need info on two-way radios : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I would like to have radios so we can communicate with relatives who live within a two-mile range. We bought Family Radio Service radios, but I can yell farther than these worthless radios' range. (They seemed like such a good idea, too.) What kind of radios might we buy that would have a two-mile range, and might even allow us to hear what the local civilian militia is up to?

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (, December 04, 1998


Plain old CB radios, either handheld, mobile or base models will allow you to keep in touch fow about two miles. A mobile used as a base is a good choice, since it will operate on battery and/or solar power and can use base station antennas for improved performance. And you will probably find a lot of other users on CB. The radios are fairly cheap and there must be zillions of them out there already. As far as monitoring local activities, back-up a CB with a good scanner to keep track of what's going on. Again a portable offers the advantage of battery power and using a scanner base antenna when not carrying the radio with you will greatly improve performance Check six! WW

-- wildweasel (, December 04, 1998.

Check out Motorola's TalkAbout UHF 2-way radios ( They have a very small version that has a max range of 2 miles, as well as a more powerful version that has a range of up to 5 miles. We bought two of the larger kind (about USD $230 apiece), primarily for intra-family communication (not for external communication). Ham seems about the only half-way reliable option for external communication. It's possible the internet may be accessible for some, if POTS (plain old telephone service) is still available, and there are some ISPs and LD telcos that don't go down.


-- Tom Sawyer (, December 05, 1998.


Even the best transceiver is worthless without a decent antenna. The handheld radios you bought use what hams call "rubber duckie" antennas. They are made to be a compromise between effieicncy and durability and convenience.

Chances are the radios will work just fine over the range you state. Ask your local communications dealers for help with external antennas you can plug into your radios. If that doesn' work, find some of your local hams, and ask for help. Many of them are used to making their own antennas, and can probably get you on the air without too much trouble.


-- LP (, December 05, 1998.

How about 3000 miles away? I guess I need a ham radio for that huh? That looks expensive - any suggestions?

-- infoman (, December 05, 1998.

Ham swap meets are a good place to look for used equipment that would get you on the air pretty cheap. Just be careful what you buy - if you don't know anything about electronics take along a friend that does - some of the old boat anchors go really cheap - but parts are nearly impossible to find. There is actually a place in NY somewhere or other that takes apart old vacuum tubes and rebuilds them - then resells them to the hobby market just to keep the old radios going for the folks that love them. Believe me, the service ain't cheap - these guys aren't missing any meals.

-- Paul Davis (, December 06, 1998.

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