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Cobra PR 3850 WX


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Note:  This write up was put online 10/13/07 but we have been using some sort of FRS/GMRS Radio since 2003.  This update roughly coincides with the receipt of our FCC GMRS license.

There are some things that have persisted in my consciousness since childhood.  One of the fantasies I had as a kid was to own walkie-talkies.  The advertising in the early 1960's portrayed all kinds targeted at the kid market.  The promise was of of cool looking radios that matched the ones used by GI's during WWII, or the ones in use by first responders.

The problem was, the ones we could afford didn't really work.  Well, I should qualify that by saying that they did work, but usually you could just as easily hear the other person's voice without the walkie-talkie because they had to be so close, there was no point in using walkie-talkies!  The great irony in this experience was that we could hear the taxi calls coming from 3-4 miles away but they could not hear us!

So after abandoning the concept as a kid, several years passed (believe me...) and walkie-talkies were ignored.  We tried them again when we got our first home, for talking to each other from the garden to house and stuff like that.  Again we made poor purchase decisions, and were "rewarded" with poor performance.  So again I ditched the idea.

When I started wheeling with organized groups in 2000-2001, we encountered people who were using small FRS/GMRS units.  At the time I thought it silly that the group was using CB's and these people were also using these little units.  Asking around, I learned that these units worked a LOT better than what I had played with, so I purchased a pair of Motorola T4500 Talkabout radios.

Motorola T4500 Talkabout

Owners Manual

Motorola T4500

Product Features and Technical Details

Product Features

  • 22 Channels
  • 500 mW Transmit Power
  • Scan
  • Audible Call Tone
  • Audible Low Battery Alert

Technical Details

  • GMRS/FRS channels: 7
  • FRS channels: 7
  • GMRS channels: 8
  • Sub-channels: 0
  • Output Power: 500 mW
  • FCC license: Yes
  • Color: Grey/blue
  • Operating Distance: 2 miles
  • Battery Type: 3 AAA
  • Operating time: NA
  • Weight: .13 lbs
  • Dimensions: 1.0"D x 4.5"H x 2.0"W
  • Water Resistant: Yes
  • Channel lock: No
  • Call tones: One
  • Audible low battery alert: Yes
  • VOX capable: No
  • Display: LCD
  • Time-out timer: Yes
  • In the box: 1 T4500 radio, belt clip, user manual and a 1 year warranty.
Product Description

Weighing in at only .13 lbs, these radios will rest nicely inside a pocket or purse. With twenty-two total channels (seven GMRS/FRS, seven FRS and eight GMRS) you'll have plenty of options to contact friends or family. The weather resistant housing gives you the option to have the radios out in minimal weather conditions. Other features include audible call tone, audible low battery alert and talk confirmation. Remember that with GMRS channel capability you'll need a FCC license before beginning operations.

What's in the Box

Two T4500 radios, belt clips, user manual and a one year warranty.

Product Description

Motorola Talkabout 2-Way Radios - This two-pack of 2-way radios makes it easy to keep in contact with family and friends. They work anywhere within a 2-mile range, so they're great in spots with poor cell phone reception, making them perfect for the mall, theme parks, camping, and anyplace else that quick and easy communication is essential! Audible Call Tone 10 Audible Call Alerts Talk Confirmation Tone (like saying over or roger Audible Low Battery Alert Powered by 4 AA batteries (not included) Unit Dimensions - 1 (d) x 4.5 (h) x 2 (w) Unit Weight - approx. 0.13 lbs.

They are low powered/low featured, but I found they would work very well over short distances.  We were able to communicate from car-to-car even when we sometimes lost sight of each other.  As small as these units are, I was finally starting to realize the dream of personal two-way radios.

The kids reached an age where they wanted to go away from the house playing, or to separate from us when we were away from home.  As a kid, I had unrestricted freedom in these regards.  Growing up in the 50's and 60's in rural Massachusetts, our world had not yet been violated by the risks so common today.  While I do recall endlessly watching number plates for one particular person of interest, we were generally able to play unsupervised over hundreds of acres of woods.  We rode our bikes 5 or ten miles to nearby towns on outings.  There were of course other risks (getting hit by a car - been there done that...) or getting injured (my sister fell off her bike and broke her arm...), but these possibilities were far from our minds.  My parents cared about our safety but didn't restrict us in our comings and goings.

