Verified FBN Member (IA)
Machinery

What are you using for radios between the combine, cart tractor, and semis?

We are going to be adding a couple more inexperienced cart operators this fall and thought about getting some walkie talkies so the combine operator can communicate more effectively with them. The current hand signal/phone call system is not ideal. What kind of radios are you using? What would you recommend without spending a ton of money?

What are you using for radios between the combine, cart tractor, and semis?
Verified FBN Member (TX)

We have used cheap walkie talkies for years. We get about one season out of them. Not perfect but gets us by. We are always looking for a better option to be honest

Verified FBN Member (IL)

We have no experience with them, but I’ve been hearing about these midland radios a lot lately.

https://midlandusa.com/micromobile/

Verified FBN Member (TN)
(edited)

Motorola xpr

Verified FBN Member (IA)

We went to buisness band a few years ago and the best move we made. Cost a fair amount to start up but the equipment works ten times better than any cb or free frequency

Verified FBN Member (IA)

u you have ball park cost what it takes to setup a farm?

Verified FBN Member (IA)

Depending on how many radios you want a couple thousand on up

Verified FBN Member (ND)

We use Motorola and Kenwood business band radios. Have used them for years and have one in every piece of equipment on the farm. I believe it is worth the investment.

Verified FBN Member (KS)

We run uniden marine band radios. Good for about 10 mile range. Cost about $120

Verified FBN Member (NE)

Would that have to be in line of site? Or would the work over and behind hills?

Verified FBN Member (IL)

We use low band radios in every piece of equipment, truck, pickups, everything. I don’t think I’d recommend equipping a new setup this way due to the low band equipment becoming difficult to find. However, it has the best range, sometimes up to 50 miles reliably.

Verified FBN Member (TX)
(edited)

We have ran vhf icoms for probably 20 some years in all of our equipment. Get up to 20-30 miles lots of places. About $300 per radio and coax. But well worth being able to communicate in bad cell service areas.

Verified FBN Member (MN)

We use these from amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00SR3QW9U

They work good, say they are legal, and are about $100 for 5.

Verified FBN Member (MO)

Any idea on their range?

Verified FBN Member (TX)

UHF business band digital ICOM radios. Coordinate a frequency or more and have solid personal comms.

Verified FBN Member (IL)

We use FM business band radios. Work great without the interference of a cb. Radios are *******.

Verified FBN Member (IL)

We use these in our semi's, grain cart tractor, and combine. They are cheap and work really good for what we need.

https://smile.amazon.com/Uniden-PRO505XL-40-Channel-Function-Emergency/dp/B005ZLB0E4/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=cb+radio&qid=1569200167&s=wireless&sr=1-1

Using the built-in antenna on the combine was good to communicate from combine to grain cart while it was within 100 ft. Ended up buying a 4' antenna and mounting on the outside railing. Gets a couple miles of radio reception now.

Verified FBN Member (KS)

This is What we use in all of our equipment they work great

Verified FBN Member (WA)

Looks like everyone has great ideas. We have used the Uniden 510xl CB radios for years. You can buy them for $35 to $50. We use a mag mount antenna that is also around $35 to $50. Also you will want to purchase a gear keeper **** retractable mic holder. Makes it super handy to grab the mic and talk between tractors and combines. This might not be the best option but it’s super cheap and easy. Always keep a couple extra on hand in case we have problems with one.

Verified FBN Member (MO)

Zello is an app that is a live walkie talkie using cell phone signal. So there is no distance issues no matter where you are. It will go off on your phone no matter if it's in your pocket or you are on a different app. It's like having Nextel phones. I use a shortcut button to open the app, and then program my volume up button for the mic. Its free

Verified FBN Member (NE)
(edited)

We use the Voxer walkie talkie app on our phones, everyone has one & distance is not an issue. Also we don't have radios sitting around in the off season with leaky batteries. https://www.voxer.com

Verified FBN Member (MO)

If you like voxer, you should try zello. You dont have to open the app to listen to the message. You can also create a channel that contains all your guys on the farm

Verified FBN Member (OH)

I prefer everyone to just have a Bluetooth headset connected to their cell phone. That way I can easily get ahold of them whether or not they are in the tractor or semi. Plantronics makes some good ones for 30$

Verified FBN Member (SK, CAN)

Motorola works great for us

Verified FBN Member (WI)

Business band digital radios. Radio brand is Motorola. Have great signal can talk up to 10 miles apart from radio to radio even with lots of trees and hills.

