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Radio Compatibility: Which Models Will Work Together

One of the questions that we are asked frequently is if a new two way radio that a customer is considering purchasing will be compatible with older radios that they already have. This compatibility question is best answered based on the type of radio (such as consumer vs. business), as the answer is very different.

Consumer Radios
Midland GXT2000 Two Way RadioConsumer radios generally operate on a standard set of frequencies assigned to preset channels. But that's only part of the equation. There are different types of consumer radios, so these frequency and channel assignments depend on what type of radio it is.

Perhaps the most popular type of consumer radio is the FRS/GMRS walkie talkie. These radios operate on the UHF band. At one time this type of radio used either the GMRS or FRS services, and for awhile most were manufactured as "dual service" radios that supported both FRS and GMRS. These radios typically had 22 channels. Older models with only 14 channels were considered FRS radios.

After the FCC Part 95 reform in 2017, these combo radios were no longer considered dual service, but reclassified as either FRS or GMRS, depending on their wattage among other things. Today, FRS and GMRS share the same channel and frequency assignments and are able to communicate with one another on the same standard 22 channels. Additionally, Some GMRS radios have 8 additional channels to communicate with GMRS repeaters.

Regardless, all of the radios that support FRS and/or GMRS use the same frequencies and are compatible with one another. Simply set all radios to the same channel number and privacy code, and you will be able to communicate. FRS and GMRS radios are not cross compatible with other types of consumer radios.

CB radios operate on the 11 meter AM band, and have their own channel and frequency assignments. CB radios have 40 channels, and some are capable of Single Side Band (SSB) operation. CB radios are not cross-compatible with any other consumer radio service.

Consumer Marine radios operate on VHF marine frequencies and are intended for use on private, non-commercial vessels over water. Some older marine radios were dual service radios combined with FRS/GMRS, but
the FCC no longer allows the manufacture or sale of these models. Marine radios are not cross-compatible with other types of consumer radios.

MURS radios operate on the VHF band and have 5 dedicated channels. These radios can be used by consumers or businesses, which technically puts them in both types for this discussion. However, it is its own radio service with specific operating requirements and restrictions. MURS radios are not cross compatible with other types of consumer radios.

Popular manufacturers of consumer radios are Cobra, DeWALT, Galaxy, Midland, Motorola (Talkabout series), President, Uniden and Wouxun. Kenwood used to make GMRS models (the TK-3101 and TK-3131, for example), but have moved away from consumer radios and no longer produce them.

For a more in-depth discussion on the different types of consumer radios, listen to episode 75 of The Two Way Radio Show Podcast.

Business Radios
Kenwood TK-3402 Two Way RadioCompatibility is not nearly as straightforward when it comes to business radios. First of all, there are several types of frequencies that business radios are made to support: VHF, UHF, and 800/900 Mhz frequencies, for example. The first step in finding a compatible radio is choosing a model that supports the same frequency type as your existing radios.

These frequency types refer to an entire range of actual frequencies, and just choosing the same frequency type does not guarantee compatibility. If you purchased your existing radios from a true two way radio dealer, there is a possibility that the dealer could have programmed special custom frequencies into the radio. If this were the case, your radios may not be compatible with a new radio even if you purchased the exact same model.

Usually most compatibility issues arise with 4 or 5 watt radios, which are much more likely to support custom programming. With one or two watt business radios, it is a little easier to ensure compatibility. The Motorola CLS series of radios and the two watt RM series models will always be compatible, and two watt Kenwood radios that are marked with a ProTalk label will always be compatible, provided you purchase the same model.

In addition to band and frequency compatibility, there are different types of digital business radios which are not inherently compatible with one another. These include DMR, NXDN, and 900 MHz digital radios.

