Motorola T800 Talkabout Radios Review ~ VIDEO

The Clarys review the Motorola T800 Talkabout Radios.

Motorola T800 Talkabout Radios
Motorola T800 Talkabout Radios

USA – -( While it is true that cell phone providers are expanding their coverage every year, there is still a need for two-way radios by sportsmen.

Unless the country finds a way to provide coverage across the country via satellite, there will always be dead zones for cell phones. If you happen to be in a dead zone during an emergency or there are power outages, you are in a world of hurt. Given the affordable price of efficient and reliable, FRS two-way radios, it just makes sense to have them on every trip into the backcountry, even if you plan on using your cell phone for most communications.

Motorola T800 Talkabout Radios

We will be the first to state that you do not get any greater range out of a $150 radio than you do from a $35 radio. You do not get more radiated power from an expensive unit than you get from a bargain unit, due to FCC power output limitations (max. 2 watts).

All of FRS radios with fixed antennas have the same maximum potential transmitting range, as well as the same range limitations due to terrain and atmospheric factors. And, despite their advertising hyperbole, they rarely transmit out to the distances listed in their specs. None of the manufacturers want to admit this, but it is a fact.

Under optimal (i.e., laboratory) conditions, such as from a mountaintop or an aircraft transmitting to a plain below with no obstructions in the line of sight path and zero dust/moisture in the atmosphere, 100% battery charge, and antennas at matching angles, most good radios will theoretically broadcast 30-40 miles. In urban environments, your maximum range might be a couple of miles. Of course, the FRS radios are not designed for serious use in cities. They are communication devices intended to provide the user with an extra bit of security in the field. From a practical standpoint, most experts estimate that you can expect a realistic communications range of five to twenty-five miles from a 2 watt FRS band radio in the field.

Given that most FRS radios are about the same, why should you consider the Motorola T800 over all others? A good question and the answer is the Motorola TALKABOUT APP for your iPhone or Android device.

With the downloaded app, one can then connect to your smartphone to the T800 radio over Bluetooth. The App uses the T800 as a modem to send messages, such as your location, over radio frequencies. Note, you do not need cell phone coverage for this to work. As such, you have an additional safety net in the field, should something happen, as well as having the ability to update other members of your party, quietly.

The TALKABOUT App also allows you to download a variety of map formats of the area you will be hiking or hunting in. In that way, you and your party can always keep track of where you are and where you are going. Also, the App allows you to control the T800 radio settings from the phone. That includes selecting channels, call tones, adjusting weather alerts as well as on/off settings… all without having to pick up the radios.

As one would come to expect from Motorola, the T800 radios take emergency preparedness very seriously. The radios meet IPX4 waterproof standards: i.e., being able to withstand splashing water from any direction. They come with access to seven National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) AND Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) weather channels and four VHF channels, which receive continuous broadcasts of local and regional weather conditions and updates. And for good measure, the radios come equipped with an emergency alert feature which can be controlled by the TALKABOUT App

The specifications for the T800 are:

Motorola T800 Talkabout Radios Specs
Motorola T800 Talkabout Radios Specs

Considering all the features of the T800 in combination with the TALKABOUT App, there is not a better FRS radio on the market. The MSRP of $109.99 (less $$ online) is very reasonable for what these radios can do, and of course, the TALKABOUT App is free.

Jim and Mary Clary

Jim and Mary Clary

About Jim and Mary Clary:

Jim and Mary Clary have co-authored over six hundred published articles (and counting) on shooting and hunting. You can read many of them on AmmoLand News.

  • 9 thoughts on “Motorola T800 Talkabout Radios Review ~ VIDEO

    1. Using a radio of some kind is important.
      However while something is better than nothing the benefit to ham radio is the repeater and back.

      A frs or gmrs will get about the same distance as a basic ham radio if its a hand held unit which is typically 5 watts..
      With a ham radio they will have removable antennas ave higher wattage..but taking them in a mountainous terrain they might as well be the same..

      Where they shine is the ability to hit a repeater..
      The repeaters are 100 watts and you can hit one 40 miles away in the same condition.

      If you do not get your ham then consider gmrs..
      Gmrs allows for basic repeater, no test, you pay a fee that covers radios in your “home” find the repeater for them before you go in case they use privacy tones..

