Gear Review: A New Two-Way Radio for Hunters

A new hunting walkie-talkie to stay safe on hunts.
A new hunting walkie-talkie to stay safe on hunts.Field & Stream Online Editors

I recently had the chance to check out Motorola's newest Talkabout two-way radio. I've always been skeptical about the claims made by all walkie-talkie makers…"50 Miles Capability"…stuff like that. Then I take them up to my hunting camp in New York's Catskill Mountains and they won't reach a buddy who's a mile away. These things work when you're on flat ground, but in heavily forested, rolling mountains and hills? Nah.

So, when I took out the new Talkabout (Model MR355R - catchy, huh?) and tried calling my turkey hunting buddy Bill, who had walked out of the cabin five minutes earlier, I got no response. So much for this unit, I thought. But then I remembered that the new model has a Power Boost button. I pressed it, and damn! There was Bill on the other end, telling me he wasn't hearing any turkeys. The company claims it has a 35-mile range, and while I didn't try to contact Bill 35 miles away, I will say it is definitely more powerful than its predecessor.

Another feature I like is the 11 weather channels, including 7 from NOAA. (It said it was going to rain on the second day of my recent turkey hunt, and they sure got that right.)

The new Talkabout has an emergency alert feature, 22 channels plus 8 repeater channels; a vibrating alert; 10 call tones (now you can sound like a duck), large buttons for use with gloves, plus an LED light. The unit comes in Realtree AP HD camo - which is fine, except I dropped mine in the woods and couldn't find it. That's the second walkie-talkie I've lost in six months. The units come with a belt clip, but maybe some kind of Cordura pouch with a magnetic closure wouldn't be a bad idea.

The suggested retail price is $89.99 for two units, charger, belt clips and ear buds; not bad at all. motorola.com - Jay Cassell