Motorola Talkabout T7200 Two Way Radio Reviews
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Motorola Talkabout T7200 Two Way Radio

4 ratings (4 Epinions reviews)
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This Isn't A Toy--Get Great Range and Outstanding Features Like NOAA Weather Radio

Sep 3, 2003 (Updated Sep 3, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great Range; Advanced Features; Peace of Mind

Cons:Pricey; Requires A FCC License (currently $75)

The Bottom Line: The signal is amazingly clear compared to the lower-end models. Pricey but it does the job. Minus 1 star for the price.


My husband is an avid hunter, hiker, angler, etc.; he can spend hours roaming the countryside and quite often forgets about time while I’m back at camp waiting. I’m a worrier—you know, the kind that wants to call out the National Guard as soon as he’s overdue by five minutes. He has a cell phone, but most of the areas we go are so remote no cell service is available. Years ago, I bought him DPS Talkabouts (http://www.epinions.com/elec-TwoWay_Radio-Motorola-Talkabout_Distance), which at the time had a 5-mile range but were the size and weight of a brick. We've also had the cheaper FRS "toy" models that had a 2-mile range. Of course, it's 2-miles of coverage if there’s not a thing between the two units—a hill, building, a rock, etc.

We made the mistake of loaning our DPS units to a trail-building group--upon their return they were rusted and unusable. They'd been stored in the trunk of a car--put there while wet inside. Heartbreaking, but we never used them because they were so heavy! This one is very lightweight and comfortable. In addition, this one has 22 channels with 38 codes to help keep your conversations private. If someone overhears your conversation without the scrambling code, they hear a garbled transmission. In urban areas or theme parks, it becomes tougher to keep from crossing over other’s conversation.

CHANGE IT UP
This one comes with three interchangeable faceplates—Sunstreak Yellow, Ever Green, and Advantage Timber®. Our original set was the equivalent of Sunstreak Yellow—we camouflaged them with paint because they were so bright! There’s one for every use—bright yellow for on the boat so you can find it before it sinks, camo for those paintball games, and dark green. These cover only the front, the back & sides are dark grey.

WEATHER IT!
A great addition to this new unit is that it gets NOAA weather broadcasts and audible weather alerts—my husband is a weather-fanatic and this is not only fun for him but adds to his safety. He takes it along when he hikes alone as well knowing that he’ll have the weather features even if he isn’t able to raise someone on the walkie-talkie. This service only works where NOAA is broadcast-you radio needs to be in the two-way mode in order to receive alerts. This also means that if you’re talking to someone you may mean an alert—there’s no workaround for this.

NO HANDS
Hands-free operations (VOX) voice activation is another new feature—it comes in handy if you have an earplug and microphone on, otherwise you still have to bring it up to your face so pushing a button isn’t a big thing.

LICENSE IT
The FCC differentiates between FRS (Family Radio Service) and GMRS (General Mobile Service). FRS is limited to a maximum power of 1/2watt (500 milliwatt) and must have a non-detachable antenna. If a radio is over ½ watt and/or has a detachable antenna it moves up into the GMRS group and requires the license—this radio falls into this category. You can get information about licensing at www.fcc.gov. You’ll need forms 605 & 159. The FCC requires you to do this before you operate the units. You can download the form from the FCC website or call 1-800-418-3676 for help. The fee to do this was $75—the license is good for 5 years.

Technically this radio has 8 GMRS and 14 FRS—the FCC says that as long as you stay on the FRS channels you don’t need a license. We didn’t realize it at the time and licensed ourselves. Since we don’t use them anywhere but out in the boonies, finding a clear channel isn’t a problem. I am neither a FCC person nor a lawyer, whether you license or not is up to you. The literature that comes with it does state you need a GMRS license.

TURN IT ON
When you receive the radio, the batteries will need to be charged. It comes with a rechargeable Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) batter. On a full charge, you’ll get just under 13 hours of use—the amount of time is dependent on the amount of stand-by vs. talking time. Chat often and the battery will run down faster. If you were to press talk and keep talking until the battery ran dry, I’d estimate it’d take 2-1/2 hours. However, who would want to do that? It comes with a standard drop-in charging tray but optional chargers including a car charger are available. A fully depleted battery can take up to 10 hours to fully charge—after a day of use it usually takes 6 hours to replenish itself because it’s not fully depleted.

