Tips & tricks from our team to keep you
in communication all season
We all know the recipe for a brilliant day at the crag or in the backcountry goes something like this; stellar conditions + great company + ample snacks + satisfactory preparation = an extraordinary day. One other thing to add to the list, great communication. Whether you’re climbing an epic multipitch, backpacking over the weekend with friends, or going for a trail run with the pup, your Rocky Talkies will have you covered. Here are a few tips and tricks from our team to keep your communication dialed while you’re out and about.
Channel Matching and Privacy Codes
First thing’s first, in order to ensure clear communication with your crew, make sure to match up both your channel number and privacy code on your radios. Many other brands of radios use 22 channels, so you’ll want to match up those same channels on your Rocky Talkies. As a recap, here’s a short clip about selecting privacy codes on the Rocky Talkie.
Locking Your Radio!
Don’t forget this step! Once you’re all matched up, hold your channel flipper forward until the key icon appears on your LED screen. This will lock in your selection and prevent it from being changed, even while you’re scraping your radio up a squeeze chimney.
Some folks like the serenity and quiet of the mountains, unimpaired by radio beeps, and others prefer the familiar chirp confirming their transmission is complete. Whatever camp you fall into, remember that you can silence the Roger Beep on your Rocky Talkie at any point (it’s as easy as taking a screenshot on your phone, really, it’s basically the same thing). Merely begin with a powered-off radio. Hold down the PTT button and the power button at the same time, the radio will power on and you’ll notice the bell icon disappear on your LED screen. You need only do this once and your selection will be saved. To turn the Roger Beep back on, just repeat the process!
High and Low Power Mode
Another pro-tip, choose the power mode that best suits your excursion. High Power Mode will allow you to transmit 2 watts of power, and thus increase the range of your radio. This is typically the preferred setting, especially since you can still expect more than a full weekend of battery life while using high power mode. However, if you’re on an extended trip and are looking to elongate the battery life as much as possible, consider swapping to Low Power Mode. This will bring transmission power down to 0.5 watts, limiting range, but increasing how many days of use you’ll get out of your radios. To change power modes, check out this video!
While Out in the Wild
While many radio brands make claims like “35 mile range”, the truth is that range is entirely situational depending on the terrain. Large obstacles like mountains and hills will reflect radio waves. We generally get 1 to 5 miles in the mountains here in Colorado and you can expect between 0.5 to 3 miles when in hilly and forested areas. While maintaining line-of-sight, the range is extended dramatically and our team has tested in locations over 25 miles. We made this video as a helpful resource for understanding range!
Checking Your Battery Life
To check your battery life % while your radio is powered on, simply click the power button once and the battery percentage will illuminate on your LED screen! Battery life also impacts the ability for a radio to transmit. In order to protect the battery, if your radio is below 15% it will be able to receive messages, but not send them until it's recharged.
Prevent Your Radio From Bouncing
If you’re doing an activity that is extra rugged and bumpy (skiing moguls, mountain biking, etc.) this tip is for you! No one wants a floppy radio hanging from their shoulder strap, periodically swinging around to slap them in the face. A simple fix is to leverage your leash to secure the radio. Simply wrap the leash around your backpack strap (once or twice depending on how snug you want it to sit) and voila! No more swinging, no more slaps. Gear, dialed.
Rocky Talkies have an IP56 waterproof rating, meaning they’re snow, rain and splash proof, but not submersible. To ensure optimal protection against the elements, take a moment to double check that the headset port cover and USB-C port cover are securely closed. This will keep out unwanted moisture! If you happen to find yourself in a surprise summer downpour, try blowing on the face of the radio rather than wiping it with your hand. This will help prevent water from building up in the microphone and blocking transmissions.
Turning Off Your Radio!
This is the most common mistake we see! To preserve battery life, we programmed the Rocky Talkie screen to timeout after 10 seconds. Fear not, this doesn’t mean that your radio turns off, just that the LED screen goes dark. At the end of the day, make sure to hold the power button until you hear the double beep to know that your radio is fully powered down.
After the Fact - Device Care
You’ve just gotten home, cracked a beer, and are unloading all your wet gear into the garage! You set your wet clothes and hiking boots inside to dry, and unload the contents of your pack. After an unforeseen deluge, it’s possible that moisture has gotten into your backpack. To help preserve the longevity of your Rocky Talkies, good practice is to give the units a little dry off and store them at room temperature for optimal functionality!
Long Term Storage
If you’re looking to put your radios into extended storage, consider doublechecking that your Rocky Talkies are above 50% battery, optimally 80%, and power them off. Place them in a warm, dry space for safe keeping. They’ll be ready and waiting for your next epic trip!
Whether you’re a seasoned professional in the backcountry or just getting into outdoor recreation, effective radio communication should be something you can rely on to enhance your safety and fun!
There are plenty of risks in the wild, communication shouldn’t be one of them.
Meet the Author
Anna is an outdoor enthusiast, poet and artist from the Pacific Northwest. When she is not connecting with the incredible Rocky Talkie community, she can be found climbing, skiing, reading, or trail running with her dog \ best friend Jake.