How do the BC Link Radios work?
Watch this video to learn how to operate your BC Link Radios.
What is the BC Link Radio range?
Given optimal line of sight, peak to peak, the BC link radios can transmit at a range of up to 5 miles. Transmit range is often dependent on the terrain you are in as interference with line of sight will reduce the range. A really thick batch of trees, rock bands, walls, or other obstructions will reduce the transmit range. The BC Link radio transmits at a max power of 1watt where as UHF/VHF radios can transmit up to 5watts so the range of the BC Link and those of UHF/VHF radios greatly differ. However, BC Link radios do get an overall better range than comparable FRS/GMRS radios like those made by Motorola, Cobra, etc. From BCA Staff experience, we have never experienced any issues with range during normal ski tour outings. Mechanized travel can run into range issues but as long as you test your radios and realize how the terrain you are in can affect the transmit range then it is not an issue to stay connected and avoid range issues while in the field.
Do BC Link Radios work with other recreational two-way radios?
Yes. BC Link radios are FRS/GMRS radios meaning they transmit on the same family band frequencies that are consistent with other two-way radio manufacturers like Cobra, Motorola, etc.
On which frequencies do BC Link two-way radios work?
BC Link radio channels 1 through 7 are combined GMRS/FRS channels. Channels 8 through 14 are FRS channels. Channels 15 through 22 are GMRS channels. The FRS channels (8-14) transmit at 0.5 W, while all other channels transmit at 1.0W. While battery life is longer when using channels 8-14, the range of transmission is shorter.
BC Link Channel Frequencies (MHz)
- Channel 1 462.5625
Channel 2 462.5875
Channel 3 462.6125
Channel 4 462.6375
Channel 5 462.6625
Channel 6 462.6875
- Channel 7 462.7125
Channel 8 467.5625
Channel 9 467.5875
Channel 10 467.6125
Channel 11 467.6375
Channel 12 467.6625
- Channel 13 467.6875
Channel 14 467.7125
Channel 15 462.5500
Channel 16 462.5750
Channel 17 462.6000
Channel 18 462.6250
- Channel 19 462.6500
Channel 20 462.6750
Channel 21 462.7000
Channel 22 462.7250
Is it possible to program the BC Link Radios to work with VHF/UHF high frequency radios?
VHF radio frequency range does not include that of the frequencies programed on the BC Link meaning it is not possible to communicate from VHF radios to the BC Link and vice versa. While you cannot program the BC Link to frequencies outside the provided family ban GMRS/FRS frequencies to those available on a UHF radio, you can program a UHF radio to the GMRS/FRS frequencies utilized by the BC link to communicate. See the above frequencies (MHz) and corresponding channels on the BC Link.
Can I use my BC Link Radios outside North America?
Yes, with specific exceptions.
- Europe: The BC Link EU Edition is optimized for use on frequencies in Europe.
- Outside North America: The BC Link utilizes the family ban radio frequencies of North America meaning that if you use your BC Link outside of North America (with the exception of the EU BC Link which is optimized for usage in Europe) there is a possibility you will be transmitting on an unapproved frequency for that country and this action can be deemed illegal. BCA recommends checking the laws regarding radio usage for the country where you plan to use your BC Link radios and take precautions to avoid any illegal usage on non-approved frequencies.
Are BC Link Radios waterproof?
BC Link radios are water-resistant, but not waterproof. It is IP56 watertight. During heavy snow or rain, we suggest covering your radio Smart Microphone (Smart Mic) from exposure to the elements when possible to prevent water from freezing to the Smart Mic, which may cause communication issues as well as excess water saturation when drying out. Storing your radios in a warm dry place is recommended to keep saturation from entering the radio and potentially hindering its performance.
Can I connect my BC Link Radio to the earphone jack in my helmet?
Yes, an earphone jack is located next to the cable on the Smart Mic. It will accommodate any standard 3.5mm TS or TRS earphone plug.
Is it possible to turn off BC Link Radio sounds for activities like hunting?
Yes, you can turn off the BC Link radio sounds.
Button Sound: When the Button Sounds are activated, the BC Link beeps when any button is pressed or when the user turns on the Smart Mic. Press the Menu button three times until the Button Sound Icon, “ON” or “OFF” are displayed for activation. Turn the Button Sounds on or off using the up or down buttons. Accept by waiting five seconds or pressing OK.
Roger Beep: The Roger Beep is a tone that sounds at the end of each transmission, when the PTT button is released. The Roger beep is activated or deactivated by pressing the Menu button four times until the Roger Beep Icon , “ON” or “OFF” are displayed. Turn the Roger Beep on or off using the up or down buttons. Accept by waiting five seconds or pressing OK.
How long does the BC Link Radio battery last?
BC Link battery life depends on the transmit power your using (GMRS 1watt, FRS 0.5watt) and generally how often you transmit (speak) when using the radio. From personal BCA Staff experience, we have seen the BC links work for up to 5 days (without re-charging) using the 1watt GMRS channels under normal usage rates in winter like temperatures and conditions. With the battery located on the base unit, which is stored inside a pack or pocket away from direct contact with the cold and elements, the battery life does not fluctuate much based on temperature or weather. Tips to get max battery life are to utilize the FRS .5 watt channels when conditions allow, storing the radios inside a warm room when they are not in use, and remembering to turn the units off when they’re not needed whether it be at the end of the day or during times when your group is within an easy verbal communication range. For those who might be spending an extended time in the backcountry without access to a charging source, BCA sells BC link batteries separately so you can have an extra incase your battery power gets low and you do not have access to re-charge.
How do you recharge BC Link Radio batteries?
The lithium rechargeable BC Link battery is charged by USB connection. You can charge the battery when detached or attached to the base unit. The Smart Mic does not need to be attached to the base unit for charging allowing users to keep their Smart Mic routed in their pack and just remove the base unit or the battery itself for charging.
I cannot seem to find any weather channels, what am I doing wrong?
First, make sure you are on a weather channel, indicated by the Weather Icon . You will find these weather channels after going past Channel 22. To choose your local weather channel, find the corresponding frequency of the closest weather station from the NOAA Local Weather Channel Frequency Locator here. Find the frequency of the weather channel you are trying to use and match it up with the correct weather channel. You can see the frequency of each weather channel in the BC Link Manual.
Tip: If the transmission of the weather channels is weak in your area, keep the base unit up and manually rotate through channels to see if you can find a clear broadcast.
My BC Link Radio won’t transmit but I can hear others talk…
During really low battery conditions, the BC Link can often receive but not transmit. Re-charging your battery will fix this issue. If your unit seems to be transmitting but your party cannot hear you then there is either an obstruction to the Smart Mic (iced up or covered by clothing) or interference causing a range issue. If you hear your Smart Mic crackle or not transmit while in usable range and battery power, then there may be an issue warranting the replacement of your Smart Mic or entire unit. Contact BCA for any suspected warranty issues.
I cannot hear anyone nor can they hear me…
There are a couple situations that could cause this issue. Your radio could be out of power; although the most frequent is that the pre-set channel has accidentally been changed causing you to now be on a different channel then the other radios in your group. If you see this issue occurring frequently, a good fix can be to pre-set a group of the pre-set channels all to the same channel so when the dial is accidentally switched then you will still be on the same channel as your group.
Lastly, range could be the culprit causing your group to lose communication. Testing the range in different terrain environments will get you and your group familiar with conditions that might cause an issue with range.