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  • The best two way radio for mountains

    Two Way Radio on MountainWe get a lot of questions from customers that start with "what is the best radio" and end with a general description of a certain type of environment, scenario or application. Sometimes the question is specific enough to answer it with a short list of products that may fit the bill, or even a specific recommendation. More often than not, it's not. For example, what are the best two way radios for use in the mountains? This question covers a such a broad spectrum of variables and conditions, that the answer requires more than a just brand name or model number. It requires a basic understanding of the principles behind radio technology and the specific scenario in which it will be used.

    Recently, this question popped up in our Two Way Radio Forum. A new member needed a set of two way radios for use in the Himalayas with a priority on maximum range and battery life. His question was simple. He wanted long range two way radios for use in the mountains.

    Of course, he came to the right place to ask. We have several resources that specifically address the use of two way radios in mountainous regions. Many of them can be easily discovered in our forum. Had he simply searched the term "mountain", he would have quickly found numerous discussions on the topic, with helpful advice, explanations and recommendations from other members of the community. That is only the start.

    Within the forum, there are links to numerous articles from our blog that specifically address radio range and explain how to calculate the range in different environments and situations. There are video tutorials and product overviews embedded throughout the forum to provide a visual perspective on the options and choices available when considering a radio for use in such an environment. Then there is The Two Way Radio Show, one of the longest running podcasts about two way radios, highly rated and popular with two way radio users worldwide. Several episodes specifically discuss the use of radios in mountains and hilly terrain, presented in simple layman terms and in great detail.

    We even have a Buyer's Guide to help choose a radio for a specific application, such as camping, hunting or skiing in the mountains.

    With all of these resources available to address the question, one may think the solution is simple, with the recommendation of a single product. But it isn't. There are several factors to consider, and it would only be redundant to create a very long and involved mashup of all the other resources already in existence on this topic to address them. Instead, here is a brief list of the key points to consider, along with links to related resources for further explanation.

    When choosing the best two way radios for use in mountain regions, consider the following:

    The Terrain

    A radio operates by line-of-sight, which means that the radio signal needs a clear path with minimal obstructions in order to traverse the airwaves from one radio to another. buildings, trees, and other obstructions can potentially slow, diminish, deflect or block radio waves completely. Simply put, if the radio can't see it, you won't hear it.

    This is particularly true when it comes to something as large and dense as a mountain. Radio frequencies, especially when generated by a low power handheld, cannot penetrate through a mountain. The make and model you buy doesn't matter. Your handheld radio won't cut through a mile plus high, thick and wide pile of earth and rock with a few watts radiated power. Your signal will need to go around or over the mountain. It's the second thing to understand and one of the most important things to consider when choosing any radio for use in very hilly or mountainous areas.

    The Environment
    Weather conditions and other environmental elements also affect range. The weather conditions in mountainous areas can be somewhat extreme, and in some regions of the world, they can be particularly harsh. Extreme weather can negatively affect the transmission and reception of radio signals, and can also take its toll on the radios themselves.

    Extreme heat and cold can be brutal to electronic radio equipment, and can directly affect operation or performance. Batteries are particularly be sensitive to extreme temperatures, and can fail to charge or power the radio when exposed to temps outside their level of tolerance.

    The Location and position of the radio stations
    In mountainous regions, range will vary greatly depending on where you are. Remember, radio frequencies work on line of sight, and mountains can completely block radio signals. The range can be great between mountaintop to mountaintop, but will be quite limited valley to valley.

    If you are at the top of Mount Everest, you can get excellent range with a basic, low power FRS radio, provided the other station is positioned either on another peak or in a valley surrounding the great mountain.

    However, your high power base station won't get far at all if you are down in the valley and you are trying to communicate to a station in another valley. Even if both stations are on the same mountain, communication will be extremely difficult if the stations are on opposite sides. The radio signal may simply not be able to penetrate the mountain to reach the other side. As with the real estate business, the same is true with using radios in the mountains. It's about location, location, location.

    The Antenna

    The antenna is a critical component of any radio, and its placement is key to the successful transmission and reception of radio signals. This is especially when using radios in and around mountains, and is why antenna towers for cell phones and radio repeaters are often placed on mountain peaks. The higher the antenna, greater the line of site and the better the range. If you can see the tower, chances are good you can hit it with a signal from your radio, and vice versa.

    When using handheld radios in remote mountain ranges, your antenna needs to be positioned as high as possible to maximize line of site. This means you need to be elevated to a position high enough so that your antenna can acquire the signal and communicate with the other station.

    The Power Requirements
    Although location is key,  the wattage capability of the radio cannot be discounted. Handheld radios are designed for short range communications, and will have limited power. A typical handheld business or amateur walkie talkie operates at up to 5 watts or less, and most consumer models are a lot less. Most mobile radios are capable of up to 50 watts of power, often depending on the band they transmit on.

    Unfortunately, unless you are operating from a vehicle or permanent structure such as a cabin with ample power, the mobile or base station radio may not be practical for use in mountainous areas, especially in remote locations.

    When traversing the mountains on foot, handheld radios may be the only option, but they come with their own set of of challenges to keep them powered up.

