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two-way radios

I would like to get some other opinions on the use of two-way radios used between point and sweep paddlers while leading a large group.

In general, I feel that if the point and sweep are too far apart to communicate non-verbally, then the group is too spread out. However, there may be times when quiet verbal communication might be useful, even when tightly grouped. Of course, if the group does spread out, it would be good to have a way to point this out to the paddler at the other end.

To compound matters, I am also considering which VHF radio to go with for emergency use. Since this is a critical piece of emergency equipment, I am concerned about using it casually during every trip with a large group.

Does anyone use radios for everyday group communication? If so, do you have a favorite model? Are there waterproof and hands-free models / accessories?

Thanks,

Mike.

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