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Recently in Consumer Radios Category

Recently in Consumer Radios Category

December 6, 2017

Radio 101 - Comparing FRS and GMRS Two Way Radio Warranties


Two Way Radios are not created equal, and neither are their warranties. And, yes, as we've pointed out in a previous Radio 101 video, the warranty is a feature.

In this episode of Radio 101, Rick Savoia from Buy Two Way Radios and The Two Way Radio Show Podcast compares the manufacturer warranties of some popular name brand FRS and GMRS two way radios.

Want more videos? Browse our video blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel!


November 28, 2017

Real two way radios for kids

MG160A.jpgTwo way radios come and go, but one thing hasn't changed. The walkie talkie is still great fun for kids of all ages. Yet in this age of cell phones and apps, kids today are accustomed to using higher end devices, and at very young ages. The Sponge Bob and Spiderman themed toy radios don't always cut it for the 6 plus crowd anymore. By the time they get to first or second grade, they've long since outgrown the cheap little toy radios branded with cartoon characters. They want something more grown-up and sophisticated. They want real two way radios.

Asthetics aside, consider this. If you give a child a toy stove or a toy phone, It doesn't have to really work. In fact, it's generally not supposed to work at all. It's all about imagination.

When your child receives an electronic toy, or any toy powered by batteries, the game completely changes and a new set of rules kick in. If it is a new pair of toy walkie talkies, he or she expects to do more than play pretend. It's not just a toy anymore. It's supposed to really work. What happens if it doesn't work very well, or doesn't work at all? Of course, I think we all know the answer to that one.

It isn't just about the kids, however. It's also about your wallet. Many of the toy FRS walkie talkies cost almost as much as the real thing. Yet the quality is not the same. For instance, a set of Marvel Ultimate Spiderman Walkie Talkies model SM-210 retails for $24.99. The Midland LXT118 is the same price with a display and greater range than the toy. It's more durable, it comes with a one year warranty from the manufacturer, and it's water resistant.

So, when you buy a set of cute Thomas The Tank Engine or Barbie branded radios, if not for the minimal quality, or even minimal functionality, what are you really paying for? Simply put, you are paying for the character licensing or merchandising of the product. You aren't buying a walkie talkie. You are buying a movie, TV or comic book character themed piece of promotional paraphernalia.

Now, if you're into character themed collectibles and the walkie talkies are just another set of curios from your favorite TV or movie franchise, perhaps a $50 pair of Transformer transceivers would be a worthwhile investment in the long term, provided you never open the package. However, if you simply want to give your kids a working set of radios that won't disappoint them when they turn the units on and try to communicate across the yard, chances are you will get a lot more bang for your buck if it looks more like a practical radio than a Power Ranger.

The question is, if you are going to spend even $25 on a set of walkie talkies, why waste it on a wannabe that's all eye candy and nothing more? Get something your kids can really use, something that will give them hours of real fun, something that really works, something that will last longer than a holiday, and something they may even learn from. Get them the real thing. Go for the genuine article.

Get some real two way radios for the kids.

The chart below lists FRS walkie talkies suitable for kids of all ages and some commonly searched features. There are too many features to list them all on this chart, but you can click on the name or image of each radio for details. We also have a Two Way Radio Product Comparison tool so you can choose between any two specific models of these or any other two way radios on our site for a full, comprehensive feature-for-feature comparison between them.

Low Power FRS Two Way Radios For Kids

Brand Model Display Privacy
Codes
Audio
Jack
Batteries Batteries
Included
Power
(Watts)
Range*
Cobra
CX112
AAA No 0.78 Low
Midland
LXT118
AAA No 0.132 Low
Midland
LXT118VP
AAA 0.132 Low
Midland
T10
38 AAA No 0.221 Low
Midland
T31VP
38 AAA 0.221 Low
Motorola
MD200R
AA 0.62 Low
Motorola
MG160A
AAA No 0.207 Low
Motorola
T100
AAA No 0.2 Low
Motorola
T107
AAA No 0.2 Low
Olympia
R100
121 AA 0.861 Low
Uniden
GMR2035-2
AAA 0.6 Low
Uniden
GMR2050-2C
AAA 0.6 Low
*Manufacturers typically advertise FRS/GMRS radio range in miles, however your actual range may vary as it depends on a number of variables. In this chart, we to refer to range as Low, Mid or High. For more information watch our short video Radio 101 - The Truth About FRS/GMRS Two Way Radio Range.

November 26, 2017

List of Holiday Specials for 2017!

Holiday Deals Many of our Cyber Monday deals are still available! Check below for details, we'll be updating this list as the deals expire!

