But I threw in the towel and got a pair of JeeNodes
from Modern Devices. They are RFM12-B based and and I'm quite pleased. They are Arduino compatible and have decent library support written by the creator.
You can set a radio id and group id so you can have more than a pair going. They are transceivers too so you can do bidirectional. The Arduino library comes with tons of examples. I wished the getting started documentation was a little simpler (I am writing one as a blog post soon) but it's entirely possible to figure it out in a few hours.
I've been playing with the JeeNodes this past week, but have a totally different experience
so far. I find the libraries and examples to be poorly commented, plus the RF12demo sketch
pumps characters to the screen endlessly, whether or not the other node is powered up,
and the rf12serial sketch loses almost all of the transmitted characters. The first sketch is
long and complex, and I haven't had time to debug it, and the 2nd sketch is so simple there
is nothing to debug. It's just not reliable. So, still scratching.