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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

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

  • John Keane

    Will a Kenwood pro talk digital work with a Kenwood KSC 355 model

  • Wilkie

    Hi at work we use the Retevis H777 UHF model that are 400-470MHZ and they are all time breaking I was wanting to get a personal radio that will work better and be compatible with those any suggestions

  • Rick

    Hi Austin, the BF-888S is not an FRS/GMRS radio and would need to be programmed to talk with the MS350R.
    Also, for full disclosure, the BF-888S is not FCC type accepted for legal for use as an FRS/GMRS radio in the US, particularly under the new Part 95 rules destined to take effect September 29, 2017.

  • Austin

    I’m a athletic trainer and we use Motorola MS350R radios but I got new people and don’t want to buy more MS350R‘s if I were to buy BaoFeng BF-888S would those work togehhter

  • Rick

    A business radio is recommended for hotel operation. The GMRS is not intended for business use and the radios will not necessarily have the durability and range needed for larger hotels. Every hotel is different and coverage will depend largely on each facility. We can assist in guiding you to the right radios for your needs. Contact us and we will be happy to help.

  • JR Smith

    We currently use Midland GXT at our hotel. We also have a Midland MXT100. Both say they are GMRS. I want to find a better radio to use but will work with the MXT100. What radio would you recommend that will work with? I have been looking at actual business radios but not sure if UHF is compatible..?

  • Rayaan

    I have a set of cobra ctw285p is it compatible with the baofeng bf888s I would like to purchase a set of the bf888s

  • Andy

    I have a midland gxt950 and a midland gxt850. They will not work together on the same channel. For example, if I have the 850 on ch19 then the 950 receives it on channel 5 and vice versa. Is this a setting I may have wrong or is something way off?

  • Matt

    Hi I'm trying to connect my baofeng uv 5r to a Motorola gp340 but cannot find out what ctcs codes I need for the radios to communicate both ways.

  • Rick

    We're not familiar with an 8885. Do you mean Baofeng 888S? We do not carry that model, so we have no programming instructions or manual for it. You may be able to find one at miklor.com.

  • Geoff

    Hi, I have a Cobra 16 channel radio, and just bought a Baofeng 8885. Naively thinking that the 16 channels would be the same. Not so.
    Can you advise how to reprogram the Baofeng to the Cobra channels - I am in Canada if that makes any difference.

  • Rick

    It is not a simple "pairing" such as performed with a Bluetooth device. First you need to know the band, frequencies and codes (if any) the Motorola radio is programmed to use, then you need to program your Baofeng radios to the same band, frequencies and codes.

  • Nazaim

    Hi I have Baofeng UV82 and UV5RTP, I need to pair both with Motorola GP328 4 and 16 channel. Can it be done and how to do it ?.tq

  • Rick

    Hi Susan, the Midland GXT860 is an FRS/GMRS radio and is pre-programmed to the specific UHF frequencies on those services. Although the Retevis H-777 is technically capable of transmitting on FRS and GMRS frequencies, it is not an FRS/GMRS radio and is not specifically programmed to operate on the same channels and frequencies assigned to the GXT860 or other FRS/GMRS radios.

    In short, the H-777 needs to be programmed to match the frequencies of the GXT860. You would need the programming cable and software for the H-777 to program the radio.
    If you are in the US, the H-777 may not be FCC type accepted for use on those frequencies. You may want to check before attempting to transmit on those frequencies with the radio.

  • Susan Parent

    Can a Midland GXT860 radio work with a Retevis H-777. We have had a set of the Midlands and bought a set of Retevis radios to work with them and we have not been able to get them to all work together.

  • randall epling
    randall epling March 30, 2017 at 2:42 pm


  • Ashfaque

    Would Baofeng BF- 888S work with another Baofeng BF- 888S?

  • How can I program my boafeng 888s to work with my baofeng 888splus

  • Austin

    This may be a stupid question, but can business and consumer radios communicate with one another?

  • Joe

    Rick, what is a radio I can buy myself that I can use with a Motorola CLS model work radio. Ours are beat up at work and I want one for myself that I know is in good working condition.


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