The Truth


51 Kilometers - The truth about the range on those store bought 2 packs little radios...

Midland GXT2000 Two Way RadioYou may have noticed that most of the consumer two-way radios you see around advertise a range of up to 51 kilometers. The truth is, consumer FRS/GMRS radios will not even provide close to the advertised "maximum range".

The range that a two-way radio advertises is the range that the radio should get in "ideal" conditions. Ideal conditions are line of sight, such as from a mountaintop to a valley below -- no interference at all. Most likely, you will not be using the radios in these circumstances! You will probably want two-way radios for things such as hunting, skiing, malls, car trips or vacations. Under these normal conditions, the range of the radio will be limited because of obstructions, such as trees, hills, or buildings. These obstructions block the signal and dramatically reduce the range of a two-way radio.


Here's what a company who makes these types of radio say about their big 1 watt high power radios, they say:

Line-Of-Sight Operation Rated at up to 40 Miles Range, these two-way radios give the best range when there is a clear view between the radios. We test these radios from mountain peak to valley to ensure that they can meet the stated range. Your actual range will usually be limited by the curve of the earth, hills, buildings, trees, and other obstructions. - 

Normal PTT transmits at less than 1 W ERP, which is normally plenty of power. However, if you need a little extra punch to get through trees or buildings, the Power Boost key increases power to about 1.7W ERP. (Channels 1-7, 15-22 only.)



So what type of range can you expect from your radio? Usually 500 meters up to two kilometers, depending upon your terrain and the power of your radio. In the same environment, a higher power 5 watt radio with a long antenna would provide considerably more range than a standard store bought half watt radio with a short antenna . When choosing a radio, it is very important to consider both the amount of range that you need and the environment in which you will be using the radios. Naturally, you wouldn't have as many obstructions in a football stadium as being in the middle of a heavily wooded area. For use in a stadium you would likely be fine with a small, half- watt radio. In a wooded area, however, that same radio may not provide sufficient range. These are things that you need to take into consideration when choosing which two-way radio is right for you. All those store bought handheld  portable only have ½ watt of power, so they are not very strong. At Peppers Radio, we carry a minimum power of 4-5 watts all the way up to 10-12 watts in handheld and mobile radios with more than 40 to 80 watts of mega power for extreme long range.

Here's a few horror stories we found about some of those Two Packs radios sold in big stores.,,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Motorola MR350R 35-Mile Range 22-Channel FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radio (Pair) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
Listen, I'm not a radio expert, but when my crew is literally 400 yards from me, sure there's a row of trees blocking us, but I'm 100 feet on a hill and they are at sea level and all I hear is "JhjdghasdhjbA djhasdhjba hjabsdhjabsdhjasd, over" and we proceed to have to use our cell phones to communicate ... Either we, grown men, who have been around radios, walkies, cb's, all our lives are getting too old, or these things suck.
on March 25, 2016
I bought two sets of these for my business. I am so horrible disappointed in the performance of these and how faulty the headset jacks are. Of the 6 I received, two will absolutely not work with the headsets at all. We've mixed and matched headsets and radios, and they still don't work. This is a huge letdown. I will be returning them all.
on March 5, 2016
Range was no better than 100 yards at best.
on February 20, 2016
Has terrible distance abilities. We were exactly 3/4 miles from each other and couldn't get audible messages.
on February 10, 2016
I have ordered 3 sets of these walkie talkie kits (a total of 9 walkie talkies with ear pieces). SIX of the ear pieces are not functional/broken and this started occurring within the first month of the initial purchase. they all worked at first and then slowly each one randomly stopped. We have had them looked at by several electronics specialists to confirm we weren't misusing them. We only use the walkie talkies in a medical setting 3 days a week and thus the malfunction of the ear pieces can NOT be due to over use and/or mistreatment. I am extremely disappointed in this very expensive product. I selected the Motorola line b/c after research with several engineers it was agreed upon that these devices had the best reliability and life span. Sadly, the absolute contrary is true and i will no longer be buying more of these unless the amazon store or manufacturer replace and guarantee the SIX broken ear pieces.
thank you for you time.
Style Name: GMR3040-2CKHSPackage Type: Standard Packaging Verified Purchase
I bought the Uniden 3040-2CKHS hoping some of the reviews about static were wrong, but I should have saved my money.
There is a few seconds of static right after talking and sometimes just random static. Also, I am looking for a louder speaker, but the speaker is not as loud as some other radios, so it would be difficult to hear in a noisy environment, without the headset.

I use 2 way radios at work(noisy environment in the city) and on the ranch(open space in the country) so I am very familiar with these products and how they should operate. I've tried several Midland products that don't perform any better than these particular Unidens and a couple of Motorola products that have their own set of problems, like random channel changes and turning themselves off.

The best product I've found so far, is Cobra's CXR825, which do not get random static and the speaker is the loudest, even louder than the other cobra radios I've tried. The lock button keeps the Cobras from changing channel and powering off, but still allows the radios to be used.

As far as distance goes, everything on the market is going to get far less than what is stated, due to conditions and terrain. Everything I've used (with the exception of some Midlands that were usless after 1/10 of a mile), reaches about 1 mile in the city and as far as 5 miles in open areas.
I only purchase radios that state a 30 mile range or greater, because some of my co-workers who bought radios with a 16 mile or 22 mile range cannot be heard the 1/2 mile across the property at work.
on May 2, 2016
Horrible quality returned for refund
on March 31, 2016
I don't think this thing has a 1 mile range.

Good for hiking in the woods or backpacking. Don't expect more than half mile range at best.

Easy to setup and well built but if you are looking for range look elsehere if you are into ease of use get this.
on March 20, 2016
Well.......... went a mile and lost all the range. I tried to call and send them back but they were either closed or did not want to talk to me. Gave me the run a round..... Do not get these if you want 50 miles. If you want half a mile get these. Great for use around the house.
on March 10, 2014

These items are excellent in regard to the quality of materials and fit/finish. All functions work as claimed except for the most critical one...usable range. My wife have tested these in urban areas, suburban, and wide open fields.

-In urban areas, you might as well use you cell phone. They will barely reach 2 blocks, maybe 3 blocks if its line of sight.

-In suburban areas, you might get a 1/2 mile if there are no tall apartment buildings.

-In wide open fields, you might get a 1 mile, but it was be spotty.


on March 6, 2017
they only reached about 2 miles for me. I honestly didn't exspect 50 miles but only 2 miles was way off from their advertisement
on March 17, 2017
We are very disappointed with the range. It is less than 1 mile in a residential area. Wasted our money on this purchase.
on March 6, 2017
Battery dies very fast.
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