We purchased the Alkaline model and the optional NiMH rechargeable pack (see info below). We use the NiMH as the primary source and the alkaline as a back-up. There are times when we don’t have a power source available for recharging. 4-AA batteries actually last longer than the NiMH but they’re so much more expensive. It’s nice to have both options though. It adds considerably to the cost of the unit. $149 each for these—NiMH only runs about $129, AA-only about $112.

Features also use up battery power—some are worth it though. One is the backlight—it turns on automatically any time you press a button on the front. No worries, it goes off after you’re done but it sure makes it easer to see your LCD display so you can check your signal strength, channel, and settings.

The other feature I use every time is the keypad lock—without it, I’d “beep” my husband accidentally every time I picked it up--not good when he's stalking something. I also silenced the keypad buttons—it comes with them programmed to beep at every push—annoying.

ELIMINATE YOUR ENEMIES
Want to hear everyone on the channel? Set the code to zero. Turn out others by setting a privacy code and go one step farther by adding an eavesdrop reducer scramble code—only the person who knows your code will be able to hear you (unless someone has too much time on their hands and randomly starts entering codes). These are some features you won’t find on the cheaper models. Over-talk is a major problem on the “toy” models

ALERT YOUR FRIENDS
Each radio transmits a set of tones—choose from 10 tones available and predesignate a specific one for your friend and you’ll be able to signal them that you’re trying to reach them. To talk to them you both must be on the same bandwidth—selecting your bandwidth is detailed in the manual and just takes a few minutes (but I don’t understand it so I can’t help here—sorry).

PICKING YOUR CHANNEL/FRIENDS
You can scan the channels to see who else is out there—find something interesting and you can lock on to the channel. You can also manually search for channels. If there are certain channels you want to block you’re able to do this as well—you can temporarily block it or edit it permanently from the list.

HOW FAR CAN YOU GO!
Flat, open areas have the best receptions—that’s the 5-mile range quote. Add trees, buildings, etc and you’re in the 3-mile range. Dense areas (theme parks) are in the 1-1/2 to 2 mile range—still better than the lower-end FRS models. They suffer the same problems only they start at 2-miles for the best and end up at about a ¼ mile if you’re lucky. You’ve seen those people at Disneyland screaming into they’re walkie talkies, “WHERE ARE YOU?” annoying the heck out of the rest of us!

CARE AND FEEDING
Don’t immerse it in water or clean it with harsh chemicals. If it does get wet, let it dry completely before trying it. Make sure to turn it off and take out the batteries. Ours have taken some bumps and can get quite dirty. My husband’s suffers the most because it is in his pocket and smashed more—it definitely shows the wear. The plastic hasn’t cracked, but it is gouged, scratched, and stained. Our old set stood up to years (literally 8 or more) of being tossed about the house by kids and abused in every way possible. Had our original DPS units been dried out as shown above they probably would still work. The FRS units look horrible but they still work and we can use the FRS and the new ones together as long as they're on the same frequency.

CAN YOU LIVE WITH IT?
Absolutely! This little thing is 8” x 2-1/2” by 1-1/2” which includes the height of the antenna. It weighs just 0.359 oz with the battery. Comfortable to hold, easy to operate, and a bit of fun with the changeable plates, this has been a good buy for us. A little peace of mind and a lot of gabbing from the field—he now likes to tell me all about what he’s shooting at. Lucky me, I’m a vegetarian. Oh well, it’s fun being able to talk to him and we’ve used a few times when we’ve had to take two cars on a long trip—keeps us both entertained and awake. The signal is amazingly clear compared to the lower-end models as well. Pricey but it does the job.

UPGRADE KIT INFO

T7000 Series Charging NiMH
Upgrade Kit - 53897 $39.99

This kit allows you to use your AA alkaline two-way radio as a NiMH rechargeable two-way radio.

WARRANTY
One-year from date of purchase. 800-353-2729

TECH SPECS
• Transmit Power – 2W GMRS (conducted), 0.5 W FRS
• Receiver Sensitivity 0.18uV
• Audio Output 500 mW
• Receiver Technology Digital Direct Conversion - DZIF
• 7 GMRS/FRS 2 Watt Channels
• 7 FRS 1/2 Watt Channels
• 8 GMRS 2 Watt Channels
• 8 GMRS 2 Watt Repeater Channels


Recommend this product? Yes

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