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How To Optimize Range for Motorola Talkabout Two Way Radios

This video explains how range limitations affect radio signals and provides tips and tricks for optimizing range for Motorola Talkabout Two Way Radios.

Related Resources
GMRS Radio Range Chart
30 Miles? The Truth About Range
Getting The Most Range From Your Radio
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

12 thoughts on “How To Optimize Range for Motorola Talkabout Two Way Radios”

  • Suspicious Mind
    Suspicious Mind April 7, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    Simple replies would help several here. Repeaters are normally not portable units you move around to magically extend range; they are fixed on-site and maintained by devotees of the craft or legal commercial providers, and the units operate on discrete wavelengths you must use. Cell towers are basically the same sort of thing, in that they link the actually short range of your phone into the vast networks of the providers, which use cables to carry the signals the bulk of the way; they do not propagate a stronger wireless signal, but only "bridge" the gap between you phone and the system itself. Cell towers are prevalent and except in remote areas overlap far more than radio repeaters for GMRS etc. so are ordinarily more practical nowadays than radios, unless the system goes down. I've used small units with bike groups, and greatly helped when members got separated or took the wrong trail; actual range was probably never more than two or three miles, but between 0.5 and 5 watts, I know which I would pick every time.

    Reply
  • Brandon, the power limit for amateur radio is 1500 watts but we are supposed to use the minimum necessary for communication most handheld Ham radios in the VHF range go through repeaters and use about 5 watts and most mobiles are anywhere from 50 200 Watts the range is considerably increased when you use a repeater I can talk to someone anywhere for him a hundred miles away or a couple of hundred miles away depending on if the repeater system is linked but amatuer radio is for personal non-commercial non business communication only

    Reply
  • Kate

    Are there any options to use in Boston city that has 2-5 mile range?
    PLEASE?? Thanks

    Reply
  • Rick

    The key difference between those two models is the T80 is designed for use on PMR446 frequencies in the UK while the T460 is designed for use FRS/GMRS frequencies in the US. M Series are the older Talkabout radios, which are currently being phased out for the T Series.

    Reply
  • Vegvisir

    Hi guys, I'm looking for some help here. I need 2 way radio to use on bike tours, to communicate between 2 guides at both ends of group. Am trying to choose between Motorola licence free radios, but more I dig in, more I'm unsure which one to get. First I was sure about T80 extreme, then I found T460, which seems to be almost the same, but cheaper and now I discovered M range, which is promoted as "extreme as you are" etc. Which one of these is the best? Considering range, battery life, durability? Thank you in advance for advice.

    Reply
  • Rick

    Hi Steve, we have a lot of resources available here to answer your questions. Here are a few to get you started:
    Articles (learn at your own pace)
    30 Miles? The Truth About Range
    Getting The Most Range From Your Radio
    Repeater capable FRS/GMRS radios
    Podcasts (explanations and discussions in layman's terms)
    TWRS-05 - Radios in Range
    TWRS-45 - The Truth About GMRS Radio Range
    TWRS-68 - An Introduction to Repeaters
    Videos (short, simple answers)
    Radio 101 - The truth about FRS / GMRS two way radio range

    Reply
  • Steve Quate

    I know I'm gonna get hammered asking this but I'm an idiot about radios but I was looking for a waterproof hand held two way radio also with 30-50 mile accessibility so really when these companies on eBay say their radios will go 30 miles is really not true? These little radios for 59.00 for two?
    Also what's a repeater? Are they expensive, big hard to carry with a pack on? Thanks for any education anyone out there will lend me and please you can email me thanks a bunch

    Reply
  • Emily Taylor

    For anyone else reading about teh Gil. GMRS license and use GMRS repeater, nice quality commercial radio (even the old ones like GP300) and a good antenna on it. All over LA and OC Counties easy.

    Reply
  • James

    I'm not fully versed in radio theory and operation but I believe all three radios would need to be able to transmit 30 miles for this to work. You probably won't be able to achieve this range without a repeater or two. You would be better off getting cell phones on a family plan.

    Reply
  • Brandon

    Gil, for these ranges you will need a Ham radio licence. A technician Ham level exam is very easy and will permit you up to 200 watts on the 2 meter Ham band which will allow you to use repeaters in the area that can give you ranges beyond 50 miles. However, these ranges are with higher power mobile units used in vehicles with larger antennas. You will receive a call sign once you pass the test, but everyone on the frequency must pass the same test. None of these handhelds you're thinking of will even BEGIN to come close to 4 miles, much less 30. As it is, a hand held Ham radio is only 5 watts, and without a larger antenna than the rubber ducky it comes with, could only hit a repeater out to maybe 10-15 miles on a great day depending on repeater height above the ground. So if you had two handytalkies on 2 meters on opposite sides of a repeater, you could theoretically talk 30 miles apart. But 20 would be more reasonable. I hope you do receive this reply and that it has helped you. If you'd like to learn more about receiving a Ham licence, please feel free to email me at [email protected]

    Reply
  • BT

    Dear folks,
    I have purchase my two way radios from you and are very happy with the results. I have looking for infromation about two way radios and have to say that yours web site is the best and complete in options (models) and also information on this subject. Thanks a lot for your excellent work!

    Reply
  • Gil Siegmund

    I need a push to talk set of three two-way radios for use in Southern California; one range of about four miles is needed for two of the radios; the other radio should transmit and receive up to 30 miles in any area, including inside a moving automobile and a school building. The purpose of the radio is to provide my mother with a way of immediately contacting my sister or me and for us to immediately contact her. Please advise about the best brand, the least expensive, and what FCC license we would need; also would call letters be necessary? Thank you,

    Reply

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