Range Anxiety

PMR446 Radio advice and troubleshooting

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Joined: Fri May 27, 2016 1:11 pm
Location: West of England

Sat May 28, 2016 8:04 am

I've noticed a lot of questions and comments online about the range of PMR446 handhelds. I have a pair of BInatone action 1100, and whilst I might not know a lot about CB etc I can comment on these little blighters. Yes, as we know, most manufacturers claim a distance of "up to 10K" but when you read the small print you soon discover that this means under ideal conditions. As has been pointed out on this forum - from some of the posts I have read by those far more knowledgable than me - this basically means one device on top of a hill, the other on top of another hill, in perfect conditions with nothing to block the signal in between.

Add houses, a flat landscape, some trees, cars, etc and the range drops.
Actually drops is too generous. It plummets. In my suburban neighbourhood, we're talking a few hundred yards. I've scanned all eight channels and usually they are silent. Except: a bloke almost right outside the house talking to someone on a motorcycle, it sounded like they were either doing a test or being given lessons. Some crackly chat as I drove past a building site. And some people 'geocaching' on a nearby hill (line of sight). So while these are great fun, and certainly have their uses, don't buy them if even moderate distance communication is needed (unless out of doors, line of sight or in same building).

SUNDAY EDITED was just sitting in garden, with the PMR on scan, suddenly a voice comes up asking for a contact. I replied, turns out he was on a hill nineteen miles away (Just measured it, as the crow flies) I went upstairs to the window facing his direction to give myself a bit of height. He was on channel 8. Turns out that every sunday they get up high and try to make contact with other PMRs as far away as possible. They also do a bit of CB. But 19 miles on half a watt...not bad. He said he was using a half watt handheld too. I'm impressed.
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