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Using cheap chinese walkie-talkies as IFB/Comtek substitute


daniel Brooks
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Hey Sound Peeps!  There is a host of affordable [cheap] chinese radios that reach up to 520 MHz.  I was wondering if anyone had experience transmitting in the 420 Block and using these as comtek substitutes.  At $15-25 dollars a piece, it's hard to not consider handing them out to crew instead of comteks or lectro ifb's. The only consideration is if the narrow fm receiver works well enough with a wide fm transmitter to make it acceptably intelligible.

This is what I'm thinking about:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/6pcs-Mini-Walkie-Talkie-Retevis-RT22-Long-Range-UHF-400-480MHz-16CH-CTCSS-DCS-TOT-VOX/32741929692.html?spm=2114.01010208.3.265.2RrKbv&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_3_10065_10068_10084_10083_10080_10082_10081_10060_10061_10062_10056_10055_10037_10054_10033_10059_10032_10078_10079_10077_10073_10070_10052_423_10050_10051,searchweb201603_2&btsid=70ad5d16-83dc-458f-a072-9e0910497ff7

I've tested these units and they actually transmit and receive up to 520 MHz, though you'd turn off the TX in this application.  The other consideration is that the audio output is a 2.5 mm jack so you would need a 'step up' adaptor to 3.5 mm, but at that price....

Any input?   Thanks,  dB

 

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I don't have experience with using them as Comteks, but considered it for a brief moment, too.
Main reason for not doing it is the audio quality, which is crap. They only work on a very narrow band of the audio spectrum. Also, can your tx emulate their compander? If not, audio will be further degraded, or it simply won't work at all. Some radios use something like a pilot tone, which your tx would need to emulate

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How would the battery life work out?  Most walkies are in a sort of "idle " mode most of the time (not transmitting or receiving and not amplifiying audio).  If the walkies were in an "always on" receive mode what happens to the batteries?  Also, clients being clients--they'd immediately try to start talking over the walkies blowing your monitor feed off the air...

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