Which Type of Radio

Choosing a Two-Way Radio

What Type of Radio Do I Need?

Choosing the right two way radio for your particular needs is an important decision. Today's 2 way radios offer many features. Understanding those features and how they apply to your needs will help you choose a radio that can significantly improve your daily business operations, or your pleasure when sharing information with friends and family.  This assessment will help you identify the type of handheld 2-way radio (VHF, UHF, FRS, GMRS, MURS, etc.), and features you might need.

 

10 Must-Answer Questions to Get the Right Radio


 

                     Question         Recommendation
   
1. Will the radio be for personal or business use?     Select Radio TYPE
   
              Personal Use: Personal Use:
                       • Personal use on land - no license, minimum range   FRS
                       • Personal use on land - a license,  greater range   GMRS, MURS, or CB
                       • Personal use on land - a license,  greater range - must pass an exam   Ham (Amateur Radio)
                       • Personal use boating   Marine Radio *
                       • Personal use in the air (flying or ballooning)   AirBand Radio *
 
* Marine & Airband radios have specific channel setups designed by the FCC.
   
              Business or Government Use: Business or Government Use:
                       • Business use – will be used with current radios  Check compatibility
                       • Business use - will be used:  
                             • Indoors only   UHF
                             • Both indoors and outdoors   UHF or CB *
                             • Mostly Outdoors, with clear line-of-sight  (golf course, boating, hiking, etc.)   VHF or CB *
                             • Mostly Outdoors, with obstacles (forests, buildings, hills, etc.) - may require a repeater   UHF
                             • Outdoors on the waterways   Marine Radios
                             • Outdoors both on the waterways & on land   Marine Radios with Land Channels
   
* CB radio channels may have more interference since they are not regulated thru licensing.  
   
2. How many separate groups of people will regularly communicate?       # of CHANNELS
                            • 1 - 8 groups   16 or more channels
                            • 9 - 15 groups   32 or more channels
                            • 16 – 30 groups   128 or more channels
                            • more than 30 groups   512 channels & up
                            • large number of groups – need flexibility to change configuration quickly   Dynamic group configuration
                            • large number of groups – need to maximize the use of your licensed channels   Trunking capable
   
3. The location where the radio will be used can best be described as:    Select POWER
   
              Indoors: Indoors:
                            • within 1 building less than 200,000sq ft, single story¹   1.5 - 2 watts
                            • within 1 building, that has 1-9 floors ¹   2 watts
                            • within 1 building, that has 10-24 floors ¹   4 - 5 watts
                            • within 1 building, that has 25 or more floors ¹   4 - 5 watts, may require repeater
   
              Both Indoors & Outdoors: Both Indoors & Outdoors:
                           • within & between 2 - 4 structures in close proximity¹   1.5 - 2 watts
                           • within & between 5 - 10 buildings in close proximity¹   4 - 5 watts
                           • within & between 10 or more buildings¹ & over 1 mile   4 - 5 watts, may require repeater
   
              Outdoors: Outdoors:
                           • within a range of < 1 mile (clear line-of-sight)¹   1 - 2 watts
                           • within a range of < 1 mile (obstacles)¹   4 - 5 watts
                           • within a range of < 2 miles (clear line-of-sight)¹   2 watts
                           • within a range of < 2 miles (obstacles)¹   4 - 5 watts
                           • within a range of < 4 miles (clear line-of-sight)¹   4 - 5 watts
                           • within a range of < 4 miles (obstacles)¹   4 - 5 watts, may require repeater
                           • within a range of > 4 or more miles¹   4 - 5 watts, may require repeater
                           • Boating   Marine Radios

      ¹ There is no guarantee of coverage and range.          
           • These are guidelines only, every location is different.
           • Concrete & steel create 'dead spots'. The more concrete & steel in a structure the greater possibility repeaters will be needed.
           • Where more than one choice applies (example: 4-6 buildings, one building has more than 10 floors) choose the higher wattage.

   
4. Is there combustible gas or materials where the radio will be used?    Select a radio that is:
                                                • Yes   Intrinsically Safe Radios
   
5. Will the radio be used in very noisy locations?    Select a radio that has:
                                                • Yes   700mW or Louder Audio Output
MVX-261  MEVX-261  F3001 | F4001   F1000 | F2000
Kenwood NX-240      Kenwood NX-340
6. Will the radio be used in very quiet locations?    Select a radio that has:
                                                • Yes   Whisper Mode
   
7. Is security an issue?    Look for these features:
                                                • Yes   Man Down
    Emergency Mode
    Surveillance mode
    Siren or Alarm Alert
    Stun / Kill / Revive Radio
    Encryption / Voice Scrambler
   
8. Will the radio be used in locations with water or dust?    Select a radio that is rated:
                                                • Yes   IP57, IP67 or IP68
  MEVX-S24    F1000 | F2000    MVX-451
9. How many functions do you want to preprogram into keys?    Select a radio that has:
                                                • few or none   2 programmable keys
                                                • 6 or Less   6 or more programmable keys
                                                • more than 6   9 or more programmable keys
   
10. Will the user need hands-free operation or  change channels without looking?    Select a radio that has:
                                                • Yes – hands-free   VOX Ready with a VOX Headset
                                    • Yes – without looking   Channel Announce
   

 

 

Now that you have finished the assessment you should know:


Other Considerations When Choosing a Radio

Plan Ahead - When selecting your two-way radio, it’s important to plan ahead. Think about how many people and groups of people will need to communicate now and in the future. You’ll want to buy radios will accommodate your business growth 3-5 years in the future. You might spend a little more now, but it will be much less expensive than replacing all your radios if they can’t handle your communication requirements in the immediate future.
 

In addition, it is important to understand that every environment is different. No one can predict exactly how a radio will perform in every setting. You may find in your particular location, for the best performance, you might need a repeater to ‘boost’ the signal where obstacles prevent clear communications. Or, you may wish to add functions that require a base station, mobile unit, or in the case of more complex communication needs, a trunking system. This assessment is simply meant to help you choose the most appropriate handheld device for your use, it is not a guarantee of performance.

 

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