Ah, what the heck. I'm going to take the ClearNode, too, along with a Retevis RT-85 portable radio (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08DLFC4SX). I can set that up and wander around within several hundred feet of the ClearNode with the HT in hand.

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Tom, It's interesting that you mention your radio cache and OTR travels, as I was just reviewing my list of things to take on our family trip just a bit ago. I will be leaving for FL on Thursday. The question is; how will we communicate?.

This is a large family road trip that will require me to cover a few aspects of communications: family car-to-car, boat-to-boat, amateur radio, and public safety radio scanning. This means that I have to look at ease of use, battery life, RF range over different terrains, space occupied in vehicles, and more importantly...durability in the the aqueous environment of the Gulf of Mexico.

I have been a ham since 1980-something, so a TM-D710 is always in my truck and I am the radio system manager for York County, SC which means I also have a public safety radio with me too. But, what is necessary to make comms work for the rest of the folks here that is unbreakable? I use a bunch of radios.

I have found that UHF GMRS is best for car-to-car for the 16 hours of driving to and fro. The radios are Kenwood NX800s plugged into the lighter sockets of each vehicle with external antennas . These are great for the road, but portables that are power agnostic are needed on the boats. I have tried using VHF, UHF, and 800MHz on the water, but found that VHF is the best for range on the water. I program a compliment of Motorola APX8000, APX7000, and APX6000 radios for use on VHF on Muti-Use Radio Service (MURS) and on the VHF marine band channels to talk with other boats. These radios are far superior when it comes to tolerance of wet environments and are just downright durable.

There is one other aspect to the trip that I don't want to leave out. I love my job in public safety so much that I have been doing it for nearly 30 years. However, I don't always want to listen to the PS radio while I am at home.....it's too much like work. So, I bought a really good scanner for my listening pleasure while on road trips. I have a Uniden SDS100 portable scanner that fulfills that my need to listen to firetrucks, ambulances, and police cars while I'm on the road. In it's short life, it has been to at least 20 states and it's great entertainment.

As much as I would like to take other amateur radios and enjoy the myriad applications available to hams, I just won't have time. In the meantime, I will have plenty of radio communications to keep me busy. I can't wait!


John, KC4KPJ

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