Numerous factors affect the range of FRS radios. Following is a description of these factors.
- Range is specified as up to 2 miles, which will occur only under ideal conditions. Ideal conditions are:
- Fresh batteries.
- Flat, open terrain (no hills, trees, buildings, or tall vegetation between radios)
- Both radios are outside (not indoors, not in a car).
- The antenna is fully extended on both radios (on radios with a folding antenna).
- These conditions will reduce the operating range:
- The batteries are wearing out.
- There are hills, trees, or buildings between radios.
- One or both radios are inside a building. Range will further be reduced if the building has a metal frame or if the building has aluminum siding.
- One or both radios are inside a car.
- The antenna is folded down (on radios with a folding antenna).
- For maximum range, try using the Range Extender button (refer to the manual for the location of the button). FRS radios have an automatic squelch setting, and if a weak signal is below the squelch level, you will not hear it. The Range Extender allows you to manually open the squelch in order to receive weak signals. Note that Range Extender only works on receive. To use Range Extender:
- Push and HOLD the Range Extender button.
- The squelch will “open up” so that you can hear weak signals.
- Release the button before you transmit.
Guidelines on Range
Here are some APPROXIMATE numbers on what kind of range to expect under various conditions. Remember, these are average values. True range will depend on actual conditions (for instance a neighborhood with tall apartment buildings will have shorter range than a neighborhood of single story homes).
Operating Conditions Approx. Range
Outside, clear flat terrain 1.5 - 2 miles
Suburban Neighborhoods 1 - 1.5 miles
(low population density)
Urban Areas 1/2 - 1 mile
(higher population, more/taller buildings)
Inside buildings or malls 1/2 mile or 5 floors
Between buildings or houses 1/8 - 1/2 mile
Woodlands, moderate vegetation 1 - 1.5 miles
Woodlands, thick vegetation 1/2 - 1 mile