    The Type of Radio
    The type of radio you choose does have some bearing on performance, and there are many options available, so you will need to research them to find the best fit for your needs in the high country. VHF radios work well outdoors in hilly terrain with relatively few unobstructions . UHF radios are typically preferred for use indoors and outdoors in areas with a lot obstructions. FRS, GMRS and MURS radios are the logical choices. If you have an amateur radio license, you will have even more bands available from which to choose, and a great selection of handheld ham radios to match.

    The Durability Requirements
    If you will be camping, hiking, hunting or other engaging in other outdoor activities in the mountains, you will want to consider the durability of the radio as well. Build quality, water resistance, dust protection and general ruggedness will be important, and vary greatly depending on the make and model of radio.

    Some low end consumer FRS and GMRS radios are not built to withstand a rain shower or a any sort of excessive drop. Many higher end radios can take serious exposure to the elements, shocks, drops and sometimes more. While it isn't likely any radio would survive a one-mile plummet from a mountaintop, there are many models specifically built for hiking, camping and other extreme outdoor activities that can handle necessary roughness. Tip: Look for radios that are rated IP54 or higher for dust and water protection, or are Mil-STD rated for dust, shock and water resistance.

    The Rules
    The rules or laws regarding the use of specific types of radios, bands and frequencies are different for each country, so research them for your area of operation before making a purchase. If you live in the US, the agency that governs the airwaves is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

    If you purchase radios in the US for use in another country, it is very important to check to be sure your radios can be used legally in that country. If you are planning to take your radios on a trip to a mountain range such as the Himalayas, your radios may or may not be legal for use, depending on the country in which you will be using them. For instance, Mount Everest is located on the border between China and Nepal. The Himalayas border or cover a number of other countries as well, including India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Each has their own laws and rules regarding the use of radios, and it is wise to be aware of them before taking your two ways on such a trip.

    So, what is the best two way radio for mountains? The short answer is, there is no fast and easy answer to the question. It's going to depend on your specific location within the mountain range, what you will be doing, and how you plan to use the radios for your application. There is a lot to consider, and the question is too broad for a simple answer. You will need to invest some time and do some research based on your specific scenario before you buy a pair of two way radios.

  • The Wouxun KG-UVN1 is a DMR Dual Bander for the serious ham

    Wouxun KG-UVN1 Dual Band DMR Digital Two Way RadioA few years ago, Wouxun entered the digital radio market with the KG-D901 DMR radio. Now the company is adding a new, improved DMR model to its product line. It's the Wouxun KG-UNV1, and it could just be the next disrupter in the DMR radio world.

    This isn't a dinky little digital transceiver on a chip. It's a real, professional grade radio designed for business use, with the power and features to match.

    At first glance, the KG-UVN1 looks like a cross between the KG-D901 and a KG-UV9D, with a little of the KG-UV899 keypad thrown in. On closer inspection, it's definitely different from all three. It lacks the bulging curvature of the D901, has a wider horizontal display than the 9D, and is considerably larger than the 899. That's not to say it isn't aesthetically pleasing. On the contrary, it is quite a handsome radio. It just has its own style, and considering its intended functionality, it fits in well.

    Wouxun KG-UVN1 Left SideThe KG-UVN1 is a powerful dual band handheld, with a powerful set of features to match. What we have is a 4 watt UHF, 5 watt VHF radio capable of operating in both digital and analog modes. It supports 3,072 channels, 250 zones, 255 receive groups, and 1,024 contacts. it has a full DTMF keypad, programmable buttons, and Wouxun's signature full color LCD display. It features Private Call, Group Call and All Call, Direct Mode and Repeater Mode, Text Messaging in Digital Mode, an ARTS function, and digital voice encryption. It has CTCSS and DCS in analog mode, remote monitor, remote check and remote enable/disable functions.

    And, like many import radios, it also has a built-in FM radio and a flashlight. Apparently Wouxun considers these last two as standard features for a commercial grade business radio, because they make it a point to build them into many of their models.

    The biggest feature, however, is the number of contacts. It's a huge number. The TYT MD-2017, the TYT UV380, and Anytone AT-D878UV are popular dual band DMR digital radios, each capable of storing over 100,000 contacts. The KG-UVN1 supports one hundred and sixty thousand contacts. This is the most of any radio on the market to date, including the Anytone and TYT models. This is the single greatest advantage of the KG-UVN1 for hams and is why we think this radio could cause some disruption in the amateur arena.

    Now, Wouxun did not particularly build the KG-UVN1 for the amateur. This radio was intended for business users. It was designed as a commercial radio, and if you look at Wouxun's web site, you're going to find it advertised with 1,024 contacts and an eight hour recording function.

    But not our KG-UVN1. At our request, Wouxun modified the firmware to create an amateur version of this radio with 160,000 contacts, just for hams. To do so, they had to make some room in the radio by eliminating the recording feature. So you don't get the eight hour record time, but that space is dedicated now to contacts.

    Why is that important? If you're using the radio for amateur operation, you're going to want to load in all of the contacts for the area or region in which you are using the radios. If you're hitting a wide network of DMR repeaters, you will see the call sign of anyone who is transmitting, right on the radio. There is a global database of contacts online at radioid.net, there are over 130,000 contacts worldwide listed in their database. The kicker? You can load every contact from that database into the KG-UVN1.

