So to carry on my run of content on this blog, I’ve planned to share one of our favourite articles this week. I was hesitant to include it to this site as I actually did not want to offend the original writer, but I hope he/she is glad that I loved reading their article and planned to share it with my readers.
If you’re planning on taking a cross-country road trip, having some kind of backup communications in addition to your cell phone is a very good idea. A couple of years ago my wife and I took a cross-country road trip involving a U-Haul truck and our car. We were relying on our cell phones for vehicle to vehicle communications however in the mountains of Utah we became separated in an area where there was no cellular phone signal. At a fork in the road we took different routes and it was literally several hours before we were able to establish contact and find each other again. Following this traumatic experience we stopped at a discount store and purchased two FRS two-way radios, which we then used for the rest of the trip to keep in touch with each other. If you’re planning a cross-country road trip yourself, and need a good “road trip two-way radio” there are several options from which to choose.
FRS – GMRS Two – Way Radios Or “Icom walkie talkies”
One of the least expensive options for vehicle to vehicle communications are FRS two-way radios. You can find these for sale at most discount and sporting goods stores. There are also combination FRS – GMRS two-way radios which include the General Mobile Radio Service frequencies. GMRS walkie talkies do require a license, but typically offer much greater range. FRS two-way radios typically cost $20 to $60 per pair and combination FRS – GMRS radios may cost as much as $80 or more for a pair. The more features that you want in a two-way radio, such as water resistance, VOX (voice operated transmit,) privacy codes etc., the more you will typically pay for the devices. The main feature that you want to look for in walkie-talkies for a road trip is the ability to have private conversations with your party. Privacy codes enable the user to set an individual code whereby the walkie-talkie only picks up members of their party and ignores calls from other radio users in the area. If you don’t use privacy codes on your walkie talkie, you will be bothered by children and others talking when you go through towns. The two way radios that we chose for our road trip were made by Midland and featured up to one thousand unique privacy codes, ensuring that we not pick up any interference even as we traveled through urban areas. (At first we did not enable these privacy codes, and were picking up all sorts of chatter.) Another nice feature that these radios had was that we could tune into NOAA weather radio channels to pick up the forecast for the area that we were traveling through. Many brands of FRS and GMRS walkie-talkies offer this feature and will enable you to pick up NOAA weather channels.
Most of these radios will operate for about two days on a set of AA batteries. If your road trip will take more than a couple of days, it might be a good idea to choose a model that offers a DC power cord which you can plug into your vehicle’s power port.
Road Trip CB Radios: Breaker, Breaker Good Buddy!
Another option for keeping in touch with another vehicle on a road trip is to use a portable CB radio featuring a magnetic mount antenna that you place on the roof of the car. CB Radios have been around since the 1960’s and are still used by many over the road truckers. Because of the fact that so many truck drivers still use CB radio, you may be able to contact an eighteen wheeler if you have an emergency, such as in areas where your cell phone does not work. Portable CB radios typically cost around $80 each, so you would end up spending about $160 to be able to talk from car to car. If having car to car communications is your primary goal, a portable CB radio is a decent choice, however it does have many drawbacks compared to the FRS walkie-talkies mentioned above. CB radios are prone to high levels of interference from distant stations and lack any kind of privacy codes which prevent you from hearing other users all day long. In addition, CB radio frequencies are rarely monitored by the FCC anymore and you’re likely to hear all kinds of profanity, racist and other kinds of offensive language as you travel across the country. If you are easily offended, or plan on having children with you, you will not want to listen to some of the things you hear on CB. Also, (in addition to profanity,) CB radio has a language of its own, and you may be “heckled” by not using the right terms on the air. Having a portable CB radio in one of your vehicles for use as a means of backup emergency communication is a very good idea, however may not be the best choice for communicating from car to car.
Other Ways To Avoid Becoming Separated On Two – Car Road Trips
If you’re planning on taking a two-car road trip across the country having both cell phones and two-way radios is a good idea. In addition you’ll want to have a backup plan if communication between vehicles breaks down. At the beginning of each day you should plan your route and decide on where you’ll end up at the end of the day. Try to plan on stopping at certain landmarks along the way such as truck stops that you locate on a map. Also, you should have a third-party contact whom each of you can call to relay your location in case you become separated. Cell phones do quit working, in addition to having reception problems in different parts of the country. Nothing can ruin a two vehicle cross-country road trip more than drivers losing touch with each other.
Midland GXT1000VP4 36-Mile 50-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair) (Black/Silver)Amazon Price: $58.43
List Price: $89.99