Cyber Monday 2017 is November 27, and this year the deals are bigger and better than ever at Buy Two Way Radios! We're pulling out all the stops this holiday season, with sales, bundles, rebates and value added extras on radios and radio accessories to make shopping and gift giving a lot easier on you and your wallet. Whether you are searching for business, FRS/GMRS, CB or ham related items, we're sure to have a great deal for you.

But why hunt around to find a great deal? We've already done it for you. We've compiled a list of everything on sale at Buy Two Way Radios for Cyber Monday, right here. So relax, grab your favorite beverage, and check out our list of Cyber Monday Specials for 2017 at Buy Two Way Radios!

DMR Deals
  • FREE mag mount antenna with the purchase of a TYT MD-9600 dual band digital radio ($20 value)
    This offer is no longer available!

    The Tram 1185 Amateur Dual-Band Magnet Antenna is a dual band 144-148/440-450MHz amateur radio antenna with 2.5 dBd gain on UHF and Unity gain VHF. It includes a 3 1/4" magnet mount and a 12ft premium 95% tinned copper shield RG58 A/U cable with a UHF male (PL-259) connector.

    Tram 1185 Amateur Dual-Band Magnet Antenna is valued at $20. No promo code is necessary. Your free antenna will automatically be added to your order at time of purchase. Offer valid until December 24, 2017 or while supplies last. Not valid with any other promotions or promo codes. No rain checks.

  • FREE TYT MD-2017 Speaker Microphone with the purchase of a TYT MD-2017 ($19.99 value)
    This offer is no longer available!

    The TYT Speaker Microphone for MD-2017 (TYT-SM-MD2017) is a genuine TYT accessory with a belt clip that swivels 360 degrees. It is designed to work with the TYT MD-2017 Dual Band DMR Two Way Radio equipped with a multi-pin Motorola (M3) connector. Your free microphone will automatically be added to your order at time of purchase. Supplies are limited. Offer valid from November 27 until December 3, 2017 or while supplies last. No rain checks.


  • FREE Baofeng UV-5R radio with the purchase of a TYT MD-2017 dual band DMR radio ($29.99 value).
    No longer available!

    For ONE WEEK ONLY, get a FREE Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band UHF/VHF Radio when you buy a TYT MD-2017!

    You read that correctly. For every TYT MD-2017 Dual Band DMR Digital Two Way Radio you purchase during the week of December 4-10, 2017, we'll give you a Baofeng UV-5R radio, FREE! Click here for more info.
  • FREE mag mount antenna and power supply with the purchase of a TYT MD-9600 dual band digital radio ($95 value)

    This offer is no longer available!

    The Tram 1185 Amateur Dual-Band Magnet Antenna is a dual band 144-148/440-450MHz amateur radio antenna with 2.5 dBd gain on UHF and Unity gain VHF. It includes a 3 1/4" magnet mount and a 12ft premium 95% tinned copper shield RG58 A/U cable with a UHF male (PL-259) connector.

    The TYT TH-1380 30A Switching Power Supply has an output voltage of 13.8V DC and is adjustable between 9V and 15V! It offers automatic current limiting within 30A for protection from short-circuits and and includes a built-in backlit single volt/current meter to keep you informed of current power levels.

    Tram 1185 Amateur Dual-Band Magnet Antenna is valued at $20 and the TYT TH-1380 30A Switching Power Supply is valued at $79.99. The Total value of this free bundle is $99.99!

    No promo code is necessary. Your free antenna with mag mount and power supply will automatically be added to your order at time of purchase. Offer valid until December 3, 2017 or while supplies last. Not valid with any other promotions or promo codes. No rain checks.

  • Buy one TYT MD-380 Battery Pack, Get 1 FREE!
    This offer is no longer available!

    Purchase a Lithium Ion Battery Pack for MD-380 DMR Radio (2000 mAh) and you get one FREE! Every battery purchased earns you one additional battery - with no limit of the number of battery packs you can purchase on this offer! This BOGO (Buy One, Get One) battery offer is fulfilled by Buy Two Way Radios, so the free battery pack is sent with your order. This is a great deal and is available for a limited time only or while supplies last. No rain checks. When we're out, we're out. Offer is good to U.S. residents only and is void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law.

Go Ham for the Holidays
  • Limited Edition Wouxun KG-UV8E Holiday Bundle! ($299 value)
    This special holiday version of Wouxun's amazing Tri-band two way radio takes their 144MHz, 222MHz and 420Mhz band transceiver, adds a full complement of accessories and add-ons, and puts it all into one big festive package at a super special holiday price! The entire kit is only $189.99!

