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I'm looking for the best walkie-talkies to buy, using on dog-drives in Virginia (legal there). What brand and model would you suggest? Looking for something rugged, dependable, and fairly simple to use. Not looking to go cheap, but don't want to over-pay either. Thanks.
 

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Get the Motorola Talk About 280 models...The old models seem to work better then the newer Motorola models sold today...Try to find them on EBAY...
 

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I'm not really sure what to say, since what you said pretty much says it all....

There is all different kinds of radios - all of which, with the exception of Family Radio Service - FRS and MURS - requires some sort of license.

Most Motorola Bubble Pack Radios are a dual type - GMRS / FRS, with a fixed antenna, one half watt FRS / One Watt GMRS...

Ok, and did I mention that they require a license? That is somewhere in the neighborhood of $85 for 5 years, and it covers your whole family.

Then you also have to abide by the FCC rules. Legal ID - etc..

Only a fool would spend $85 for the license and then spend $20 for the radios..

If you have a license, you can buy a more profession version of their radios, from a two way radio shop.
Maybe even subscribe to the shop owners repeater service.
Maybe even eliminate the need for the license, if you can use the Two Way Radio Shop's licensed repeater.

Rule of thumb, all effective range is Line Of Signt - LOS.
When you put anything in between the two radios - hills, trees, rain, fog, snow, it can attenuate the signals.
What you are looking for is reliable reception.
I don't know of anyone on this forum that can guarantee you reliable reception with any model of radio using UHF, without the assistance of a repeater.

A repeater is simply another radio system, usually built by someone, that affords you a greater range, by placing the repeater antenna in a very high place and allowing that antenna to transmit further then the antenna on top of your handheld radio.
By doing this, each radio only needs to be able to be heard by the repeater, not the other radios receiver / antenna.

The repeater receives your signal - called the input, and rebroadcasts it on another frequency - called the output.
The repeater isolates your signal from other repeater signal by using a sub auditable tone - CTCSS, sometimes called a PL
©.

Effective range of a handheld on flat level ground is about 2.4 miles, using 400 ish mhz.
This range can be increased by moving to the top of a mountain, or decreased by moving down into a valley or behind a hill to just a couple hundred yards..

Unfortunately, amateur radio wouldn't be applicable, since everyone would need to be licensed and would have to follow the rules as per the Part 97.. I'm not real sure what the rules are when it comes to using a radio to try to kill animals in Virginia. In Pennsylvania, they are very specific..

You can use the radio to keep track of the whereabouts of your hunting party, but you cannot use them for the purpose of maneuvers used to harvest animals..
 

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Get the Motorola Talk About 280 models...The old models seem to work better then the newer Motorola models sold today...Try to find them on EBAY...
Agree. The older models generally perform better than the newer ones. That's counter intuitive, but seems to be the case.
 

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Agree. The older models generally perform better than the newer ones. That's counter intuitive, but seems to be the case.
I would say this is probably due directly to the increased use of cell phones and greatly expanded cell phone service coverage. I remember years ago store shelves were filled with dozens of different radios, now it seems that you only have a few choices.

I recently got a pair of midlands with supposed 24mile range. I threw out my old radio years ago because I just used my phone, but now I find myself again hunting in an area with limited cell service.
 

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I went the GMRS route. The only real rub is that the license allows for 5 watts but finding 5 watt Part 95 certified radios isn't the easiest. The general consensus seems to be that using Part 90 devices for GMRS has never gotten anyone into trouble when programmed and used for GMRS. There are many pretty decent quality Part 90 devices out there for reasonable costs. While it looks to be a gray area in the FCC law it is an option. Only you can decide if it is an acceptable route for you to take, though. Generally you're going to spend a lot more for a radio that has been Part 95 certified.
 

