BWCA Walkie Talkies? Boundary Waters Gear Forum
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Gear Forum
      Walkie Talkies?     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

PointMe2Polaris
senior member (99)senior membersenior member
 
02/20/2019 09:45AM  
This might sound like a dumb question, but without getting into the details, I have basis for asking it. So here it is: Are walkie talkies allowed in the BWCA? Just curious.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
HowardSprague
distinguished member(3244)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2019 10:15AM  
Sure. We've used them to split up if we entered a lake and wanted to check out two different campsites - "This one looks great" - "This one looks pretty rough. Coming over!"
Also came in handy when one person took the right path while another (I) veered off the wrong way.
I've never seen anything prohibiting them.
 
02/20/2019 10:32AM  
Yep, they are allowed and useful when traveling with multiple canoes.
 
02/20/2019 10:33AM  
came in really handy when a group fishing across a lake had trouble with a treble hook and needed some assistance.
 
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member(839)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2019 10:51AM  
I always have one with me in the solo. Have used it multiple times as others have mentioned checking campsites, warning about a rock, etc. I would suggest GMRS 5 watt. They have extended the license to 10 years now.
 
PointMe2Polaris
senior member (99)senior membersenior member
 
02/20/2019 11:04AM  
What brand would you recommend?
 
02/20/2019 11:17AM  
PointMe2Polaris: "What brand would you recommend?
"

We use a Midland GXT 900... it has worked very well for us when communicating between canoes. It also has NOAA weather channels, which is very handy. Don't believe the claims of 36 mile range... maybe 2 miles in typical Boundary Waters terrain. We normally keep them turned off, unless the canoes no longer can see each other.... especially in bad weather.
I would encourage turning off the call alert audio tones... it's very annoying and out of place up there.
Here is the updated version on mine... now waterproof!
Midland Walkie Talkie

Edit: when looking closer at the walkie talkie in the above link, it may be a larger size than mine... perhaps there are other models available.
 
PointMe2Polaris
senior member (99)senior membersenior member
 
02/20/2019 11:27AM  
Thanks for the suggestions folks. I've never owned 2-way radios, so this is very helpful!
 
alpinebrule
distinguished member (270)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2019 11:50AM  
If I remember correctly some frequencies are also used by Canadian emergency services so something to check and if still accurate consider.
 
cyclones30
distinguished member(4000)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2019 12:44PM  
We also take a set. First use is their weather radio capability. Listen to the forecast for the next day each night. We have used them once or twice as actual two way radios when split up but that's rare. Midland not sure on the model
 
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1836)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2019 02:36PM  
They come in handy if you have two or more canoes. Get the ones that function as a NOAA weather radio also. I agree with ghamer about the range. My Motorola's are rated for 30 miles and they work for about 1.5 miles on the water. I don't recall the model but mine have some nice features - built in flashlight, they float, if they fall in the water the flashlight automatically turns itself on, dual-range, multi-channel, etc.
 
02/20/2019 05:27PM  
I bought some back when our group was me, my wife, and two 19 year old boys. I also bought one of those 50 dollar 3 point GPS units
 
kennk
distinguished member (416)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2019 06:34PM  
"We use a Midland GXT 900."

In the hopes of getting a very high quality FRS/GMRS radio I purchased two BTECH GMRS-V1 GMRS Two-Way Radios (Amazon has them). Indeed their quality is amazing, BUT they are also much more complicated to use than many of the FRS/GMRS radios I've used in the past - like the Motorola TalkAbouts. Probably more fancy than I need.

If I were to do it again I would probably buy one of the Midland GTX radio models such as referenced above.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(14168)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
02/20/2019 07:27PM  
Perfectly legal to use up there. We have used them before when searching for campsites that will work for our groups. We will split up in two to three groups and find the one we like. They also can be handy on portages. I’ve used them to call group members back to camp when dinner is ready, if out fishing. I like the Motorola brand. Remember that the ones that can broadcast long distances use more batteries.
 
cyclones30
distinguished member(4000)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2019 10:14PM  
Pro tip - if you get the weather radio ones the very end/beginning of the forecast loop tells you the current time. None of us wear watches but sometimes debated what time it was, not that it mattered. I can still hear that automated voice, "the current time is...."
 
montanapaddler
member (24)member
 
02/22/2019 12:13AM  
We bring one purely for weather radio use. I own a scanner but the walkies are cheaper to replace if lost or broken and do what I need in the BWCA
 
02/23/2019 03:43PM  
Lol, wish I had a set last year...my old man just bought one for this summer’s trips because last year we had to split up to find an open camp on a crowded lake and had no way of communicating to the other canoe when we found one.
 
Mad_Angler
distinguished member(1718)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/25/2019 04:15PM  
First, they are perfectly legal.

Second, they are amazingly useful as a weather radio. I would not really want to trip without one. Knowing the coming weather really lets you plan better and enjoy each day to the fullest. For example, we might try to push off really early to miss a storm tomorrow afternoon. Or we might sleep in to miss a storm tomorrow morning.

Third, they are also very useful when your group splits up for any number of reasons...
 