    This Limited Edition is loaded with almost every 8E add-on available, including a standard 1700mAh and a 26000mAh Li-Ion battery pack, belt clip, tri-band antenna, wrist strap, desktop charger, AC power cord, 12V DC power cord, battery eliminator, speaker microphone, silicon case, USB programming cable, programming software, owner's manual.

    The Wouxun KG-UV8E Limited Edition (regularly $229) is now available for the holidays in limited quantity.

  • 5% off a ham radio or accessory with Promo Code: HOLIDAYHAM17
    Enter the promo code at checkout and get an extra 5% off the purchase of an amateur (ham) radio in our store! No purchase limit. Offer valid on Cyber Monday, 2017.
    This offer is no longer available!


  • FREE Leixen Camo Back Pack Bag with purchase of a Leixen VV-898P or VV-898SP backpack radio ($30 value)
    This offer is no longer available!

    The Leixen VV-BP-CAMO Back Pack Bag is designed exclusively for VV-898 dual band mobile backpack radios, with a large, interior pocket to hold the radio housing and eyelets on top of the pack to let the antenna and speaker microphone cable out of the bag. No promo code is necessary. Your free Leixen Back Pack Bag will automatically be added to your order at time of purchase. Offer valid while supplies last. No rain checks.

  • FREE XLT Universal Carrying Case with the purchase of a Wouxun KG-UV8D ($18 value)
    This offer is no longer available!

    The XLT Communications CS200G is a solid case made with Cordura® fabric for stylish durability and lightweight strength. It is coated with DuPont™ Teflon® to repel water and oil based spills. This case is designed to work with many makes and models of two way radios, including the Wouxun KG-UV8D. Your free case will automatically be added to your order at time of purchase. Offer valid while supplies last. No rain checks.

  • FREE T-Shirt with purchase of any Wouxun mobile radio ($10 value)
    This offer is no longer available!

    Our stonewashed blue 100% cotton t-shirt goes great with your favorite jeans or other casual wear, so you can wear it with frequency while on the go or just lounging around. Your free T-Shirt will automatically be added to your order at time of purchase. Offer valid on Wouxun KG-UV920P-A, KG-UV950P, KG-UVR5 or KG-UV980H mobile two way radios while supplies last. No rain checks.

  • FREE Amateur Radio Quick Reference Card with purchase of a Baofeng UV-6RA ($4 value)
    This offer is no longer available!

    This handy guide for ham operators includes charts on amateur radio bands, frequency ranges, the phonetic alphabet and more! It's laminated, making it a durable, weather resistant and waterproof companion when operating inside your ham shack or outdoors. Your free amateur radio quick reference card will automatically be added to your order at time of purchase. Offer valid while supplies last. No rain checks.

  • FREE Amateur Radio Quick Reference Card with purchase of any ham radio starter kit ($4 value)
    This offer is no longer available!

    Offer valid on all ham radio starter kits, including the Ham Radio Starter Kit - HT, Ham Radio Starter Kit - Mobile/Base Station, Digital Ham Radio DMR Starter Kit - HT and Wouxun KG-D901 DMR Digital Radio Value Kit. Your free amateur radio quick reference card will automatically be added to your order at time of purchase. Offer valid while supplies last. No rain checks.

  • Seasonal Special
    • Buy 6 Baofeng UV-5R Radios, Get 1 FREE!
      This offer is no longer available!

      Purchase six Baofeng UV-5R dual band two way radios and you get one FREE! Every six radios purchased earns you one additional UV-5R radio - with no limit of the number of radios you can purchase on this offer! This is a great deal and is available for a limited time only! This offer is fulfilled by Buy Two Way Radios, so the free radio is sent with your order. A minimum of 6 UV-5R radios must be purchased to qualify for a free radio. Limit of one FREE radio per six radios purchased. Offer is good to U.S. residents only and is void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law.

    CB Holidays
    • FREE CB DAY Starter Kit with purchase of a Galaxy or Uniden CB Radio ($14 value)
      Buy a Galaxy or Uniden CB radio and get a FREE CB Day Starter Kit! The kit includes a Two Way Radio Frequency T-Shirt, CB Radio Quick Reference Card and a CB Radio audio CD. Your free CB Starter Kit will automatically be added to your order at time of purchase. Offer valid while supplies last. No rain checks.

    Winter Weather Preparedness Promotion
    • Special sale price on Motorola weather radios!
      Buy a Motorola MWR839 AM/FM Weather Alert Radio for only $69 on Cyber Monday!
      The Motorola MWR839 is a feature-rich, public alert certified weather radio with SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) technology. the MWR839 provides early warnings when severe weather strikes or a civil emergency occurs. It also features a built-in AM/FM radio alarm clock, a connection for an external trigger for an optional strobe light or bed shaker, and an auxiliary port. Available at this price in a very limited quantity. No rain checks.

