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Outdoor Communications

Staying in touch with help and information can be a little more difficult than picking up a cell phone in the backcountry. Utah's Mountains will often block the signals of cell towers. However, if you have a cell phone, and are fortunate to pick up a signal, it is an invaluable tool to have in your pack. Provided are a few other alternatives to improve your outdoor communications in the backcountry. Make sure you have enough battery power to get you through a tough spot if you really need it.

Avalanche Beacons

Amateur Radio

AM/FM Radios

CB's/ Walkie Talkies

FRS Radios

GMRS Radios

Marine Radios

Personal Locator Beacons

Sattelite Phones

Weather Radios/Emergency Alert Radios

Outdoor Communications Forums


Spot Messenger

Spot is a combination GPS Tracker/ Emergency Text Unit that is very affordable and can keep you connected with family or friends at home.

For more information visit FindMeSpot.com


Avalanche Beacons


A must-have if you are heading out into Utah's Backcountry during the Winter months. Also Check the Avalanche Forecast Center before heading out at www.avalanche.org

Links from the Utah Avalanche Center

Backcountry Access

Survival on Snow

Amateur Radio

Amaterur Radio is available to use for those who have passed the appropriate tests and have obtained a licence from the FCC. The amateur and amateur-satellite services are for qualified persons of any age who are interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without a monetary interest. These services present an opportunity for self-training, intercommunication, and technical investigations. Provided are a few links from Utah Clubs, Manufacturers and Repeaters.

FCC Information on Amateur Radio
Utah Amateur Radio Club
Bridgerland Amateur Radio
Amateur Radio Club of Utah Valley
Utah Box Elder Thiokol
Ogden Amateur Radio Club
Utah VHF Society
List of Local Clubs
Testing Information
Repeater Lists
National Association for Amateur Radio
Davis County Amateur Radio Club
Beehive Utah Net
Utah Net Schedule
Communication Products Amateur Radio Sales
Open Amateur Repeaters
Sinbad Desert Radio Club
Dixie Ham Club

Rocky Mountain Radio Association
Citizen Weather Observer Program
BYU Amateur Radio Club
Rainbow Canyons Ameteur Radio Club
Skyline Radio Club
Borderline Amateur Radio Club
High Valley Amateur Radio
Utah DX Association
Wasatch Back Tri County Amateur Radio Group
DX Zone
Utah Section AARL


Davis County Ameteur Radio Field Day

Utah Radio Amateur Civil Emerengy Service
Northern Utah ARES
Community Service Emergency Radio Group
Salt Lake County ARES
Davis County ARES
Utah County Emergency Service

Powerful AM/FM Radios and Links

Links to radios that may pick up distant and weaker signals keeping you informed of local news, entertainment and information. Also provided are links to news about Utah Radio Stations.

C. Crane and Company

AM Antennas

Utah Radio Guide

Utah Forum for Radio

Talking Utah Radio

Other Outdoor Programs covering Utah

Utah Outdoors

At Your Leisure

Roughin' It Outdoors


CBs/Walkie Talkies


These are available for purchase almost everywhere. Some are better than others. Citizens Band (CB) Radio Service is a private two-way voice communication service for use in personal and business activities of the general public. Its communications range is from one to five miles.

CB Radio Information from the FCC

Midland CBs

CB Radio Forum

Cobra Radios

Transmission 1

Listen to our Programming

You can find Western Life Radio on several fine stations throughout Utah. To find a station near you, visit the Network site

Listen to our Daily Drivetime Segments
KCYN 97.1 FM in Moab 8:40 a.m. and 4:50 p.m.
KOAL 750 AM in Price 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
KKAT 860 AM in Salt Lake City 8:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m
KTMP 1340 AM in Heber 7:55 a.m. and 3:55 p.m.
KSOP 1370 AM in Salt Lake City Mornings/Afternoons
KCPX 1490 AM in Spanish Valley 7:40 a.m and 4:40 pm


Listen to our Two Hour Overdrive Live Segments
Wednesday Evenings

KZNS 97.5 FM in Salt Lake City 7:00-9:00 p.m.
KOVO 960 AM in Salt Lake City 7:00-9:00 p.m.
KZNS 1280 AM in Salt Lake City 7:00-9:00 p.m
KCPX 1490 AM in Moab 7:00-9:00 p.m.


Listen to the Saturday Weekend Edition
KTKK 630 AM in Salt Lake 1:00 -2:00 p.m.
KALL 700 AM in Salt Lake City 8:00-9:00 a.m.
KKAT 860 AM in Salt Lake City 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
KSOP 1370 AM in Salt Lake City
KCPX 1490 AM in Spanish Valley 10:00 -11:00 a.m.

