Preparing to survive if the world turns to crap.
Today, I'm going to talk about some Motorola Talkabout walkie talkies I purchased. Two things. For those of you who don't know what walkie talkies look like, they look like this:
For those of you who don't know what walkie talkies are, or what they are good for, I pity the fools. Communication is clearly important, and walkie talkies let you do that from a distance, right? Say you're bugging out and have several vehicles or multiple people. Maybe there are some scouts who are faster than the main group, they can report back on dangers or alternate routes to take. Maybe you're hunting that big moose, you can communicate where you are and where you think the animal is to help make sure you don't lose it. Or you are at a bug out location and are on patrol. If you get into a skirmish and there are gunshots, I bet you'd like to be able to radio for some help, or if you survive, let the people know you won and not to worry (too much) about those gunshots they heard.
You can make up a thousand scenarios where communication is important. So you should be able to communicate over distance, and that is why I encourage everyone to have some walkie talkies.
Now, why did I purchase these walkie talkies? Well, the first reason is a good price. Sure, they're not the cheapest on the market, ranging from $50 to $100 for the pair (closer to $100 for me, everything is more expensive in Canada). But they are far from the most expensive and offer a list of features that I like. Features such as:
Power: Not power as in range (more on that below) but power as in options to charge this thing. It comes with a standard base you plug into the wall and sit these things in to recharge. That's well and good. What really sold me on this is the fact that you can either use the rechargeable battery pack (9 hours of life) or if that runs low, you can replace it with 3 AA batteries (27 hours of life). More than that, you can recharge the battery pack via a mini USB port. You know what that means to me? Well, I can recharge them with my Opteka Solar charger.
Doing the math, each Motorola battery pack is rated at 650 mAh, and the Solar charger (when fully charged) has a battery of 4000 mAh, so when the solar charger is fully charged, it can fully charge each walkie talkie 3 full times. Not bad.
Privacy: In an emergency situation you might not want people being able to eavesdrop on your conversations. Heck, even if it's not an emergency situation you probably don't want eavesdroppers. So this thing has 22 frequencies each with 121 privacy codes so the chances of someone with another walkie talkie hearing in are almost nil.
Weight: These things come with belt clips and they are made of a hard plastic so weigh next to nothing. They say that when packing stuff around ounces are pounds and the less weight the better. They are sturdy though. I can say I've dropped them more than once (I'm a klutz) and they still work.
Now, let's talk about the range. These things say they have a range of 27 miles. I guess they can do 27 miles. If you were both standing on top of water towers and there was no wind and all the other conditions I have no clue about were right (apparently electromagnetics, wind, and other factors influence range). The best I was able to get with them was about 5 miles, which I'm told is pretty damned good. The conditions were rolling farmland with thick tree lots in between them. I'm satisfied with that personally - perhaps if I get a chance I'll see if I can find a vast, open plot of land to see if we can get anything close to 27 miles. Problem is, where I am there exists no such vast plots of land and I'm not spending money to fly to a desert to test this out. Unless Motorola would like to sponsor such and event.
There's some features I haven't tested, like the iVox that lets you communicate hands free. There's an emergency button which when pressed emits an emergency tone and transmits your noises (screams of pain I would imagine) to any nearby radio in range. There's an NOAA weather function which would be completely useless in a TSHTF scenario, as well as completely useless where I am because apparently we don't have any weather bands. Oh, and it has a flashlight. You can't have enough of those, ever.
I would recommend these walkie talkies just based on the fact you have so many options to keep them charged up. I've had really cheap (less than $20 a pair) walkie talkies and it does you justice to pay a few bucks more for something like this. Would another, similar pair do the job? Probably, but I don't own and haven't tried anything else. These work for me, and I recommend them for you.