    Family Recreation Sale on FRS Radios
    • 5% off select FRS radios and accessories with Promo Code: CAMP17
      This offer is no longer available!

      Enter the promo code at checkout and get an extra 5% off the purchase of Olympia and Uniden FRS radios and accessories in our store! No purchase limit. Offer valid on Cyber Monday, 2017.

    • Get a $10 Rebate on Midland GXT1000VP4 radios
      This offer is no longer available!

      Purchase this set of Midland GXT1000VP4 radios and you qualify for a $10 Mail-in Rebate! This great deal from Midland is available for a limited time only!

      This offer is fulfilled by Midland directly, so your rebate will be mailed to you after Midland receives your mail-in rebate redemption form. Offer valid on products purchased from November 20 through December 20, 2017 only. Limit of two (2) GXT1000VP4 value pack rebates per household (each value pack includes two radios, for a total of four radios). Rebate will be issued in U.S. funds. Offer valid for U.S. residents only.

    • Save $5 on the purchase of Motorola T100 and T107 Talkabout radios
      This offer is no longer available!

      The affordable Motorola Talkabout T100 and T107 two-way radios are the perfect gift for kids this holiday season. They are compact, easy to hold and easy to use. Available in neon blue or bright pink. Offer valid November 25 through December 9, 2017 on a minimum purchase of one pair of T100 or T107 radios.

    • FREE pair of lanyards with purchase of Olympia R100, R300 or R500 FRS/GMRS radios
      Offer valid for a limited time only while supplies last. No rain checks.

    Manufacturer Rebates and Specials on Business Radios
    • Up to 20% discount on Kenwood radios with promo code KW17!
      This offer is no longer available!

      This Cyber Monday, take advantage of the best deal ever on Kenwood two way radios! For a very limited time, use promo code KW17 at checkout and save 20% on any Kenwood radio with a regular price over $200! The same promo code will also allow you to save 10% instantly on any radio with a regular price under $200!

      This offer can also be combined with Kenwood's current "Buy Six" specials that are described below. This is the best offer we've ever seen for Kenwood radios and it ends at midnight on Monday, November 27th! Don't miss it!

    • Buy 6 Kenwood Analog Business Radios, Get 1 FREE!
      This offer is no longer available!

      Purchase at least six Kenwood PKT-23, TK-2400V16P, TK-3400U16P, TK-2402V16P, TK-3400U16P, TK-2360ISV16P or TK-3300ISU16P radios and you qualify for one FREE radio of the same model!

      This offer is fulfilled by Kenwood directly, so the free radio will be mailed to you after Kenwood receives your online rebate form. Offer valid on up to 60 radios purchased from October 1 through December 31, 2017. Limit of one FREE radio per six radios.Click here for full details and register online with Promo Code PRO-27115 at Kenwood's rebate website to claim your rebate.

      NOTE: Rebates must be uploaded or postmarked on or before January 14, 2018. Radios delivered before or after the promotion date are not eligible, regardless of invoice date. Offer good only in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and is void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law.

    • Buy 6 Select Kenwood ProTalk® Radios, Get 1 FREE Radio PLUS a FREE Multi-Charger!
      This offer is no longer available!

      Purchase at least six Kenwood TK-3230DX, NX-240V16P, NX-340U16P, NX-240V16P2 or NX-340U16P2 radios and you qualify for a FREE radio of the same model INSTANTLY (at time of purchase) plus a FREE Multi-Charger!

      The FREE radio is sent with your order. The FREE multi-charger is fulfilled by Kenwood directly, so the free mutli-charger will be mailed to you after Kenwood receives your online rebate form. Offer valid on up to 90 radios purchased through December 31, 2017. Limit of one FREE radio and multi-charger per six radios. Click here for full details and register online with Promo Code PRO-27116 at Kenwood's rebate website to claim your rebate.

      NOTE: Rebates must be uploaded or postmarked on or before January 14, 2018. Radios delivered before or after the promotion date are not eligible, regardless of invoice date. Offer good only in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and is void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law.

    • Buy 6 Midland BizTalk™ BR200 Business Radios, Get 2 FREE!
      This offer is no longer available!

      Purchase six Midland BizTalk™ BR200 business two way radios and you get TWO FREE! Every six radios purchased earns you not one, but two additional BR200 radios - with a potential maximum of 20 FREE radios (on a maximum purchase of 60 radios)! This is an incredible deal from Midland and is available for a limited time only!

