MOTOROLA TALKABOUT T480

$64

Two-way radios have impressive range

Two-way radios have morphed from toys into marvels of technology, including the attractive Motorola Talkabout T480.

The T480 boasts a range of up to 35 miles, which is mind-boggling, but you have to take those range estimates with a grain of salt. The listing for range over open water is 6 miles, while the neighborhood range estimate drops to up to 1 mile. Still, testing found the T480 to have more than enough range for "in-town" use.

Each of the 22 channels has 121 privacy codes, for a total of 2,662 combinations. It's easy to find a channel and privacy code not in use, but remember anyone scanning these frequencies can listen in to what you say over the radio.

The T480 is the emergency preparedness version of this particular line of radios.

Besides the red-and-white color scheme, the T480 has a built-in FM radio tuner so you can listen to music or news, a small LED flashlight if the power goes out and is weatherproof. You can also tune into NOAA weather radio for alerts, and the belt clip is an emergency whistle.

The radios have a "quiet charge" feature that lets you recharge them without hearing any chatter on the channels except weather or emergency alerts.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS

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WASHINGTON POST