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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”

  • Michael

    Hi I have a Motorola ht1000 I just want to know if it will communicate with the Motorola cp200?

  • Nick

    I have owned a pair of UNIDEN 2889 radios for a few years now. I just purchased a pair of UNIDEN 2638 radios. For some reason, when I set both pairs of radios to the same channel and privacy code, only the like-model radios can hear each other (the two 2638's can hear each other and the two 2889's can hear each other but the 2889's can't hear the 2638's nor can the 2638's hear the 2889's).
    I called UNIDEN and asked why this was and they told me that the two radios are programmed differently and privacy codes won't work across the two models.
    This is confusing to me because I have the two user manuals and all fo the frequency and tone information is the same for the two models (with the exception that the 2889 has more privacy codes to choose from).
    Is this normal? I was under the impression that if any radio that operated over the same frequency and privacy code could communicate with any other radio.

  • daniel pomerleau
    daniel pomerleau April 29, 2014 at 3:47 am

    I'm looking to buy a headset for my MJ431CR Motorola radio. It seems most Motorola headsets are compatible with the MJ270R , yet the MJ431CR is never listed as such. Does everything fitting the 270 will also fit the 431? Or did I just make a mistake buying the 431, with doesn't fit any headset? Thanks!

  • Rick

    No. UHF and VHF radios operate on different bands. A dual band radio that is capable of operating on both UHF and VHF can be programmed for frequencies within the range supported by the radio on either band, however a single band radio that only operates on UHF cannot be programmed to operate on VHF frequencies and vice versa,
    For more information, watch our Radio 101 video Radio 101 - The difference between UHF and VHF radios.

  • Ray

    Can a UHF mobile radio be programmed to a VHF radio?

  • Sabrina Grossman
    Sabrina Grossman July 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Will a Motorola radius p110 be compatible with a Maxon?

  • Colton Cadarette
    Colton Cadarette July 9, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Will the Icom f4011 work with the Motorola mr350r? I would like to order one and want to make sure that it will work with this radio that I already have!

  • I am in a group of people using various radios including motorola xtn. I recently purchased a kenwood protalk 3130 and it isn't working. What can I do?

  • christopher hribar
    christopher hribar March 31, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    i have a midland NAUTICO3 that is suppose to have 88 channels and i was hoping it would work on some of my old radios and they didn't (i can understand why) but will it also connect to other like newer radios and i don't think it was custom built

  • Jordan

    if i am in a group of people useing MOTOROLA HT1000 UHF radios, and i buy my own second hand(same brand and model) will it work?

  • MacNicol

    I have 3 old BellSouth 1022SL 15 ch two ways. When set to ch 2, they appear to be incompatible with my Midland, Cobra, & Motorola GMRS two ways. Does anyone have the ch vs freg chart for the old BellSouth 1022SL radios?

  • Rick

    No. The CLS1410 is not an FRS/GMRS radio.

  • AK

    I have a Motorola cls 1410 radio and wanted to know if it would work with a FRS\GMRS consumer radio. Thanks

  • Terry D

    I am looking for a radio that can communicate with Garmin rino radios. I want to mount the radio in my truck. My friends and I use the rino's on hunting trips and we have found the rino's go through batteries very quickly and have a limited range. I am thinking the a radio that is mounted in the truck would have more available power and a lager antennae, hopefully with a better range. We do use the privacy settings on the rino's. Do you have any suggestions?

  • RICH


  • Rick

    Yes. To learn more about consumer FRS/GMRS radios and compatibility listen to The Two Way Radio Show Episode 1 - An Introduction to Consumer Radios. It should answer most of your questions about FRS/GMRS radios.

  • Cobra microTALK CXR925 Two Way Radio Motorola - 35-Mile, and 22-Channel FRS/GMRS 2-Way Radios (Pair) can they work together????

  • Paul Jack

    Hi All
    Do we have a compatible between 2 kind of radio : Midland GXT-1000 and Kenwood TH-K4AT
    I see in user manual that they have the same range of frequency
    462.5625 - 462.7250 Mhz - step 250kHZ for Midland GXT-1000
    400 - 470 MHz - step 25kHz for Kenwood TH-K4AT

  • Alberto

    Hi I have two motorola cls 1410 and two motorola cls 1810 and even I put them in the same channel, frequency and code they still don't work (all 4) together only the two and two that are the same model... Is it possible to make them work together or do I have to get them the same model?

  • Shanna Flores

    We currently have Motorola T5500 Talkabout radios in use at our school, they have not been very withstanding to our Montana Winters/Falls/Springs. I read a consumer report RE: The durability of the Cobra MicroTalk FRS315 WX 2-Mile 14-Channel FRS Water-Resistant Two-Way Radio. I am thinking to purchase 4 of these for our everyday use and would like to know if the two radios will be compatible with each other? If you have any thoughts as to a more durable two-way radio please advise.
    Thank you.


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