If you’re looking for a hand-held radio “walkie-talkie” then Uniden is one of the biggest names there is. Here at EFTM we use Uniden radios to communicate over long distances when we’re out filming car videos so when a set of mini radios in camouflage colours came across the desk it seemed like the perfect thing to give the kids to play with. So how do they go?
The idea of a simple hand-held which you can use to chat back and forth at a distance is great fun, and also very practical for a parent. I handed one radio to my seven year old son and took the other and we were chatting across the house and across the yard, it was great fun.
The range on these things is reported to be up to three kilometers “line of sight” with technology built-in to take advantage of repeater stations for 30 or 100km more. But in reality, it’s not like you’re going to use it as a babysitter so they are best placed for across the home or across the park two-way communication.
Easy to use, it’s as simple as setting the channel number on each to be the same (one of 80 channels) and you’re ready to go. Just like in the movies it’s the press of a button on the side which opens up the channel, you chat and release.
You get the customary “two-way” beep at the start and end of the communication and of course it’s not “full duplex” so you can’t talk over each other – but you know how walkie talkies work right?
These little guys are $59.95 and run on three AAA batteries each.
I reckon they are a great idea as a gift for the kids, but would warn that probably the best age is 10+ because there’s one key problem. The frequencies you’re tuning into are not secure. They are open and public. Be sure to stay away from the freeway and the channels the truckies use or there’ll be a very quick lesson in colourful language.
Likewise interference and the odd chatter can be found on many channels. As an experiment I set one up with my son one evening for him to call out if he needed anything or the two little kids were awake and I needed to know (While I was downstairs lounging around watching TV). It was great, but more often than I’d like we’d get a squelching sound now and then which would either frighten the heck out of me or just be annoying. Tuning around to find a channel always helped, but there always seemed to be something there now and then.
If that’s no issue then it’s a whole load of fun, and when you’re down at the park the little clip means the kids can have one on the hip and you can make a fun game out of being able to contact them!