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Old 4 Oct 2013
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Location: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
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2 way communications, road trip, etc

Wondering about ideas for 2 way communication between SUVs on an upcoming road trip. I'm expanding my business in Kyrgyzstan so we'll be buying two or three Jeep Grand Cherokee CRDs in Italy or Germany and driving them back. Is there any chance of some kind of handheld radio with a mile or so (2km) range that won't get us in trouble throughout the trip (particularly Ukraine, Russia, and Kazakhstan)? It would be nice if it was practical for continued use in Kyrgzystan as well. Open to out of the box solutions as well. Just something that doesn't involve buying a sim card for everyone in the group in each country.

Second question is regarding places. This isn't a tourist trip, but is there anything I absolutely must stop and see on the way through?
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Old 4 Oct 2013
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We just bought a pair of Motorola walkie-talkies, they are supposed to have 8km range, but that's in ideal conditions (line of sight with no obstacles such as buildings or cars). Between cars I've had good reception up to about 2km, which is pretty decent. And no simcards/costs makes it attractive.

Pricing is between EUR 30-100, rangewise I guess you get what you pay for...
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Old 4 Oct 2013
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Sounds good, where did you use them? Are they legal in Russia?

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Old 4 Oct 2013
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I've just bought them, so just around town (in NL).

According to this article it's ok to use in russia, as long as it has no more than 5 watts transmitting power. I've found no articles stating otherwise.

When in doubt, buy a small one... lest it gets noticed....
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Old 4 Oct 2013
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Radio coms

The most important thing regarding bike to bike /truck / car or what ever, is not so much the power output, its the antenna. A small hand held walkie talkie with a "rubber bendy" antenna will have limited usefulness in any terrain. If you can fit an external antenna by way a coax cable to the body of your vehicle it will make all the difference. It must however be the correct antenna for your radio transmit/receive frequency. It would ideally need to be matched or tuned correctly to be most efficient.(not hard but equipment required for this - so ignore ) Pre tuned or match antennas are available and will be near enough in most cases. Most radios that people use tend to be in the 400-450mhz range which equates to quite a small antenna in reality not easily distinguishable from broadcast radio antenna, so pretty much "undercover". There is a set of frequencies used for exactly this use often referred to as 446PMR and many sets of walkie talkies are available for use across most of Europe and poss. some other countries. Google will help with that. The issue with most of these radios is that they are limited power - 500mw I think, and have NO external antenna socket. This is the legal acquirement as far as I as last aware. So to make best use of this system you would have to step outside of these rules. That would make you a bad person.

But say you did.....the radio would be small, the antenna would be small.....

Waters & Stanton Watson Mobile Antennas

This company sells antennas you would need "70cm" band or "2m / 70cm" band antenna to use on a PMR446mhz radio. They are not that long ! about 50cm in length on a magnetic base, cost about 20GBP(£). You may require an adapter to plug in at radio end. There are some 5watt walkietalkies on ebay for peanuts which work well, which have an external antenna socket which you unscrew the rubber antenna to get at. Some are refered to as VHF which need a "2m" type antenna The ones which are "UHF" require a "70cm" type antenna. There is lot more involved really but it can be simplified and still work far better than just two walkie talkies inside a car etc..

So basically get a decent external vehicle mounted antenna and you will be sorted.
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