EXTENDING THE RANGE TEST FOR 2019
Following on from the successful 10km walkie-talkie range test in 2018, I’m trying something a bit more challenging. This time I’ve extended the range to 27.2km (16.9 miles) to see whether I can reach the limits of the 500mW PMR446 radios.
Helping me with this one is Steve. Thanks for taking the time.
I’m using my standard compliment of walkie-talkies as of February 2019. There’s no reason why I’m using these. They’re just the radios I own. No one has sponsored this test, and I have purchased all the hardware.
• Motorola XT420 – 16 channel (8 frequency) PMR446 0.5W business radio
• Motorola XT660d – 32 channel dPMR446 digital 0.5W business radio
• Motorola TLKR T80 – 8 channel PMR446 0.5 consumer walkie-talkie
• Retevis RT24* – 16 channel (full 16 PMR frequency) PMR446 0.5W budget radio
* Since publishing the video, I’ve had a few comments questioning the power of the RT24 used. You can configure this to 2W in software, but I have set these to 0.5W. I cannot confirm this as I don’t have an RF power meter, but I am confident that the power is identical to the other radios based on the performance in my recent Urban Range Test video.
The test is ‘line of sight’. These radios won’t achieve much more than a few hundred metres in a built-up environment (see this video on the reasons range can be so poor). I want this to be a best-case scenario and also compare accurately to the 10km range test.
I’m in the south-west of England (I know some won’t consider this the South-West, but it’s getting that way). Steve is up Selsley Common, and I am over the River Severn on the border of Wales in Tidenham Chase.
Each location has an elevation of c.200m (656ft). This isn’t very high, but it’s much higher than anything in between and ensures a clear path between the two of us. Take a look at the RF path graph below.
These two locations are handy because they don’t cross any major urban areas which will hopefully reduce the risk of picking up other traffic on PMR446 channels.
PMR446 – CH7 – 446.08125MHz – CTCSS 107.2Hz
dPMR446 – CH32 – 446.196875MHz – Color Code 10
I chose CH7 because in my experience, businesses who use PMR446 regularly, tend to favour CH1, CH2 or CH8 and also use default CTCSS frequencies (such as 67Hz on Motorola equipment). I couldn’t use CH8-16 as the XT420 & TLKR T80 radios do not support these.
I hope you enjoy the test. Please let me know here or in the YouTube comments if you like the vids.