I haven’t used a set of 2 way radios for a long time. After receiving the Olympia Two-Way R500 series Radio. I was excited to test them out in the backcountry.
Olympia R500 Two Way Radio Review
These two ways are full of bells and whistles. 50 channels simplex channels and 8 repeater channels, NOAA radio transmission, back-light, auxiliary headset output, 42 mile range, waterproof and they float. After reviewing the instruction manual I was convinced they were going to work great but I was quickly let down.
The 42 mile range might be true in a perfect setting but I couldn’t get a clear reception within 1500 feet.
I purposely shredded first and tried to contact my partner to let him know I was down. He replied back with a bunch of static and I couldn’t make anything out. Eventually he sent it and after meeting up we both agreed we couldn’t understand each other. I figured it could just be mountain terrain that was interfering so we tried them driving in cars spaced out a couple miles apart and the same thing happened. I messed around with them the next few days and I was never able to get a clear signal unless it was in a very close range. The bulk and weight of them were not very desirable. I want a two way that is compact and lightweight that doesn’t take up too much space.
The one thing that works well on them is the NOAA radio transmission. They picked up the NOAA weather channel with ease every time I tried. The waterproof durability is also great and they do float and continue to work properly after fully submerged. The battery life lasted a full day at a temp of 20 degrees. At anywhere from $70.00 to $100.00 they are an affordable set of two-way radios but I would recommend on saving that money and putting it towards a more functional pair of two ways.