Feb 10, 2022


Categories: News

What Should I Look For When Buying A Walkie Talkie?

When you’re looking for the right two way radio system, the choices can feel overwhelming. This is only natural, as there are so many different options available, and you want to make the right choice. This leaves many people wondering ‘what should I look for when buying a walkie talkie?’.

In this article, we’ll talk you through some of the most important things to look for in a two way radio, including the power output, the frequency on which it communicates and other essential features that you might require.

What Is A Two Way Radio?

Two way radios, sometimes referred to informally as walkie talkies, are devices which enable users to keep in constant contact with each other. They use radio waves to communicate, meaning that they are not reliant on mobile phone signal. This means that they are often able to communicate in areas where mobile phone coverage may be patchy, such as remote locations.

You’ll find two way radios used in almost every area of industry. For example, two way radios are often used in retail for communication between shop floor staff and warehouse staff, as well as by the security staff. They are also used in the transport sector, where they facilitate a continuous channel of communication between drivers and control staff.

Need help finding the right two way radio system for your business?

Fill out our contact form or give us a call on 0151 263 9993

What To Look For In A Two Way Radio

It can be hard to know what to look for when you’re shopping for two way radios. From power outputs and operating frequencies to location tracking and water resistance, there are many different things to consider.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you’ll need to consider when you’re choosing a two way radio system for your business.

1.     Power Output

An important factor you’ll need to consider when buying a two way radio is the power output. Each radio will have its own power output, which is measured in watts. Generally speaking, the higher the power output is, the further it will be able to transmit.

Many two way radio systems enable you to select the power at which you want to transmit. You might see this referred to as the power selectable feature, enabling you to choose from high and low power modes.

If you’re communicating short distance, it’s always best to use the low power mode, as it will help to conserve battery, as well as limiting who can overhear your conversations. However, if you’re communicating over a long distance, you’ll need to use the high power mode to extend the range of your two way radio.

So, when you’re shopping for two way radios, it’s important that you consider the power output of the device. If you plan to communicate over a long distance, you’ll need to opt for a radio with a high power output. For example, the DigiX Nano has a power rating of up to 2W, whilst the DigiX Halo has a transmitting power of up to 5W.

2.     Operating Frequency

Two way radios use radio waves to communicate. There are a wide range of frequencies over which two way radios can communicate, from 30MHz right up to 1,000MHz. These frequencies are divided into two categories:

  • Very High Frequency (VHF) – between 30MHz and 300MHz
  • Ultra High Frequency (UHF) – between 300MHz and 1,000 MHz

When making the choice between VHF and UHF, you’ll need to consider where the radios will be used. VHF radios are suitable for long distance use, providing there aren’t any obstacles. In contrast, UHF radios are better suited to short distances and are able to pass through obstacles such as walls, making them suitable for use inside buildings.

Some two way radios will only be able to communicate on certain frequencies, whilst others may enable you to communicate in both VHF and UHF ranges. It’s important that you carefully consider which frequency range is best for your requirements before committing to purchase a two way radio system. This way, you can ensure that your chosen two way radio system will be compatible with your chosen frequency.

3.     Licensing Requirements

Whilst there are some types of two way radio that do not require a licence for use, the vast majority of commercial radios will require a licence from Ofcom for use. The deciding factor for whether a walkie talkie requires a licence is the frequency on which it operates.

There are eight licence-free channels in the UK. These can be used by anyone that tunes their radio into the channel. This means that the channels can become busy in built-up areas, so you may experience interference, or have the risk of others overhearing your conversations.

If you want to ensure that your channel is private, you can choose to use a licenced channel. You will need to pay an annual licence fee to Ofcom for this service, and you will be assigned a specific frequency to use within your geographic location.

4.     Safety Features

Safety is essential in the workplace, especially if your workers often work alone. In fact, statistics from the British Crime Survey indicate that up to 150 lone workers are attacked physically or verbally at work every single day. This highlights the importance of keeping your workers safe at work.

You can prioritise the safety of lone workers by choosing a two way radio system that has in-built safety features. These could include:

  • Emergency alarm button
  • Man down feature
  • GPS location tracking
  • Kill/revive functionality
  • Remote monitor

These important safety features will help to ensure that your workers remain safe at work, even when they’re working alone. You can rest assured that you can remain in constant contact, and that you’ll receive an alert should your worker become injured or endangered during their time at work.

