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Finding the right two-way radios, especially online, can be a difficult task. That is exactly why this purchasing guide was put together. Here, you will find some questions you should be asking yourself as you browse through a selection of 2 Way Radios, to give you a better idea of what you may need.
Analyze your situation:
Before we get started, you should know that every business has its own unique needs. Unfortunately, there are no generic communications solutions. As a result, it is very important that you select a system that fits your business needs. With the right setup, your communications system will operate seamlessly and smoothly integrate into your daily business life. However, a poorly designed system can cause more problems than it can solve, therefore proper engineering is essential.
Step 1: Coverage size:
The first question you should ask yourself is an obvious one, but one that is sometimes overlooked: How big of an area will I need to cover?
Once you answer this question, you can determine the type of communications system required. There are two basic systems. The first utilizes portables and mobile radios only and is generally used for short range in-house communications. The second type uses a base station and/or a repeater to increase coverage. This type of system is generally used for wide-area coverage or when large buildings need indoor coverage.
Portable radios are available in low power and high power versions. In additional to the popular conventional analog version, they are also available in both trunking and digital versions, which greatly increase their versatility by allowing many separate “talk groups”. This allows the setup of different groups of users that can communicate directly without interfering with other users who don't need to be involved in the radio conversation.
So, ask yourself: “How big of an area do I need to cover?” It's very important to purchase the system that works most efficiently for you, and that's not necessarily the one that pumps out the most power. We will provide the engineering support to make sure you get coverage in all required areas.
There is something else you need to keep in mind as well. Range is dependent on more than wattage. If you're communicating outside, you must take into account the terrain. Tall buildings and mountains can affect a radio's signal strength. Indoor coverage is influenced by the building construction and frequency of the radios used. Now that we've got you thinking about coverage size, we can move on to step 2.
Step 2: Where will I be using my new radio?
Are you constantly getting breaths of fresh air outside or will you be day dreaming of your new radio while staring out of a window? Believe it or not, answering this question can help you decide whether to go with Very High Frequency (VHF) or Ultra High Frequency (UHF).
If you will be using the radio outside a lot more often than inside, selecting a VHF radio may be in your best interest. VHF generally gives you better coverage outdoors while a UHF radio will be more effective inside of buildings. That's why more businesses prefer UHF radios over VHF.
Here's something else to keep in mind while we're on this topic. VHF radios will usually give you a wider coverage area, however (there's that dreaded however again), UHF will give you more seamless coverage inside of the range you can get with it. The bottom line is that generally, UHF is more suitable for in-building coverage than VHF.
Now that you've looked at your coverage size and where you will be using it, there's one more question you should ask yourself.
Step 3: How many people will be using our new radios?
If you have a small system, perhaps with 15 people or less, your needs would typically be met with a conventional radio system with a channel capacity of 16 or fewer. Using a conventional radio system starting with a single channel, each member of the party holding a radio can hear every transmission made and they can also transmit to every member of their party (“dispatch” style communications). Additional channels can be added as your needs change.
Larger companies that require a larger number of radios typically will require more than one channel. Using a multi-channel trunking system, many different “talk groups” can be programmed in the radios for maximum operational flexibility. This, for example, would be helpful to a supervisor who needs to break up his employees into several groups and communicate different messages to each of them.
So there you have it. You now know the three easy questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing a radio. I hope that you have found this article interesting and informative. Bear in mind that this guide should only be used as a general outline for your purchasing decision. Your situation may involve issues not discussed in this article.
Do you need two way radios? Do you have a question about two way radios because they can be so *&%$-ing confusing and have no idea who to turn to for free information and help?
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