I was asked today what my opinion was on the best choice for radios to provide communications in a neighborhood and for short range use like in a patrol after SHTF.
As of this time hands down the Motorola DTR series radios.For any needs where you are going up to a mile between houses, or 1.5-2 miles in open terrain, these are your best options.
Why? These radios operate in a frequency hopping, unique digital mode. What does this mean for you? It means that nobody out there with a scanner or other radio can listen in. It is not encryption, but because of the technology the result is essentially the same- you have a very high degree of privacy and security.
This is not true of the little crappy bubble pack FRS/GMRS radios. Note the ones at that link claim a “50 Mile” range that is pure BS. Note also they say they have “Privacy Codes”. That is just a CTCSS tone that they have renamed in a misleading way. It provides no security or privacy to you, it only keeps you from hearing if others are using that frequency- if anything it gives you less security.
But the biggest weak link is that the channels for these are well known. Anyone with any knowledge will have all those frequencies in his scanner and will be listening. Nothing you say on there is private.
Another advantage? No license required, you can just hand these out and use them. They are also simple to use with no learning curve.
Ohh, and you can send text messages between them too. Think about that for a minute- this means you can send a message that will be there until seen, so if somebody misses a radio call they still see it. It means you can send a message without making noise as well.
Do they cost more? Yes. Are they worth every penny? Yes.
If something newer and better comes around, I will definitely point it out. But barring a major change in available technology for close in communications these are as good as it gets.