Today’s gadget review is for the Motorola Talkabout T260 two-way radio. You know, a walkie-talkie. Or two, really. We’ve loved having walkie talkies for a long time, but somehow the collection we had in the past stopped working properly.
One of the things I like to do is organize car shows. We had a bunch of walkie-talkies that I gave out to the various show volunteers so we could all stay in touch. This may be where the previous models, which were a variety of low-end units, met their demise.
So when we moved from our home to another state, walkie-talkies were one of the things that ended up in the garage sale. Say goodbye to weird, random walkie-talkies. But that left us without a walkie-talkie, and it made RVing less normal for us.
Caravans and walkie-talkies
We use walkie-talkies for all sorts of things in the motorhome. The most common use, for us, is in the coupling and uncoupling process. I hope she doesn’t read this, but my wife refuses to learn hand signals. It’s not such a big thing since I can’t hear very well.
And, like most married couples, my brain has managed to fine-tune my hearing so that I don’t hear her in particular unless she says something like, “Would you like another beer?” Somehow, this statement, and a few others, always seem to get through.
Thus, we use walkie-talkies when hitching the truck to our caravan. Not having walkie talkies made the process less fun except for the others watching us around the campsite.
We also use them when one of us takes out one of our e-bikes to keep in touch, or even at the grocery store if we interrupt our runs.
Yes, we’re so nerdy that we carry walkie-talkies to the grocery store. Now you see why it was such a disappointment when we didn’t have them.
Motorola Talkabout T260 Radio
There is nothing earth shattering about this device. If you’ve ever had an FRS walkie-talkie before, you know this thing pretty well.
There are 22 main channels on these things and 121 sub-channels. In theory, you could go to a place like Disneyland, where half everyone has a walkie-talkie, and have a conversation. Or scare others. Not that I know anything about that.
Since I mentioned that these things are pretty much all the same in terms of functionality, why did I choose this particular unit? Many reasons.
You can charge it with USB port. So I could charge it in the truck, with my RV’s USB charging ports, or even with my Go power! DuraPACK Solar USB Charger. I prefer anything that gives me options, including those that aren’t exclusive to this product or brand.
This comes with a proprietary nickel metal hydride battery, but you can also remove it and three AAA batteries also fit in the space. Again, something you can find anywhere. As a madman who loves rechargeable batteries, I also tried those in these units and they worked fine. Again, options.
The company claims up to 12 hours of battery life with the included batteries or 29 hours with three AAA batteries. I don’t know how they calculated that, because the communication takes more power than the thing sitting there. So if you talk a lot, you won’t get the same results.
But I’m sure it’s good for a day of RVing or even a day at Disneyland or that sort of thing.
Talkabout T260 range
Motorola claims a range of up to 25 miles – what can I say, there’s no way in the world you’re getting that. But in most camping situations you can go 5-7 miles, in our experience with these. It’s not bad at all, and it’s definitely as far as I would hike or bike.
Why not a cell phone?
We all have them and I’m sure many of you are wondering why not just bring a cell phone. But there are a lot of places I go where there just isn’t coverage.
Also, if you’re really using your cell phone or it’s trying its best to find a signal, even my new iPhone 13Pro Max will kill its battery in no time.
Also, if I drop any of these things in a stream, it wasn’t $1000. They are relatively inexpensive.
One more thing
While I can’t stress enough that having a weather radio is a good idea for anyone who travels, these do have some weather radio functionality. If I get an alert, it’s a handy little device that fits in my pocket to get weather updates. But that’s only part of a weather monitoring plan that we have.
Super corny stuff on FRS
These devices, like most walkie-talkies these days, operate on the FRS or Family Radio Service bands. You don’t need any sort of license or anything like that, and all radios that use this band are compatible. I mentioned we had a bunch of random radios in the past – they all worked together.
FRSor the Family Radio Service group, part of PRSor Personal Radio Service bands, as indicated by 47 CFR Part 95B of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), which regulates and establishes rules for the use of all RF (radiofrequency) radio spectrum in the United States. The band is usable for personal or professional two-way radio communications, and is used by individual preppers, families, community groups, and even some businesses. They are often used for recreation, sports, and everyday family and business communications. FRS is more commonly used by children as a toy, usually with inexpensive FRS walkie talkies, basically disposable in blister or bubble wrap, and is considered more of a consumer group compared to GMRS.
After recent FCC revisions of PRS rulesFRS service consists of 22 FRS frequencies, all of which are now shared with the GMRS (General mobile radio service) bandaged. Transmission on FRS channels does not require an FCC license, but there are restrictions on the radios you can use on the service, as mentioned below.
FRS allows analog FM voice operation and digital positional and text messaging with strict limitations. Digital voice modes such as DMR, P25, D-STAR and System Fusion (C4FM) are not permitted on the FRS band.