      This offer is fulfilled by Midland directly, so the free radios will be shipped to you after Midland receives your online submission form. Offer valid on up to 60 radios per customer/company purchased from September 1 through December 31, 2017. Click here for details. A minimum of 6 BR200 radios must be purchased to qualify. Midland's rebate terms and conditions apply.

      NOTE: All claims must be entered by 11:59pm CST on Monday, January 15, 2018 to qualify. Redemption submissions received after that date will NOT be eligible regardless of purchase date. All transactions are subject to validation. Offer is good to U.S. residents only and is void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law.

    • Buy 6 Motorola Business Radios, Get a FREE Multi-Unit Charger PLUS a Prepaid Card!
      This offer is no longer available!

      Purchase six Motorola business radios and you qualify for a FREE multi-unit charger plus a prepaid card! Every six radios purchased earns you an additional multi-unit charger and prepaid card - with a potential maximum of 10 FREE multi-unit chargers and 10 prepaid cards (on a maximum purchase of 60 radios)! This is a great deal from Motorola and is available for a limited time only!

      This offer is valid on the following models: CLS1110, CLS1410, CLP1010, CLP1040, CLP1060, DLR1020, DLR1060, DTR410, DTR550, RMM2050, RMU2040, RMU2080, RMU2080d, RMV2080, RDU4100, RDU4160d and RDV5100 radios.

      This offer is fulfilled by Motorola directly, so the free multi-unit charger(s) and prepaid card(s) will be shipped to you after Motorola receives your online submission form. Offer valid on up to 60 radios per customer/company purchased from September 1 through December 31, 2017. All six radios purchased must be within the same product series. Click here for details. A minimum of 6 radios in the same series must be purchased to qualify. Motorola's rebate terms and conditions apply.

      NOTE: All claims must be entered by 11:59pm EST on Monday, January 15, 2018 to qualify. Redemption submissions received after that date will NOT be eligible regardless of purchase date. All transactions are subject to validation. Offer is good in the U.S. and Puerto Rico only and is void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law.

    • Buy the Vertex Standard EVX-S24 (Yellow) for only $199.99!
      This offer is no longer available!

      The Vertex Standard EVX-S24 Yellow Version is regularly $269.99, but through the holidays you can get them from Buy Two Way Radios for only $199.99! There is no maximum allowable purchase, but they are in limited supply, so if you want to take advantage of this special price, you may want to act now. When they're gone, they're gone!

    • Get a $20 rebate on Icom F1000S/F2000S radios!
      Purchase at least five (5) Icom F1000S or F2000S Radios (display/4 key models only) and you qualify for a $20 rebate per radio! This is a great deal from Icom exclusively for our business customers with a maximum savings of up to $1000!

      This offer is fulfilled by Icom directly, so the rebate will be mailed to you after Icom receives your online or mail-in rebate form. Offer valid on up to 50 radios purchased between November 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018. To redeem your rebate, go to Icom's rebate page, download the Mail-in Rebate Form, fill out the form and mail it to Icom with the items requested on the form.

      NOTE: Purchases must be made between 9/1/2017 and 3/31/2018. A minimum purchase of 5 radios is required. All radios must be the same model. A maximum purchase of 50 radios is allowed. All claims require a proof of purchase from an Authorized Icom dealer and a copy of a UPC code per radio model. All Rebate claims must be sent in by April 15, 2018. Allow 8-10 weeks from submission of rebate request for delivery. Rebate applies to models with displays and 4 key column. Offer valid in US for commercial or business end users only.

    Of course, if you have any questions or can't find the special you are searching for, contact us. Give us a call, send us an e-mail or enter our live chat online. We'll be open from 8 AM to 6 PM ET during Cyber Monday!

    September 28, 2017

    Which FRS and GMRS radios are license free?

    In May 2017 the FCC ruled on Part 95 reform. Starting today, September 28, 2017 the new rules are now in effect. There were many changes, but here's the big one. Consumer FRS/GMRS two way radios 2 watts or less are now considered FRS radios and are license free!

    Technically speaking, the radios are now licensed by rule, which means that you are no longer required to apply for a GMRS license from the FCC to use these lower powered models with 22 channels, even on those previously considered the 8 GMRS frequencies. The simple act of purchasing the radios gives you a license to use them on all 22 channels.

    Since most of the models, particularly those sold in retail 2-packs or "bubble packs" do not include actual power ratings or wattage on the packaging or the product marketing spec sheets, only one question remains. Which FRS/GMRS radios are within the 2 watt power limit and are now considered FRS?

