Do you wish to be in contact with your acquaintances on the beat? Or, do you want to chat with your mountain climbing partner whose mountaineering skills are going downhill? If these are some of
your concerns, then a two way radio might just be what you are looking for. The trick is to buy the right system that will help you perform efficiently. And, here’s a guide that will help you
How much power do you need and how many channels do you require?
If you need a two-way radio system for basic use, then go with FRS (Family Radio Service) models, which operate on 0.5 watt of power and transmit on 14 channels. If you want higher power, choose GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service), which operate on 1-2 watts of power and can transmit on 22 channels. The Federal Communications Commission requires you to have a 5 year license to use GMRS bands. Also, if you want more channels, then buy a GMRS system.
How much range do you require?
Two miles is usually the range that a lot of radios can transmit and receive. This is because factors like weather, topography, metal surfaces, human bodies, electromagnetic interference and other obstructions can impact radio performance. Keep this in mind before buying a radio system and do not be taken in by tall claims made by the manufacturer.
At what height will you use two-way radios?
Will you use your radio system in an area in an increased urban jungle, or will you use it from a mountain top to communicate with your colleague in the valley below, or will you make use of it on completely flat land?
When radio waves are transmitted from a height, it could travel a much longer distance. If you are planning to use the radio system from an elevated place, or if the transmission tower is located at an elevated place, the radio's range will increase. Elevation can dramatically increase the range and you must take this factor into account while choosing your system.
What is the effective radiated power of the antenna?
Waves that are 12.5 inches in length can be captured by a radio antenna with high effective radiated power. A system with bigger antennas has more effective radiated power and therefore makes more sense than a system with smaller antennas. However, since small antennas look more chic, people want them more than bigger ones. You must choose the antenna based on your application - do not go for smaller antennas just because they look great, and remember, smaller antennas cannot cover a long range.
Do you want some level of privacy?
If you are operating your two-way radio in a busy place, and expect that there will be interference, then you should opt for a system that features CDCSS (Continuous Digital Coded Squelch System). CDCSS helps you divide channels by using privacy codes.
Annoying chatter is minimized, although not fully cut out, when you communicate with privacy codes. Do note that the CDCSS will not make your communication private.
Other factors to take into account
Size of the radio set, its weight, calling features, channel-scanning capabilities, keypad locks, voice activated or VOX system, weather radio, noise filters, headset considerations, battery type used, and channel compatibility are some of the other factors you may want to consider.
Before you buy a two-way radio system, make use of the one-way guide provided above. We hope it will help you make the right decision.