BC Link Radios Review

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April 2016 Product Tests Steve Janes Viewed 2874 time(s)

It’s getting late. The sky is starting to darken and temperatures are dropping. It’s been a great day of riding … but now it’s time to get back to the trailhead. The only problem is your riding group is one person short.

We’ve all had those rides where throughout the day you’re constantly stopping to regroup … and usually it’s the same riders who tend to wander off and need to be rounded up. But that’s what riding is about—finding fresh powder and advancing unique lines through the trees. And the roundup process either allows the group time to sit around and rest while the more energetic find their way back, or gives a few in the group an added opportunity to put on a few more miles as they retrace their tracks to find where the “lost sheep have strayed.”

But there gets that time in the day when you know you’re running out of daylight and it would be nice to click a switch to talk to the missing rider. That’s where the BC Link radio system shines.

We’ve tried multiple systems of communication in the past with usually the same results—too cumbersome and limited range. In fact, many systems we’ve tried in the past had such limited range in the mountains that we could actually hear the sled before it was in range to talk to the rider.

Although the BC Link radios do have their limitations, we found that they could reach deep into canyons or even around a ridge or two. And best of all, they are lightweight (12 ounces), very convenient, affordable and easy to use.

For less than $150 per unit, you get a lightweight radio base connected to a Smart Mic that allows you to keep the radio safe and secure in your backpack (being sheltered from the elements greatly increases battery life) while the Smart Mic can be clipped on your backpack strap high on your chest (making it easy to hear and use).

The BC Link radio is compact in size; both base and mic, so it doesn’t take up much space or interfere with mobility. It is designed for the elements so snow and moisture does not interfere with the radio’s performance.

BCA claims the radio range is 2.5 miles line-of-sight with a 140-hour battery life. We were able to communicate with ease at 2 miles line-of-sight across three drainages and nearly a mile from the bottom of one drainage over a ridge and down into another drainage.

The BC Link radio features 22 GMRS/FRS channels (general mobile radio service and family radio service channels commonly used for individual two-way communications), plus an additional 121 sub-channels that can be easily programmed into the radio to ensure minimal interference.

The radio can be used without removing gloves, requiring a push-to-talk button on the mic. You can also control your on/off and channels from your mic.

For more information contact BCA at http://www.backcountryaccess.com/.

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