I’ve been using a couple of these for the past year or so while exploring Australia from the Kimberley to the Fraser Coast.
The great thing about Oricom’s radios is they tend to over-engineer everything. This little walkie-talkie packs a pretty big punch. For starters, it’s IP67 rated, which means it can hang out in a metre of water for half an hour, no worries. That means dust isn’t getting in, either.
For me, that’s bare minimum specs these days: we spend our time doing water crossings and the amount of times I’ve dropped a radio out of my pocket in the middle of a creek is disconcerting, but not a worry anymore.
The large display makes it easy to use even in bright sunlight. You can switch the power from 1W up to 5W, so its range isn’t much less than an in-car unit, but if you want long life and you’re working close, the 1W setting will provide up to 30 hours operation.
What’s amazing is that this little thing has the same functionality as its big brothers, like duplex, audio scrambling and triple watch, so you can monitor multiple channels simultaneously, great for places like the Simpson Desert where you need to monitor safety channels without using them to transmit all the time.
It’s tough. Honestly, these days, if I can’t break something, I wonder who can. Meanwhile, the Ultra550 just keeps going.
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