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Two Way Radio FAQs

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two way radios

Two way radios are communication devices which send and recieve audio and data using radio waves. Two way radios are a technology that allows individuals to keep in contact with each other. Each user is given a two way radio device that sends and receives audio and data. User A presses the PTT and speaks while user B listens and vice versa. We have put together some two way radio faqs below.


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You may also know two way radios as walkie talkies. In the UK and Europe a walkie talkie typically relates to licence-free radios used by consumers. The name two way radios is then used to refer to licenced radio equipment and professional grade licence-free radios. Of course there is no strict rule to this and if you are in the USA you will likely refer to all two way radios as walkie talkies.

Two Way Radio FAQs

As you can probably tell by the above text, two way radios can get complicated very quickly and we are only talking about the names at the minute.

If you are new to two way radios we suggest you read as many articles on our website as possible so you can better understand what they can be used for, where they can be used, how they can integrate with existing systems or be stand alone systems.

For those of you already using two way radios we have put together some common questions and answers for you. The first 6 questions below require more detailed explanation so we have provided links in the answers to those pages for you to view.

Do I need an Ofcom Business Radio Licence?

If you have licence-free PMR446 walkie talkies then no you do not. If you have licenced two way radios you will need to purchase an Ofcom business radio licence. To learn more about the different types of licences available view our article, Do I Need an Ofcom Business Radio Licence?

What Is Two Way Radio Lingo?

Two way radio lingo is a set of phrases that you can say individually or as part of a sentence so that each radio user can clearly understand what is being said, when to speak and when to listen. You can learn the requirements in our article, The Ultimate Guide to Two Way Radio Lingo

What Is The Difference Between Licence-free and Licenced Two Way Radios?

In the EMEA region a licence-free radio operates on the 446MHz frequency and has a maximum power output of 0.5 watts. A handheld licenced two way radio has a power output between 1 and 5 watts. Mobile two way radios have power outputs between 1 watt and 40 watts. Both handheld and mobile two way radios require an Ofcom business licence to use them. For more in depth details view our article, Licence-Free vs Licenced Two Way Radios

What Are The Benefits of Digital Two Way Radios Vs Analogue?

Digital two way radios send and recieve voice and data using data packets like a PC. This means they can integrate into software applications. in addition the channel capacity is greater, they have clearer audio, a longer range, increased battery life, increased security and privacy, GPS tracking and data services. For a more detailed explanation view our article, What Are The Benefits of Digital Two Way Radios Vs Analogue?

What is Atex Two Way Radio Classification?

Atex two way radios are given specific classifications to work in explosive areas. Atex is a classification for controlling explosive atmospheres. Any product that is taken into an explosive atmosphere area needs to be given an Atex certificate. This demonstrates that a product is safe to work in certain explosive areas. To learn more click here, ‘Understand ATEX Two Way Radios Certified Classification

What is the Difference Between a Walkie Talkie and a Two Way Radios?

Technically they are both the same. They both refer to the same definition of a handheld radio. Within the EMEA licence-free consumer two way radios are referred to as Walkie Talkies and any other radio is referred to as a two way radio. In the USA, typically all handheld radios are referred to as walkie talkies. For more information read our article, What is the Difference Between a Walkie Talkie and a Two Way Radio?

Can You Use Two Way Radios While Driving?

Yes, there is an exemption for two way radios which is designed or adapted for the purpose of transmitting and receiving spoken messages; and operates on any frequency other than 880 MHz to 915 MHz, 925 MHz to 960 MHz, 1710 MHz to 1785 MHz, 1805 MHz to 1880 MHz, 1900 MHz to 1980 MHz or 2110 MHz to 2170 MHz.
The exception was created because so many government and private organisations such as taxis use 2 way radios.

How Do I Extend The Range Of Two Way Radios?

For handheld two way radios you should consider using a repeater base station to boost the signal. For vehicle two way radios make sure you have the correct antenna type for your frequency and place in in the middle of the roof.

Are There Two Way Radios You Can Use Without A Licence?

Yes, they are referred to in the EMEA as PMR446 radios and are licence-free radios, meaning you do not need a licence but they are limited at 0.5 watts.

Can Different Two Way Radios Communicate?

Provided that they can operate on the exact same frequency setup then yes they can.

What Is The Squelch On A Two Way Radio?

Squelch means to quell, silence or suppress. In two way radios squelch is the process of muting a channel when there is nothing on it. When a channel is open but no transmission is taking place you can hear white noise or hissing. Squelch mutes this.

What Frequency Do Two Way Radios Use?

UHF (Ultra High Frequency) or Very High Frequency (VHF) but for two way radios to communicate together they must be on the same frequency either UHF or VHF.

What Are The Licence Free Frequencies?

There are 8 defined channels for licence-free radios on the UHF band:
446.00625
446.01875
446.03125
446.04375
446.05625
446.06875
446.08125
446.09375

How Many Two Way Radios To Use?

That simply depends on the scenario in which you want to use them. You can have as many two way radios as you need and provided they are programmed to communicate together you can have as many as you require.

Are Two Way Radios Legal?

Yes two way radios are legal. You can legally use licence-free two way radios without any licence. If you are using licenced two way radios then you must have a valid Ofcom business radio licence otherwise you would be operating them illegally.

How Do I Program Two Way Radios?

You will need two way radio programming software for the brand of radio you are trying to program. Also you need a programming cable to connect to a PC and the radio.
We advise contacting a two way radio supplier for assistance with programming radios as they can be complicated.

What Is A CTCSS Code On Two Way Radios?

CTCSS stands for Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System is an in-band signaling that is used to stop other users listening in on a shared communication channel. This is particularly useful on licence-free radios which all share the same frequencies.

Can Two Way Radios Be Traced?

Yes but only if the two way radio being used has GPS enabled and is connected to a control room. The location functionality can be always-on or only switched on in specific situations such as when the emergency button is pressed.

How Long Does a 2 Way Radio Last?

If you look after a 2 way radio it can last for years. There is no specific time frame for the duration. Standard warranty is typically 12 to 24 months and you can extend some warranties to take this to 5 years. Then of course you can then pay to have your 2 way radio repaired. We have seen some 2 way radios that are 20 years + in age.

Our Thoughts

Two way radios can seem very simple at first glance and once you have the correct set up they are. However, there are many different types of two way radios and systems and features you may require. For this reason we advise that you read as many articles on our website so that you can gain a better understanding of what is available and where they can be used so that you can enhance your efficiency and productivity.

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