I know a lot of you have often found yourself in the position at work where you are responsible for buying some new two way radios. There are a lot of potential candidates out there to choose from, so how do you even start, how do you stay on budget, and what do you even look for?
Well there are a few easy questions you can ask yourself that may make the process a lot faster, simpler, and also save you a bit of money. In this post, we are going to look at shopping for Icom business radios. Icom has a great line of radios, and they are very rugged and durable. You can use this guide to shop for any business radio though, and we hope it will save you some time and frustration.
Before you start reading all of the features for every Icom business radio, let us first answer some questions.
1. Where are you going to use the radios? Are they for use inside or outside (or both). If you need some radios to use at a golf course, or other open outdoor settings, then you want VHF radios. They will give you the most range and clarity. If you are indoors, or outside around a lot of structures and buildings, then you want UHF since they will work better inside since it is better at transmitting through obstructions. Many of you are in both situations, UHF will be the best solution most of the time. We list if an Icom radio is VHF like the IC-F3011 or UHF like the IC-F24 in several places in the description to help find the right one.
2. Do you need that feature? Today's two way radios have a lot of features. However, which ones do you really need? Are the radios going to be used by just a few people? Then you do not need custom banks and group calling. Are you in an area where only a few radios are used, then 4 channels is probably all you will ever need. So try to narrow down the features to only what you know you need. Icom has radios that go from the basic such as the IC-F4011 to the loaded like the IC-F60V.
3. How many radios? Many times you do not need to get a radio for every single person. If there are multiple shifts, you might want to just get rapid chargers like the Icom BC-119N and have them share radios instead. You can save a lot of your budget by buying just the radios you need, and then getting extra batteries and chargers.
4. Why bother about how tough they are? Some radios are able to take a lot of abuse, others are meant to be treated a bit less rough. If you know that where you work, the radios will be subjected to a lot, then look for tough milspec radios. They will last longer than others, and while you pay a bit more for them, they will not need replacing very often. Every Icom business radio is milspec and tough. They are made to last a long time, even in very hostile environments.
5. What range do you need? Icom radios are mostly 4-5 watts, and have great range. With Icom radios you can change the antenna, so you can use a smaller one for short range use and make it a bit more ergonomic. If you need more than 2-3 miles of range you can set up a repeater system. A repeater system is what is used by law enforcement, emergency services, large construction crews, etc... to get 10-20 miles of range. Every Icom radio we carry is repeater capable, from the IC-F11S to the IC-F60.
6. What accessories will people need? Headsets, spare batteries, and speaker mics are often a necessity. Try to list out what accessories people will need, or may ask for. Many brands such as Icom have a lot of two way radio accessories to fit a lot of job situations (even spare belt clips!).
7. How much do you have budgeted? You notice this is not the first question. Once you have all of the rest figured out, then look to see what model fits the description. Often you will find that the radios you actually need are much more affordable than those you might have fist looked at. One thing we like about Icom, they have a very comprehensive selection at all price levels while still having the same quality. The only difference in how they are constructed is in the features.
We hope this makes looking for new radios a lot easier. If you have any questions about Icom business radios, or well anything at all, please call or email us!