Deciding Which 2 Way Radio To Buy

A 2 way radio is a radio that can both receive and transmit radio signals. Also called a transceiver, 2 way radios can come in stationary base, mobile or hand-held forms. A mobile phone is actually one form of 2 way radio, utilizing two radio bands to send and receive signals.

Maybe you want to keep in contact with your skiing group on a mountainside, or keep track of your mountaineering partners, or even, in a more short-range situation, stay in constant communication with your employees; a transceiver that has been designed for that purpose is the only suitable option.

Buying a 2 way radio can be a confusing experience of range capabilities, radio bands and antennae amplification levels, but the information detailed here should make things a little clearer for you.

So what is the intended use for your transceiver? Do you need a long range system that will work on a General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) band or do you just need a low power output, short-range radio that will work on the Family Radio Service (FRS) band?

When looking at different products, you must also remember to be subjective in your choice as most radios will advertise only the best case scenario for range abilities. What you could be reading is the range abilities of a transceiver that is being used one thousand feet high on a mountainside, transmitting to somebody in a valley; so always bear in mind that in a real-world situation, the average range ability of a 2 way radio is around two miles.

So with all the numerical information that manufacturers put on 2 way radio packaging, how can you know whether you are getting a good radio? What information should you look for? Well, what you need to know to identify a high-performing 2 way radio is the effective radiated power. The effective radiated power is the amount of power that an antenna is radiating.

The reason radio masts are so large is that, with the average radio wave being around twelve inches in length, the larger the antenna is, the better it is at capturing radio waves. Though this presents a problem for manufacturers as a huge antenna is going to mean less portability; it is not easy trying to fit a meter long aerial into a rucksack! A unit with an antenna the same length as the device body would be a good compromise.

Always remember that a long range 2 way radio will also require a paid subscription to the GMRS band, which was first developed for commercial use. A subscription service will be easy to obtain, just ask for advice from the person selling you the device as to where and how to acquire one. On the other hand, if you only need a short-range radio, the FRS band is free to use.

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