    The truth is, most of the FRS/GMRS combo radios currently on the market are under 2 watts and follow the new rules as FRS only radios. In addition to the wattage requirement, any models that are capable of operating on GMRS repeater frequencies are considered GMRS radios and require a GMRS license to operate. Only two handheld models currently available are repeater capable and fall squarely in the category of GMRS.

    Rather than creating a long list of radios that do fall under the Family Radio Service (FRS), perhaps the easiest thing to do is list the models that don't, and are now considered GMRS only. It's a short list.

    GMRS Handheld Two Way Radios

    Make Model Power
    (Watts)
    Repeater
    Capable
    Cobra CXR925 2.8W No
    Cobra MR-HH450 DUAL 2.24W (GMRS)
    6.2W (Marine)
    No
    Midland GXT1000VP4 3.07W (high power) No
    Midland GXT1050VP4 3.07W (high power) No
    Motorola MR355R 1.32W Yes
    Olympia R500 .973W Yes
    We will continue to update this list as models are introduced. Bookmark this page or subscribe to our blog for the latest information.

    December 11, 2015

    Repeater capable FRS/GMRS radios

    We often receive questions about the range limitations of consumer FRS/GMRS radios. In fact, it is probably one of the most commonly asked questions about them, and for many, it seems to be one of the most important considerations when shopping for a handheld radio. This is certainly understandable, of course. Everyone wants the ability to communicate with others across great distances, and certainly more than just across their front yard.

    However, since radios communicate line-of-sight, and given the power and other limitations of the typical FRS/GMRS handheld walkie talkie, coupled with the uncertainty of weather conditions, location and terrain, the average range of direct radio-to-radio communications with the typical consumer radio may not meet some applications.

    In such a scenario, one may need more than just a standard walkie-talkie. One may need a handheld radio with the ability to operate through a repeater.

    Although the FCC does not allow the use of a repeater on FRS frequencies (and given the 1/2 watt limitation of the FRS service, it isn't practical anyway), it does allow the use of repeaters on the GMRS. Yes, there are GMRS repeaters out there, not too many, but they do exist. But what about repeater ready GMRS radios?

    Yes, they do exist as well. We receive frequent inquiries and requests from customers who are searching for GMRS radios with the ability to operate through GMRS repeaters. While they aren't common, they certainly are out there, and they aren't too hard to find.

    This chart lists brand name portable handheld GMRS radios currently available with repeater capability. Click on the name or image of each model for details and more specifications on each radio. All models listed in the chart are available from Buy Two Way Radios.

    FRS/GMRS Two Way Radio Comparison Chart

    Model Interference
    Eliminator
    Codes
    FRS/GMRS
    Channels
    Weather
    Channels
    Repeater
    Capable
    Repeater
    Channels
    Motorola
    Talkabout MR355R
    121 22 11 8
    Motorola
    Talkabout MS350R
    121 22 11 8
    Motorola
    Talkabout MS355R
    121 22 11 8
    Olympia R500 121 50* 11 8

    Additional resources:
    TWRS-68 - An Introduction to Repeaters
    Radio 101 - How To activate repeater channels on a Motorola Talkabout radio


    *According to Olympia, the 50 channels consist of 22 FRS/GMRS and 28 "extra" channels.

    December 19, 2014

    Two Way Radios vs. Cell Phones

    The convenience of the typical cell phone is irrefutable. It allows you to send a photo, text a message, or dial a number and speak to almost anyone, almost, anytime, almost anywhere in the world.

    While not as widely used by the public as cellular telephones, it is not uncommon to find many people using two way radios for both personal and business applications. Consumer FRS/GMRS walkie talkies are widely used for home and recreational uses. Business radios are used extensively in many commercial, industrial, municipal and government agency operations, and in some cases are used exclusively.

    But wait. If cell phones are as powerful, popular and easily accessible as they are, why not just use a phone instead of a radio? For that matter, why use two way radio at all?

    The truth is, there are many advantages to using two way radios over cell phones in many applications and situations. In fact, considering the options, it is rather astonishing how many businesses, particularly smaller companies, don't consider using radios at all and instead opt to use cell phones for one-to-one short range communications between employees.

    To find out which option you should choose, let's compare the two.

    Cell Phones:
    • are best for long distance communications
    • are in use almost everywhere; Almost everyone has a one
    • are expensive require a service subscription with a monthly service fee
    • cannot operate without active cell towers and service within range of the phone.
    • do not require a license to operate
    • typically require a one or two year contract for service
    • may incur additional fees when monthly usage is exceeded
    • incur roaming charges when out of the home area of service
    • are generally not impact resistant, waterproof or otherwise sufficiently durable for many business uses
    • may not work well or at all in some rural or remote areas
    • include text message capabilities
    • require you must dial a number and wait for the call to connect, which can take thirty seconds or longer
    • feature group calls which involve dialing multiple numbers and establishing multiple connections.

