Is 8 Watts Better?

I have seen the push for marketing 8 watt walkie talkies up from 5 watts. Why? This is just a way of selling more radios. There's absolutely no technical reason for upgrading your hand helds to 8 watts.

Technically, you are only gaining about 1 db of signal strength. What does that mean? For the typical user you will not notice any improvement in your average coverage. What does it really mean? It means you will be drawing significantly more power from your battery with no noticeable improvement. So you will have a much shorter battery life and that is all.

In an emergency scenario, when you need as much time on the radio between charges, you will pay the cost. In fact, all the radios I sell and program, I have them set to 1 watt as a default. Would you believe no one has ever complained about coverage and perormance but have commented that their radios last longer between charges than other people running higher power.

To get better coverage it is well advised to get a gain antenna or add a counterpoise. This will increase your coverage at least 6 db or fourfold. The principle is changing the electrical characteristics of the antenna to a half wave dipole antenna. By adding a pigtail from the ground shell on the antenna connector and let the flexible pigtail dangle down you will accomplish this. Read the theory behind this here. The length for VHF, 2m Ham, MURS, is to use approximately 19 inches. For UHF, GMRS, 70cm Ham, about 6 inches.


Copyright 2021 Rick C. Ver 0.11 Jan 6, 2021