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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”

  • Imee

    Hi Sir, I would like to ask if SMP 328S is compatible to SMP 468?
    and if "yes" how can i connect the two radio.
    Thank you for your help!

  • Rick

    Hi Josh, the answer depends on what radios everyone has and what frequencies they use. If they are using standard business radios such as Kenwood, Motorola, Icom or Vertex Standard and you are using Uniden FRS/GMRS radios, the answer is no, they will not talk to each other. The Uniden consumer radios are specifically designed for FRS/GMRS frequencies and are not user programmable. The business radios may either be UHF or VHF and operate on business frequencies. You would need to purchase a radio that is programmable and operates on the same band and frequency range as the other radios.
    However, this is not to say that you wasted your money. On the contrary, Uniden makes good, solid radios and they are quite useful for other applications, especially if you spend a lot of time participating in recreational activities with family and friends outdoors. Many Uniden models support NOAA weather channels and alerts and may also be handy in an emergency, so I wouldn't throw them away.

  • josh aberle

    I'm new to this so I work for a construction company and there using walkie talkies buisness ones I believe so I went out and bought a diffrent modle all in general I bought a uniden 22 channel talkie will I be able to talk to my fellow workers if they give me the channel there using or did I waste my money?

  • Barry Goppenstein
    Barry Goppenstein March 13, 2016 at 11:42 am

    I have a radio system with Motorola GP330 handhelds, and a Motorola Spectra (or similar) base station programmed to a VHF frequency.
    Recently I have programmed a few Icom IC-F30´s to work on this same frequency, but these two sets of radios does not communicate properly.
    The Icoms can only communicate with eachother, and the same with the Motorolas. However, when transmitting with the Motorola it could be received by the Icoms, but when transmitting with the Icoms, there´s nothing received with the Motorolas.
    Does anyone have any possible solution to what is the issue here?

  • Robert White

    BaoFeng BF-F8+ 2nd Gen UV-5R Dual-Band 136-174/400-520 MHz
    Compatible with motorola sx700? Ifso, how?
    Thank you!

  • Rick

    We are based in the US so we are not familiar with Zartek. Although they may look similar in appearance, these are two different radios. Apparently the Zartek is a 446MHz radio sold in South Africa. The T388 is an FRS/GMRS radio operating on frequencies between 462 and 467MHz. Unless the Zartek can also transmit and receive in that range, the answer would be no.

  • Rick

    What radio are you referring to?

  • wesley

    just want to know if a bellsouth t 388 will work with zartek com 8

  • Is it easy to program it?

  • Rick

    If they operate on the same band and are programmed to the same frequency, they should.

  • Kf

    Will a TR400 radio work with a baofeng UV5RE

  • Rick

    Hi Diego, the MR350R and CXT545 are FRS/GMRS radios and should communicate with each other. They use the same frequency assignments on the same channels, so if you are on Channel 8 on the MR350R and Channel 8 on the CXT545, they will be on the same frequency and will be able to communicate. If you are using privacy codes (interference eliminator codes), on the radios, be sure they are using the same CTCSS/DCS codes on the same channel.
    The lists of CTCSS/DCS codes and the channel and frequency assignments are listed in the user manual for each make and model.

  • Diego Bustamante

    I have some pairs of Motorola Talkabout MR350R, I want to know if I can comminucate with a COBRA CXT 545 without a problem, if so, what do I have to do?

  • Rick

    To answer your first question, it depends. There are UHF and VHF versions of the GP300. The Midland GXT565 is a GMRS radio, which operates on UHF. You would need the UHF version of the GP300 and each radio would need to be programmed to communicate with the GXT565 on the same UHF frequencies.

  • Rick

    Marine radios operate on VHF marine frequencies. GMRS radios operate on UHF frequencies. These are different frequencies on two different bands. The exception would be the Cobra MR-HH450 DUAL, which operates on both VHF marine and UHF GMRS.

  • Celsie Van Beek
    Celsie Van Beek January 23, 2016 at 8:30 am

    I have a few Motorola Radius GP300 and Midland GXT565 two way radios can I communicate with these together, if so, what do I have to do? As of right now if I set the Motorola on a channel and the Midland on the same channel I can't hear anything and the privacy setting is off on the Midland. The Motorola only has a 15 channel with an extra blue dot that im assuming is channel 16 or open?

  • Jesus

    I have a cobra marine radio, this radio can work with a Gmrs radios?

  • FlipperMan

    I have a Kenwood TK-3301 & TK-3201 - trying to use with Uniden PMR885. All the frequencies match (including privacy channel frequencies) but I can't transmit from Kenwood to Uniden - only receive ?

  • Jay yes I'm trying to make the Baofeng uv-5r talk with the Motoroal CLS 1410 can you help?

  • Jay yes my trying to make the Baofeng uv-5r to talk with the Motoroal CLS 1410 can you help?


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