02/27/2019 01:27PM  
The one time we had two groups with walkies to try to coordinate a mid trip, mid lake meetup, we pretty much could only reach them once both groups got to the lake we planned to meet on (kek) and until both groups were on the water it was mostly static-y. The gigantic island off the South shore of Kek might have played into it, but yeah - don't be surprised if you don't get the full range.

Weather radio functionality was good, especially if you gently bit the antenna to use your skeleton as an extension antenna.
 
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member(839)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/28/2019 06:39AM  
mirth: "The one time we had two groups with walkies to try to coordinate a mid trip, mid lake meetup, we pretty much could only reach them once both groups got to the lake we planned to meet on (kek) and until both groups were on the water it was mostly static-y. The gigantic island off the South shore of Kek might have played into it, but yeah - don't be surprised if you don't get the full range."

Were you using 5 watt GMRS or 2 watt FRS? As long as there are no 500 foot cliffs in the way we can communicate for miles with our Midland GXT 1000's.
 
02/28/2019 03:42PM  
It's quite possible we were on one of the lower power bands, I will give you that.

 
02/28/2019 08:25PM  
With a MN lV you need em just to communicate front to back! But yeah, I’ve used them... but not in later years. Now we just use extra packs to save campsites... NO... don’t need don’t take!
 
backpackingZombie
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
05/17/2021 09:09AM  
Bubbling this back up. My group has talked about getting a set of these for years and I think I need to just pull the trigger. I know NOTHING about them and understand that for some use/freqs you need a license. I'll be poking around and looking for info and read up on the models mentioned previously, but for the sake of discussion, since it's been a while since this thread was active, if anyone wants to reply with their make & model number I'd appreciate it.

Here's the kicker. I live on 10 acres and our cell service sometimes sucks here and my wife can't find me to ask me a question. From what I understand you cannot use marine freqs for on land communication, but I would like to double these as a pair of walkies for our property if possible.

Help me not buy the wrong thing or buying something that's overkill for our basic use :)
 
MossBack
distinguished member (129)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/17/2021 09:47AM  
Years gone by we took Walkies for boat to boat. One of the members had no sense of volume and we could hear their incoming conversation from the opposite side of the lake. Moderate volume is everyone's friend.

MB
 
billconner
distinguished member(8201)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/17/2021 10:10AM  
This might not work for you but consider Gotenna working with your cell phones when there is no service, allowing you to connect to other cell phones via text. I think there are other brands out there.

"It transmits over long-range radio frequencies of 151-154 MHz—which is within the same spectrum as FM radio. The goTenna typically works within 1 to 6 miles, but under the right conditions it could reach up to 50 miles."



 
backpackingZombie
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
05/19/2021 10:42AM  
billconner: "This might not work for you but consider Gotenna working with your cell phones when there is no service, allowing you to connect to other cell phones via text. I think there are other brands out there.

"It transmits over long-range radio frequencies of 151-154 MHz—which is within the same spectrum as FM radio. The goTenna typically works within 1 to 6 miles, but under the right conditions it could reach up to 50 miles." "

Maybe. My wife would hate having another app on her phone, but I'm damn sure not bringing my phone into the BWCA, so this still won't solve that.
 
ayudell
distinguished member (155)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/19/2021 11:40PM  
Why not carry handheld marine radios? You also have access to emergency channels as well as weather bands.
 
backpackingZombie
senior member (92)senior membersenior member
 
05/20/2021 06:21AM  
That's what I would like. I also want something I could use at home since my wife seems to never be able to find me on our property.

Just not sure what to get since I don't want to be overbuying
 
GearGuy
distinguished member (130)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2021 03:02AM  
Walkie talkies are just too limited to be useful in the BWCA in my opinion. They just don't have the ability to maintain communication unless you maintain Line of Sight which if you ask me defeats the purpose.

The best form of remote communication is through Garmin InReach and pay for a subscription to use their services. It's 30 bucks a month I think, but you can send a text from any point on the planet, and it will go through, there is no wondering if they got your message.

I have a day dream of finding a back country camping partner who also has a Garmin InReach, and we would never lose the ability to communicate with each other.
 
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member(839)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2021 07:43AM  
My dad uses walkie talkies while he is out on the property so my mom can get a hold of him. I have used Midland GMRS 5 watt in the BWCA and they have worked great without line of site. They won't go through a granite mountain, but certainly over many miles of lake and flat land with trees. Highly recommend them for your intended purpose. I have not found the included rechargeable batteries to last as long as regular AA. You have to be on a GMRS channel to get the range.

Midland
 
halenajulie
member (5)member
 
05/27/2022 02:51AM  
Thanks for sharing the recommendation. I have purchased Midland GXT1000VP4 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio.
These radios worked very well on a recent multi-family camping/hiking trip. The range was good, and transmissions were clear. However, rechargeable batteries have a very short life, less than a day. So I switched to AA alkaline and life is well over a week. The multi-pack was very nice since each adult could have one, as we were coordinating with various kids. Note that you can select FRS channels and go low power without an FCC license, but for the best range, you need to use high power GMRS channels, which require an FCC license (I believe currently $60 for 5 years). My recommendation is to read this article before buying a professional walkie-talkie.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(14168)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
05/30/2022 07:58AM  
We bring some cheap radios most trips and have them on when our group is looking for campsites. Its only on for an hour then shut off. We might use them again when we split up our fishing groups too.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next