Verified FBN Member (IA)

We started using marine band radios. Distance is phenomenal and clarity is great too. Runs about $125 for each setup.

Verified FBN Member (AB, CAN)

We use Motorola hard wired radios in all our units. They work very well and last for years. The way I look at it is we’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in our equipment and can’t afford any mishaps or even worse, an injury. Also one big dump of grain on the ground pays for a couple of radios. It’s really an easy decision when you look at the potential downside.

Verified FBN Member (OH)

If your on sprint you can have direct connect/Nextel back on your smartphone for $5/month/user. And the the voxer app is bad so I’ve been told

Verified FBN Member (IL)

We are using Midland MXT105 radios ($99.99 on Amazon) which come complete with a short magnetic base antenna. This setup works great in the trucks, but on our combine and tractors that are blocked by bin extensions and grain carts we have added NMO antennas that you can also buy on Amazon for not too much additional money. These will screw right on the mounts that are on most newer pieces of equipment and the cable is already run somewhere close for you to access in your cab. These radios can also be paired up with the Midland handhelds for people continually getting in and out of vehicles.

Verified FBN Member (ND)

I just bought 7 midland mxt115 using the factory antenna mount, complaint is In the combines they are mounted down by the power strip in the sts series and it’s gonna need an additional speaker, with the s series it’s decent mounted by the lower cup holder with the better cab, over all rolling hills of North Dakota we get about 7-10 miles with the units them selfs with the 6db antenna and 4-5 miles handheld to radio or hand held to hand held

Verified FBN Member (IA)

I’ve been looking at the midland radios quite a bit. Are your handhelds the GXT1000 or the X-talker?

Verified FBN Member (ND)

Gxt 1000

Verified FBN Member (ND)
(edited)

We have been using Motorola radios for 40 years. As our operation has expanded we incorporated a repeater system and now have a hand held on the guys in the yard. We can be 40 miles away from each other and hear each other clear. We used to buy from a dealer but since have found another source for affordable used radios. Have a radio in every farm vehicle. Cell phones are not an option. No service most places and we don’t allow our guys to have personal phones on the clock. Not paying help to visit with their friends/family and they are too much of a distraction.

Verified FBN Member (MN)

We use the cheap ones, small and handy. Have chargers in the tractors and combines, but the range is a mile at best. Have the same radios for years and get new batteries on the net

Verified FBN Member (SK, CAN)

We have used midland for 30 years at least and icom about 7 both are great. I no there around 300 ish but for you boys out there Amazon might be cheaper here in Canada we pay a licence few hundred a year but some of the best money spent on the My farm. It’s saved a lot of money in repairs because at moment’s notice you can help avoid mistakes that can help keep your equipment rolling.

Verified FBN Member (IA)

I totally agree! We ended up going with midland GX1000 handhelds and really liked them. With phones you can’t call someone fast enough when they are about to do something wrong. Like you said, they pay for themselves every day.

Verified FBN Member (MN)

Go straight to midland, I just put them in 2019 absolutely no regrets

Verified FBN Member (IA)

We love our midland gx1000 radios

Verified FBN Member (AB, CAN)

My brother bought us all cheap Bluetooth headsets. Connects to your phone. Hands free all the time. Noise cancellation. Siri calls whoever you tell it to. Best addition to harvest this year!

Verified FBN Member (IA)

Those are nice for sure. I’ve found that sometimes you can’t call someone fast enough to tell them something that’s time sensitive. For example, you can get on the radio and say “don’t hit that tile hole right before the waterway” but if you were calling them they might already be in it before you get to talk to them.

Verified FBN Member (AB, CAN)

True enough

Verified FBN Member (MN)

I put mxt 400 radios in from midland and they very clear and easy to install, they are a bit pricey but well worth it. I thought about trying the mxt 275 next time

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