    But it gets even better. As a bonus, Wouxun has preloaded the radio with these contacts. Yep, that's right. The KG-UVN1 comes pre-loaded with every contact listed in the RadioID.net database. At last count, that was nearly 130,00 contacts, or 128,948 contacts, to be exact.

    So, right out of the box, if you buy the amateur edition of the Wouxun KG-UVN1 from Buy Two Way Radios, you're going to have all the contacts in the system, and quite possibly, all the contacts in the world preloaded into the radio, at the time the radio was loaded!

    Now, as mentioned, this is a dedicated amateur version of the KG-UVN1. At the time this article was written, this radio is not Part 90 type accepted or approved by the FCC for business use. So if you buy this radio now, what you're going to get is a radio that's locked to the amateur frequencies.

    The amateur version of the KG-UVN1 operates on 420 MHz to 450 MHZ UHF and 144 MHz to 148 MHz VHF. Once the radio receives its commercial approval and its FCC ID number, it can be updated for a wider frequency range within the approved specs. So, if you buy it now, you won't be getting a radio that's going to be obsolete in awhile, you're getting a radio that can be updated in the future to open it up to commercial frequencies. At the moment, it will work just fine on the amateur frequencies only.

    But then, if you're a licensed amateur radio operator, and you're buying this for amateur use, you really shouldn't need it to operate outside the ham bands anyway. Just sayin'.

    Some of the less prominent features are also somewhat interesting. These are all security related. Wouxun considers security and privacy important for business communications, so it added a few extra features to ensure the radio itself is secure for use in the field. These include the ability to set a security password for programming the radio and the ability to hide the menu or selected menu items from the end user. Wouxun also lists a feature called Menu Encryption, although at the time this article was written, it did not seem to actually exist in the list of menu options. It's no deal breaker, and probably not anything most hams would use anyway, but since Wouxun printed it in their manual and on the box, it's worth noting.

    Wouxun KG-UVN1 with battery packThe Wouxun KG-UVN1 is powered by a high capacity 2600mAh (19.24Wh) Lithium-ion battery pack. It is similar to the optional high capacity battery pack available for the KG-UV8D, although taller and heavier in weight. It weighs in at 4.41 ounces, compared to the 4.23 ounce battery for the 8D. It does make the radio seem heftier, but it also provides the N1 with substantial uptime on a full charge.

    Although the batteries and chargers are different, the KG-UVN1 is still easy to accessorize. it uses an SMA Male antenna connector, so, there are a plethora of OEM and third party antennas available that will work for it. Unlike the MD-2017, which uses a multi-pin connector, The KG-UVN1 uses the Kenwood two pin (K1) style connector commonly found on most import handheld radios such as the Baofeng UV-5R, Wouxun KG-UV8D, and TYT-MD-380. If you already have audio accessories for one or more of these radios, chances are they have this connector and they'll work with this Wouxun. That's definitely a plus for the KG-UVN1.

    Durability has never been an issue with Wouxun. This manufacturer produces high quality, business grade radios, and the KG-UVN1 is no exception. This isn't your twenty dollar disposable dual bander. The UVN1 is a professional grade two way radio with the solid, stout look and feel expected of such a device.

    Wouxun KG-UVN1 in chargerWouxun does understate the weight of this radio. According to the specs in their manual, it's 300 grams, or 10.58 ounces. It's actually over 11 ounces, or 11.71 ounces, to be exact, and that's including the high capacity battery. It may be a stout dual band DMR radio, but it's certainly not a full pounder.

    Then there is the price, and that's the best part. For all that's packed into this radio, the Wouxun KG-UVN1 is priced at only $159.99. That's a heck of a deal. It's the same price point as the MD-2017, and significantly less than the Anytone AT-D878UV. All things considered, it's a great price for this radio.

    In fact, this radio matches up very well to the MD-2017, but the UVN1 has some advantages that put it on top of the TYT and all the other amateur DMR radios on currently the market. The number of contacts, solid construction, high capacity battery, powerful feature set, compatibility with existing audio accessories and budget friendly price all combine to make the Wouxun KG-UVN1 a DMR Dual Bander for the serious ham.

    Want to learn more about the Wouxun KG-UVN1? Listen to an in-depth discussion about this new dual band DMR radio in Episode 137 of The Two Way Radio Show podcast!

  • Midland introduces new T290 and T295 GMRS radios

    Midland T290VP4 GMRS Two Way RadiosWhen the FCC re-wrote the rules for Part 95 in 2017, there was some expectation that the market would become inundated with higher powered FRS radios aimed specifically at small, on-site business users as well as consumers. As expected, radio manufactures have indeed added more FRS radios to their product lines, and the license free Family Radio Service, now allowing more powerful radios, continues to be popular among business and personal users alike. Up until now, the GMRS has largely been ignored. That may be starting to change. With the introduction of the new T290 and T295, Midland seems to be shifting focus back to the GMRS.

