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Using Two Way Radios In An Off Grid Emergency And Best Radios In The Market
By Andrew Frank
When there’s a wide-scale disaster like a hurricane, floods, or earth quake, how do you communicate with others to get help? How do you reach out to family and friends to check on them and to see if they need assistance? During these catastrophes, the power grid may go down and cell towers may be inoperable. In such cases, you might not be able to rely on your cell or smart phone or landline. In this article we explore ways to have better communication during emergencies

That’s where two-way radios comes in the picture and helps in emergency communication. They’re by far the most reliable methods for communication not merely during crisis situations, but additionally when you’re off-grid in the midst of nowhere or in an outdoor environment. Two way radios, then, can also needed when you are hunting, backpacking, or fishing, along with other outdoor recreation in which you are unable to control the environment. During these emergencies or outdoor sports activities, two-way radios could be the only gadgets that operate.

That’s where two-way radios come in. They’re among the most reliable methods for communication not only during emergencies, but additionally when you’re off-grid in the midst of nowhere or outdoors. Two way radios, then, may also be helpful when you’re hunting, backpacking, or fishing, together with other recreational activities where you cannot control the environment. During these crisis situations or outdoor sports, two-way radios may be the only devices that operate.

Two-Way Radios explained: They are communication devices that have the ability to both receive and transmit a signal, allowing someone to have a conversation with multiple people who are on the same radio frequency. This is different from a smart phone where you can only speak to one person at a time.

We’ll give you the lowdown on what features we feel are significant in a two-way radio. Then we’ll give you 3 models we consider do the job well.

Two-way radios are relatively inexpensive and able to take a beating in bad weather. They carry no user or roaming charges, contracts or monthly plans. Now let us see some of the Two-Way Radio Features that helps in emergency situations.

Weight and Size: It’s convenient to keep your radio in a backpack or survival kit if it doesn’t have too much weight. And a lightweight two way radio means you can actually carry it in your hands. The recent Motorola models are light weight and have sleek design and can easily packed in the bug out bag

Range: Manufacturers often claim their ranges to be around 30 miles. Then, when you test the radio, you might only get a mile and that anything over is just static. Ranges can never be achieved in the real world. The high estimate is based on optimal conditions, when the radios are in the same line of site, and without obstructions. Trees, rocks, hills, and mountains will impede your range. Climactic conditions, metal surfaces, topography, walls, buildings and houses will also impede your range.

Family Radio Service (FRS) bands have shorter range (around 5-6 miles) but don’t require a license. General Mobile Radio (GMRS) bands, which are more powerful, with a range between 8-25 miles, require a license.

Range: Manufacturers often claim their ranges to be around 30 miles. Then, in case you test the radio, you may only get a mile and that anything over is just static. Ranges can never be achieved in the real world. The high estimate is dependent on optimal conditions, when the radios are in the same line of site, and without interferences. Trees, boulders, hills, and mountains will obstruct your range. Climactic conditions, metal surfaces, topography, walls, buildings and houses will in addition affect your range.

Power: Two-way radios are typically operated by NiMH rechargeable batteries. Most also accept alkaline disposables, which are inexpensive and extends your battery life. During emergencies, these back-ups can be quite a lifesaver.

Radios with Emergency Alerts send an emergency signal to other radios in your group. Radios with a flashlight are helpful in emergencies, like when there’s a power outage. Emergency signaling can be programmed to send an alert signal on a defined frequency for an hour or more if the user pushes the right button.

Voice Activated Transmission: The voice-activated (or “VOX”) feature starts broadcasting automatically when you speak in the direction of the radio, therefore allowing you to operate it hands-free. Bikers and skiers find this to be a useful feature. Weather Alerts: Weather updates or a built-in NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio from the National Weather Service is essential during disasters like winter storms and flash flooding. Following is few of the best GMRS survival radios in the market.

MOTOROLA T480 Talkabout 2-Way Radio: The T480, which weighs about only .43 pounds, only comes with 1 radio, which accounts for the modest price. Included are 1 NiMH rechargeable battery and 1 micro-USB wall charging cable. Two features make the T480 stand out. Besides the emergency alert, PTT and NOAA weather channels, it also has a FM radio that can be used to listen to your preferred FM channels. The flashlight automatically turns on during a blackout and whenever disconnected so you will have light. The NiHM battery lasts up to 10 hours. 3 AA batteries last as long as 26 hours. A drawback is always that theT480 is weatherproof, not waterproof.

MOTOROLA 35-Mile Talkabout T400 2-Way Radio Pair: The T400 weighs just 0.43 pounds (with battery). It includes 2 radios, 2 NiMH rechargeable batteries, and 2 micro-USB wall charging cables. This radios cost about $79.99.The NiMHs last for 8.5 hours. When they run dry, you can use 3 AA batteries, which last up to 21 hours. The T400 boasts a built-in LED flashlight, iVOX/VOX, 11 weather channels (7 NOAA) and emergency alert functions. A scanner quickly locates an empty channel for you and your partners to use. With auto squelch, you can automatically cut off weak transmissions and unwanted noise as a result of range and terrain conditions. The T400 is weatherproof, not waterproof and lacks Push-to-Talk (PTT) / Power Boost, and VibraCall, which allows for vibrating calls.

MOTOROLA T480 Talkabout 2-Way Radio : The T480, which weighs only .43 pounds, only comes with 1 radio, which accounts for the modest price. Included are 1 NiMH rechargeable battery and 1 micro-USB wall charging cable. Two features make the T480 stand out. Besides the emergency alert, PTT and NOAA weather channels, it also has a FM radio that you can use to listen to your favorite FM channels. The flashlight automatically turns on during a blackout and when unplugged so you always have light. The NiHM battery lasts up to 10 hours. 3 AA batteries last up to 26 hours. A drawback is that the T480 is weatherproof, not waterproof.But it may be OK unless and until you do not drop it in the water

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