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2-way radios(7 posts)

2-way radioskyvdh
Aug 6, 2001 4:53 PM
Anyone here use 2-way radios when riding? I'm considering buying some for my son and I. I have read so much about them not working with hills and trees between users I'm not sure they would be effective for keeping in touch. Also not sure about the safety of using them without hands-off accessories. For us it is just a safety issue for times we get separated because one of us rides ahead or we take opposite ways around a loop to race to the other side. Any input is appreciated.
re: 2-way radiosCliff Oates
Aug 6, 2001 5:49 PM
I tried them a couple of years ago without success. I bought Motorola's second best units (i.e.: non-rechargable batteries) with the voice activated headsets. Communications was sporadic at best. They were more of a distraction than a help and I quickly returned them.
re: 2-way radiosMerost
Aug 6, 2001 9:52 PM
I use them quite regularily when I ride with my wife since we ride at different paces. They have work GREAT for us. We have the Motorola T280's, which work well. I have found that the best way to use them while riding bikes is to get the arm band carrier/holsters. Since the radio is so light, the arm band is quite comfortable. The arm band goes around your bicep, which makes the radio close enough to your ear for you to hear well, and to talk, you just need to push the PTT button with your other hand and it picks up your voice (without moving your head or arm). This way you don't have to stop and take the radio out of your camelback to talk. I have heard negative things about the VOX and headsets. I think this system works a lot better than headsets, etc. BTW, the range is pretty good out on mt bike trails as long as there isn't a large hill or mt in between ya.
another pointMerost
Aug 6, 2001 10:00 PM
Reference the safety issue, they are very handy. I recently used them to save my butt while I was mt biking slickrock in Moab. I got adventurous while I was doing a late afternoon ride at slickrock. Started taking some alternate trails and lost track of where I was. Sadly I put my GPS on my wife's bike (she was riding the practice loop). I ended up getting back, but it was pretty dark. If it wasn't for radio, my wife probably would of been pretty worried. If you are in hilly terrain, your reception can get sketchy. But a quick fix is just to wait till you get to a high point and it will work fine.

Merost in AZ
Aug 7, 2001 7:56 AM
We got them for club rides with the misguided goal that leader near the front and sweeper in the back could stay in touch, but the range is so limited that unless you are within 1-2 miles of each other chances are you can't get a good signal.

As cellular coverage has improved dramatically in rural areas, our group is relying more and more on swapping cell numbers.
All depends for intended use...Mabero
Aug 7, 2001 9:29 AM
I have a couple of radios and have used them for biking only once...I bought them for skiing, since I never ski with anybody cause I am always in the woods...for skiing the radios have been great. It maximizes my time that I can ski without waiting for anyone. But there are some spots on the mountain that they will become spotty...usually when the weather turns or something that is blocking in a big way (as a mountain).

As for biking goes...if your intent is to ride along and be able to stay in contact with another partner or group then it probably won't work cause the range will only go "up" to 3 miles or so. Remember this is the upper limit and not the lower limit. So when you are buying radios ask what the lower limit is or the average distance to find the better radio.

But if you are intending to do intervals or want to have some way of contacting a person that you know is either coming into range, or will be, then they would work fine.

I've tried ...Humma Hah
Aug 7, 2001 1:01 PM
... My wife and I have used an inexpensive low-powered 5-channel 49 MHz Radio Shack set, the kind with voice-activated transmission and a lightweight headset. The results were mixed.

Hands-free is definitely needed. However, voice-activated (VOX) is a problem for sports activities like cycling or skiing. It is hard to find a setting that responds to your voice but not to heavy breathing or wind noise. Also, the headset was hard to use with a cycling helmet.

Ideally, you would have some sort of handlebar-mounted push-to-talk switch, with the transmitter on the bike. The headset should be built into the helmet. But this would mean wiring yourself to the bike, and I suspect that would get old really fast. Perhaps some sort of wireless link to the headset would work. I've not found the need pressing enough to justify the time or expense to engineer a solution.