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Choosing a Radio


Picking the correct radio can be overwhelming and somewhat intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Let us help you navigate down the easy path to choosing the perfect radio for your needs. 


Do I need a UHF or VHF radio? 


The majority of two-way radio users use UHF radios. Their wavelengths are shorter and they can penetrate through steel, concrete,

glass, and other obstacles making them ideal for most users including indoor businesses. 

VHF radios are ideal for open, flat terrain with a clear line of sight. Their wavelengths cover a much greater distance, but buildings, trees, etc. can cause signal interference. 

UHF radios cannot talk to VHF radios. 

How powerful does my radio need to be? 

It's not uncommon to see two-way radios advertised with such claims as 8 miles of coverage. It's important to remember that this is based on the most optimum conditions. An optimum condition is usually defined as standing on a hill communicating across an open field directly in line of sight of the recipient of the transmission. See below for a more realistic example of normal coverage areas:

Power Rating

Outdoor Rating

Square Footage

1 Watt

2 Watt

3 Watt

4 Watt

1 Mile

150,000 ft²

2 Miles

250,000 ft²

3 Miles

300,000 ft²

4 Miles

350,000 ft²

Though this is ordinarily not the case, there are situations when even a 4-watt radio does not provide adequate coverage. For example, very large multi-floor buildings, many buildings in a large campus-style environment, tremendous amounts of steel or concrete in a building's construction, hilly or wooden terrain, etc. In these instances, a radio repeater can be used to enlarge the coverage area. Each radio channel you use would require its own repeater. Contact us and one of our communication specialists will help you with the perfect solution. 

Should I use an analog radio or a digital radio? 

Analog radios have been around for nearly 100 years and the technology really hasn't changed that much over the years. They have always been the standard and that's why so many people are still using them today. They normally don't have a lot of bells and whistles. They just work and that's what they are supposed to do. Here are some of the biggest advantages to using analog radios over digital radios: 

  • They are very easy to use. 

  • They cost less. 

  • They provide a larger coverage area as the signal will continue to travel even after it gets weak. 

Digital radios use digital technology and we are now certainly living in a digital age. We can expect continued advancements and capabilities as this technology continues to emerge and grow. Here are some of the biggest advantages to using digital radios over analog radios:

  • They have crystal clear sound until the signal drops off completely. 

  • They have up to 50% longer battery life. 

  • They have built-in noise-canceling technology. 

  • They have improved security features. 

  • They have an analog to digital migration path. Digital radios can operate in analog and digital mode. This allows companies currently using analog radios an easy way to migrate to an all digital radio system. Add on or more digital radios at a time as your budget allows. 

Do I need an FCC license? 

You are required to have an FCC license when using two-way radio equipment that is above 2 watts of power. If you have questions or would like assistance in obtaining a license, please contact us and one of our communication specialists will be happy to assist you. 

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