This freedom surely accounts for the adventurous spirit that I enjoy today.  It also formed the basis of my four-wheeling interest.  What is so different between going out into the woods with a map and compass on your bike, or today with a GPS and Jeep?  40 years...?  With regard to the radios, they would have been handy then but nothing we could afford would have been adequate.

I wanted to give my kids the same freedom that I had as a kid.  But with the passage of time and the risks facing parents and kids today, we have set the boundaries a lot closer to home than what I enjoyed.  Having said that, we realize how restrictive it is for us and the kids.  Enter the radios.  We started letting the kids go a few hundred yards out of sight carrying the Motorola's.  It was a boost to our confidence and the kids were having a blast.  On one occasion Tom crashed his bike badly and got some decent road-rash.  Ted called us on the radio and I went down the road and helped out.

Then the kids started spending more time on their bikes and wanted to go further from the house.  I purchased two Cobra PR 245's so that the kids would each have radios and Maria and I would have them too.

Cobra PR 245Cobra PR 245

Owners Manual

Product Description

Cobra PR245-2VP GMRS / FRS Two-Way Radio

These Cobra FRS/GMRS 2-way radios with desktop charger keep you connected with friends and family while out and about.

  • 22 channels and 38 Privacy Codes provide for a total of 836 "sub-channels"
  • Backlit LCD display provides maximum ease of use even at night
  • Call Alert provides 5 easily recognizable alert tones for incoming calls
  • Key Lock activation provides key pad security eliminating accidental channel changes
  • Selectable "roger" beep tone indicates the completion of your transmission, and signals to others it is clear to talk
  • Battery low indicator
  • Battery saver circuitry extends the life of your batteries
  • Auto squelch automatically shuts off weak transmissions or unwanted noise due to terrain or range constraints
  • Maximum range extender overrides Auto Squelch to provide extended range reception
  • Single pin speaker/microphone jack
  • Belt Clip secures your MicroTALK® radio while on the go


We began carrying them whenever we went to places like parks, zoos, large shopping destinations, and so on.  We took them on hikes and camping.  We found that they gave the kids more freedom and greatly improved our ability to coordinate family movement.  We were hooked.

One day the kids were out and came home one radio short.  It was disappointing but since they had been so inexpensive, and so useful, I purchased a pair of Cobra PR 3850 WX radios.  These are more powerful with a few additional features.

Cobra PR 3850 WX

Owners Manual

Product Details

PR 3850-2 WX EVP
12 Mile Range. PR 3850-2 WX EVP MicroTalk FRS/GMRS - 2 Way Radio two pack with up to 12 mile range, rechargeable batteries, 2-port desktop charger, 2 earbud Microphones.

  • Range Up to 12 Mile Range
  • 22 Channels
  • 836 Private Channels
  • 10 Channel NOAA Weather Radio
  • VOX (Hands Free Operation)
  • SCAN (Channels/Privacy codes)
  • Battery/Power Saver
  • Auto Squelch
  • Key Lock
  • Roger Beep Selectable On/Off)
  • Water Resistant
  • Rechargeable Batteries
  • 2 Earbud Microphones Included
  • Desktop Charger Included
Additional Features of the PR 3850 WX EVP
UHF/FM Ultra-clear long distance reception.
Up to 12 Mile Range Extended range capability provides up to 12 Mile Range. (Range will vary depending on terrain and conditions.)
22 Channels Front panel push buttons give you easy access to all 22 channels (7 GMRS/FRS, 7 FRS, 8 GMRS).
38 Privacy Codes Provide for a total of 836 "sub-channels" when the 38 privacy codes are combined with the 22 channels.
10 NOAA Channels Full coverage of all government operated NOAA broadcasts.
VOX The user's voice is detected and the radio transmits without the need to press any buttons, freeing hands for other tasks. 3 VOX sensitivity levels allow the user to select at which point the radio will detect their voice.
10 Channel Memory Allows the user to program up to 10 channels (or channel/privacy code combinations) for easy retrieval.
Battery Saver Circuitry A unique circuit extends the life of your batteries. If there are no transmissions within 10 seconds, the unit will automatically switch to battery saver mode.
Scan Feature Allows the user to scan either channels or privacy codes within a channel to locate conversations in progress.
Water Resistant Improved reliability for indoor/outdoor use.
Key Lock When activated, provides key pad security eliminating accidental channel changes.
10 Call Tones Allows the user to differentiate between up to 10 different parties on incoming calls.
Roger Beep Tone (selectable on/off) Confirmation tone indicates the completion of the user's transmission, and signals to (selectable on/off) others it is clear to talk. This feature is selectable and can be turned on or off.
Auto Squelch Automatically shuts off weak transmissions or unwanted noise due to terrain or range constraints.
Maximum Range Extender Overrides Auto Squelch to provide extended range reception.
Illuminated LCD Display Provides maximum ease of use even at night.
Keystroke Tone Signal Confirms key activation.
Speaker/Microphone/Charger Jack Allows use of wall charger, or earphone speaker/microphones (not included) for "hands-free" operation.
Belt Clip Secures your microTALK® radio while on the go.
1 Year Warranty On radios. For products sold in the U.S.A.
8 AAA Rechargeable Batteries Radios can also be used with 4 AAA alkaline batteries per radio (not included).
Two Port Desktop Charger Charges supplied NiMH batteries inside radios. Charger accommodates 1 or two radios.
2 Earbud Microphones Earbud microphones (with “push to talk") free hands for other tasks.