    Two Way Radios
    • are best for short range communications
    • are not as commonly used as cell phones, but very easy to obtain and use
    • are typically more rugged and durable than cell phones and many are fully waterproof, submersible and even float!
    • usually cost much less than cell phones
    • do not require contracts
    • do not incur monthly usage fees
    • do not have over limit usage fees
    • do not have roaming charges
    • Airwaves are free
    • may require an FCC license to operate on some frequencies or bands. Some are "licensed by rule" and do not require the purchase of a license. Read Types of Two Way Radios for details.
    • only requires a one-time purchase of the radio (and a license, if required)
    • require line-of-site transmission and reception
    • work well within a limited line-of-sight range in rural or remote areas
    • Some digital radios have text message capabilities
    • provide instant communcation with no wait time. Press the PTT button and transmit instantly. Simply turn the radio on to listen.
    • group calls are simple. Turn on the radio to listen. Simply press the PTT button to talk to the group.

    Comparing the two, it isn't difficult to determine two distinct advantages two way radios have over cell phones for many recreational activities and commercial applications. One huge difference is the cost. Even considering the cost of obtaining the most expensive license to operate a GMRS or business radio, cell phones can cost more to own and operate, a lot more.

    For instance, consider the family that takes frequent hiking trips out of their home cell service area. Roaming charges can add up fast, even on a family plan, and there is no guarantee of service in the area of their hiking excursion. Taking a couple of $200 to $400 cell phones out on the trail and into the elements is also a risky proposition, unless of course, money is no object.

    However, a GMRS license currently costs $85 and covers the entire family. A pair of high end Midland GXT1000 radios cost considerably less than one $200 cell phone. These radios are also a lot more durable and can take more punishment from the outdoors. Their chances of survival are considerably higher than the phone. If the hikers are using FRS frequencies, the cost is even lower, because no license is required to operate on the Family Radio Service. In this scenario, using two way radios for short range communications between members of a group just makes more sense.

    This is particularly true in a commercial environment. In fact, based on the comparison above, businesses and organizations that require employees to use cell phones for localized, short range two way communications within relatively close proximity to one another instead of business radios can actually reduce or impede the efficiency of their operations very quickly, ultimately wasting time, resources, and, of course, money.

    One of the greatest advantages of using two way radios over cell phones in any environment is the ability for simple, instant communication. Instant means just that. You simply pick up the device, press one button and talk, or even simpler, just listen. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

    There is an old axiom about using the right tool for the right job. In the case of cell phones and two way radios, this is especially true. Each has their place, to be sure.

    However, while a cell phone is useful for one-to-one, full duplex conversations across great distances, It isn't usually the best choice for instant, "always on" group, team or one-to-one communications over short distances or within a limited, confined area. In such situations, the two way radio is usually a more efficient, economical and overall practical choice.

    December 4, 2014

    What is the difference between walkie talkies and two way radios?

    business-consumer.pngRecently we received a comment from a customer who took issue with our use of the terms two way radio and walkie talkie in one of our older posts. Apparently the customer was searching for a two way radio but after locating radios listed as walkie talkies, considered it a misdirection to another line of products, presumably perceiving that an item labeled as a walkie talkie was inferior to another item labeled as a two way radio. According to the customer, walkie talkies and two way radios are not the same.

    In reality, the terms walkie talkie and two way radio are often considered interchangeable, at least here in the US, and are sometimes even used together in the same conversation to reference the same thing. As a US based company, our use of these terms is based on their common accepted usage within our country. These terms may be used differently in other countries, so it is, by no means, an absolute.

    Of course, there is a difference between a two way radio and a walkie talkie that is somewhat universal. Technically speaking, the two are not the same thing, although in some cases, they can be. To understand the difference, we need to define the terms.

    A two way radio is a radio that can operate two ways, that is, it has the ability to both transmit and receive a radio signal, as opposed to a radio that can only receive. A two way radio can either operate in a half-duplex or full duplex mode. Half-duplex allows the radio to transmit or receive in turn but not both simultaneously. Full-duplex allows the radio to transmit and receive at the same time. A two way radio is also commonly called a transceiver, because it can both transmit and receive radio communications. In either case, the radio operates two ways; it can send and it can receive.

    A walkie talkie is a portable two way radio, particularly one that can be held in the hand. This type of radio, also known as a handy talkie, handheld transceiver or HT, allows you to talk on the radio while walking around, hence the name walkie talkie.

