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Which Two-Way Radio Is Right For You?

One Of The Oldest, Most Reliable Forms of Electronic Communication

In today’s digital, cellularly connected age, two-way radios have the unfair reputation of being considered outdated technology by some, with many people associating them with either being for truckers using CB radios or children’s toys.

However, two-way radios remain among the most popular and effective ways for business- and mission-critical applications. They are used across various industries, including manufacturing, construction, transportation, and first responders. They’re valuable tools for organizations that must communicate quickly and reliably with their teams.

What’s the Difference Between UHF and VHF Two-Way Radios?

When shopping for two-way radios, your communication needs will determine whether a UHF or VHF radio is right for your organization since different frequency ranges are better suited to specific industries or business types. Radio frequencies between 136-174 MegaHertz (MHz) are known as Very High Frequency, while frequencies between 400-527 MHz are known as Ultra High Frequency.

Very High Frequency (VHF) 

Very High Frequency (VHF) are ideal for outdoor use and well suited to industries such as recreation and agriculture and other instances in which you need to communicate across a large area because they have longer wavelengths that can travel a longer distance than Ultra High-Frequency Radios. 

Ultra High Frequency (UHF) 

Ultra High Frequency two-way radios are an excellent option for manufacturing, logistics, retail, hospitality, healthcare, and construction industries. This is because UHF frequencies do a much better job penetrating through walls, concrete, steel, and other barriers that may block or degrade your radio signal. They’re also better at penetrating densely populated areas like retail stores or large crowds.

Extending the Range of Your Communications Network 

While two-way radios and cellular devices offer organizations communications methods, the two aren’t competing solutions. Cell phones are designed for one-to-one communication, whereas two-way radios are for one-to-many communication. Due to the ability to relay messages to multiple individuals simultaneously, two-way radios tend to be the preferred option in industries such as public safety, public and private utilities, construction, retail, hospitality, and healthcare. 

However, cell phones have a distinct advantage because there is no limit to their range – any cell signal means there is coverage, and parties can communicate. With two-way radios to communicate over large distances, you’ll need to extend your range with a radio repeater or trunking system.

What is a Radio Repeater 

Radio waves travel in a straight line and have trouble transmitting through obstacles and over the horizon – this is known as sight-line propagation. With a radio repeater, you can send signals across longer distances and enhance penetration through buildings and obstacles.  

By combining a receiver and transmitter into one unit, radio repeaters receive the signal from a two-way radio on one frequency and transmit it on another, so it’s picked up by a two-way radio that would otherwise be too far away or blocked from receiving this signal. Repeaters can also link with solutions such as MOTOTRBO IP Site connect to expand the signal further.

Trunked Radio Systems 

Trunked radio systems consist of repeaters that expand your signal while also intelligently switching between channels so your work groups will always receive operations- and mission-critical voice messages. Trunked systems also use a control channel called a “trunk,” which transmits data packets that lets the members of a specific talk group know which frequency they need to be on.

For example, a trunked radio system will find an open frequency for mission-critical communications and enable public safety agencies – such as police and fire – responding to an emergency to communicate with each other on a designated frequency without interference from other radios. 

Analog v. Digital Two-Way Radios 

For decades, two-way radios were analog systems. However, as our digital age continues to evolve, so are two-way radios. Digital two-way radios offer several advantages of their analog counterparts, including:

  • Better Voice Quality
  • Eliminate Overly Crowded Channels
  • Stronger Coverage at the Edge
  • Longer Battery Life

With so many things to consider, it can take time to determine which type of two-way radio is right for your organization. To learn more, download our guide – The Ultimate Guide To Two-Way Radios.

About MCA 

Mobile Communications America (MCA) is one of the largest and most trusted integrators in the United States, offering world-class voice, data, and security solutions that enhance the quality, safety, and productivity of customers, operations, and lives.

More than 65,000 customers trust MCA to provide carefully researched solutions for a safe, secure, and more efficient workplace. As your trusted advisor, we reduce the time and effort needed to research, install, and maintain the right solutions to improve your workplace.  

Our team of certified professionals across the United States delivers a full suite of reliable technologies with a service-first approach. The MCA advantage is our extensive service portfolio to support the solution lifecycle from start to finish.

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