One question that we are frequently asked is "how can I get more range out of my two way radio?" In the case of consumer (FRS / GMRS) radios the amount of range you can expect is usually not even close to what the manufacturers advertise. There are, however, several things that you can do to be sure you are getting the most range possible from your radio.
If your radio supports GMRS channels, be sure that you are using one. Most consumer radios support 22 channels, some FRS and some GMRS. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not allow transmission on an exclusive FRS channel at more than half a watt of power. This means that if you are on an FRS-only channel, your radio will only transmit using "low power" mode. The FRS-only channels are 8 through 14. Channels 15 through 22 are exclusively for GMRS, and channels 1 through 7 are shared by both FRS and GMRS.
Most consumer radios support two or more power modes. To get the most range, be sure that you are using high power mode. Lower power modes will not use all of your radio's possible output power and will reduce range.
Be sure to fully charge your battery. The transmission power of two way radios tends to weaken if the battery is low. Always be sure your batteries are fully charged before using your radios, especially if you will need maximum range.
Finally, if you still find yourself pushing the range limits of your radio you can try the "monitor channel" feature. Enabling this feature will cause the radio to open the channel, allowing you to hear static and transmissions too weak to be received by the radio in normal mode.
30 Miles? The Truth About Range
The Two Way Radio Show TWRS-05 - Radios in Range
The Two Way Radio Show TWRS-45 - The Truth About GMRS Radio Range
Radio 101 - The truth about FRS / GMRS two way radio range
How To Optimize Range for Motorola Talkabout Two Way Radios