DMR is a very popular digital technology used by Motorola, Vertex Standard and TYT. There are a plethora of DMR radios available that are compatible with one another.  NXDN is used by Kenwood and Icom. While not as prevalent as DMR, NXDN radios are popular with some businesses and organizations. These two technologies use different methods and protocols, so are not cross-compatible on their own without some type of digital converter.

The 900 MHz digital radio is another thing entirely. It uses Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum or FHSS technology. This is a clever concept that increases secure communications, but comes with the caveat that one brand of 900 MHz radio may be completely incompatible with another.

If you have any questions or concerns about business radio compatibility, the easiest option is to simply contact us and we can recommend a compatible solution. For older radios or radios that could have been custom programmed, we may ask that you send in the radio so that we can read the actual frequencies from the radio before making a recommendation.

Related Resources
Looking for a MURS Compatible Radio?
It's Official: Vertex Digital and Motorola TRBO Radios Now Compatible
The Two Way Radio Show TWRS-07 - Comparing Small Business Radios
Radio 101 - The facts about GMRS two way radio compatibility

172 thoughts on “Radio Compatibility: Which Models Will Work Together”

  • Sharkier Cassim
    Sharkier Cassim June 27, 2020 at 10:55 am

    How do i make a baofeng v6 radio work with a baofeng 888S radio

    Reply
  • Rob

    Need to know if a CLS 1410 can work with Baofeng 888s

    Reply
    • Rick

      Technically speaking, both radios operate in the UHF business band, so both would need to be programmed to the same frequency and PL tone to communicate.

      Reply
  • Mike Balog

    Need to know What Motorola Mobile Microphones that are 8 Pin Modular RJ Connector end will work with an ICOM 706MK2G Mobile Amateur Radio?

    Reply
    • Rick

      Hi Mike, accessory compatibility is a different topic altogether. Mobile mics with RJ type connectors are often proprietary due to the different pinouts. Even if the color codes on the wiring is the same, each wire can be used for different things, depending on the design and features of each hand or speaker mic. Some mics have limited functionaliy, while others may have several keys or even full DTMF keypads. While not impossible, the chances of full compatibility between a Motorola mobile microphone and a Kenwood amateur radio are somewhat remote.

      Reply
  • Lex

    Hi so my father gave me two Retevis RT - 5R walkies and three Ansoko walkie. I was wondering if there was a way my friends and I could communicate through both brands of walkie talkies. And if so how?

    Reply
    • Rick

      Hi Lex, we don't sell either model, so we are unable to provide support for them, but I will offer some insight as to how to determine their compatibility, as well as a little sage advice. First, the Retevis RT-5R is nothing more than a re-labeled Baofeng UV-5R, which can operate on both UHF and VHF frequencies. If the "Ansoko" is the one I Googled up, this is sold online as a UHF radio that operates on 400-470 MHz frequencies, the same range as the "Retevis" (Baofeng). All of these radios require programming to work together. If all the radios are programmed to the same frequencies and tones/codes, technically speaking, they should be able to talk with one another.

      Now for the advice. Just because these radios are capable of talking with each other, doesn't mean it's a good idea to use them on any compatible frequency. The Ansoko radio that I referenced is currently being sold online as an "FRS/GMRS" walkie talkie "for adults", which basically means nothing, because the radio is actually capable of operating across multiple services, some of which are reserved for specific applications and most of which require a license on which to transmit in many countries, including the US. After just a quick look at the basic specs, I can tell you that this radio is certainly not approved by the FCC for legal use as either an FRS or GMRS radio in the US, and your chances of obtaining support from the seller if you need it is going to be iffy at best. My advice is to do a little research on these radios and carefully consider your options before attempting to use them for personal applications. Purchasing FCC approved radios from an authorized two way radio reseller such as Buy Two Way Radios provides a certain level of protection and peace of mind when using them on the airwaves.

      I'm not telling you this to convince you into buying radios from us (although these are some valid reasons to consider for doing so), but for general education, and as a public service message provided by this radio dealer.