    The T290VP4 and T295VP4 are two new additions to the Midland X-Talker line. The family resemblance is quite apparent. In fact, they are reminiscent of several other radios in the T70 series, although not as contoured, as an LXT633. They have the same general features and operate on the same frequencies as their T70 cousins. The difference, then? it's all about power. The T71, T75 and T77VP5 are all FRS radios, operating at well below 2 watts. The T290 and T295 are GMRS models, capable of transmitting at nearly 3 watts.

    Midland T290VP4 GMRS Two Way RadioT290VP4
    The Midland T290 is most like the T77 in features and function. It has the 22 GMRS channels plus 14 extra channels pre-programmed with privacy codes, which at first glances seems somewhat gimmicky in terms of "more channels", but can actually be convenient for those who want to filter out unwanted chatter from others but don't want to take the time or effort to set manually a CTCSS or DCS code to a channel themselves. As for the choice of codes, the T290 has 121 available, which can be very helpful if you are in an area where the airwaves are clogged.

    In addition to the GMRS channels, the T290 also has 10 NOAA weather channels with weather alert. It includes a weather scan feature to maximize its benefits as an emergency weather radio. It features 9 level e-Vox, silent operation, channel scan, and 5 call tones. It also has adjustable high, medium and low power settings.

    The T290 is cosmetically pleasing, with an attractive black and silver two tone color scheme. It's fully compatible with other FRS/GMRS radios, but as a higher power radio, it does require a GMRS license to operate. The X-Talker T290VP4 Value Pack comes with two radios, a dual pocket desktop charger, AC adapter, two C-ring style earpieces with in-line PTT, two belt clips, and two 700mAh battery packs. Price- $89.99.

    Midland T295VP4 GMRS Two Way RadioT295VP4
    The Midland T295 is the same radio as the T290, with two important differences. The first one obviously cosmetic. It's camo, using the same Mossy Oak® camouflage design used by the T75VP3 known as Break-Up Country. If you're a fan of camo, this may be quite appealing. If not, stick with the T290.

    The other difference with the T295 is audible. The T290 has 5 call tones. The T295 replaces those with 5 animal calls. These include Cougar, Duck, Crow, Wolf, and Turkey. Like the GXT1050, T65VP3 and T75, This is clearly a radio designed with hunting and other outdoor activities in mind.

    As with the T290, the T295 requires a GMRS license to operate. The X-Talker T295VP4 Value Pack includes two radios, a dual pocket desktop charger, AC adapter, two C-ring style earpieces with in-line PTT, two belt clips, and two 700mAh battery packs. Price- $99.99.

    While part of the X-Talker line, the T290 and T290 lack a couple of features that are standard with the other T-Series radios. Most notable is the USB port. Simply put, there isn't one. Most, if not all of the other models in the series allow drop-in and USB plug-in charging. The T290 and T295 allow plug-in charging, but through a dual purpose two-pin audio/charge port only. Also, Many other X-Talker radios provide for multiple power options for greater versatility, most notably the option to switch from rechargeable batteries to alkalines, and vice-versa. The T290 and T295 do not offer this option. They operate on NiMH rechargeable battery packs only. It's not necessarily a deal breaker, but something to consider when shopping around.

    Some GMRS operators may note the lack of certain features expected of a dedicated GMRS radio. The first is a detachable antenna. It isn't an option with these radios. The second is a higher capacity lithium-ion battery, a preferred choice for some GMRS users who transmit on higher duty cycles. Also, these radios are not repeater capable.

    General Mobile Radio Service operators who need a radio with a heavier duty cycle or repeater capability for use on the GMRS may want to opt for something like an MXT115, MXT275 or MXT400 MicroMobile radio. However, if you just need a consumer grade GMRS radio for recreational use or on the go, the T290 and T295 are pretty good buys that may fit the bill.

  • Motorola enhances their digital DTR Series with the new DTR600 and DTR700

    Motorola DTR600 and DTR700 Digital Two Way RadiosWhen Motorola debuted the original DTR Series, the concept of a low license free digital radio for business use was somewhat of a novel idea. It didn't take long, however, for the DTR410, DTR550 and DTR650 to become niche favorites with certain businesses and even some consumers. Recently, the company introduced two new models to their DTR line. The Motorola DTR600 and DTR700 enhances an already popular digital series.

    Motorola's DTR products are different from most of the other business radios that we carry at Buy Two Way Radios. Instead of operating on a single selectable frequency, DTR series radios constantly hop from one frequency to another in the 900 MHz wavelength. This provides several advantages over typical radios. 900 MHz frequencies offer greater range than traditional UHF radios and the ones used by the DTR series don't require a license. The frequency hopping technology makes it very difficult to eavesdrop on a transmission using common receiver technology, such as scanners. The DTR series also has clear, digital sound and advanced features, such as one to one calling.

    Now, with these two new models, Motorola brings the DTR series into the next generation of license-free digital communication.