Listen to the Sunday Weekend Edition
KCYN 97.1 FM in Moab 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.
KALL 700 AM in Salt Lake City 9:00-10:00 a.m.
KKAT 860 AM in Salt Lake City 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
KSOP 1370 FM in Salt Lake City

FRS Radios


Smaller Wattage Output, Family Radio Service (FRS) is one of the Citizens Band Radio Services. It is used by family, friends and associates to communicate within a neighborhood and while on group outings and has a communications range of less than one mile. You can not make a telephone call with an FRS unit. You may use your FRS unit for business-related communications.

FCC Information

What to look for

Icom FRS Radios


Popular Wireless Forums

Cobra Radios

Information and Links from the Personal Radio Steering Group

Midland's Commonly Asked Questions

Getting Started


Information from the Communications Technology Review




GMRS Radios

Higher Wattage Output. Must apply for a licence from the FCC. These radios may not be used for commercial purposes. The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a land-mobile radio service available for short-distance two-way communications to facilitate the activities of an adult individual and his or her immediate family members, including a spouse, children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and in-laws (47 CFR 95.179). Normally, as a GMRS system licensee, you and your family members would communicate among yourselves over the general area of your residence or during recreational group outings, such as camping or hiking.

The FCC grants five-year renewable licenses for GMRS Systems. The individual licensee is responsible for the proper operations of the licensed GMRS system at all times.

Midland Radio

FCC Information

Cobra Radios

Popular Wireless Forums

Piracy Forums


Information and Links from the Personal Radio Steering Group

Multi Use Radio Service Information

Commonly asked questions


Marine Radios

Another must have on your vessel. With the introduction of DSC (Digital Selective Calling), VHF radios are beginning to enter the realm of multi-function marine electronics, working in tandem with GPS units to provide higher levels of safety and convenience. There are even VHF models now available with display mapping capabilities.

While all new fixed-mount VHF radios are required by law to have DSC, there are still models currently on the market (based on older product platforms) that do not include this powerful safety feature. In time, however, these radios will eventually be phased out and replaced with units that incorporate DSC.

Although reliability, range and audio clarity are still the main factors you should consider when selecting a VHF radio, DSC functionality is also important - especially in a boat's primary fixed-mount unit. First and foremost, a DSC-enabled VHF allows the user to send out a digital distress call with the touch of a button. If the radio is connected to a GPS or loran, it can also instantly transmit the exact coordinates of your boat. The DSC unit will continue to send this information until it is received by another station. This type of automated "Mayday" message, complete with vital position data, should help save lives in emergency situations.

Along with the significant safety advantages, the latest DSC-equipped VHF radios offer boaters additional benefits. By using a radio's unique MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) number, you can establish a direct, private calling line with another selected user, similar to a cell phone connection. While this is a feature that any boater can appreciate, it seems tailor-made for anglers. Using the privacy afforded by DSC, an angler can let a DSC-equipped buddy know about a "hot bite" and supply the coordinates, without alerting the entire fleet.

Selections from Boaters World

Article on VHF Radios

Icom Radios

Marine Radio Information

Marine VHF Radio Channels

Coast Guard Navigation Center



Personal Locator Beacons

On July 1, 2003, the FCC authorized the use of Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs). PLBs will provide a distress and alerting capacity for use by the general public in life-threatening situations in remote environments after all other means of notifying search and rescue (SAR) responders (e.g., telephone, radio) have been exhausted. For example, if you are a hiker, camper, backpacker, kayaker, etc. and are out of cell phone range, a PLB, which is a small transmitter that sends out a personalized emergency distress signal, is a highly effective and internationally recognized way to summons help.     

FCC Information

ACR Electronics

Frequently Asked Questions


Sattelite Phones

This will get a signal if you can see the sky. Rental programs are available for that backcountry adventure.



Weather Radios/Emergency Alert Radios

Handy tool to have in your pack if you are within distance of the signal. All Hazards/Weather Emergency Alert Radios are special receivers that tune to the 24/7 broadcasts issued by the National Weather Service.

These broadcasts can be received up to 50 miles from any NOAA transmitter, and the radios can be easily tuned to find the clearest signal nearest to the user’s location.

NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information direct from a nearby National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day. Working with the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) Emergency Alert System, NWR is an "all hazards" radio network, making it your single source for comprehensive weather and emergency information. NWR also broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards--both natural (such as earthquakes and volcano activity) and environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills).

Known as the "Voice of NOAA's National Weather Service," NWR is provided as a public service by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), part of the Department of Commerce. NWR includes more than 850 transmitters, covering all 50 states, adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Pacific Territories. NWR requires a special radio receiver or scanner capable of picking up the signal. Broadcasts are found in the public service band at these seven frequencies (MHz):



Weather Radios from Midland

NOAA Weather Radio

Commonly Asked Questions


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