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» A Well Regulated Militia » Basic Training » Communications » How far will my radio talk

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Author Topic: How far will my radio talk
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“So, how far can you talk with one of those handheld ham radios?” A question that comes up a lot, and some will become irate when told just how far most radios won't talk. Hint: No matter what the label says (in most use) the GMRS/FRS HT will not talk 32 miles, without something in-between.

Here are a couple of links well worth reading to get a fairly accurate 'feel' for the distance your VHF/UHF radio will talk.

Distance calculator with some explanation

A bit more in-depth explanation

Arguing is something I seldom waste time with any more, let others believe whatever makes them warm and fuzzy. Another fallacy is those claiming doubling power (4 watts to 8 watts) doubles the distance they can talk. Mostly going 4 to 8 watts cuts your battery life in half.
Want to increase range? Add an elevated J-Pole antenna a far better choice than using more power.
Want to really increase range and minimize intercept? Use a Yagi beam pointed in the direction you wish to talk.

Posts: 609 | From: KC metro | Registered: Jun 2009  | Report this post to a Moderator

Member # 7

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I still laugh when I see FRS radios being advertised for sale with a "35 mile range".

When I started out on 11 meters back in the 60's it didn't take long to learn some hard facts about range.

The antenna is the most important means of obtaining more distance.

When it comes to antennas...

Bigger is better


height is everything.

Don't worry about more "horsepower" until you've got the right antenna to "squirt the word".

[ 10-12-2017, 06:30 AM: Message edited by: ConSigCor ]

"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861

Posts: 15962 | From: A 059 Btn 16 FF MSC | Registered: Oct 2001  | Report this post to a Moderator

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