Tuesday, June 30, 2015

“How far will these things talk?”

This is the most-often asked question I get from people looking to buy or rent radios.  “I saw a set at the big box store that advertised a 7 mile range,” they tell me (I’ve personally seen claims of up to 23 mile).

One Christmas, my well-meaning brother-in-law gave everyone in the family Radio Shack walkie-talkies so that when the “big one” hits and the phones go down, we’d use them to communicate. Great idea, except he’s in the East Bay and I’m on the Peninsula. Sorry, bro’.

The truth is, no matter how much scientific theory you try to apply, there’s just no way of guaranteeing how far rental radios will talk. Yes, if you go to the top of Mount Tam where you’ll have pretty good line-of-sight, they might very well talk 7, or even 23, miles.

But in a more typical scenario – ground level, with normal obstructions like trees, walls, and buildings – it’s realistic to expect our commercial-grade, high-power UHF Kenwood portable radios to cover a 2-3 block radius. What this means to Metro Mobile rental customers is that the radios will cover just about any convention center, fair ground, or other venue I can think of (except for Moscone Center, that’s a tough one), which is often just fine for their special event needs.

The other day I had someone test out some portable radios in a San Francisco high-rise, and he said they covered 16 floors. I’m not sure if he meant this was as far as the radios would talk, or if it was just a 16 story building…

If your application requires more than 16 floors, or more than 3 blocks, it’s still very do-able. But you’ll probably need some additional equipment to get the job done. We’re experts at figuring out what radio set-up will work for you, and at a reasonable cost. So give Metro Mobile a call to discuss your radio coverage needs.

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