Folks here that use walkie talkies on the slopes?
December 7, 2006
Wife and I ski together a week every year and this is the first year I am thinking of using them. Our favorite resort destination is Whistler and between the two mountains we can get seperated at times. Hasnt been a concern up until now, nor is it when we ski locally, as we always just meet at a particular lift or if we go down a split trail we meet at the bottom. For safety sake though, thinking of using them this year.
Would love to hear suggestions on particular models that you like - the smaller the better.
Anyone used the helmet ear inserts for the Beori Tactic or similar?
Also if you have used them and they were a waste of time, would love to hear that too.
I'm no RF engineer but I believe that the radios are basically line of sight. If you get significant terrain between you guys (such as being at Blackcomb (Crystal area) vs Whistler) you won't be able to communicate. Now at Snowshoe, I see people use them all the time fairly successfully (Except for the bottom of Cup vs the basin area.)
They work well if you have a high-power GMRS radio with squelch codes; I've been on one side of Keystone and talked to folks on the other side with a Motorola 6400 unit. There are better ones out there now.
The FRS-only units are very limited (mostly line of sight as stated above) and without squelch codes one is effectively on channel X code 0 and talking over 19 dozen others with various accents and chirps.
Not used the ear insert, but one problem has chronically been that remote microphones with VOX are really unreliable. One either has the microphone to close to one's mouth and is thereby unintelligible on the other end, or, if it is on the lapel say, it gets triggered by other things.
Another messy situation is when 2 radios on the same channel are on a chair, trying to contact a 3rd. Features like anti-feedback and close-signal suppression is where the better brands shine.
Rechargeability is neither here nor there; temperature plays a huge role.
I certainly agree that at somewhere like Whistler it probably won't do you any good if you are seperated by a significant distance with mountains in the way. But I've had pretty good success with a pair of 7 mile Motorolas ( forget the model and besides it seems to change daily anyway). I have a Giro 9 helmet with built in headphones and it works well. What happens is that you have a push to talk button and a mini mic on the headphone wire. The only thing to be in mind of there is 1. setting the balance right at the start of the day, if you're radio is set too loud your eardrums are going to ring when someone beeps you and 2. you need to take off at least one glove when using it because otherwise your gloves muffle the mic. It's still better than unzipping pockets and fumbling around for a radio though and it's certainly less bothersome mid trail.
What I also do if I'm riding sans earphones I'll clip the radio to the shoulder of my pack and turn it down so I can hear beeps and respond quickly but it doesn't bother anyone.
Cool thanks, ordered the inserts for the Tactic, will see how they work. Sounds like it may even be better to just stick with our cell phones if we need them.
Thanks for the comments.
Got the dropins in the mail today for the Tactic. I didnt end up getting the two way (phone/ipod) split, just the one for the ipod. Works pretty good actually. Theres a push to mute/volume inline controller. With the new ipod shuffle (little tiny thing) this may be a real good addition this year.
Our family used walkie talkies for about 3 years, then we got cell phone service where we can call each other for free. On the extremely cold days, like when it's below 10*F, I prefer the radios because I never seem to be able to rewarm my hands after I take them out of my gloves to use my cell phone (After some practice, you can use your radio while in your coat without taking your gloves off
). On most days, I like the cell phones better because it is easier to hear each other and people don't interrupt your conversations.
I use them. Monitor channel 2 and 11.