will last us all week long.

julies
Post 2

@honeybees - In addition to the many different walkie talkie choices for kids, they also have walkie talkie watches. We bought these for our grand kids, and found that the adults had just as much playing with them as the kids did.

Before everybody had cell phones, our family would take a set of walkie talkies with us when we went skiing.

This was a great way of keeping track of everyone and scheduling a time and place to meet if we got separated.

I think cell phones have probably taken over a lot of that business, but there would still be situations where walkie talkies would come in handy.

honeybees
Post 1

The very first set of walkie talkie radios I had was one my sister and I received some for Christmas years ago.

We lived in a small town, and even though this was not an expensive long-range set, they did reach from one end of town to the other end.

Our cousins from out of town were staying with us over Christmas and we really had a lot of fun with those walkie talkies.

This was quite a novelty for us back then, and I always remember it as being one of the best Christmas presents I received.

Kids still like to play with walkie talkies. We just bought a set for our grandson who turned 5. Today you have all kinds of choices, and he was excited about receiving super hero walkie talkies.

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