If your having trouble communicating with your current radio, you may consider upgrading to a more powerful radio. The 2 most popular types of radios available are handheld radios and mobile radios. Handheld radios are usually 3-5 watts, where a mobile radio can have 45-110 watts. Depending on your
application, one radio may work better than the other.
Handheld radios are the type of radio that most are familiar with. These small, lightweight radios are great to carry around on a belt clip or even in your pocket. Although small and compact, these radios include many features that a large 50 Watt mobile radio has. Handheld radios work great for most applications, but are limited in range due to the 5 watt power output, restricted by the FCC.
How far can your radio transmit? The general rule of thumb for range on a 2-way radio, (2-way or any VHF-UHF?) is about 1/2 mile per watt. For example, a VX2200 Radio that has 50 Watts can give you nearly 25-35 miles of range, with a clear line of sight. You can expect to get roughly 2-3 miles of range on a 5 Watt handheld radio.
Helpful hint: A larger antenna can help increase the range of your handheld radio. Installing a large “Ducky” antenna has proven to be a great upgrade for most handheld radios.
Who uses Handheld Radios? For racing applications, crew chiefs and race officials will be equipped with one or more radios. This allows them to be mobile and still communicate with a driver or race officials. For short course racing, a 5 watt handheld radio has plenty of range. These compact and affordable radios are
very popular amongst street and off-road circle track racing and do not require a 12v car battery.
What if you need more range on your radio? The next type of 2-way radio is the Mobile Radio. These radios are larger than handhelds and require a “stationary” power source, such as a vehicle battery. Many long distance off-road racing teams require this type of radio in their vehicle. Off-Road desert racing courses can be anywhere from 100-500 miles long. Even with a chase team following along, the distance between race car and team can be significant. A powerful 50-110 Watt radio is a must if you want clear communication amongst the team. Obviously, the environment and terrain will have a effect on range
of the mobile radio. To help with range on these powerful radios, a large roof mounted antenna is necessary. This allows the radio to broadcast much stronger and further. Mobile radios are used on variety of vehicles every day like: Fire Trucks, Police Cars, Airplanes, Public Transportation and more!
Whether your racing the Baja 1000, or trail riding with a friend, staying in contact with your group is important. When cell phones are out of range, a VHF or UHF radio may be your only source of communication. Be sure to make the right choice when buying a new radio, and when your ready to be set up with a new
radio, contact Rugged Radios for the best products on the market. We test our products and learn from professional drivers all over the United States. If it works for them in their million dollar trophy truck, it will work for you!