Best Civilian Tactical Radio
Tactical radios are a two-way form of communication. A tactical radio can be used in different settings, for instance, in the hospitality industry.
People working in a hotel can use the radio to communicate amongst themselves to make their work easier.
The receptionist can communicate with room service to find out if a room is ready for occupation. They could also ask someone to help guests with their luggage using a tactical radio.
A tactical radio can also be used as a survival radio; the radio can lead a rescue team to an injured person.
For instance, when mountain hiking, a radio can be used to make sure that everyone is alright. When one gets injured or is facing challenges, they can easily communicate with the others and direct them where they are.
Basically, tactical radios are used where different people need to maintain constant communication with the aim of achieving a certain objective.
In the military, they are the mode of communication whenever they are in operation.
Tactical Radio Brands
There are several tactical radio brands available in the market today, but the most popular of these brands is Baofeng.
These radios are designed to serve licensed civilian enthusiasts and other commercial users such as hospitals, hotels, schools, among others.
Baofeng radios work in UHF and VHF frequencies and can operate in wideband (25 KHz) and narrowband (12.5 KHz).
Baofeng has a variety of radios that serve different settings. They are available from as low as $10 hence anyone can afford one depending on their financial capability.
All that the user has to do is make sure that they have the necessary license. Licensing helps the user to avoid using unauthorized frequencies.
One should not interfere with frequencies used by law enforcement officers, emergency services such as ambulance and hospitals, and the military.
Another popular brand is Midland.Tactical Radio Reviews – Top 6 Tactical Radios
Before you purchase a tactical radio, you have to find out the one that has the best review from those who have used it.
Since there are many brands out there, ensure that you buy a product that has been tested and proven to function the way it is intended to. Let us look at some of the top 6 tactical radios available.
1. Baofeng Black UV-5R V2+ Plus (USA Warranty) Dual-Band 136-174/400-480 MHz FM Ham Two-way Radio
This radio is strong in two-way communication, has exclusive frequency coverage, and unrivalled monitoring capacity.
In addition to being affordable, it has some great features such as ability to connect to a laptop/PC without installing drivers, it is small such that it’s almost the same in size as an ipod, able to automatically detect bands, and it has its own speakers.
The radio has a frequency range of 145-148 / 420-450. It is an improvement of an earlier version (UV – 5RA) that connects batteries of Baofeng 7.4 3600/3800 mAh power. These are the features that make it stand out from the rest.
There are however a few drawbacks that accompany this radio. First, it is not compatible to many battery types; it only works with UV- 5R 3600 mAh and 3800 mAh extended batteries.
Secondly, at 700mw its speaker is on the low side as there are others that have 1 watt.
2. BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio
This radio has an output power of 8 watts making it ideal for operating in higher ranges; this is about three times more than other models. The UV – 5R 3rd generation is an improvement of its earlier UV-5R series where it has improvements on casing, batteries and an antenna that perfectly captures frequency signals.
Some of the most positive features of this radio include 3 power levels, that is, 1, 4 and 8 watts; a V-85 antenna to better capture frequencies, an average power output of 5W with a 24 hour battery life, 100% documentation and concierge support, and complete backward accessory ability. Its frequency range is UHF: 400-520 MHz (Rx/Tx); 65-108 MHz VHF: 136-174 MHz (Rx/Tx).
A drawback is that you need to have a PC03 FTDI Programming Cable to make it easy to program.
3. Midland GTX1000VP4
Being among the top reviews on Amazon, this radio is a popular pick for most customers.
It comes with 142 programmable codes, NOAA weather alerts, FRS/GMRS dual service, splash resistant, headsets, and car and desk charger.
A disadvantage of using this radio is you need to be licensed if you want to experience GMRS capacities and greater transmitting power.
Also, the 36 mile range that they advertise as the radio being capable of is unrealistic. The 50 channels it claims to have are also inclusive of Midland pre-programmed channels.
4. Midland T10 X-Talker
Other than being light-weight, this radio uses AAA batteries which are readily available in the market.
The two-way radio does not require a license and they feature the average 22 FRS/GMRS channels. It can communicate within a range of 20 miles with minimal obstruction.
It provides NOAA weather alerts where an alarm notifies the user of incoming extreme weather conditions.
You can also use it hands-free as it has Easy Voice and Sound Activated Transmission (eVOX), belt clips and a user manual.
It also has a water resistant case that protects it from wetness. However, it is important to note that you need a license if you intend to use the GMRS channels.
5. BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band two Way Radio (Black)
The Baofeng UV-5R is 400-520 MHz(UHF), 65-108 MHz (FM radios) and 136-174 MHz(VHF), this makes it a perfect candidate for a commercial ham radio.
It has a maximum power output of 4 watts with two types of power settings, that is, low and high capable of setting the equipment to a power of 1W and 4W. You can prolong the battery life by switching off of the powers.
Advantages of using this radio include; 2nd gen LED light to use at night, comes with a connecting cable for programming, auto keypad lock system, VFO button attached to the frontal interface, and a dual standby and display mode.
A disadvantage is in its battery power which only lasts for 12-18 hours when running on 1500 mAh batteries.
6. Kaito Voyager Pro KA600
Considered as the best emergency radio on the market, this radio enables vision when there is a power outage in addition to having a humidity and digital thermometer.
Barometric pressure and temperature notifies the user of expected storms in particular when the area you are in has poor radio reception.
The radio battery charges to 100% within 1hr 45 minutes putting it at the top of the fastest charging tactical radios; it can also run on disposable batteries.
It can also be charged with an AC adapter, USB port or a solar panel. Ability to charge with a solar panel is ideal particularly when one runs out of battery power while away from a power source.
What to Look for in a Tactical Radio
There are a few things to consider when shopping for a tactical radio
1. Frequency Range and Radio Frequencies
The three types of radio frequencies are UHF, FM, and VHF. Any radio that has any of the frequencies is good to go. Peruse through the specifications chart to determine if the radio meets your needs.
2. Power Output
A radio should have enough power output to cover a long range area. Some radio have 4-5 watts while others have 7-8 watts of power output. The more the power output, the better the performance.
3. Speaker Power
One of the most important features of a tactical radio is the speakers. The ideal speaker power should start at 700mw – 1w based on the environment you will be using the radio.
If your radio is not for personal use, go for a strong and sturdy radio that can withstand sudden impact.
FAQs on Tactical Radios
1. What is the meaning of tactical communication?
This is a type of communication mostly used by the military where intelligence and orders are relayed from one person or location to the other.
2. Do I need a license to operate a tactical radio?
There are some frequencies such as GMRS channel where you will need to be licensed to use them.
3. Which frequencies can I use on a tactical radio?
Each radio has a range of frequencies that you are allowed to navigate without going beyond them.
In conclusion, tactical radios are useful especially in areas where mobile phone network is poor.
A tactical radio is also hard to track like a mobile phone making it safe when classified communication is required.
It is also a faster means of communication especially where the radio can cover a wide range area through its frequencies.
Also, you do not require internet services to operate as you would when communicating with email, thus the reason why it can be used in the remotest of areas.
Therefore, next time you are out shopping for a communication device, consider using a tactical radio as it will deliver to your expectations.