If you regularly go hunting with your family and friends, one of the best purchases you can make is a two-way radio. It allows you to remain in touch with the rest of the hunting party even if you are geographically separated. Having radios on hand can also help your group remain safe while hunting.
This guide will take a look at the benefits of using two-way radios while hunting. We’ll then offer some tips for choosing a two-way radio and showcase the five best two-way radios on the market!
Advantages of using a two-way radio while hunting
Having two-way radios on hand while hunting has many advantages including:
Two-way radios can be used to warn your group of incoming hazards
If you have a large group of friends and family members hunting together, you may be situated in two or more geographical locations. If one group sees the weather is turning bad or there is a dangerous animal approaching, they can use the two-way radio to warn the others. Many modern two-way radios also have weather alerts, which help you remain aware of any potentially dangerous weather fronts approaching.
Two-way radios are useful in an emergency
Having a two-way radio on hand can save someone’s life in an emergency situation. They can be used to contact other members of your party or to broadcast in the local area and ask for help. Many two-way radios come with an emergency button, which broadcasts an SOS signal and allows for hands-free communication. More advanced two-way radios include a GPS tracker, which allows you to easily inform other people of your precise location when you need assistance.
Two-way radios make hunting a more social event
You can use your two-way radio to have a conversation and share a few laughs with other members of the group. Talking on the radio is a great way to pass the time when there aren’t any animals nearby!
Two-way radios give you more confidence to explore new areas
Being able to obtain assistance if you run into trouble means you will feel more confident when exploring new areas. You can traverse down a steep gorge and know that help is a call away if you twist your ankle or have a fall.
Two-way radios make it easier to plan your hunt
Using a two-way radio to discuss the precise location of your prey is considered unethical and is illegal in some U.S. states. However, you can still discuss your group’s general hunting strategy with a two-way radio. You can plan where each party member is going to set up their blind or discuss the location of animal tracks.
If a hunter successfully lands a kill, they can notify the other members of the group. They can ask for help dressing or carrying the animal without having to walk long distances to have a simple conversation.
Two-way radios allow your group to cover more ground
Most two-way radios have a crystal clear signal for the first few miles. That means the members of your group can set up very long distances from one another and cover more animal hotspots.
Tips for buying a two-way radio for hunting
Here are some simple tips to help you buy a high-quality two-way radio!
Consider the two-way radio’s size and weight
Most hunters are already weighed down with weapons, provisions, and hunting gear. The last thing they need is a bulky handheld radio slowing them down! That’s why the ideal two-way radio for hunting is compact and lightweight.
Consider the two-way radio’s weatherproofing
Hunters are often exposed to very harsh weather conditions including rain and snow. The gear that you take on the hunt must be made to tolerate extreme weather events or it will fail within a few days or months. That is particularly true for electronic gear like two-way radios.
Look for a two-way raid that is water-resistant or water-proof. Also, check the operating temperature range on the radio if you hunt in very cold or hot conditions — you need to make sure it will work when you need it to!
Consider the two-way radio’s broadcasting technology
The range of a two-way radio is the maximum distance it can send and receive signals. It will vary based upon the technology used by the radio and its power. A two-way radio that uses General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) will have a maximum range of up to 50 miles. A two-way radio using Family Radio Service (FRS) will have a maximum range of about 6 miles. However, these ranges are based on optimal conditions, so you will have a much shorter range if you are in a hilly area or a location with lots of radio interference.
Two-way radios will typically include both FRS/GMRS and 22 channels (7 FRS, 8 GMRS, and 7 FRS/GMRS combined). These channels are public, which means you will hear other people if they are within the radio’s range. Most radios will also use privacy codes, which filter out some public transmissions. However, people who use the same privacy code and channel will still hear you. Some radios have more than 100 privacy codes, giving you thousands of possible channel/code combinations.
Consider the two-way radio’s emergency features
Two-way radios can be very useful in an emergency situation. Some common emergency features on two-way radios include automated emergency messages, S.O.S flashing beacons, and GPS functions to help people locate you. Some radios have VOX (Voice Activated Transmit functions), which can help in an emergency situation. If you are particularly concerned about safety while hunting, choose a radio with these kinds of features.
Consider the two-way radio’s power
Most two-way radios will use rechargeable NiMH, NiCd, or Li-ion batteries. NiMH and Li-ion are the best options because they can store more energy and are lighter. They are also less likely to suffer from the “memory effect” which causes the battery to lose capacity over time. Most two-way radios for hunting will also support the use of standard AA alkaline batteries.