5.     Dust And Water Resistance

Contaminants such as dust and water are commonplace in many industries, including construction, agriculture and warehousing. This often leads to equipment becoming damaged and eventually breaking down.

If you work in an industry where contamination levels are high, it’s best to opt for a two way radio system that offers protection against dust and water. You can tell how water resistant a radio is based on its IP rating.

For example, a two way radio that is rated as IP54 such as the DigiX ECHO offers protection against limited dust ingress, as well as water spray. However, it would not protect the radio if it was submerged in water.

For enhanced protection, you’d need to look for a two way radio with IP67 or IP68 protection, such as the DigiX NEO or the DigiX Link. IP67 protects the radio from submersion in water up to depths of 1 metre for up to 30 minutes, whilst an IP68 rating means that the radio can be immersed in depths of over 1 metre.

The IP rating that you’ll need to look for when you’re choosing a two way radio will depend on the environment in which you are working and the conditions that the radio will be subjected to.

Confused about two way radio systems?

Fill out our contact form or give us a call on 0151 263 9993

Walkie Talkie Vs Two Way Radio – Is There A Difference?

Many people wonder whether there is a difference between walkie talkies and two way radios. Of course, you need to know that you’re buying the right type of device to keep your employees connected.

The truth is, ‘walkie talkie’ is just another name for a two way radio. Whilst ‘two way radio’ is usually seen as the official term for this type of communication device, some people like to refer to them more informally as walkie talkies. There’s no right or wrong, but both names refer to the same thing.

What Is A Good Brand Of Walkie Talkie?

There are lots of different brands of two way radio on the market, including DigiX, Motorola and Kenwood. So, how do you know which is the best brand of walkie talkie to choose for your business?

At NRC Radio, we supply all of the leading manufacturers radio equipment, alongside the professional DigiX range. This is a broad and versatile range, with options available to suit all businesses and requirements. Whether you’re looking for a licenced radio system or a licence-free solution, DigiX has a two way radio system available to meet your needs.

The type of radio that you’ll require will be completely dependent on the needs of your business, as well as the environment in which you operate. It’s a completely individual decision that needs to be tailored to the unique requirements of your business.

Here at NRC Radio, we specialise in working closely with businesses to find the right two way radio system to meet their needs. Whether you’re working in the construction industry, the education sector or the field of security, we can help you to find the perfect two way radio system to keep you connected at all times.

Need help finding the right two way radio system for your business?

Fill out our contact form or give us a call on 0151 263 9993

Related Questions

Which Frequency Is Best For Walkie Talkie?

Two way radios operate on frequencies ranging from 30MHz right up to 1,000MHz. The frequency that will be right for your business will depend on  where you plan to use the radios and the distance from which you need to communicate. If you’re unsure which is the best frequency for your two way radio system, it’s best to seek advice from a specialist in two way radio technology. At NRC Radio, we’re always happy to offer advice and assist you in finding the right two way radio system to meet your business requirements.

Do You Need A Licence For Walkie Talkies?

Whether or not you’ll need a licence for your two way radios will depend on the frequency on which you plan to communicate. There are eight licence-free radio channels in the UK that can be freely used by anyone with a two way radio. However, these channels can quickly become congested, meaning that you’ll hear other conversations as well as your own. This also means that your channel of communication will not be private, as anyone can tune in and listen.

If you need a private channel of communication, you’ll need to opt for a licensed two way radio system. You can apply for this licence from Ofcom. At NRC Radio, we regularly assist our customers with their Ofcom licence application, making the process as easy and straightforward as possible.

In Summary

It can feel overwhelming when you begin looking at two way radio systems for your business. There are so many different options out there – how do you know which one is right for your business requirements? After all, you don’t want to make the wrong decision.

In this article, we’ve answered the question ‘what should I look for when buying a walkie talkie’, talking you through some of the different features you might see when you’re browsing two way radio systems.

If you need assistance choosing the right two way radio solution for your business, we’re always happy to help. At NRC Radio, we have many years of experience in helping businesses to find the right two way radio system for their requirements. That’s why businesses across the country rely on NRC Radio for their communication needs.

To discover the perfect two way radio system to keep your business connected, give us a call today. We’re always happy to help!

Looking for the perfect two way radio system for your business?

Fill out our contact form or give us a call on 0151 263 9993