Frequently Asked Questions About Two-Way Radios

What is the difference between a walkie-talkie and a two-way radio?

Although both appellations are used interchangeably there are almost imperceptible differences: The term “Two-way radio” refers to a radio that can both receive and transmit radio signals. The term “Walkie talkie” refers to a handheld portable radio. A walkie talkie is a two-way radio, but a two-way radio is not always a walkie talkie.

What is the difference between UHF and VHF?

UHF stands for “Ultra High Frequency” while VHF stands for “Very High Frequency.” VHF devices have longer wavelengths and operate at a lower frequency than UHF. UHF operates at a higher frequency, but the range is less than VHF. UHF is more likely to be used where signals need to penetrate building walls while VHF is more likely to be used in clear outside environments for the increased range.

What is the difference between an analog and a digital two-way radio?

Analog signals have continuous electrical signals, while digital signals have non-continuous electrical signals. Digital radios are known to have better voice quality, increased range capacity, better signal coverage and extended battery life.

What is the best brand of two-way radio?

Your choice of a two-way radio will depend on your individual requirements. BP Multipage stock a wide range of two-way radios from some of the world’s leading suppliers, including, Motorola, Kenwood, Hytera and Entel. You can shop our two-way radios here

What is the man-down feature on a two-way radio used for?

The man-down function on a two-way radio is used so that if a radio is stationary at a horizontal position for a certain length of time an alarm will be set off altering other users or the control centre who can then send help. A radio with this function usually beeps first to warn the user that the alarm signal will be sent if the radio is not positioned upright again. This type of radio is ideal for lone workers on construction sites, in factories, warehouses or quarries, it is also often a function required by security staff, and emergency services staff.

Do you have to program a two-way radio?

All licensed radios must be programmed to enable them to make and receive calls. License-free radios, or walkie-talkies, do not need to be programmed and can be used straight from the box.

Do you need a license for a walkie-talkie?

If your radio is not working off a pre-programmed license-free frequency it will need a license. The possession and use of radio equipment in Ireland are governed by the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1926. Radio Licenses in Ireland are currently issued by ComReg and BP Multipage provides Third Party Business Radio licenses purchased through ComReg.

What is a mobile two-way radio?

A mobile radio specifically refers to the type of two-way radio device that is mounted inside a vehicle and transmitter-receivers that are installed on and powered by motor vehicles. These radios are widely used by emergency services including police, ambulance and fire departments, and are also commonly used by taxi firms and delivery services. Mobile radios are sometimes used as stationary desk-mounted radios in control rooms etc. In this instance they would be installed with an uninterrupted power supply so you would not need to worry about battery charge, and they are capable of transmitting at higher power than a standard hand radio.

What is a base station?

A two-way radio base station is a transceiver normally in a fixed location to act as a central connection point for handheld and mobile radios to communicate. For trunked systems, the base station acts as the main control centre for the system by assigning channels and groups to radio users.

What is a Repeater?

A repeater is a type of base station used in repeat mode for increasing the coverage of handheld and mobile radios. It receives radio signals and retransmits them at a higher elevation and/or higher power so that the signal can continue over a longer distance. Having multiple repeaters allows you to expand your site traffic and coverage to new buildings or even connect multiple geographically distant sites over network IP.

What are the benefits of a two-way radio?

As a communication solution, two-way radios are one of the most cost-effective. They provide a long-term solution to communication needs within all types of business, they are quite durable and provide instantaneous communication as well as improved worker safety and increased profitability of businesses.

What is the range of a two-way radio?

The range of your two-way radio will depend on many factors including if it is UHF or VHF. The range can vary from a few hundred meters to a couple of miles or more, this also depends on the infrastructure being used such as base stations and repeaters. It is also important to consider that obstacles such as walls, buildings and densely built-up areas can reduce the range significantly. The antenna and signal length of the radio must also be taken into consideration.

What is a TPBR license?

TPBR stands for Third Party Business radio. The Third Party Business Radio (“TPBR”) licensing program supplies the business radio community with a versatile service benefaction that can be tailored to meet the short-term or long-term needs of individual users as they change over time. The TPBR license allows licensees to provide business radio services to third parties, The Third Party Business Radio (“TPBR”) licensing scheme provides the business radio community with a versatile service offering that can be tailored to meet the short-term or longer-term needs of individual users as they change over time. Disparate to traditional business radio licenses, the TPBR license allows licensees to provide business radio services to third parties throughout the country without the need for individual licensing of business radio operations. BP Multipage is a Third Party Business Radio License Holder.

What is the difference between license and license-free radios?

License-free two-way radios do not require programming or licenses to operate, licensed radios require programming onto a licensed frequency in this case a business radio license or TPBR will be required. License free radios work in a limited frequency band 446Mhz, and they are also normally limited to 1W transmit power which reduces their range. Depending on the model and Comreg requirements, licensed hand portable radios can be used with up to 5W transmit power. Licensed mobile radios can be used with up to 20W transmit power.

How long does a two-way radio battery last?

This depends greatly upon the use of the radio, nearly all radios have rechargeable batteries. Some models on the market have batteries that claim to last shift-long. Extra batteries may also be purchased and swapped out if running low.

What are “channels” on a two-way radio?

A channel on a two-way radio is an individual line enabling multiple people to communicate without having to decide who talks when. Most radios have several channels. Channels are often selected for use by specific teams/departments as specific teams normally select a channel that only that team will use for communication. Example: Security team uses Channel 1 while ERT team uses Channel 2.

What two-way radio should I buy?

This will greatly depend upon the use of the radio and your individual requirements. When buying a two-way radio, you must consider if you need licensed or license-free radios, the number of users, if you need man-down functions, if the radio is being used by lone workers, the elements the radio will be exposed to, VHF or UHF? Analog or Digital? and many more factors. BP Multipage have highly knowledgeable sales executives who will talk you through your choices and will make sure you get the radio that is best suited to your needs. Call BP Multipage on 01 6708555 or you can browse our radios here

What does push-to-talk mean?

Push-to-Talk refers to the pressing of the button on your two-way device which switches from voice reception mode to voice transmission mode, this enables instantaneous communication between users. Push-To-Talk is also referred to as Press-to-Talk.

Can I buy parts and accessories for my two-way radio?

Yes. Parts and accessories can be purchased for your two-way radio. BP Multipage stock a wide variety of chargers, batteries, belt clips, antennas, cases, speaker microphones, and earpieces. You can browse our wide range of radio accessories here

What is an ATEX-certified radio?

ATEX certified means the product meets regulations for the safe use of the radio in a potentially explosive environment or hazardous atmosphere.

What are the different types of antennas for a radio?

There are three main types of antennas, UHF, VHF and 700/800. Antennas with higher frequencies have a shorter wavelength and ultimately the antenna will be smaller.

What sizes do two-way radio antennas come in?

Antennas come in various lengths, stubby, whip and helical. Stubby antennas are short in length and provide less range than whip, they are best used with UHF frequency bands. Whip antennas are longer in length than stubby antennas and can help increase the range of your two-way radio. Helical Antennas come in various sizes are usually thicker and often provide great range for your two-way device.

Have a question that is not answered here? Please feel free to contact us and we would be more than happy to help.

Email sales@bpmultipage.ie

Call +353 (0) 1 670 8555