Choosing the Right Two Way Radio for Your Business

Choosing the right two way radio for your business is a daunting task when you’re new to them. In business, the wrong decision can be a huge headache. The wrong choice invites reception issues, broken portable radios (handheld), and vehicle damage. The list of problems you don’t have time to deal with can go on and on.When choosing a radio for your business, you might as yourself " How do I choose the right two way radio for my business?". There are a lot of little things that add up to make the correct decision, though. It's not just pick one and go. Like a smartphone, you can get opinions from other people. But, in the end, everyone uses their business two way radio differently than the next business.

General Considerations About Two Way Radio for Your Business

The first thing to think about is your budget. Radios have a huge price difference from the low to high end, especially when you start adding features. A lot of the “It would be nice to have” features price you right out of your budget.The other sections below will help you focus in on your communication equipment requirements. Then, you can start adding features and accessories to your two way radio purchases.

Where Will Your Employees Use Their Two Way Radio?

Where you use your two way is an important consideration. This is especially true if you aren’t locked into a

frequency band

. When you’re starting from square one, it’s good to know how different frequencies work better in different environments. When you’re in a building, certain frequencies travel better. When you’re in rural or hilly areas, there are ways to boost the range of your portable radios to compensate.In the city, 800MHz radios work well. The frequency wave is smaller and bounces through buildings well. The antennas on portable radios and vehicle antennas are very short too.As the frequency lowers, you gain range and but antenna length increases too. UHF (Ultra High Frequency) is the go-to for a lot of businesses and government agencies. It has adequate range and works well in most environments. It’s the happy medium for most businesses.If your business requires you to communicate with public safety on a

P25 system

, UHF is the frequency you’ll need to be on. There are other requirements if you need to communicate with anyone on a P25 system. For those, you’ll want to talk to your two way radio consultant.VHF (Very High Frequency) will give you better range. Businesses who operate in areas where there are fewer towers and have environmental obstacles will like the added range. One of the downsides to VHF is the poor in-building coverage. If you’re operating your business inside and outside, UHF is generally a better choice.Another option to consider is a digital two way radio. While these can be any of the three frequency ranges discussed above, UHF is most common.

Using Your Business Two Way Radio Inside

Using a radio inside means you will want to be using an 800 MHz or UHF portable radio. The next thing you will need to think about how you will use your handheld radio. A radio used by a warehouse employee will be very different than the waitstaff at a restaurant.

  • How rugged do you need your portable radio to be?
  • Will it get dropped a lot on a hard surface?
  • Will it be in a holster on your belt all day while you’re in and out of your office?

Manufacturers have radios with rugged a chassis for environments or people who are rough on things. Some manufacturers have industry specific radios to meet the needs found only in that industry.

Kenwood - NX-5700

Warehouses, manufacturing plants, and trade shows/events can be brutal when it comes to portable radios. They get dropped, banged around, and not babied by any means.When you’re using a portable radio in a less hostile environment, other considerations come into play. Weight is a big factor in the hospitality industry. If your waitstaff has a heavy portable radio, it will be uncomfortable to wear all day.

Using Your Business Two Way Radio Outside

When your business works outdoors, the two way radio for your business needs to work outdoors too. Your considerations change. Weight still plays a factor, though. Having a rugged and weather resistant portable two way radio for you business is more important because it's more useful than a light one. If your radios aren't easy or useful, your two way communication system won't get used.Seasonal industries have expectations different than public safety or other year round industries. When the location of your jobsite changes a lot, you need have different needs. Not only with the radio itself, but the way you connect to are different than if you have a local fleet .In a building or on a farm, you will have your own repeater on-site. For businesses who are on one side of town for a few hours, then go somewhere else; you will need a wide area service.

Using a wide area radio service

like this works very like cellular service. You pay a monthly fee. The fee varies based on the local provider, and there I s usually an airtime agreement that’s signed every time a new radio is added to your account.

Mobile Two Way Radio for Your Business

Another difference for businesses who work off-site is to have a radio in their vehicles. The

radios installed into vehicles

are called mobile radios. The

wattage

varies based on your FCC license or airtime agreement, but it can be upwards of 100 watts.

Usually, the power is 15-25 watts for the average user who is in a metro area. That much power is enough for most businesses. They vehicles are transmitting to the nearest tower, not all the way across town.

Choosing the right two way radio for your business can be a challenge. When talking to a two way radio consultant, there are a few things that help speed things up. It helps to know:

  • who will be using the radio,
  • where you use it,
  • and any special needs for two way radio for your business.

Aside from that, it's a matter of finding something with the features you need that fits your budget.

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