Ski walkie-talkie: how to choose the best

When you go to the mountains, it’s not the best idea to choose the cellphone for connection to your friends. Cellular coverage in the mountains is fragmentary and you risk to stay without communication. Remember that it may be very dangerous in the mountains to stay without connection. It’s not necessary if you go to the popular skiing slope, but what if there is nobody around, and you need help? Sometimes it may be a question of your health or even life. So, this article is about how to choose the best two-way radio for skiing in the mountains.

How far can walkie-talkie reach in the mountains?

The first point that you probably will think, it`s the communication range. It`s an important feature, but not the main. Radio waves good work on open space without buildings and other obstacles. It means that your skiing walkie-talkie will freely connect you with your comrades if you stay on the top and they are at the foot of the hill, or if they are on the neighbor hill and there is only the air between you.

But if your friends are on the other side of a hill, your two-way radio can’t help you even if there are a couple of hundred meters between you. It’s all about the choice of a deployment place. You should think in advance, where you will place. Don`t run after high-cost of an instance: it is not a guarantee of the largest coverage range. Try to choose good terms of use to unlock its potential.

How does skiing walkie-talkie solve the question of interferences?

The next things you will come across are the interferences. They are a common companion of everybody who uses license-free frequency. So, the next useful feature for skiing walkie-talkie is the ability to work using subtones. The subtones are not the rarity among two-way radios. There are two types of subtones: CTCSS (analog) and DCS (digital), they are special signals that we can’t hear and the companion radio can. If you use them, you will hear only the radio that has the same preset subtone. You and your friends must choose a subtone in advance and set it on each radio before skiing.

Don’t forget that other people still can hear you, it`s just you won’t hear them. However, it solves the main task – to set you free of the interferences. Still, you should know that if there are too many people in one place, this method can`t help you. In this case, it is reasonable to turn to the programming of non-standard grid spacing. If your walkie-talkie allows, you can change the step and set the channel between two often used. It will reduce the chance to meet there somebody else. If your radio for skiing has a display and a keyboard, you probably could make changes directly at the place of use. If not, you should take care of it at home.

Robust and waterproof radio for skiing

The next important features that a walkie-talkie should have, are robust and waterproof of course. If your radio falls out of your pocket on the snow while you are snowboarding, it should have a reliable body to keep working. You can define that your two-way radio is suitable if it has relevant certificates: a military standard MIL-STD810 and an IP level against water and dust. You should have an IP65 or higher to be sure that your walkie-talkie is suitable for skiing. MIL-STD810 means that a device is able to withstand shaking and crashing. You can read more about protection standards here.

You should have an IP65 or higher to be sure that your walkie-talkie is suitable for skiing

Convenience walkie-talkie for snowboarding/skiing

Also, you should pay attention to convenience. While moving a headset is more comfortable. Besides, the headset will allow you to cover your transceiver under your jacket. Lithium batteries work less time in a cold condition. If you don’t want to use a headset or a tangent, pay attention to the button`s size and their arrangement. They should be comfortable to use in gloves. Then, think about the length of an antenna. If it’s too long and hard, there is a risk of breaking while skiing. Or, it must be flexible.

Legal conditions of a skiing walkie-talkie

If you go to ski resort abroad, you have to know the legal conditions of using two-way radio there. What frequency and the maximum output power are legal there? For example, a frequency PMR446 that is common in Europe is forbidden for use in the USA and Canada. American FRS and GMRS are not legal to use in the United Kingdom and Europe. Besides, there are different charging connectors and output voltage in different countries. If you would not think out this point, you might have an unpleasant surprise.

Let’s conclude what should be a walkie-talkie for snowboarding or skiing.

  • It should have legal channels that are suitable for a target country
  • It should be waterproof and shockproof
  • It should be comfortable in using
  • It should be able to work using subtones

Photo by polinpolinych, thank you!

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