      Reply
  • lee

    i have bought 4 of the Baofeng BF888s, is there a way of them communicating with my existing motorola CP040?

    Reply
  • Burt Shin

    I have several Vertex Standard VX-261's that we use at work. I'd like to purchase some Retevis RT22's just for how small and lightweight it is in comparison to the vertex Standard VX-261's. Are they compatible and have the ability to radio each other using either of the two radios? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Rick

      Hi Burt, the Vertex Standard/Motorola VX-261 is a business grade radio that operates on licensed business radio service frequencies. The Retevis RT22 is an FRS/PMR446 radio (depending on the country) that operate on pre-assigned, license free frequencies intended for generall consumer use. Although it is may be possible to re-program the VX-261 to operate on the FRS/PMR446, if it is used at work it is very likely the company is operating them on their licensed, assigned business frequency(ies) and will not not talk with the RT22 radios. The VX-261 and RT22 are not designed to be compatible with one another.

      Reply
  • Wayne

    I have a pool of Vertex standard VX-351's but I would like to buy some Motorola XT420 are they compatible

    Reply
  • karl bowyer

    Hi i'm trying to find out if the Motorola DP4400 is compatible with the Motorola DP1400.
    We currently Have DP4400's on license.

    Reply
    • Rick

      We do not carry either model, but they are both MOTOTRBO radios capable of digital operation and a quick glance at the data sheets on Motorola's website indicate they operate on the same bands and within the same frequency ranges. The DP4400 can also operate on 300MHz. We are based in the US, so we are not familiar with rules and regulations for the use of these radios in the UK. You may want to contact Motorola in your region directly for confirmation.

      Reply
  • Josh

    The resort I work at currently uses Retevis RT21 2 way radios. If we upgraded to Motorola CLS1110, CLS1410 or VL50 would the RT21 work with any of those radios?

    Reply
  • Al

    I want to change my radios at work as they are getting old. I have some analogs and some digitals. They are all motorolas... the radio rep is pushing the hytera bd 552 ... its small and I don't know much about hytera... the repeaters are I believe motorola from the same rep (purchased from them a long time ago).... two questions : are hytera radios any good ? and can I use a different company than the one that sold us the repeaters and original radios?
    Thanks
    A.

    Reply
    • Rick

      As long as they are all using the same frequency and PL tones (privacy codes) in the same mode, they should be able to communicate. As far as the company that sold you the original equipment, you certainly have the right to choose any dealer you feel comfortable with. Most analog business radios should be cross-compatible with other brands of the same type radio. When it comes to digital, it depends on they type of digital radio. You could mix different brands and models of DMR radios, but you cannot mix a DMR radios with an NXDN or IDAS radio.

      Reply
  • Réjean Perron

    Bonjour ,Je voudrais savoir si un Motorolla HT750 est compatible avec un Motorolla GTX. Merci

    Reply
    • Rick

      No, they are not compatible. The Motorola HT750 operates on low band, 136-174 MHz VHF or 403 to 470 MHz UHF, depending on the version. The GTX is a 33cm (900MHz) amateur (ham) radio.

      Reply
  • Erin Johnston

    Our organization currently has Motorola XPR3300 radios. We are looking to buy some new radios...possibly the Motorola BPR 40 radios. Would these be compatible?

    Reply
    • Rick

      As long as both models operate on the same band (UHF or VHF) and are programmed to the same frequencies (and PL tones if used), they should be able to communicate with each other.

      Reply
  • Alberto

    Hello I want to know if it is possible for the professional FM transceiver RT-5RV to communicate with a motorola 350R 2-way. Thank you for your time and have a good day.

