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Do you wish to be in touch with your acquaintances on the beat? Or, do you want to chat with your mountain climbing companion 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 choose:
How much power do you need and how many channels do you require?
An FRS or Family Radio Service model will be perfect if you only need the most basic use. 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 purchase a GMRS system.
What is your required range?
Most radios can transmit and receive in a range of 2 miles. This is because factors like weather, topography, metal surfaces, human bodies, electromagnetic interference and other obstructions can impact radio performance. Don’t be taken in by tall claims of manufacturers, rather make sure that you keep these things in mind before you buy a radio system.
At what height will you use two-way radios?
Will you utilize your radio system in a place in an elevated urban jungle, or will you use it to communicate to a colleague located in the valley below while you are at the mountain top, or will you use it on completely flat land?
When radio waves are transmitted from a height, it could travel a much longer distance. If the transmission tower is located in an elevated area or if you would be using the radio system from an elevated portion, then its range will surely increase. While choosing your system, you have to take into consideration the elevation, since it has the capacity to increase the range.
What is the effective radiated power of the antenna?
A radio antenna with high effective radiated power can capture waves that are 12.5 inches in length. Compared to a system with smaller antennas, systems with bigger antennas has higher levels of effective radiated power, which makes it as having more sense. But people want small antennas because they look chic. You need to select an antenna based on the application that you need. Try not to go for smaller antennas simply because they look better. You have to remember that a long range cannot be covered by smaller antennas.
Do you want some level of privacy?
Opting for a CDCSS (Continuous Digital Coded Squelch System) is ideal if you are operating your 2-way radio in a busy place and you are anticipating a lot of interference. You may be able to divide channels using privacy codes with the help of CDCSS.
Communicating with privacy codes minimizes, but does not fully eliminate, irritating chatter. Do note that the CDCSS will not make your communication private.
Other factors to take into account
Some other factors that are worthy to consider are the weight of the radio set, the calling features, keypad locks, weather radio, channel-scanning capabilities, voice activated or VOX system, headset considerations, channel compatibility and the battery type used.
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.
Read more about two way radios and accessories.