FRS radios have been proven invaluable in recent emergency situations during our hikes and trail maintenance events. They provide the security of being able to contact other members of the group in case of an accident, injury, or loss of direction.
There are some negative aspects of the radios, however. They have limited range, 1 to 5 miles, depending on the radio, and are generally limited to line-of-sight (you can’t communicate with someone on the other side of the ridge). They may be perceived as an easy solution to any problem which may occur, but this perception is wrong. They should be viewed as a tool, and not as a substitute for common sense.
It’s critical that all hikers be on the same channel and sub-channel. For HTMC hikes this is channel 7, and sub-channel 14
Turn the radio on while hiking. The coordinator may have an urgent communication for the group, for example, “A flash flood is coming. Stay out of the stream”.
Radio use should be limited to essential communications. Random chatter degrades the wilderness experience for all who are forced to listen to it.
Turn it on
Channel 7, Sub-channel 14
No idle chit-chat
September, 2006 – Steve Brown