    Reply
    • Rick

      If both radios can operate on the same band and frequencies, technically they should be able to communicate with one another. The Motorola MR350R is an FRS/GMRS radio and operates on frequencies in the UHF band. If your RT-5RV can also operate in the same range of frequencies on the same band, technically they will work together. However, just because they may be capable of doing so, doesn't mean they should. The MS350R is FCC type accepted for use on those frequencies in the US. If the RT-5RV is not FCC approved for use on those frequencies, it is not legal to do so in the US. If you are in another country, the rules may be different. In some countries, neither radio may be legal for use. It is best to research this before attempting to use your radios in your area.

      Reply
  • Michael Thompson
    Michael Thompson October 11, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    My security company uses Kenwood TK-2180s VHF radios. What other models will be able to use the same frequencies as this

    Reply
  • joe

    Can a Motorola CLS1110 and a Motorola FV700 work together. If so what channes and frequencies work?

    Reply
  • Bilal

    I have Olywiz two way radios and want to link with motorola

    Reply
    • Rick

      Sorry, we do not have enough information. What is the model of the Motorola radios? We do not carry Olywiz, and are not familiar with it. A quick check of this manufacturer reveals some very confusing and questionable information about its products. For instance, several models are identified as GMRS radios, yet they are programmable across several radio services and are also listed as amateur radios. Such multi-purpose programmability is not allowed by the FCC on the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) in the US, and none of these radios seem to be FCC type accepted or approved for legal use on the GMRS or any other radio service in the United States. If you are in the US, I would strongly advise against attempting to use these radios on the air. If you are located in another country, check with the agency or entity that governs the airwaves in your jurisdiction, as some countries have even stricter laws on the use of unapproved radios on those frequencies.

      Reply
  • Mike

    Will the Retevis RT22's work with Kenwood Protalk xls TK-3230DX radios?

    Reply
    • Rick

      No. The Retevis RT22 is an FRS radio and operates on pre-set frequencies on the Family Radio Service. The Kenwood ProTalk XLS TK-3230DX is a business radio and operates on a different set of frequencies licensed for business use.

      Reply
  • Charles

    Will the Retevis RT46 work with the Baofeng 888s?

    Reply
    • Rick

      We do not carry either model, and the BF-888S is not FCC Part 95 type accepted for use on FRS frequencies in the US. We do not have enough information to determine if the Retevis is approved for FRS by the FCC. You would need to contact the manufacturer.

      Reply
  • Zain

    Hi

    I use the Motorola t200tp walkie talkies on my farm and I have recently bought the Motorola tlkr t60 to add to the system. They were sold specifically keeping this in mind. I have both sets of walkies on the same channel and privacy code but they arnt talking to each other .. (the talkr t60s)!have automatically picked up the other t60s but arnt picking up the t200 and vise Versa

    I’d be grateful for any tips or advice

    Reply
    • Rick

      Hi Zain, the reason the T200 and TLKR T60 radios aren't talking to each other is because these two models were made for different regions of the world on different radio services and frequencies. The Motorola T200TP is an FRS radio manufactured and sold for the US market. The Motorola TLKR T60 is a PMR446 radio manufactured and sold for the Asian market. Additionally, the T60 has several versions that operate on different frequencies, depending on whether it is intended for China, Singapore or Korea. The T60 is not FCC type accepted for use on any frequencies in the US.

      This is why purchasing two way radios from global web sites such as Amazon, eBay or Ali Express are risky. Consumer radios are not universal, including those manufactured by universally recognized brand names such as Motorola. Even though the radios look the same, they can be quite different internally to work with the region or country in which they are sold. To complicate things further, some radios branded and sold in these regions may be counterfeits or fakes, and not genuine Motorola products. The best and safest practice is to purchase from a reputable dealer based in your own country, and one that offers support and guidance when shopping for their products, such as Buy Two Way Radios if you are in the US.

      Reply
  • Jon

    Hi. Random question but I cannot find any info online.

    Are Motorola and Uniden 2 pin connector/jacks compatible? I would like to know if I could use Motorola PTT/MIC accessories in a uniden radio with a 2 pin jack, as they have a greater range of accessories and after market parts. thanks.

    Reply

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