    Motorola DTR600 Digital Two Way RadioDTR600
    The DTR600 is the newest edition to the DTR series and replaces both the DTR410 and the DTR550. It is compatible with all other DTR series radios as well as Motorola's DLR series radios. The DTR600 is physically a big improvement over the previous series. It's thinner by around a third of an inch, but more noticeable is the larger, full color screen.
    The DTR600 will work right out of the box with support for up to 30 license free channels. Many customers choose to use the radio without any additional configuration, and this is fine - an out of the box DTR600 will work like a typical radio and you will still get the great digital sound and great range. If you're willing to do a little configuration, however, you can really unlock the power of the DTR series. By building a contact list of each radio in your fleet and defining private radio groups, you can make it simple for your employees or coworkers to get in touch with exactly who they need. A programmable side button can be set to allow for private replies, a direct call to a frequent contact, all call, or even to page all units.

    The DTR600 includes a 2500 mAh lithium battery, good for 16.5 hours of operation, an antenna, a charger, and a holster. Price - $319.00

    Motorola DTR700 Digital Two Way RadioDTR700
    The DTR700 is essentially the same radio as the DTR600, with all of the same functionality and features. The only difference between these two models is the number of channels. The DTR700 has support for an additional 20 channels for a total of 50 channels. Both radios support up to 200 contacts, and are fully compatible with one another, as well as previous DTR series and DLR series radios, such as the DLR1020 and DLR1060. Price - $349.00

    Instead of the traditional belt clip, the DTR600 and DTR700 include a holster. This allows you to securely attach and remove the radio quickly and easily. The holster includes a nice feature. The belt clip portion of the holster has an area that is specifically designed for you to wind any extra cord from your earpiece, so it's not dangling and in your way!

    By purchasing an optional programming cable (HKKN4027A), the DTR600 and DTR700 can be customized using PC software freely available for download from Motorola. Other optional accessories include a 6 radio multi-charger and a wide variety of earpieces and other accessories. Both models are in available to ship from our warehouse at Buy Two Way Radios.

    Watch our video programming tutorial! How to program the Motorola DTR600 and DTR700 digital radios will show you how to do it yourself!

  • Motorola CLS1110 and CLS1410 Supported Frequencies

    CLS1410 In Programming ModeIf you're changing the frequency on your Motorola CLS series radio, you're going to quickly realize that the radio doesn't show you the actual frequency. Instead, it allows you to select a number between 1 and 56 that relates to a frequency. For example, if you need frequency 467.900, you'll want to select frequency number 7.

    To save you from having to dig through the CLS owner's manual, we've listed the frequencies along with their reference number in the chart below. This chart was intended for the Motorola CLS1110 and CLS1410, but it also applies to other radios, including the Spirit M, GT, and S-Series. You may also want to view the default frequencies for Motorola CLS series radios.

    Number Frequency
    1 464.5000
    2 464.5500
    3 467.7625
    4 467.8125
    5 467.8500
    6 467.8750
    7 467.9000
    8 467.9250
    9 461.0375
    10 461.0625
    11 461.0875
    12 461.1125
    13 461.1375
    14 461.1625
    15 461.1875
    16 461.2125
    17 461.2375
    18 461.2625
    19 461.2875
    20 461.3125
    21 461.3375
    22 461.3625
    23 462.7625
    24 462.7875
    25 462.8125
    26 462.8375
    27 462.8625
    28 462.8875
    29 462.9125
    30 464.4875
    31 464.5125
    32 464.5375
    33 464.5625
    34 466.0375
    35 466.0625
    36 466.0875
    37 466.1125
    38 466.1375
    39 466.1625
    40 466.1875
    41 466.2125
    42 466.2375
    43 466.2625
    44 466.2875
    45 466.3125
    46 466.3375
    47 466.3625
    48 467.7875
    49 467.8375
    50 467.8625
    51 467.8875
    52 467.9125
    53 469.4875
    54 469.5125
    55 469.5375
    56 469.5625
  • Why the Motorola CLS1110 and CLS1410 are popular radios for retail

    Motorola CLS1110 and CLS1410 radios for retailEnter the door of a local retailer these days and you are likely to see the staff using two way radios. From small mom-and-pop shops to big box stores, from the front register to the back storeroom, two way radios are used by merchants every working day, and it's easy to understand why. Communication is vital to any business operation, and radios provide instant communications between management and staff for lower cost of ownership and increased ROI. The faster response time improves efficiency, productivity, security and the overall customer experience. A two way radio system is a much more efficient way to communicate than using cell phones, and at a fraction of the cost. When it comes down to the bottom line, choosing two way radios for a retail operation simply makes good business sense.

    Motorola CLS1410Radios are a perfect fit for a retail store, and work very well in such an environment, but there is one model series that overshadows the others and is particularly popular with merchants.

    The next time you visit your favorite retailer, take a close look at the radios worn around the store. It is quite likely the radios they are using were made by Motorola. But they may not be just any Motorola. Chances are, you will find that the clerk behind the counter will be using a Motorola CLS1110 or CLS1410 on-site business radio.

    Motorola CLS Series radios are the de facto favorites among retail merchants and their staff. The CLS1110 and CLS1410 seem to be a sort of standard among both small and large retailers, and for a number of very good reasons.

    They have great range indoors.
    Although quite small, the CLS1110 and CLS1410 provide considerable coverage in retail environments. The CLS radios operate on licensed UHF frequencies, which are good for indoor applications, especially in small retail stores with multiple aisles of obstructions such as shelving and inventory. They are good indoor radios, and are specifically designed for that environment.

