rich83 wrote: *446 on anything over .5w is unlawful, I know this but I'll happily pay the fine/take the punishment if it saves me or my boy any undue distress.
Your use of the radio goes beyond just using more than 0.5 watts. Your antenna is not legal as it is removable & your radio is not approved for use on 446 & you hold no licence that you have mentioned.
Section 26 of the 2006 Wireless Telegraphy Act covers possession of radio equipment for unlicensed or unauthorised use. And section 8 covers installing or using radio equipment outside the terms of the licence or exemption. You are in breech of both sections & just so that you know. Each breech of the Wireless Telegraphy Act carries a maximum penalty of up to £5000 plus 2 years in prison. On 446 that means nothing as I cannot ever think of anyone who has ever been prosecuted. But use away from that & there could be a penalties to pay. Big ones.
If the ownership of the radio is legal you could get away with miss using a radio in an emergency. HOWEVER, as you have no legal right to own or use that radio (unless you have a licence you have not mentioned) that discretion to use in an emergency would not be possible in your case.
As thelad says UHF would be very poor in wooded areas & my personal experience with UHF, is that it would be poor between handhelds in most other locations too.
The expected range on 446 even at 5 watts with a half reasonable antenna is going to be little further than your voice covers under most circumstances & certainly much less than a good whistle would cover.
Sitting high on the side of a hill or mountain the coverage of the valley below may be fair. But it only takes a hedge to obstruct the path & that signal will disappear.
There is a good reason why rescue organisations recommend a whistle & not a 446 radio & that is in most terrains UHF range is heavily attenuated. Whilst whistles have no batteries to go flat & get attention from everyone who is not deaf, especially when used properly. Whilst a radio only works if someone is within range & has a radio on your frequency that is switched on.
Lets be honest, anyone who thinks for more than a millisecond about the claims. "I only own an illegal radio as a piece of emergency equipment. Just in case." Realises after few milliseconds that it's an excuse & not a good one.