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Is there a 2-way radio can be taken to all countries in Europe, Russia, US/Canada?

Is there a 2-way radio can be taken to all countries in Europe, Russia, US/Canada?

Old Oct 13, 19, 2:59 pm
  #1  
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Is there a 2-way radio can be taken to all countries in Europe, Russia, US/Canada?

Is there a 2-way radio can be taken to all off the following countries? (for class trip tours that want to keep in touch with each other within a 1-mile radius)

Europe (including all EU countries, plus UK, all former Yugoslav countries, plus Iceland, Turkey)

Russian Federation

US/Canada

Preferably something under $100 per unit.
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Old Oct 13, 19, 4:44 pm
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If they have phones, and data then I would suggest installing Zello instead.
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Old Oct 14, 19, 8:13 am
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Originally Posted by hfly View Post
If they have phones, and data then I would suggest installing Zello instead.
many of the places the will visit(or have visited) are in rural areas with no cell phone signal from any carrier)
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Old Oct 14, 19, 11:37 am
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You can take a two-way radio anywhere, and it will work, but often not legally. For example, the FRS/GMRS radios that are prevalent in the USA are not compatible with the European standard PMR446 and cannot legally be used. Technically a PMR446 compatible radio can be programmed to GMRS frequencies, but it would not be legal to use it as such in the USA. Likewise the ISM (900MHz) band radios I use in the USA cannot be used legally in Europe. Basically, it's going to be a world of paperwork if it's even possible to get a two way radio to work the way you want.

You may find some crossover in amateur radio bands, with the associated licensing requirements.

If mobile/cell phones are not an option, I would be looking at satellite messengers. I have a Spot X Messenger and Garmin inReach I use -- their price will likely be north of $100 unless you can find some used ones on eBay, but they work well for communicating well off grid. Note at least for inReach you will need to register before using in Russia. Here's a good thread about satellite messengers.
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Old Oct 14, 19, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by AussieExPat View Post
You can take a two-way radio anywhere, and it will work, but often not legally. For example, the FRS/GMRS radios that are prevalent in the USA are not compatible with the European standard PMR446 and cannot legally be used. Technically a PMR446 compatible radio can be programmed to GMRS frequencies, but it would not be legal to use it as such in the USA. <snip>

You may find some crossover in amateur radio bands, with the associated licensing requirements.
Agree completely. Nevertheless if the OP wants to evaluate the risk, the "UV5R" (sold under a lot of brand names, but traditionally tied to Chinese manufacturer - Baofeng) transceiver will allow operation on a wide variety of VHF and UHF frequencies:

Amazon Amazon

Amazon Amazon
(four pack for $100 with some additional perks)

They typically run about $28, but on occasional are as low as $22 via some vendors on Amazon. Operating them can be a bit challenging at first, but there are tons of blogs and vlogs about setting them up.

I am not advocating operating these on frequencies not authorized in the country you are visiting, but they are quite flexible. Depending on the country bureaucrats could theoretically impound them upon crossing the frontier, but it is a risk you might evaluate. Do some research on the UV5R, because if this is a legally viable solution, they are cheap and reliable.
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Old Oct 14, 19, 4:42 pm
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Might be of interest: Walkie Talkies in Different Countries - Legal Issues
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Old Oct 15, 19, 7:13 pm
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Came across this on a target ad:
https://relaygo.com

I wonder if anyone out there has tried it for travel?
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Old Oct 16, 19, 9:42 pm
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Another option: goTenna mesh. You need a cell phone to use it but you do not need service. Note that it is text messaging only. Messages can include GPS coordinates making it very easy to figure out how to find someone. In my limited experience with it I think it does what you want and note that the units will act as limited relays--if A can reach B and B can reach C then a message will get from A to C even if they can't directly talk.

I'm not sure of the legalities in other countries.
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Old Oct 16, 19, 9:43 pm
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Originally Posted by hikouki View Post
Came across this on a target ad:
https://relaygo.com

I wonder if anyone out there has tried it for travel?
Looks like it needs cell service.
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Old Oct 19, 19, 9:03 pm
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There are apps that work completely without data. Mesh networks using bluetooth, that can relay messages hopping across devices. Check their favorite App Store. There options that should work across iOS and Android. Bridgefy and Firechat come to mind.
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Old Oct 20, 19, 10:02 pm
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Originally Posted by PackingIt View Post
There are apps that work completely without data. Mesh networks using bluetooth, that can relay messages hopping across devices. Check their favorite App Store. There options that should work across iOS and Android. Bridgefy and Firechat come to mind.
Bluetooth is very short range. Are you sure you're not thinking of something like what I mentioned?
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Old Oct 22, 19, 12:25 am
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Originally Posted by Craig6z View Post
Agree completely. Nevertheless if the OP wants to evaluate the risk, the "UV5R" (sold under a lot of brand names, but traditionally tied to Chinese manufacturer - Baofeng) transceiver will allow operation on a wide variety of VHF and UHF frequencies:
<snip>
I am not advocating operating these on frequencies not authorized in the country you are visiting, but they are quite flexible. Depending on the country bureaucrats could theoretically impound them upon crossing the frontier, but it is a risk you might evaluate. Do some research on the UV5R, because if this is a legally viable solution, they are cheap and reliable.
Careful: Just because a radio can transmit and receive on a particular frequency doesn't mean it's legal to operate that radio on said frequency. The UV-5R is quite an impressive piece of kit for the price with a variety of uses. BUT, most of those uses aren't legal, even in the USA. For example, the UV-5R can transmit on USA's FRS/GMRS frequencies. The FCC's FRS rules say FRS radios MUST NOT have a removable antenna (the UV-5R does), and that FRS radios can only operate at a maximum of 0.5 watts on certain frequencies. The UV-5R's lowest power setting is 1 watt. GMRS use requires a $70 license with the FCC. It can also operate on business bands, which require a license AND require that the radio's frequency/channel/power output settings be locked down (the UV-5R cannot).

I believe Europe's PMR446 also restricts power output to 0.5 watts.

Now... for practicalities. I have a few Baofeng radios and use them freely with my amateur license. I probably shouldn't admit this, but I also use them with a few commercial licenses as well. It is nice to be able to use one radio with multiple clients' systems. Realistically, is the FCC going to care? As long as we're not interfering with anyone else..no.

BUT other governments aren't as relaxed about such things. Remember, it's their country, their rules, their laws, their courts, not the USA's. I remember Italy being very touchy about foreigners having shortwave radios, let alone 2-way radios. Even the USA isn't fond of radios being brought in. I remember when I brought back a Sony SW-100E radio from the UK. As I was collecting my VAT refund from HM's Revenue & Customs counter, the agent very politely reminded me that the radio was not legal in the USA.

Best bet is to use FRS in US/CA/MX and stick to PMR446 for EU countries. Non-EU/Non-US countries: Good luck, find cheap SIMs. Here's a decent article on it. As you'll see, there are some standards, but nothing universal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_radio_service
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