    They are small and discreet.
    These are two of the most compact and ergonomic business radios on the market, which makes the Motorola CLS Series perfect for retail use. Employees tend to move around a lot within the confines of a store and such mobility requires them to carry a radio that is extremely compact, light weight and unobtrusive to the customer. Since many shops don't need a lot of range, it makes sense to go with the smallest radio possible. The CLS1110 and CLS1410 fit the bill perfectly.

    They are comfortable to wear.
    Motorola CLS radios are designed for efficiency and comfort. A typical retail operation requires staff to carry or wear their radios for the duration of their shifts. A full-sized handheld business two way radio can be heavy, bulky and cumbersome to carry around for long periods. Not so with the CLS series. Motorola designed these radios for retailers with ergonomic portability in mind. According to reviews, Motorola hit the mark, as merchants and their employees find them comfortable to carry, hold and wear.

    They are easy to configure.
    The CLS1110 and CLS1410 operate on 56 business frequencies. These are preset in the radios, which makes programming a breeze. The radios are front panel programmable, and features can be configured or customized in a few simple steps. The CLS radios can also be easily cloned using the optional multi-unit charger, making the process of configuring a whole fleet of them easier and very fast.

    They are easy to use.
    The CLS1110 and CLS1410 are designed for simplicity, so an employee can instinctively operate them with little to no training. The Large PTT (Push-To-Talk) button is located on the front face of the radio at the top, allowing the operator to quickly and easily find and press it by feel, without having to look. The front panel has only four other buttons and a simple LCD display with icons that are easy to recognize and understand, even for the layperson. The CLS radios are much simpler to use than a cell phone and provide instant communications at the push of one button. The CLS radio also comes with a holster, and is designed to slip in and out of it quickly, securely and with ease.

    They are built for daily use.
    Motorola CLS radios are made to withstand the rigors of daily operation in a typical retail environment. While not impervious to abuse, these units can take a modicum of wear and tear during a long shift under normal working conditions. They meet Military Standards C,D,E,F, and G for shock, dust and vibration. They are also rated IP5X to handle up to a 5 foot drop onto concrete. The CLS1110 and CLS1410 are made to last awhile, and come with a two year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

    There is a huge selection of accessories available for them.
    Although these radios can be used with the built-in microphone and speaker, many retailers prefer to use them with earpieces or headsets for greater privacy and more discreet communications between employees, especially when used on the floor around customers. Fortunately, there is a plethora of OEM and after market accessories available for the CLS1110 and CLS140. Such a wide selection gives the merchant and their employees greater flexibility to communicate, increasing efficiency and productivity in their entire retail operation.

    The Motorola CLS Series radio fits any retail workplace and integrating naturally into the workflow to provide instant continuous communications for on-site retailers, with no monthly fees, no service charges, and no contracts. After all, the faster the better the communications, the more cost-effective, efficient and profitable the operation. Considering all this, it's no wonder the Motorola CLS1110 and CLS1410 are a such popular choice for retailers. It's not trendy, it's just good business.

  • How to set up repeater channels on the Midland MXT400

    Midland MXT400 Micromobile GMRS Two Way RadioThe Midland MXT400 Micromobile radio is quite popular for several reasons. It's a high wattage GMRS radio, it has NOAA weather channels, and it's mobile. One feature stands out from all the rest. This GMRS radio is also repeater capable.

    The support for repeater channels is important, because there are few radios around today with repeater capability that are also FCC Part 95 type accepted for the GMRS. In fact, at the time this article was published, there are only three, and all of them are manufactured by Midland.

    So, now you have a new Midland MXT400, and you want to connect to local GMRS repeaters. Only one question remains. How do you set up repeater channels on the Midland MXT400?

    It's actually quite simple and can be done very quickly, once you know how to access the repeater channels. The trick is how to find and activate them.

    The General Mobile Radio Service, or GMRS, consists of 30 frequencies that include 22 GMRS and 8 GMRS repeater frequencies. As a general rule, these frequencies are pre-programmed to specific channels by the manufacturer, which are standard across the industry. The frequencies on repeater channels RP15-RP22 are preset, as they are pre-assigned frequencies for all repeaters operating on the GMRS. To put it simply, they are already programmed into the the MXT400. All you need to do is activate them.

    How to activate the repeater channels

    • Step 1. Press and hold [Menu] for 3 seconds to enter Menu Mode.
    • Step 2. Press [Call] or [Plvl] to navigate the menu options until REP appears on the display.
    • Step 3. Turn the Channel Knob to choose REP--ON.
    • Step 4. Press [Select] to confirm.
    • Step 5. Press [Scn/Mon] to exit the Repeater Channel option.

    Some GMRS repeaters are open, and do not require Tone Squelch (T/SQ) codes to access them. However, others do. If you need to enter CTCSS/DCS codes used by individual repeater systems, these can be easily set by assigning the specific code to each repeater channel on the MXT400. Simply go to the channel and assign the code according to the instructions in the MXT400 user manual. GMRS repeaters generally use the same CTCSS code for both RX and TX frequencies, so you should be able to assign just one code to the channel. The user manual includes a table of the CTCSS codes along with the corresponding code frequency in Hz for each. For instance, Code 12 is 100.0 Hz, so if the repeater is Output 462.6750 MHz, Input 467.6750, MHz 100.0 Hz, set code 12 into the channel RP 20 to access the repeater.

