As climate change drives up the frequency of natural disasters and rising divisions in the nation lead to an increase in urban violence, SHTF situations have become more common recently. Having proper communication is absolutely necessary during these situations but unfortunately, we can’t always seem to rely on our mobile phones. For starters, everyone in the region will be trying to make calls during an emergency which often leads to cell towers being jammed. Plus, if you’re out of range, you won’t be able to reach anyone. These days, it’s absolutely worthwhile to have a small set of walkie talkies with you.
They’re not dependent on cell phone towers or a Wi-Fi connection, meaning they’re more reliable during SHTF situations. In this article, we’ve reviewed the top five walkie talkies to use in an urban SHTF situation. But before that, let’s talk about why these types of walkie talkies are suited for emergency situations.
Finding The Right Walkie Talkies
When it comes to SHTF situations, a regular walkie talkie won’t do. There are several important factors to consider before you buy one, and we’ve summarized them below. But if you want to take a more in-depth look at two-way Walkie-Talkie buying guide, there are also a few cool blogs out there, such as talkiespy.com
During urban emergencies, you may need to contact an emergency service located several miles away. Hence, we recommend that you purchase a walkie talkie with a range of at least 2 miles.
VHF vs UHF
Walkie talkies operate on mainly two radio frequency bands: Very High Frequency (VHF) and (Ultra High Frequency). Of the two, UHF signals have shorter wavelengths which means that they’re great at penetrating solid material like wood, concrete and brick. Hence walkie talkies operating on UHF bands are more suited for urban use.
With most SHTF situations, you’ll have to move around fast. Hence, you need a device that can tolerate rough handling, drops, and hard bumps. Fortunately, all of the five walkie talkies reviewed in this article feature solid construction.
SHTF situations can sometimes last several hours and there’s no telling whether you’ll have access to a charging port or even electricity in the meantime. Hence, you’ll need a device that won’t die down on you quickly. Certain walkie talkies will allow you to toggle between high and low power settings, helping you to conserve battery when you’re not using it.
Some walkie talkies come with several survival features that could be useful in an urban emergency situation as well. For instance, Vox is a voice-activated feature that allows hands-free use of your walkie talkie. In addition, having weather alert channels, built-in flashlights, and privacy codes are useful as well.
Our Top Five Picks
Here are the five walkie talkies we recommend for urban SHTF situations:
Motorola T605 Talkabout
The Motorola T605 Talkabout features very solid construction with a waterproof design. It has a range of up to 35 miles but you can unlock that distance with the use of repeaters, for which you need a GMRS license. Without a repeater, the T605 can give you a range of 2 to 5 miles within a city, depending on how crowded it is.
The T605 features 22 channels and 142 privacy codes which help limit interference. The privacy codes also bring the total number of channel combinations to over 2600, which allows you to keep out unwanted listeners from your transmissions. In addition, this walkie talkie comes with:
- A water-activated built-in flashlight
- NOAA weather alert channels
- A power boost when you need a bit more range…etc.
In addition to having a solid build, the Woosheep T13 is also quite compact and slim. If you’ve got deep pockets in your pants, you could store it there. Plus, thanks to the included Vox feature, you may not even have to take it out when operating.
The T13 operates on UHF bands which means your transmission will be able to penetrate through thick buildings without a problem. However, its max range is much lower than the T609’s, providing coverage of only 5 miles or so. Still, this is plenty for an urban SHTF situation. The T13 is powered by a 1500mAh that has the ability to last 96 hours on a single charge, depending on how heavily you use it.
It comes with 16 channels and is compatible with 155 privacy channels, bringing the channel combination to about 1000.
You’ll find the GXT1000VP4 in a lot of top ten lists year after year, and for good reason. First of all, it features a rugged exterior that can easily survive being dropped often. Plus it’s splash-proof, meaning it can survive rainfall.
The GXT1000VP4 offers a max range of 36 miles, which puts it in the same league as the T605. Practically though, you’ll be able to get a range of up to 5 miles within a city. It comes with around 50 channels, so you’ll have a better chance of finding a clean one during a mass emergency where people are trying to communicate over radio.
This walkie talkie comes packed with a ton of features that are very useful during SHTF situations. For instance, the Vox function leaves your hands free when you’re trying to move about, the weather alert channels keep you updated constantly, call alerts and vibrate alert notify you when you get an incoming transmission, channel scan helps you lock on to a signal much faster…etc.
Mirkit Radio Baofeng UV-5R
Despite being such a small unit, the Baofeng UV-5R offers an impressive number of features. For instance, its tri-power feature allows you to toggle between 1 to 8 watts. This means that you can leave it on without it using up too much power by default. It’s powered by a 1800mAH battery, which means its lifespan is potentially greater than the Woosheep T13.
The UV-5R comes with a 7-inch antenna that you can use to improve the device’s reception. This is a very useful feature if you find yourself in a remote location during an SHTF situation. In addition to these features, the UV-5R also comes with a built-in FM Radio, emergency alert, low-battery alert, built-in flashlight and VOX.
Midland X-Talker T75VP3
Rounding up our list of top fives is yet another offering from Midland: the X-Talker T75VP3. First of all, it features a build that’s not only rugged but also quite compact and ergonomic. The T75VP3’s max range is around 38 miles, which is the longest on this list. However, as with any walkie talkie, its range is susceptible to obstructions. In a crowded city, your coverage will get cut to anywhere between 2 to 5 miles.
The Midland X-Talker T75VP3 comes with 35 FRS/GMRS channels and is compatible with up to 121 privacy codes. Together this brings up the total channel combinations to 2662. This will certainly allow you to relay a private transmission even during a mass emergency.
Like with all the walkie talkies on this list, you get Vox for hands-free usage and NOAA weather alert channels. The T75VP3 is powered by a 1000mAh rechargeable battery but you can also use 2 AA alkaline batteries. The latter option can come in handy if electricity is interrupted during a natural disaster.
Walkie-talkies are one of the most reliable communication devices to use during SHTF situations. The five reviewed options are some of the best suited for emergencies. They’re very durable, feature-packed and won’t burn a hole in your wallet.