    Now that we've defined the terms, let's consider the argument. Are these terms interchangeable? Well, yes and no.

    According to the definition, a walkie talkie is a two way radio, but a two way radio is not always a walkie talkie. This is because there are types of radios that are not portable handhelds, such as a mobile radio mounted in a vehicle or a desk or wall mounted base station.

    But, it can be one. In fact, most, if not all manufacturers of business, CB, consumer, marine and amateur portable handheld radios or walkie talkies do not usually refer to their products as "Walkie Talkies", but as "Two Way Radios".

    This is understandable, considering the history of the walkie talkie. It originally referred to the portable backpack transceivers used in the military during World War II. More recently it became associated with consumer grade FRS radios. The term has also long been used to refer to extremely low power radios sold as toys and that stigma, while misdirected, still exists today. Given that, it's no wonder some folks shun products labeled as walkie talkies in search of a "real" two way radio.

    Do you consider walkie talkies and two way radios different or the same things? How and why? It's a great topic and we'd like to know what you think. We will be discussing it in a January 2015 episode of The Two Way Radio Show Podcast and we want your comments. From now until December 31, 2014, for everyone who comments on the topic below, tweets a response @2WayRadios, or posts it on our Facebook or Google + pages, if we read it on the podcast, we will send you a FREE T-shirt!

    We have plenty of shirts to give away, so send in your comments now.

    December 1, 2014

    TWRS-83 - New Olympia FRS/GMRS Radios

    We tell you about a new line of FRS/GMRS radios from an old company in the business. We also review the XLT EB120 Earbud with PTT Microphone.

    Intro :00
    Billboard 1:22

    Discussion Topic 1:42
    We talk about the new Olympia FRS/GMRS Two Way Radios. We'll give you the inside story about these new radios, introduce you to the models, and discuss the key features and the differences between them and similar models produced by the same manufacturer under another well-known and popular brand.

    Commercial Break 18:41
    buytwowayradios.com 1:00

    Product Review 19:37
    We review the XLT EB120 Earbud with PTT Microphone.

    Questions and Answers 26:02
    Questions from readers of our Two Way Radio Blog and members of the Two Way Radio Forum.

    Wrap up and Close 31:54
    Send in your comments and questions for Danny, Anthony and Rick to show[at]buytwowayradios.com. Feedback on this and other topics will be read by the hosts and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at www.twowayradioshow.com!

    © 2014 Cricket Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved.




    [ Download MP3 ]

    January 29, 2014

    Get walkie talkies for a cruise without getting soaked

    We get a lot of customers who contact us on a daily basis and are looking for radios to use on their upcoming cruise. One customer recently contacted me looking for an older Motorola Talkabout model, the T5620. This is a model that has been discontinued for some time and originally sold brand new for under $42 a pair. She mentioned that the cruise company was offering this outdated model as a rental to cruise goers. I asked her what the charge was, and she replied with $8.00 per day, per radio. She is going on a 15 day cruise. If my math is correct, that is $120 per radio, and she needs four of them, bringing the total to $480!! Sounds outrageous to me.

    We have tested many different models of consumer two way radios on our annual cruises and we have found certain models work better than others. My personal favorite is the Midland GXT1000VP4. It gets me the coverage I need for my family and other cruise goers in my group. With a price of $69.99 per set, you will definitely come out better in the long run - and have something to show for it when the cruise is completed.

    Needless to say, she was stoked by the fact that we could get her the four radios she needed for around $150!

    When you are ready to take your next cruise, give us a shout. We will be glad to point you in the right direction.

    Happy Sailing!!!

    To learn how important two way radios are to have on a cruise, listen to The Two Way Radio Show Podcast TWRS-19 - Cruising With Radios.

    June 17, 2013

    FCC Considering Elimination of GMRS Regulatory Fee

    A few weeks ago the FCC released a document proposing some changes to the way regulatory fees are calculated, as well as some changes to the fee amounts for various services. This type of release is not out of the ordinary, and normally we wouldn't give it a second look. However, buried in Attachment E(4) (page 40) is the following statement.

    The FNPRM seeks comment concerning adoption and implementation of proposals for FY 2014 and beyond, which include: ... (3) eliminating the regulatory fee component pertaining to General Mobile Radio Service;

    The FCC is requesting comments from the public concerning eliminating the regulatory fee for GMRS in 2014. Now, the regulatory fee is only a portion ($25) of the total licensing fee, but this may be a clue that the FCC is moving closer to finally adopting their 2010 proposal to eliminate the GMRS license fee entirely.