    You can set a different CTCSS/DCS code for each channel on the radio, including the repeater channels.

    How to set a CTCSS code for a repeater channel

    • Step 1. Turn the Channel Knob to the desired repeater channel.
    • Step 2. Press [TS/DCS] once to access the CTCSS Privacy Code settings.
    • Step 3. Turn the Channel Knob to until the desired CTCSS code appears on the display.
    • Step 4. Press [Select] to confirm.
      The T/SQ icon will appear on the display to confirm your selection.
    • Step 5. Press [Scn/Mon] to exit the Privacy Code option.

    How to set a DCS code for a repeater channel

    • Step 1. Turn the Channel Knob to the desired repeater channel.
    • Step 2. Press [TS/DCS] twice to access the DCS Privacy Code settings.
    • Step 3. Turn the Channel Knob to until the desired DCS code appears on the display.
    • Step 4. Press [Select] to confirm.
      The DCS icon will appear on the display to confirm your selection.
    • Step 5. Press [Scn/Mon] to exit the Privacy Code option.

    There you have it! That's all you need to do to set up repeater channels on the Midland MXT400. For reference, a chart of GMRS repeater channels and frequencies is listed below.

    GMRS Repeater Channels and Frequencies

    GMRS Repeater Channels and Frequencies
    Channel Type RX Frequency TX Frequency
    RPT15 GMRS 462.5500 467.5500
    RPT16 GMRS 462.5750 467.5750
    RPT17 GMRS 462.6000 467.6000
    RPT18 GMRS 462.6250 467.6250
    RPT19 GMRS 462.6500 467.6500
    RPT20 GMRS 462.6750 467.6750
    PRT21 GMRS 462.7000 467.7000
    RPT22 GMRS 462.7250 467.7250
  • Introducing the Motorola Talkabout T800 FRS two way radio!

    Motorola Talkabout T800 FrontIf you watch our videos or listen to our podcast, you probably hear us comment from time to time on the lack of innovation when it comes to FRS or GMRS radios. If you rewind the clock 10 years, you would find the radios that were for sale then were really similar to the radios that are for sale now. With the introduction of the new Motorola Talkabout T800, there is finally some new and original functionality with FRS radios for us to talk about.

    The T800 is a very different FRS radio. Although it is similar in function to the Motorola TalkAbout T460, it adds bluetooth app support and a visually impressive design that is a completely new look for the Talkabout line. However, the most notable aesthetic feature is the display.

    The T800 display is uniquely different. Motorola calls it a hidden display, and with good reason. This is the same display concept used for the Motorola SL300 commercial radio, but with more graphics. Simply put, it's just plain cool. This new display is invisible when the T800 is off, undetectable behind the one piece T800 faceplate. Turn the radio on, and the blue LCD display appears, viewable through the now translucent faceplate!

    Sure, the T800 display looks great and is easy to read when the radio is on, but that's not the only new upgrade to the design of this radio. The front panel buttons are now raised icons, which should be easier to find and identify when the radio is out of site, such as when it’s clipped to your belt. Towards the bottom, the radio narrows and turns into a loop. This appears to be intended for a carabiner clip, and is quite different from the traditional loops found on other Motorola Talkabout series radios. While this larger loop can be useful for connecting a clip or lanyard, it also makes the radio a little harder to balance on a flat surface.

    Motorola Talkabout T800 RightThe rest of the buttons are lined on one side of the radio for easy, instant access. These controls include a button to active the built-in flashlight, high and low power push-to-talk (PTT) buttons, a bluetooth pairing button, and an emergency alert. On the other side of the radio is a micro USB charging port.

    The T800 connects to a smartphone via bluetooth and will integrate with Motorola's new TalkAbout app, which is available as a free download for iphone and android mobile devices. The app basically uses the radio as a modem, to enable and manage features such as message and location sharing. These features even work when you're off the grid, as long as the radios are connected and in range.

    Motorola Talkabout AppWhen you launch the app for the first time, you'll be asked to pair it with the radio. This is very simple and doesn't even require you to press the Bluetooth® button on the radio. Just make sure the only radio that is on is the one that you want to pair. The final step of the setup process is the creation of an account that is linked to your phone number. You can skip this, but it does make a few of the features on the app work better if you are linked.

    Most of the Motorola Talkabout App is centered around maps and location sharing. You can download maps offline and share your location, or view the location of your group members even if you don't have cell phone service. The app allows you to add members to your group using their username or phone number, if they created an account during setup. Once you have your group, an easy pairing option is available which sets all radios to match the channel and sub code of the leader radio.

    The radio settings option is a nice feature of the app. The screens are kind of limited on most FRS radios, so navigating the menu is usually a guessing game of which icon matches what setting. Having all options laid out in a way that is easy to navigate is fantastic. When you change a setting or activate a feature in the app, it immediately updates the radio!

