This set (RT648) of two-way radios (walkie-talkies) is made by Retevis. They’ve been developing and manufacturing wireless communication equipment for personal and professional use since 2008. The world of two-way communication can seem simple to the amateur. The alternate name, “walkie-talkie” sure sounds basic. These radios, though, are not simplistic.
Walkie-talkies were invented in 1937 for use by airplane pilots. Recreational popularity surged beginning in the 1970s. The initial bulky and heavy radios became lighter, easier to use, and more accessible and desirable commercially.
Features of the Retevis RT648 Walkie-Talkie
- Durable. The outer shell of this radio is made of hard, thick plastic which is rugged and crack resistant in the event of a drop or fall. The interior of the radio adds to the durability with the use of a middle frame made using an alloy metal which dissipates heat.
- Waterproof. These radios have the IP67 waterproof rating. This is the Ingress Protection rating. The “6”s the number that represents the level of penetrative protection from a solid, such as dust. The highest rating a product may score is a 6 – which the RT648 has. The second digit, in this case, “7” is related to the level of penetrating protection a product has from a liquid. The highest rating a product may score is “8”. The RT648 rating of “7” indicates that the product can be submerged completely for up to 30 minutes in up to 1 meter of water.
- Floatability. It’s important to note that this radio will float if dropped into a pool or body of water.
- Salt-water. Due to the corrosive nature of salt, it’s not advisable to use this radio on or near salt-water. While the interior of the radio is protected from the intrusion of water, the plastic exterior is prone to damage by salt. If the radio does come into contact with salt-water, it’s recommended that you clean the radio immediately with fresh water and a towel or cloth.
- Snow and Ice. The radio is not prone to damage from exposure to snow or ice. The radio will work well in cold temperatures, -10˚ C (14˚ F). These radios are ideal for use on the ski slopes.
- Channels. There are 16 channels, each with 121 Privacy Codes. This gives the user a total of 1,936 combinations which makes it easy to find an available channel for communication. The term “Privacy Code” is a bit of a misnomer. Having a large number of Privacy Codes doesn’t mean the users have any level of privacy. These radios transmit over open radio waves. If you’re looking for absolute private communication, look for a radio that has the “Interference Eliminator” feature.
- Power Source. The radio uses rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (which are included). The batteries are rechargeable using a USB charging base (included). This is a great feature because you have several recharging source options: laptop, car charger, wall block or power bank. If you’re using the radio in a remote location, having power banks as a back up power source can serve you well.
- Power Life. When the batteries are fully charged, expect to have normal use time of 8-10 hours. Stand-by time is expected to be approximately 72 hours. Power life can be affected by temperature. The radio has power saving modes which can reduce the power consumption while in use.
- Calling Distance. In an obstructed environment, such as a city with tall buildings, the calling distance can reach up to 1.24 miles (2km). In a more rural or open environment, calling distance is up to 1.86 miles (3km).
Other Features of RT648
- The weight, with the battery, is 280g (under 1 lb.)
- High Quality Fixed Antenna. It’s important to note that if this antenna cracks or becomes detached, discontinue use for safety reasons.
- Time-out Timer. This prevents the same frequency from being used for an excessive period of time.
- Busy Channel Lock. This prevents caller interference from outside callers.
- There are 10 squelch levels available on this radio. The squelch feature helps reduce background noise and interference while you’re on a call. The higher the number, the better the call quality. A radio having 10 squelch levels is better than average. Many two-way radios are equipped with only 5 squelch levels.
- Signal Monitor. This helps to amplify weak signals to improve call quality.
- High Quality Sound Unit. The volume can be adjusted to a very high decibel level.
- VOX Function. This enables hands-free communication that doesn’t require the depression of the PTT button.
- CTCSS & DCS Encode/Decode. This feature allows you to encrypt signals to avoid interference from other signals. This is a somewhat more advanced feature, and the user manual doesn’t provide clear guidance on how to use this feature.
- Alarm Feature. This is helpful in the event of an emergency.
- Easy Carry. The radio comes equipped with a belt clip attached to it. If you don’t intend to use the belt clip, it’s easily removable by using a screw-driver. A wrist lanyard is also provided.
- Radio Frequency (RF) Safety. This radio uses electromagnetic energy in the radio frequency spectrum. RF energy can cause biological damage if used improperly. This radio has been manufactured and tested to ensure that RF safety exposure guidelines are met.
The Down-Side. While this two-way radio has some really great features, there are a couple of things that must be pointed out.
User Manual Isn’t User-Friendly. The user manual is written in several languages. If English is your first language, it may be difficult to understand what is being said in English in the manual. The radio has many special features. It also has only a few different buttons. Trying to navigate which button does what and how can lead the user to the user manual.
The English version of the manual isn’t very clear on how to use all of the special functions. If this is your first two-way radio, or if you’re a novice, it may take you some time to figure out how to use the radio. Before heading out on your adventure with this two-way radio, take some time to self-teach.
Visibility. The radio is black. It’s simple, sleek, plain. It looks nice. If you drop it in the snow, water, or woods, though, it may be difficult to find. Black is not the best color for a tool you’ll be using outdoors. Consider adhering reflective or vibrant tape or paint onto the radio in order to make it easier to find it you mislocate it.
Conclusion – Is Retevis RT648 Worth It?
Our rating: 4.4 / 5
Retevis stands behind the products they develop and manufacture, offering technical support and guidance to their customers. They are proud to announce that their factories have passed the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit. These radios are made using high quality circuit components. A great deal of technical advancement has allowed for the production of this two-way radio. The RT648 has many great features that allow users to communicate easily and safely. Retevis is a great company making great products.
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