When you go to the mountains, it’s not the best idea to rely on a cellphone for connection to your friends. Cellular coverage in the mountains is unreliable, and you risk ending up without a means of communication. Remember that it may be very dangerous in the mountains to stay without a connection. It’s not necessary if you go to the popular skiing slopes, but what if there is nobody around, and you need help? Sometimes it may be a question of your safety or even a risk to your life. So, this article is about how to choose the best two-way radio for snowboarding or skiing in the mountains.
How far can walkie-talkie for snowboarding 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 one. Radio waves work well on open space without buildings and other barriers. 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 neighboring hill and there is only the air between you.
How does a walkie-talkie for snowboarding solve the question of interferences?
The next things you will need to think about 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 a 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 but 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 or hiking.
Don’t forget that other people can still hear you; it’s just you that 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 won’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 of meeting somebody else. If your radio for snowboarding has a display and a keyboard, you could probably make the changes directly at your destination. If not, you should take care of it at home first.
Robust and waterproof radio for skiing
The next important features for your walkie-talkie are it’s robustness and waterproofness, 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 it working. You can determine that your two-way radio is suitable for such conditions 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 crushing. You can read more about protection standards here.
Convenience walkie-talkie for snowboarding or skiing
- Also, you should pay attention to convenience. While you’re in motion on a snowboard or skis, a headset is more comfortable. Besides, the headset will allow you to cover your transceiver under your jacket.
- Lithium batteries work for a shorter period of time in cold conditions.
- 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.
- Next, think about the length of the antenna. If it’s too long and rigid, there is a risk of breaking it while skiing. So, it should be flexible.
Legal conditions of a skiing walkie-talkie
If you go to a skiing resort abroad, you have to understand the legal conditions of using a two-way radio there. Which frequency can you use and what is the maximum output power 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 don’t think through these points, you might be unprepared for reality.
Read more about free walkie-talkie frequencies in Europe.
Let’s conclude what you should look for in a walkie-talkie for snowboarding or skiing.
- It should have legal channels that are suitable for your target country
- It should be waterproof and shockproof
- It should be comfortable to use
- It should be able to work using subtones
Photo by polinpolinych, thank you!