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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 (consumer vs. business), as the answer is very different.

Consumer Radios
Midland GXT2000 Two Way RadioConsumer radios operate on a standard set of frequencies, either the GMRS or FRS services or a combination of both. Most newer consumer radios are "dual service" radios that support both FRS and GMRS. These radios will typically have 22 channels. Older consumer radios may only have 14 channels, operating only on FRS.

Regardless, all of these 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. Popular manufacturers of consumer radios are Audiovox, Cobra, Garmin, Midland, Motorola (Talkabout series), and Uniden. Kenwood used to make GMRS models (the TK3101 and TK3131, for example), but have moved away from consumer radios and no longer produce them.

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 RDX 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.

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

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

  • 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
  • Anand Perez

    how about baofeng BF-888s and baofeng UV-5R? can they work??

    Reply
    • Rick

      As mentioned in a previous comment, if both radios support the same band and frequencies, and are both analog or digital, they should be able be able to communicate with each other after they are programmed to those frequencies. Consult the manual for each radio to be sure.

      Reply
  • deepak as

    Hi I am having Baofeng 888s and Motorola MU 350R .i wanted to know if these two seta are compatible

    Reply
    • Rick

      As noted in a previous comment, the BF-888S is not an FRS radio and would need to be programmed to talk with the MU350R.
      Also, for full disclosure, the BF-888S is not FCC type accepted for legal use as an FRS or GMRS radio in the US. If you are not in the US, check with the laws and regulations in your country or region before use.

      Reply
  • Amy

    Would a Retevis RT22 work with a Midland T71VP3?

    Reply
    • Rick

      We are an authorized Midland reseller, and can say with confidence that the Midland T71VP3 is fully compatible with other FCC approved FRS radios on the market. Notice the emphasis on the term FCC approved. There are many brands of radios sold by companies and individuals online that claim to be FRS but are not FCC approved for use on those frequencies in the US. Many of these products are from questionable sources. We do not carry or support the Retevis brand, so we cannot confirm if that model is FCC type accepted or not. You would need to contact the manufacturer.

      Reply
  • Drew Donehoo

    Is there any way to get my Retevis RT46 Walkie Talkies to talk to my Midland - LXT500VP3 walkie talkies?

    Reply
    • Rick

      As an authorized Midland dealer, we can confirm that the Midland LXT500VP3 is a Part 95 type accepted FRS radio and will communicate with other FRS radios. If the Retevis is a true, FCC Part 95 approved FRS radio, it should communicate with the Midland just fine. We do not carry Retevis, but based on a quick check, the RT46 does not appear to be Part 95 approved for use on the FRS. The fact that the company has software available to program frequencies into it is a red flag, as the radio must be locked down to FRS frequencies only and cannot be capable of operation on multiple services to be an FCC approved radio for use on the FRS in the US.

      Reply
  • Steve

    I have a beofeng U-8S walkie talkie that won’t work with an 8-SSS. Will it need to be reprogrammed? Where do you get the software.

    Reply
    • Rick

      Baofeng makes a lot radios, and we are a Baofeng dealer, but we are not familiar with either of those model numbers. Are you sure those model numbers are correct? When you say U-8S and 8-SSS, Are you referring to a UV-85 and BF-888S?

      Reply
  • Jason Cogle

    Will the Zastone Z218 connect to the BF-888s

    Reply
    • Rick

      As a general rule, if both radios support the same frequencies and the same mode, i.e. analog or digital, they should be able be able to communicate with each other.

      Reply
  • Wendell

    Can a CTCSS radio using "privacy codes" communicate with a DCS radio using privacy codes. Since the squelch methodology is different I believe the answer is no.

    Reply
  • Weyimi

    Please I need urgent assistance, I bought 2 Baofeng, one is with CMIIT ID:2017FP0564 & the other is CMIIT ID:2012FP1918. But it's not working together. What do I do. Thanks for your understanding

    Reply
  • Robert

    Having trouble using my Midland GXT1050 pro with Motorola Talk About radios. Both radios on the same channel and privacy code. I can hear the Motorola transmit and you can hear my Midland key in, but that's it, my voice does not transmit. Any ideas? I transmit just fine to the other Midland radio, so it's not a microphone issue. Thanks

    Reply
    • Rick

      Hi Robert, we need more information. What make and model are the Motorola radios? Do the Motorola radios communicate with each other?

      Reply
  • SCJ

    We have 5 sets of older Motorola MH230Rs. Three of the units have stopped working and are outside of protection. Will newer Motorola models work with these older models? Would prefer to replace 3 rather than 10 (5 sets of 2).

    Reply
  • Harold

    Why won't a Boafeng BF-888s work with a Boafeng ATR-22?

    Reply
  • Kathi

    Can someone tell me what a compatible radio would be to my Kenwood TK-3402U? it needs to be relatively inexpensive. Thanks

    Reply
  • Rodrigo

    Hi, is it possible to have a Yaesu Ft65R transmiting on the same frequencies as a Midland (LTX600PA For example) or Motorola FRS Radio?

    Reply
    • rick

      Hi Rodrigo, the Yaesu FT-65 may be capable of operating on FRS frequencies, however, it is not legal to do so in the US. While it is possible to program it to transmit and receive on those frequencies, the FT-65 is not FCC type accepted for use on the FRS for a couple of reasons. First, FRS is limited to a maximum of 2 watts, and the Yaesu is capable of 5 watt operation. Also, the antenna must be fixed on an FRS radio, but the antenna on an FT-65 is removable. In summary, it is possible, but is not recommended.

      Reply
  • Jay Kaminsky

    I have one Motorola CP 185 does anyone know which other Motorola walkie-talkies that is not too pricey, would be compatible with my Motorola CP 185? Thank you. I’ll be waiting for some type of reply

    Reply
    • rick

      Jay, the CP185 is a commercial tier business radio. The UHF version operates on 435-480Mhz UHF Frequencies and the VHF version operates on 136-174 MHz VHF Frequencies. For the most part, if programmed and configured accordingly, other Motorola business tier radios capable of operating on the same band and frequencies in analog mode should work with the Motorola CP185.

      Reply
  • David Quinn

    I was wondering if anybody had gotten a baofeng uv-5re to work with Motorola rdm2070d with the DCS codes and all that.

    Reply
  • Rick

    While it is technically possible to program a BF-888S to talk with a BPR40, it isn't legal in the US, because the Baofeng is not approved by the FCC for use on business frequencies. As such, we do not endorse or recommend it.

    Reply
  • Justin

    Can you program a Motorola mag one BPR40 to receive on a BAOFENG BF-888S .how can I . Is it possible to do that.

    Reply
  • Rick

    They are FRS/GMRS radios, so as long as you have them on the same channel with the same CTCSS/DCS codes assigned, they should work together.

    Reply
  • Rick

    Hi Frank, We are based in the US and do not carry the Albrecht model, however it is a CB radio. The XTN 446 was a PMR446 radio. Considering the differences between the services and assigned frequencies for these radios in the US and Europe, this may be a question to ask the UK members in our Two Way Radio Forum.

    Reply

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