Unit Dimensions 6.693" x 2.323" x 1.575" (170mm x 59mm x 40mm) Including antenna
Unit Weight 3.8 oz (107g) Without batteries
Channels 22 Channels (462.550 MHz- 467.7125 MHz
SKU# PR 3850-2 WX EVP
UPC 0 28377 90728 9
Master Pack Bar Code 1 00 28377 90728 6
Clamshell Dimensions 12.36" x 8.189" x 3.622" (314mm x 208mm x 92mm)
Clamshell Weight 1 lb 6.4 oz (635g)
Master Pack Dimensions 12.913"x12.283"x8.661" (328mm x 312mm x 220mm)
Master Pack Weight 7 lbs. 3.71 oz (3,280g)
Batteries 4AAA rechargeable batteries per radio (included) or 4 AAA alkaline batteries per radio (not included)
Master Pack Qty 4
*Specifications subject to change without notice* *All Dimensions (H x W x D)*
* Weights and dimensions are estimations and are subject to change.


We found that the units running on FRS frequencies were adequate for some of the things we did when everyone was close by.  But the effective range (no matter what the advertising says...) is well below one mile in outdoor situations where foliage and terrain stand between us.  One day the boys and I left Maria at home and took a hike.  At our greatest distance, we were about 3 miles from the house.  Incredibly, we were able to reach Maria and to each other across that distance until the trees and hills stood in the way.  Then we managed about 1 mile.

Reading the manual I learned that if I used the GMRS frequencies, I would have a choice of high and low power transmitting.  I also learned a FCC license is required to use these frequencies.  So I logged on to the FCC web site and purchased a license.  This was processed immediately and I was issued call letters (WQHI891).  Technically if the radio has GMRS capabilities, a license is required even if the GMRS frequencies are not used...

With the license in hand, I set the radios to a GMRS frequency and bumped the power up to high.  This greatly increased the quality of sound and the range over which we can communicate.  I taught the kids the rules of using these frequencies and how to broadcast our call sign properly.  They understand it is for the use of our immediate family only and not for play talking.

Because the latest radios had more features and a little more broadcasting power, I bought two more so that all our radios would be the same.  We have to extras for when we have visitors and the little T4500 in event we need it.

For our lifestyle, these radios have been very useful.  We recently went to the zoo.  It was very crowded and busy.  The exhibits are spread out of a large area.  We brought the radios.  We were able to stay connected, let the kids roam a little ahead of us, and to regroup precisely.  It was also useful even when the kids were still in range of sight but might not heard us except if we yelled.  Locating each other in the dark of the aquarium for example required only pushing the talk button and listening for the beep that the other radios made.

It's important to get the FCC license.  It gives you access to the stronger frequencies and keeps you from getting in trouble with radio fans who take this stuff very seriously.  I do not consider myself a radio geek, but this license has been one of the best purchases we made.

If you find yourself using cell phones to call each other at events or in stores, or wish you had a way to reach the rest of your family when you're out and about, or if you want to be able to respond to your kids' needs when they're out playing, take a look at these radios.


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