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Two way Radios

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We are considering buying two way radios for our ski trip this year.......have to keep tabs on the kids who can now out ski the parents apart from anything else!
Anyone got any recommendations ? Considering the Motorola T5532 at the moment as they seem to be available in Argos and Amazon
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
We took some to La Plagne last year, worked OK as long as you were on the same side of the mountain. Great for pre-arranged meetings if you're late, but maybe not for trying to find them. Kids also complained we radioed when they were speeding down a piste.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Don't think we will be letting the kids get too far away , so this sounds good! Thanks
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AnnW, i have motorolas (not sure which model but i am sure they are all basically the same) and love them. you can get cheap ones but now that the motorolas have come down in price, why bother putting up with poor sound quality?

their range can be impressive but you have to be aware that if there are major obstacles between the radios it will affect the range. that said, i have frequently spoken to people whilst one or other of us has been nicely settling down for lunch inside a restaurant.

they certainly can make life easy and it avoids all of those "are they behind us or have they gone on?" type dilemmas when the group inadvertently separates.

as for disturbing people mid-run, we try to minimise usage to the times when they are needed, rather than for frivolous chatter. Also, ours have a call button so that the other radios ring like a mobile. We tend to just press that at regular intervals until the other persons reply to ask what's up. That way it avoids you shrieking their name over the radio without response, and they can pick their moment to stop and answer.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I have Motorolas and something else, cheaper, Binatones, I think, and I've used others. They all seem to perform pretty much the same. Some have extra features; rechargeable batts are useful, and the 'ringing' feature mentioned by Tony Lane is handy (on the Binatones, not on the older Motorolas).
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another thing - if buying over the internet don't be tempted to get them from the States. They use different frequencies and will not be compatible with European two way radios. Some of my friends have a pair of US ones and it is very annoying.

it is also noticeable that their radios (also motorola) have a much worse sound quality than mine. I have assumed that this is due to them being a more basic model - hence my comment above about not getting cheapo ones. But not having tried Binatones and others, it is possible that these are just as good as my own motorola ones.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
We've got quite a few a mix of Motorola and Binatone, no discernable difference between them. If you go to Maplin electronics you'll find them at a good price but the latest Macro catalogue has 4 Binatones plus rechargers for £39.99.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Infact maplin have them half price at the moment - on the front page of a brouchure i got through the post this morning.

Xenvo PMR446 2 way radio twin pack, half price £29.99. They have a drop in charger, rechargable batteries and all the usual functions. www.maplin.co.uk
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also States ones seem to work on different frequencies - kept getting told off by someone official to get off a few of the preset channels....
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I thought that Motorola bought bandwidth and not frequencies so these are not likely to be cross compatable with other makes unless there is arrangement between them and Binatone for example.

When you set the frequentcy control, to say 4.4 this is only recognised within Motorola type radios. Noone else can hear you and you don't get in the way of proper radio frequncies.

They are a good tool for line of sight communication over about 3 kms. And if all your group has the same make you will be ok.
A rechargable will last about a day and a half and batteries a bit longer depending how much you use them.
Only turn them on when you get split up..
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AnnW

Here is a post I wrote for another Website on the small Motorola radios and the N.America/Europe differences. It may not interest you since you are just going to Europe, but I hope other folk find it useful. I live in Canada so excuse me if I have more detail of the situation this side of the pond!

The main differences between the two systems are the frequencies used.

In the USA/Canada there are two sets of common frequencies, those of the FRS (Family Radio Service) and the GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service). Radios like the Motorola 5500 handle both ranges, cheaper ones usually only do the 8 low power basic FRS ones.

The FRS uses a set of 7 unique frequencies starting at: 467.5625 MHZ and going in .0050 MHZ steps to 467.7125 MHZ. The maximum transmission output allowed is 1/2 a watt. No license is required in the USA or Canada.

Confusingly the GMRS which has 14 frequencies allocated to it, shares 7 of them with a lower set of FRS frequencies from 462.5625 MHZ to 462.7125 MHZ. And 7 that are only GMRS from 462.5500 MHZ to 462.7250 MHZ.

If used under the FRS then again only 1/2 watt power and no license is required, however if used under the GMRS then a license ($80US for 5 years) is required, but an output power of up to 5 Watts is allowed, hence the claims of 10 to 12 miles on some top end GMRS sets rather than the mile or so for FRS sets.

