Much as been written in regards to personal communications in today's technology driven age. Cell phones of every shape, size, and function seem to pop up faster than anyone can count. They fill a need (real or imagined) and so people have them. The same can be said for small two way radios. The FCC created Family Radio Service (FRS) for the general public some years ago and manufacturers have flooded the market with radios of all types. The prices range from dirt cheap to somewhat expensive and offer the buyer all types of features and functions.
I found myself looking for some relatively inexpensive two way radio communications a while back and finally decided on a Motorola product. Motorola has been in the radio business almost since radios were invented (not quite but close enough). They have arguably lead the industry in the two way radio business for decades. I opted to get one of their offerings as I felt confident that I would get a reasonable product for the money I was looking to spend.
This review hopefully provides you with more information than what you would typically find on the back of the clamshell package.
I made my purchase at the local Cabela's sporting good outlet in Glendale, AZ. The two-pack was on sale for $59.99.
It claims a range of five miles (which in my opinion is optimistic) and it has 22 channels with 99 privacy codes for clear, uninterrupted communication. (that I like) Ten audible call tones and a VibraCall® alert identify incoming transmissions. Motorola's IVOX voice-activated operation makes for easy hands-free use. (more on this later)
With one watt of power, these radios also have a QT™ noise filter to eliminate interference from signals sent by non-Motorola users. And the NOAA weather alert function warns you of severe weather in your area. I purchased the rechargeable model which operate on a ni-cad battery pack (included) and includes a dual-port desktop charger. You can pop out the 3 cell battery pack and load the radio with 3 "AA" alkaline batteries which keeps you from being "charger dependent". While I can easily plug the charger into the 110V power inverter in my TJ, I won't have to worry about forgetting the power cable or recharging stand when I run out the door for a weekend trip. A half dozen batteries in the glove box will keep me running through the weekend without a problem.
So what all do you get for your $60 investment?
After freeing the contents from the clamshell package, you will find two radios, two spare face plates, a charging base (with power module) for both radios, two rechargeable batteries, a detachable belt clip for each radio, and a pretty good set of user instructions.
There are no restrictions against purchasing this radio. However, before you use it, you will need to contact the FCC to obtain a license. FCC website: www.fcc.gov This radio is intended for private use and is not for use as a Commercial (Business Band) radio. Please keep all of this in mind prior to purchasing and/or using the radio.
First on the list was getting the batteries charged. The instructions state a 16 hour session with the charging station is required before using the radios. Say what? No way! I wanted to play with these things a bit. So I cheated.....with three "AA" cells pushed into the back of the radio, I was able to satisfy my initial curiosity before calling it quits and letting the charger take over for the night.
The "docking" within the charging base is a little loose....enough that you can drop the radio into the base but not make electrical contact with the charging points on the back of the radio. However....each bay in the charger has a red LED to indicate when the radio is charging. A gentle nudge on the radio while watching the LED makes it pretty easy to get the charging function going. This is certainly not a show stopper by any means unless you planned on charging the radios in a moving vehicle....in which case, bumps and vibrations might very well cause the electrical circuit to be interrupted and so stop the units from fully recharging.
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