The 5 Best Two-Way Radios for Hunting
Here are the five best two-way radios for hunting currently on the market. They are durable, compact, and packed-with-features. They are also surprisingly affordable!
1. Midland 50 Channel Waterproof GMRS Two-Way Radio – Long Range Walkie Talkie
This is a great two-way radio for hunting from Midland. It is a very well-made device that comes in a small form factor (2.5 x 9.75 x 1.74 inches). The Midland GXT1050VP4 has a waterproof casing which is covered in a Mossy Oak Breakup camouflage, making it perfect for keen hunters who wear full camouflage.
Despite its small size, it is packed with features! It has 50 channels, with 142 privacy codes, giving you a total of 5560 channels to choose from.
It uses GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) to obtain a maximum range of 36 miles. Some of its many features include direct/group calling, silent operation mode, whisper function, and five animal call alerts.
It has some excellent safety features including NOAA weather alert station access and weather scan, an SOS Siren, and eVOX hands-free operation mode. This is a great choice for any keen hunter.
- 2-Way Radios - These Walkie-Talkies Feature 50 Gmrs (General Mobile Radio Service) Channels, Along With Channel Scan To Check For Activity. The Jis4 Waterproof Protection Prevents Splashing Water From Having Any Harmful Effect On It (Splash Resistant)
- 36-Mile Range - Longer Range Communication In Open Areas With Little Or No Obstruction. Easy Voice And Sound Activation Transmission (Evox) With 9 Sensitivity Levels For Hands-Free Operation
- 142 Ctcss/Dcs Privacy Codes - The Privacy Codes Give You Up To 3,124 Channel Options To Block Other Conversations
- Noaa Weather Scan + Alert - Noaa Weather Scan Will Automatically Scan Through 10 Available Weather (Wx) Band Channels And Locks Onto The Strongest Weather Channel To Alert You Of Severe Weather Updates. Noaa Weather Alert Will Sound An Alarm Indicating That There Is A Risk Of Severe Weather In Your Area
2. Motorola Solutions Talkabout T265 Radio
Motorola’s extensive experience as a mobile device manufacturer has made them very good at making two-way radios. The Motorola T265 Radio is a FRS/GMRS device with a maximum range of 25 miles. It is a rugged device that is dust and water-resistant. The durable case comes with a REALTREE AP HD camouflage case, which is useful for hunters chasing prey with high level visual acuity.
It uses either alkaline or NiMH rechargeable batteries, which can provide between 8 (NiMH) to 23 hours (Alkaline) of use. The T265 comes with 22 channels, with each one having 121 privacy codes. It includes 11 weather channels, including 7 from NOAA, which gives you excellent awareness of potential weather events. Other features include 10 different call sounds including 5 animal sounds, VibraCall alert feature, and extra faceplates.
- With 22 channels and 121 privacy codes, totaling 2,662 combinations, it’s easy to find an available channel
- Up to 25-mile communication range, depending on terrain and conditions
- Keep updated with real-time weather conditions via 11 weather channels with alert feature (including 7 NOAA channels)
- iVOX/VOX feature permits use of an audio accessory headset for easy hands-free operation
- Backlit display, 20 call tones, keypad lock, talk confirmation tone, and low battery alert
3. Midland – LXT630VP3 Two-Way Radio
This is an affordable option from Midland that manages to retain many excellent features. The Midland LXT630VP3 is a 36 channel radio with GMRS and a 30-mile maximum range. It comes in a durable and water-resistant plastic casing that is colored bright yellow for additional safety.
This radio has NOAA weather and hazard channels with a weather scan feature to help you avoid bad weather. The 121 privacy codes make it easy to find a private channel to chat on. It also comes with 5 call alerts and 3 level VOC for hands free communication. This device can use 3 AAA batteries or a rechargeable battery pack (sold separately). It is a great choice for the budget-conscious hunter.