To confuse the matter a wee bit more, while the Canadian frequencies (and radios) are the same as the USA, since Sept 2004 no license is required to use either service/sets of frequencies in Canada . So while sets made for the USA and Canada are identical, the laws regarding their use differ...???

In Europe and most of the EU, the frequency band used (in the Motorola Talkabout sets for example) is referred to as the PMR (Portable Mobile Radio) service band.

These are 8 frequencies which can be used anywhere in the United Kingdom. The frequencies have been harmonized (but not necessarily authorized yet) for use across Europe. The max allowable output power is 1/2 watt in the UK again giving a range of a mile or so. The channel frequencies are as follows:

1. 446.00625 MHz
2. 446.01875 MHz
3. 446.03125 MHz
4. 446.04375 MHz
5. 446.05625 MHz
6. 446.06875 MHz
7. 446.08125 MHz
8. 446.09375 MHz

So, while from the physics any pair or more of same spec walkie-talkies will work anywhere, they won't be legal in the 'wrong' country!

I'll try and find out what services are actually allocated the UK frequencies here in Canada too since I've seen many Brits using their UK ones here. I haven't heard of any prosecutions and there are probably less folk yacking on them too!

Full info on UK PMR466 services can be found here.

Countries harmonized with the UK system of PMR466 frequencies, and some variations.


I hope this is helpful!

Aloha from Whistler,
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
My understanding was that a certain range of frequencies had been reserved across Europe for personal two-way radios and the Motorola sets work within these frequencies as any others do Confused
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
My Motorolas work just fine with my Binatones (and vice versa, luckily enough).
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Father Christmas bought us 2-way radios this year and they were great in Austria in Jan, Cobras from Maplins. Could certainly be used from the top of the mountain to the valley and had a ring call, saved a fortune in 'I'm at the top of No 8 piste - where are you??' type calls.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
AnnW,

I have just bought a pair of Mota T5532's last week, havent tried them yet so cant really comment on how good they are.
Only thing I will say tho, is dont buy them from Argos, because Argos are way over priced on just about everything.

If you dont mind buying over the internet, I got mine from the BT Shop http://www.shop.bt.com for £75. Argos sell the T5522 (which is the next model down) for £85.

On another note, I bought a Canon IXUS 500 digital camera for £220 when it was priced at £350 in argos!!

Anyway, thats my little rant at argos over. snowHead

I thank you.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thanks very much everyone - really impressed with all the help. I buy lots on the internet ...and yes digital cameras are way cheaper. Will do a price check before buying!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Bought mine in the US from Walmart, they are UNIDEN with a 10 mile range on GMRS (see Colinmcc post) and only cost me $40. More than happy...but then they are technically illegal in the UK (isn't everything) wink
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
This is a genuine question....does the average on-piste skier actually need them? We have managed pretty well up til now with our mobiles to keep up with the kids. Admitedly once or twice we have lost signal and had to try again but we have always managed to make contact. What's the advantage?
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Lorraine Agass, cost. Roaming charges are extortionate. They may not pay for themselves the first trip, but I'd say they probably would on the second, or third.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Lorraine Agass, I don't think that common or garden Euro mobiles work in N.America, and anyway, it'd be pretty pricey to use a mobe all the time outside UK, wouldn't it?
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richmond, any tri-band one does and an awful lot of them are tri-band, these days.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Mobile phones cost us lots last time - and as we intend to ski ( hopefully) for a few more years, we fancied a new toy! The boys have reminded us that we won't have to go out looking for them when they are sledging in the early evening either - we can just call them in when its time to get ready for the restaurant. We've ordered some Motorola's over the net.... Very Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
We found 2 ways very handy when groups are split across different hotels, great for arranging going out times.
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skanky wrote:
richmond, any tri-band one does and an awful lot of them are tri-band, these days.


Are they? Fair enough. I thought that it was the exception rather than the rule, but I don't keep up with mobile 'phone technology (mine must be 7 or 8 years old).
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richmond wrote:
Lorraine Agass, I don't think that common or garden Euro mobiles work in N.America, and anyway, it'd be pretty pricey to use a mobe all the time outside UK, wouldn't it?


You are right about NA but if you factor in the cost of a decent pair of hand sets against mobile phone calls or even texts - then (from the prices I've seen), I'd hazzard a guess that the calls come out cheaper.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
richmond, well my perception is that they are these days...though it may just be the type of phone I look at.
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