      Then you will both talk to each other off you are on different sides of the mountain..


    2. The article is correct that all frs radios have the same transmit power. What you are paying for is the receive range. The better the receiver, the farther apart you can hear one another.

    3. Give it away, folks. If you want reliable communications in the field, get your ham radio license and buy handheld VHF/UHF radios for less than $150, and/or mobile radios for less than $200 (you can spend more for all the bells and whistles) and you can cover a whole state using amateur radio repeaters (free), complete, many of them, with autopatches (free) allowing you to make non-business and/or emergency telephone calls. You can use Amateur Radio Positioning Service (APRS) radios that will ping your location to an Internet mapping service (free) to your browser. You can use combination analog and digital radios, and on base and mobile systems you can run up to 1500-watts — and you have your choice (depending on license class) of different bands with different propagation characteristics from DC to daylight. And ham radio operators are the most welcoming bunch in the world as long as you don’t sound like some CB retread trying to be ‘cool.’ Just be real and you’ll do fine. See for more information, and Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) for equipment and literature.

        1. Ham radios are not cellphones and cannot be ‘pinged’ to determine the nearest cellphone tower to the radio. For that matter, neither can these Talkabout radios. Neither use cellphone towers. Neither have built-in GPS receivers to provide location data (though you can buy radios that do). Both, however, can be triangulated with direction finding equipment. However, the Talkabout radios only have 22 channels in the 462-467-mHz (UHF) band, easily scanned by a scanner, whereas VHF/UHF radios have thousands of frequencies in the 144-148 (VHF 2-meter band) and thousands more in the 420-450-mHz (UHF 70-cm band). In both bands repeater matrixes (input & output frequencies) take up most of the band, and a handheld radio can be heard over a wide area from being repeated. Many repeaters are linked together, covering a whole State or even several States: Just because someone can hear you doesn’t mean they can tell where you are. They would have to be in a high location within a 25 to 50-mile radius of you and listening on the repeater input frequency to hear your little handheld, and then they would have to triangulate your position or track you with Doppler if they are close enough to hear you from street or highway level. BTW, and just FYI, it is illegal to scramble or otherwise obscure the plain English meaning of your transmissions, and ham radio operators are self-policing and jealous of any misuse of their frequencies. Fines can run into the tens of thousands of dollars for intentional misuse. Put simply, the only ‘secure’ radio is a silent radio. High level military radio tracking equipment can even hear the first oscillator of a radio receiver if the radio is just receiving. (Recent developments in software defined radios (SDR) have gotten rid of the first oscillator and use direct sampling, and are not as easily detected. Digital radios can be heard on receivers as just a blast of smooth static unless the receiver is also digital and using the same digital protocol. Most ham digital radios use C4FM, very broadcast quality, but without weak signal reception: The received signal is either there, loud and full-quieting, or it is not there at all.)

          1. @Donald L Cline, Thank you for your response. I am sure that everything that you have written is 100% correct, but none of it was helpful. Do you have any ideas on how to secure transmissions, and broadcast without being located by radio detection systems?

            1. Yes, but it is flatly illegal, and the manufacturer was fined huge amounts for manufacturing and selling this radio: The eXRS Tri-Square radio is a 900-mHz radio that uses Spread Spectrum techniques to escape monitoring. It’s a low-power unit good for a few blocks between units, and it works by frequency hopping from frequency to frequency — an invention of Hedy Lamarr and her husband during WWII, used today in Wi-Fi and a few other applications. I had several of them, and when they worked, they were great. But periodically they would lose lock with each other and there is no way to restore lock without getting together with the other radio and deciding on which of several thousand hopping protocols to use. I was surprised this evening to discover Amazon still has some of them for sale; I thought they were removed from the market. Be prepared to study the directions a long time to get your head wrapped around the right perspective you need to understand how to program them for each other. But, once programmed, you could have a group of users to whom you can talk one at a time or several at a time or all at a time, send text messages, and as long as the military or the FCC doesn’t have the ‘key’ that governs the hopping matrix (a questionable assumption) you cannot be heard on the band. You are on each frequency such a short period of time, less than a millisecond, that no one monitoring will even hear a carrier. I thought they were pretty neat until I learned the FCC flatly prohibits them because they can’t be monitored.

    Leave a Comment 9 Comments