Two Way Radio Buying Guide – Everything You Need To Know
It can be confusing when you’re trying to decide which two way radio system to purchase. You don’t want to make the wrong decision and be left with a system that just isn’t right for your needs. What you need is a two way radio buying guide that talks you through the process of buying the right system for your unique requirements.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process, from determining your requirements to choosing the perfect two way radio system. Whether you’re looking for two way radios for your business or for personal use, we’ve got you covered.
What Should I Look For When Buying A Two Way Radio?
There are hundreds of different two way radio systems on the market, so it can be difficult to know which is right for your needs. However, there are some things that you should be looking for when you’re choosing a system.
Firstly, you’ll need to ensure that your chosen radio is compatible with any existing devices that you plan to continue using. Most radios will be able to work together, providing they are able to be tuned into the same frequency, but it’s important to check this before making your decision.
It’s also vital that you check the audio quality of any potential two way radio system. There is often a difference in performance between different brands and types of two way radio, with some offering better sound quality than others. If you will be relying on your two way radios to perform a critical function, you’ll need to ensure that you choose a two way radio system that offers crystal clear audio. This will help to ensure that you don’t miss anything as a result of poor audio quality.
You’ll also need to ensure that your chosen two way radio offers all the features that you require, whether that’s hand free operation, a durable and waterproof design or long range communication. After all, you don’t want to have any regrets once you’ve purchased the system.
Which Two Way Radio Is Best?
With so many different two way radios to choose from, it’s understandable that you may be left wondering which two way radio is best for your requirements.
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question. That’s because the best two way radio depends on your individual requirements. Whether you plan to use your radios for your business or for personal use, you will have a unique set of requirements that need to be met. The best two way radio will meet your needs exactly, offering all of the features that you require along with crystal clear audio and uninterrupted communications.
For example, whilst a construction worker may favour the DigiX Atom for its lightweight construction and waterproof design, someone working in the transport sector may prefer the DigiX Horizon Mobile for its nationwide cellular data coverage and GPS tracking abilities.
The most important thing is to find the right two way radio system to meet your unique needs, whatever they may be. If you need help choosing the perfect system for your requirements, we’re always happy to assist. We’ll get to know your business so that we can recommend the ideal system to keep you connected when it matters the most.
Factors To Consider
There are many different factors that you’ll need to consider when you’re looking for the right two way radio system for your business. For example, you’ll need to carefully consider what the radio is being used for and the operating conditions that it will be subjected to during use. This will help to ensure that you choose the right two way radio for your needs.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that you’ll need to consider when choosing a two way radio system, either for your business or for personal use.
1. What Will The Radio System Be Used For?
First of all, it’s important to carefully consider what you will be using your two way radios for. This will help you to identify key features that you’ll need to look for in a radio system.
For example, a worker in the transport sector might need a radio that has a long operating range, so that they can use their radio to keep in touch on long journeys. They might also need a radio that offers hands-free operation, to help them to avoid distractions whilst driving.
In contrast, a security guard might be looking for a licensed radio that offers secure communication. Not only that, but the radio will need to operate on a high frequency so that it maintains an excellent signal even when used indoors. Additionally, an emergency alarm function might be useful, enabling them to stay safe when dealing with challenging situations.
Understanding how you will be using the radio system will help you to know what you’re looking for and ensure that you choose the right system for your needs.
2. What Range Is Required?
You’ll also need to consider what range you need from your two way radios. There are two main options to choose from: very high frequency (VHF) and ultra high frequency (UHF).
VHF radios enable you to communicate with another radio up to several miles away. However, these radios will be affected by buildings and dense woodland, making them unsuitable for use indoors or in densely populated areas.
UHF radios are more suited to long distance use, as well as in buildings and built up areas. For example, UHF radios are commonly used in universities and hospitals, as the high frequency is able to pass through walls, enabling you to stay connected even when you’re indoors.
If you require the longest possible range, for example transport workers who require national coverage, you can also opt for two way radios which use cellular mobile networks. Whilst these radios rely on mobile phone signal being available, they offer an extended range without compromising on audio quality.