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I went the GMRS route. The only real rub is that the license allows for 5 watts but finding 5 watt Part 95 certified radios isn't the easiest. The general consensus seems to be that using Part 90 devices for GMRS has never gotten anyone into trouble when programmed and used for GMRS. There are many pretty decent quality Part 90 devices out there for reasonable costs. While it looks to be a gray area in the FCC law it is an option. Only you can decide if it is an acceptable route for you to take, though. Generally you're going to spend a lot more for a radio that has been Part 95 certified.
The Beofung / Whoshun UV5R type handhelds will put out 5 watts, and with the addition of a better antenna will offer you somewhat more range.

I don't think I gave the advice the OP was looking for - since there was no reply.

The bottom line is that the Bubble Pack radios - regardless of how many miles it says it will operate on the package - is limited to what ever range - Line Of Sight is - at the location where you are using them.

At least that is what is said in the books I read when I attended Penn State, and my Amateur Extra Amateur Radio License - doesn't cover GMRS / FRS / LMRS rules and regulations.

The problem most people do not realize is that when you get into LMRS - Land Mobile Radio Service / GMRS - you have to follow their rules.

The Beofung type radios are not type compliant because they have to be narrow banded before being used. It is not a simple task, like toggling an internal switch or reprogramming them to use FM Narrow Band - already installed on the radio.

Using Wide Band / Non Compliant radios in other radio services, can get the user / licensee in a lot of trouble. Not that the FCC is listening or cares!

As I said before, the only way to increase range of a FM handheld is by using some type of repeater device. The only GMRS repeater in my area is a REACT repeater that is closed - does not allow anyone other then REACT members to use.

Most commercial GMRS repeater owners were steered away from GMRS frequencies when the narrow band compliant rules were put in effect 4 years ago.. Most moved to LMRS frequencies or just let the license lapse and went the cell phone route.

I don't know of anyone that could guarantee you that any radio would work for more then 1 mile in the difficult terrain of West Virginia, at least not down around Morgantown, where I hunted..
 

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Baofeng makes a type 90 UV82. I'm pretty sure it is narrow band compliant and can be easily programmed with CHIRP. It is not, however, Type 95 certified. IIRC, those UV5R's are not type 90 or 95 certified. I agree that the range is limited with any GMRS (sans repeater) but the performance I've seen with a 5w radio and 16" antenna is far beyond that of even upper end FRS/GMRS fixed antenna units.
 

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Baofeng makes a type 90 UV82. I'm pretty sure it is narrow band compliant and can be easily programmed with CHIRP. It is not, however, Type 95 certified. IIRC, those UV5R's are not type 90 or 95 certified. I agree that the range is limited with any GMRS (sans repeater) but the performance I've seen with a 5w radio and 16" antenna is far beyond that of even upper end FRS/GMRS fixed antenna units.
`The antenna is affixed to the radio to circumvent the rules, which prohibits the user from increasing the range by attaching any type of antenna with any sort of gain.'

The people with a license takes precedence over the people without.
Most honest licensed GMRS users are offended by the bootleggers without a license, using their licensed frequencies.
Most licensed users overlooks the two weeks out of the year in Pennsylvania, when a horde of unlicensed users intrudes upon their licensed frequencies.
When you get into states like Virginia and North / South Carolina, where the season extends for months, and some places are as flat as a board, then you get into people that gets upset when unlicensed users intrudes upon their frequencies.

The range of the radio is determined more by the terrain and location then by the power level of the transmitter.,

The range of the transmit is determined by the location, where as the radios that are sold with an advertised range of 23 miles, those radios were tested on a calm day, aboard a ship in the middle of Lake Erie.
Why Lake Erie? Because out of all of the Great Lakes, Erie has the smallest waves..

So if you climb the mast of the ship, getting maybe 80' or more above the surface of the water, and you talk to someone on an identical type of ship / situation, you may be able to be heard 23 miles away..
Then again, you could do the same thing if you were in the right place on top of the mountain near Seven Springs, where the elevation is 3100' amsl, and you can see the top three floors of the USX building in Pittsburgh PA..

The advertised range is useless in the mountains of central or southern PA..
 
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