    The T800 is definitely a step forward for FRS radios and its a positive direction for Motorola. There is nothing specific to the T800 model in the Motorola Talkabout App, so it would come as no surprise if app support is added to other Talkabout models in the future. The Motorola Talkabout T800 is now available for purchase from our web site at buytwowayradios.com.

    UPDATE: Watch our video and see the Motorola Talkabout T800 in action!

  • TYT Radio FCC ID and Type Acceptance Chart

    TYT MD-380 DMR Digital Two Way RadioAs a result of the recent FCC enforcement advisory on import radios and the subsequent discussions on the topic in episodes TWRS-128 and TWRS-129 of The Two Way Radio Show Podcast, we checked the FCC IDs on all affected products in our warehouse to ensure full compliance. As a result, we posted our Wouxun Radio FCC ID and Type Acceptance Reference Chart to assure our Wouxun customers the products we sell meet FCC requirements. Since we are also an authorized US dealer for TYT, we decided to create one for TYT radios as well.

    The following chart lists the TYT radios on our web site with FCC IDs and FCC type acceptance.

    TYT Radio FCC ID and Type Acceptance Chart
    Model Radio Type FCC ID FCC Standard Approved Frequency Range
    MD-380 (UHF) Commercial PODMD-380 Part 90 400-480MHz RX/TX
    MD-380 (VHF) Commercial PODMD-380​V Part 90 136-174MHz RX/TX
    MD-390 (UHF) Commercial PODMD-38 Part 90 400-480MHz RX/TX
    MD-390 (VHF) Commercial PODMD-380​V Part 90 136-174MHz RX/TX
    MD-UV380 Commercial POD-MDUV380 Part 90/22 136-174/406.1-480MHz RX/TX
    MD-2017 Commercial POD-DMR2 Part 90/22 136-174/406.1-480MHz RX/TX
    MD-9600 Commercial POD-DMR3 Part 90 136-174/400-480MHz RX/TX
    TH-7800 Amateur 136-174/400-480MHz TX/RX
    TH-9800 Amateur PODTH-9800 Part 15B 28-29.7/50-54/144-148/420-450MHz RX/TX

    Of course, if you have any questions, please contact us or leave a comment below.

  • The Kenwood ProTalk NX-P500 Digital Radio makes NXDN more affordable

    Kenwood ProTalk NX-P500 Digital Business Two Way RadioThe prospect of migrating an entire fleet of two way radios from analog to digital was once a rather intimidating one, and involved a considerable investment in a new and very expensive technology. Not anymore. As seems to be the trend, prices on high quality digital radios continue to fall. More evidence for this is the recently released Kenwood ProTalk NX-P500 Digital Radio, which retails for only $219. Once limited to the domain of DMR, the cost of choosing NXDN digital technology is finally coming down. Thanks to the NX-P500, NXDN is now a very affordable option.

    The NX-P500 is a small and lightweight UHF radio with two watts of transmit power. Its small footprint aside, this is a powerful little transceiver. It uses a 2000mAh lithium-ion battery pack that provides up to 15.5 hours of uptime on a single charge. Its built-in 750mW speaker belts out loud and clear audio and its LCD display is bright with easy to read icons and channel ID. It is also equipped with a 7 color LED indicator for call alerts and color coding groups.

    Kenwood ProTalk NX-P500 Digital Business Two Way RadioThe NX-P500 operates on 450-470 MHz UHF frequencies and has 99 user programmable memory bank frequencies. It supports both analog and digital mixed mode operation, so it can communicate with your existing fleet of UHF radios. The NXDN digital scrambler adds a layer of security to your digital communications. It also features Fleetsync® paging, VOX functionality and companding. It's repeater capable and supports wireless cloning. It's also waterproof and even submersible.

    The NX-P500 is a ProTalk® series digital radio. With this model, Kenwood is clearly providing a digital option for users of their PKT-23 and the very popular TK-3230DX. Those analog models are great for many shorter range business applications, such as restaurants, retail stores, event management, or medical and dental offices. With the NX-P500, those businesses can now choose a radio that is similar in size that also offers digital sound and features.

    Kenwood ProTalk NX-P500 in holster with charger and AC adapterThe question is, should businesses that were using these small analog radios switch to the NX-P500? This is without a doubt a superior radio, but is it worth the money? First of all, even if your business isn't using any of the advanced digital features, you will take advantage of the improved audio clarity. Second, the FCC has established a mandate that any new radios over two watts must be digital. While analog radios such as the TK-3230DX and PKT-23 are under this wattage, it's clear that digital is the direction that the FCC is pushing the industry.

    It seems logical to think that if you're eventually going to have to replace your fleet with digital radios, a good strategy is to start buying digital models like the NX-P500 now. Why buy another analog radio that you're going to have to replace later? The NX-P500 also supports analog, so it will work with your old radios now, and once you've replaced them all with digital models you can flip the switch and activate digital mode. Of course, if your business is currently not using radios at all, it definitely makes sense to start with digital. Either way, it's an easy, economical, and sensible route to digital two way radios.

    If you have any questions about the Kenwood NX-P500 or moving to digital radios, don't hesitate to contact us!

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