- LICENSE FREE DUAL POWER OPTIONS 2-WAY RADIOS - These walkie-talkies feature 36 FRS (Family Radio Service) channels, along with channel scan to check for activity. The bold yellow faceplate provides high visibility. Dual Power Options uses rechargeable battery pack (included) or 3 “AAA” batteries (not included)
- UP TO 30-MILE RANGE - Longer range communication in open areas with little or no obstruction
- 121 CTCSS PRIVACY CODES - The Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System gives you up to 2,662 channel options to help block other conversations. Use silent operation to turn off all tones
- NOAA WEATHER SCAN + ALERT - NOAA Weather Scan will automatically scan through 10 available weather (WX) band channels and locks onto the strongest weather channel to alert you of severe weather updates. NOAA Weather Alert will sound an alarm indicating that there is a risk of severe weather in your area.
- INCLUDED IN THE BOX - Radios (x2), Belt clips (x2), rechargeable battery packs (x2), Desktop charger, AC Adapter, Owner's Manual
4. Midland – X-TALKER T75VP3 Two-Way Radio
This two-way radio is a great item to have on your next hunting trip. The Midland X-Talker T75VP3 is a 36 channel two way radio that has 16 call tones. It has an Outdoor Weatherproof Speaker and the VibraCall Alert System to let you know when you have messages or notifications that need to be answered. The frequencies this item uses are the FRS frequencies. The Midland X-Talker T75VP3 operates on a 11/5/2 watt power consumption and has a low battery indicator, a belt clip, and a push to talk button.
The camo design of this two-way radio is perfect for hunting, but it also has other uses. The Midland X-Talker T75VP3 can be used to go on family camp outs or even take it with you when you go fishing.
- License-Free Walkie-Talkies: Stay connected effortlessly with our feature-packed 2-way radios. These license-free walkie-talkies offer 36 FRS (Family Radio Service) channels, ensuring reliable communication whenever you need it. The channel scan feature allows you to quickly check for activity, keeping you informed and connected.
- Ideal for Hunting Adventures: Hunters rejoice! Our walkie-talkies are tailor-made for your needs. With 5 Animal Call Alerts (turkey, duck, crow, cougar, and wolf), you can effortlessly attract game. The Vibrate feature silences all tones, ensuring your stealthy presence. The Mossy Oak Break-Up Country Camouflage pattern further enhances your hunting experience.
- Enhanced Privacy with 121 CTCSS Codes: Your conversations are secure with our 121 CTCSS (Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System) privacy codes. Enjoy up to 2,662 channel options, effectively blocking out other conversations and ensuring private communication among your group.
- Long-Range Communication: With an impressive 38-mile range, these walkie-talkies excel in open areas with minimal obstructions. Experience clear and uninterrupted communication, making them perfect for outdoor adventures and group activities.
- Weather-Ready with NOAA Scan + Alert: NOAA Weather Scan will automatically scan through 10 available weather (WX) band channels and locks onto the strongest weather channel to alert you of severe weather updates. NOAA Weather Alert will sound an alarm indicating that there is a risk of severe weather in your area. NOAA Weather Radio will also be used to broadcast AMBER alerts for missing children.
5. Retevis RT22 Walkie Talkies
The Retevis RT22 is the upgraded version of RT21 walkie-talkies. It has high quality sound effects because it adopts HD voice technology, easy to use with 32 channels, including 22 state channels and 10 interference-resistant marine channels. The RT22 is a perfect choice for outdoor sports, such as hiking, camping and more.
The camo design makes the RT22 fashionable and cool-looking. It is light and thin, which can be easily held in hand or pocketed. The RT22 has a PTT button and channel selector only, which brings you more convenience to take action.
There is a built-in LED flashlight on the covered part of RT22, which is very helpful for you to use it at night or in the dark. More importantly, there are emergency alarms available on it, which can provide safe assistance when you meet some dangers.
- Crystal clear voice and good receiving ability; RT22 has very clear sound quality and good transmission range; squelch function can reduce noise
- USB charging method; up to 80 hours in standby; long battery life; emergency alarms are useful when you are in danger; make your outdoor adventures safe
- The VOX function can realize true hands-free operation; you can talk directly without hands; 2 Pin Covert Air Acoustic headset provides you with a more clear calling environment
- Light and thin walkie-talkie; body with only PTT button and channel; pocket size allows easy to operate; It is convenient to put it in a backpack or clip it to a belt
- Out of the box; suitable for many occasions; playing games with children; climbing; driving; camping
Finding the right two-way radio can be difficult. There are so many different kinds of two-way radios to choose from and they all have their own special functions and features. There is one thing that they all have in common though, and that is the use of two-way radios will help to facilitate communication.