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2-Way Radios


New Member
Apr 26, 2010
My son's boy scout troop will be taking an overnight canoe/kayak trip in two months. The troop wants to purchase some 2-way radios so that the adult chaperones can keep in contact while on the river. We will also use the radios for other outings (e.g. backpacking).

Can anyone recommend some suitable radios? I have been researching GMRS radios but there don't appear to be many waterproof models out there.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I have some older Motorola Talk-About's that seem to be standing up OK. While they are not rated as waterproof, they have proven to be water resistant. They've been dunked a few times in fresh water and survived. One even fell of a 60' cliff (same outing...) and the only thing that broke was the clear lens over the display. Motorola replaced the part for free when I told them the story of how it happened.
The range on them is pretty good. Of course the flatter and less obstructed the terrain is, the better. The better the line of sight, the better the range, so on open water they will transmit/receive very well.

I have had a pair of Uniden radios for over a year now and they give adequate coverage and battery life. Each radio comes with a charger and spare battery so that you are good for at least a week of several hours use daily. I have not used them to talk to others outside a few kms apart so don't really know what their transmit range is. The best part is that they are Submersible. I wear a radio on my PFD and it gets a regular dunking. They also come with a belt clip that is handy when you are ashore and a member of your group wishes to go for a hike. They can easily be summoned when the martinis are ready .

I rinse the radios off in fresh water as often as possible at the end of the trip and they are holding up without any corrosion visible.

It is nice to hear that weather report when setting out and in an emergency they are very useful.
I received a pair of Midland GXT 1000 radios as a gift. These are FRS/GMRS radios. The outer packaging read 'waterproof' but the details say they are JIS4 rated, which is basically 'splashproof'. They are rechargeable and have more features than I will ever use.

They work fine for hiking and such, keeping in touch when separated. I'd have no concerns using them in rain or fog, I just won't use them where they could get submerged, like rolling a kayak.

I did buy another waterproof (JIS7) VHF for kayaking communication, on one of the four channels that are available for personal communications. I'd never use them on land - I don't like getting into trouble.
Americans can have 5W transmit on civilian GMRS radios... in Canada we're restricted to 1W transmit.
Monster said:
Americans can have 5W transmit on civilian GMRS radios... in Canada we're restricted to 1W transmit.

In the US, it depends on what frequency you use. Family Radio Service (FRS) does not require a license, but General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) does.

FRS is restricted to 1/2 a watt, GMRS can be more. Most radios sold now include GMRS ability. GMRS licenses are $85 USD, I suspect most who buy these radios ignore the requirement.

I believe it is illegal to use a US GMRS radio in Canada. We took a couple of the combo units up several years ago and and the FRS service was just fine for short distances. Never tried the GMRS side, here or up there.