RADIO CONSIDERATIONS FOR 4X4 DRIVERS:
am not discussing the 29MHz hand-held portable radios here as they
are totally impractical for 4x4 usage and their long aerials are
cumbersome. They have a very limited operating range and are no
longer readily available.
i) Licence Free
cheapest radios are the so-called “Licence Free” hand-held
radios, which have very limited RF output stages, usually somewhere
between 50mW & 500mW. Dump the 50mW, they are worthless. The
500mW radios offer an operating range of anywhere between 1 –
3Km, depending upon terrain, irrespective of what their Manufacturers
might like to claim on the packaging. Line of sight provides the
best range. They are powered by three or four penlight cells and
are usually supplied with rechargeable Ni-Cad battery packs and
a battery charger. Useful for short-range communication, not all
that useful for communication between two or more vehicles except
when within a few hundred metres from each other.
Cons: Not really
designed for serious radio Communication, but very useful for low-cost
(the SA Regulating Authority on Radio Communications equipment)
have granted certain Companies permission to sell portable handheld
radios that have been pre-licensed, i.e. the fees for the first
year are included in the radio’s selling price. These radios
have a greater RF output than those mentioned above, being typically
2 Watt units. They are professional radios and are priced at three
or four times the price of the licence-free radios. Typical operating
range is from 3 – 5 KM, although longer ranges have been reported
in good conditions. Again, line of sight works best. The radios
are supplied with a Ni-Cad battery pack & a 220V charger, although
the chargers can be modified for 12v charging with certain limitations.
Both the above
types operate within the UHF frequency range, 450 – 470MHz.
range that the Licence-Free radios
price, but you are buying a premium product!
hereunder is the HYT TC1688 Licence-Free Portable Radio.