Review: Motorola EM1000 TalkAbout Radios

Jan. 14, 2009 By Rick Sosebee
In the hills of our favorite hiking area of Northern Georgia we find ourselves away from the loud noises of the busy city. Traveling in these remote areas can sometimes create problems though. Communication is always a must and if your group gets separated up here it can be tough. The mountains are high and with forestry doing their best to replant every year the trees are thick and tall. This can be tough to not only navigate through but getting radio transmissions clearly are even tougher.

While plotting some trails during Christmas we had taken a new set of toys with us just in case there was any trouble. Motorola has developed a line of two-way communications they call their “TalkAbout” radios, and we tested their EM1000. This class of hand-held battery-operated radios are small but stout, and a must-have for anyone that is outdoors in nearly any capacity.

The background lit LCD screen displays all of the confirmation for features that can be used on this device. There is a battery meter, channel power meter, weather alert, talk confirmation and special feature on-off indicators as well. The screen lights up with a red background for easy viewing at night.

Motorola considers this package to be their “total emergency preparedness communication device”. With such features as a built in LED flashlight and the ability to receive weather radio communications, I think they are off to a great start. There are 11 free accessible weather channels, 7 of which are NOAA.

The TalkAbout radios also have other very important features like the ability to receive transmissions from 20 miles away. Now, although we did not test this function at 20 miles, there were times when I was separated from the crew and an estimate of distance was over 1 ½ to 2 miles away. The EM1000 functioned just as if we were standing right beside each other. And that was in a densely wooded area.

There is an alert function on these gems that will alert members of your group that there has been an emergency. All radios in your group using the same channel will get an audible alert tone for 8 seconds, as well as any noises or instructions for another 22 seconds. What makes this so unique is that when we tried the alert on our scouting trip it automatically raised the hand held units volume to its highest setting, and that was not affected by where we had our volume set on the radio!


The noise filtering on the TalkAbout worked very well at keeping other radio’s transmissions from over running our own conversations. Having large scale race-style radios around us we were surprised at how well it blocked out the chatter from our other groups.

There are so many cool features on these new Motorola EM1000 series radios. The scanning of all 22 channels is just one more. If you have more than three or four in your group but need to communicate with others using the same devices you can set up groups by channels and set the scanner to catch important communications. There is also a priority setting that will override other transmissions to let you catch all your “home” channel talk.

For a compact value packed weather resistant radio set up I was really impressed with this little dynamites ability’s. The only thing I can think of that might improve the durability of this “TalkAbout” is the addition of a weather-proof cover for the USB charging port on the bottom of the unit like the one that covers the headset port. The first time I dropped my radio the USB charging port was jammed full of dirt. Other than that the Motorola EM1000 series “TalkAbout” radios are very reasonably priced as well as rugged, and function just like I would need them to in case of an emergency or a great day with my friends on the trail.

Price $59.95
Can be purchased at any of your favorite local sporting goods stores, or directly from Motorola at

-RS Newsletter
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