3. What Features Are Most Important?
Once you understand your requirements, you’ll then need to consider which features are essential and which are desirable. You can then balance this with your budget, choosing a two way radio system that has all essential features without breaking the budget.
Features that you might decide to look for in a two way radio system may include:
- Lightweight design
- Waterproof construction
- Crystal clear audio quality
- Nationwide cellular data network coverage
- GPS location tracking
- Man down alarm
- Long battery life
- Emergency alarm function
- Kill / revive functionality
Once you have identified the functionality that you require in your two way radio, you will then be able to begin to narrow down the selection available based on your requirements.
4. Licenced Vs Unlicenced
You will also need to consider whether you require a licenced two way radio. Whilst there are many two way radios on the market that do not require a licence for use, there are situations where a licensed radio may be better suited to your needs.
Firstly, a licensed radio can often offer increased range. This is because some of the higher frequencies are only available with a licence. So, if you need a radio that can operate at long ranges, you may need to consider applying for a licence.
Additionally, if you require a private channel of communication, you’ll need to choose a licenced radio. This is because anyone can tune their radio into an open channel, meaning that your conversation could be overheard by anyone that tunes in. By applying for a custom licence from OFCOM, you can request a private channel that cannot be listened into, meaning that your conversation will remain private. This is particularly important if you’re working in security.
If you do need to apply for a licence, you can do so through OFCOM. A standard licence for an organisation costs £75 and is valid for up to five years. However, if you require a custom licence with your own private channel, you’ll be looking at a higher cost. This will be dependent on the geographical location that you require your channel to operate within.
At NRC Radio, we understand that the OFCOM licence application process can feel complicated, especially if it’s the first time you’ve been through the process. When you purchase your radios through NRC, we will be there to guide you through every step of the process. We can even complete the application on your behalf, taking one worry off your plate and leaving you free to focus on what’s really important to your business.
You’ll also need to consider what accessories you’ll need, alongside your two way radio system. This could include headsets for hands-free operation whilst driving, spare batteries to avoid downtime and belt clips to keep your radios safe when you’re on the move.
Whichever system you choose, we’d highly recommend investing in spare batteries. Whilst many radio systems feature outstanding battery performance, running out of battery is the last thing that you want to happen, especially if your workers could be at risk in their working environment. After all, it isn’t always practical or convenient to stop to charge your radio. Having a spare battery on hand acts as a lifeline for your workers, helping to keep them safe and in constant contact when they need it the most.
Finally, every organisation needs to consider their bottom line. Whilst we’d all like to choose a radio system with the most up to date features, unfortunately, we also need to consider the budget.
However, it’s important to ensure that you also choose a system that has all the features that you need. Otherwise, you could end up in a situation later down the line when you need to upgrade your two way radio system and face further costs.
So, whilst budget is critical, it’s important to balance this with the essential features that your business requires from your two way radio system.
What Is The Difference Between A Walkie Talkie And A Two Way Radio?
The terms walkie talkie and two way radio are often used interchangeably, leaving many people wondering what is the difference between a walkie talkie and a two way radio. Essentially, both of these terms mean the same thing – two or more radios that are able to communicate with each other. These allow people to stay in contact, even when mobile phone coverage is poor. So, whether you hear the term walkie talkie or two way radio, they are referring to the same thing.
Which Is Better UHF OR VHF Radio?
The choice between a UHF radio and a VHF radio is often a difficult one to make, and there is no straight answer as to which is the best. This is because it depends on the needs of the business. UHF radios are usually the radio of choice for indoor use, as the narrow waves find it easier to penetrate concrete and metal structures. VHF radios are not ideal for use indoors as the signal can be interrupted by buildings. However, VHF waves are able to travel further, thanks to the longer wavelength. This makes VHF radios ideal for use outdoors, where range is important.
It can be difficult to know where to start when you’re selecting a two way radio system, whether you’re shopping for your business or for personal use. However, we hope that this two way radio buying guide has given you some things to consider, as well as some handy pointers to make your selection process slightly easier.
If you need help choosing the right two way radio system for your business, we’re always happy to assist. Simply give us a call on 0151 263 9993 or fill out our contact form today.