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Business Radios

  • How many radio channels do you need?

    Motorola DTR600 ChannelsThere are many different types of business two way radios out there that offer many variations of channel options. Becoming familiar with how two-way radio channels work can help you decide which radio might be best for you. It could also prevent you from paying too much for a radio that may be overkill for your particular situation.

    A radio channel is best described as a separate, individual line of one or two way communication on a radio band. Think of it as an assigned and numbered channel on a television set and you have the idea.

    Most business radios will have anywhere from 1 to 32 different channels. Depending on the radio, these channels can be easily changed using either a knob on the top of the radio or by using the menu option on the LCD screen.

    For businesses that prefer all of their radio users to be able to hear and reply to every conversation, one single channel will work just fine. For businesses that want to separate the communications between departments or want supervisor communications separate from those with and between employees, a radio with multiple channels will be the way to go.

    Another benefit of having multiple channels is that you have options in the event of radio interference. Even if you only use or need one channel, having multiple channels to choose from will allow you to easily switch to a different frequency if the current channel you are on is already in use. For instance, if a neighboring business interferes with the channel you were using, simply change the channel.

    Of course, a radio with more channels often costs more money, but not always. There are some models with a large number of pre-programmed or user programmable channels that are priced competitively with radios that have fewer channels. The advice here is to shop around and check all the different brands and models.

    Deciding how many channels are ideal for your company can be a big money-saver, as well as a beneficial tool during day-to-day use. If you have any questions as to how many channels you may need, feel free to contact our sales department at 1-800-584-1445, and we will be happy to guide you based on your specific needs.

  • How To Prevent Eavesdropping When Using Two Way Radios

    XLT HS200 HeadsetOne of the most frequent concerns from our business customers is whether or not their radio communication will be private from eavesdroppers. It is important to be discreet when using two way radios, especially with sensitive information. When it comes to company communications, even with regular conversation, privacy is always a top priority.

    With normal analog radios, creating a true private channel can be very tricky and expensive. Analog radios typically have a default list of programmable privacy codes or PL tones that can be set to each channel. Enabling these tones will definitely help prevent outsiders from cutting in on your conversation, but it is important to note that they do not prevent them from hearing you.

    Another option is voice scrambling, but on analog radios this typically requires additional hardware, such as scrambling/encryption cards, which greatly increases the overall cost of the radios. Considering this, your best line of defense to prevent against eavesdropping is to go with a digital radio.

    Digital radios such as the Motorola EVX-S24, Motorola EVX-261 and the Kenwood TK-D340U would all be excellent choices. These are DMR radios using TDMA or Time-Division Multiple-Access, a popular technology with enhanced privacy.

    The fact that FDMA or Frequency-Division Multiple-Access digital technology is much less common and not readily supported by scanners makes the Kenwood NX series radios such as the NX-340U16P a great option. An added bonus on these units is that they also have the ability to operate in analog mode, and they can be programmed to be compatible with your existing analog radios. This helps make for a smooth transition if you want to make the jump from analog to digital without replacing your entire fleet of radios all at once.

    The Motorola DTR600 and Motorola DLR1060 both use 900 mHz frequencies, which are rarely used to begin with. Additionally, these radios use FHSS or Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum technology, which means that the radios change frequencies every few seconds, all while staying synced up with one another. These features combined makes it nearly impossible for anyone to pick up your transmission for more than a second or two.

    Privacy is a valid concern for business owners, but there are options. Going digital is one of them. If you have any questions or concerns on which digital radio may be right for you, give us a call at 1-800-584-1445 and we will be happy to help.

  • Programming Motorola DLR Series Radios

    Motorola DLR Series Radio WIth AccessoriesOne of the questions we get asked most often is "How hard is it to program the settings I need into the Motorola DLR radios?" While we realize this can seem confusing to novice radio users, Motorola does offer a free CPS (customer programming software) that will make this process much easier. In this article, we will be giving you some tips on how to use this software to meet your needs. These same steps apply for both the DLR1020 and DLR1060 models.

    First, you will need to download the programming software from the DLR page at MotorolaSolutions.com. As already mentioned, this is a free download. Second, you will need to purchase the Motorola DLR series programming cable. Once you have these two things, you are ready to begin programming your Motorola DLR radios!

    Motorola DLR Series Programming SetupThe programming cable will communicate with your radio via the drop-in charger tray. Plug one end of the cable into your USB port on your computer, and the other end into the power connector on the back your charger. Make sure the radio is secure in the charger tray and turned ON. Also, be sure that the switch on the programming cable is set to the position marked Digital.

    Motorola DLR Series Programming Read RadioAt this point you should be able to access your programming software. Run the application, choose RADIO in the top column and select "DLR" as your radio type. If you would like to view the current settings of  your radio, click the option Read Radio. This will upload the current settings of the radio to the application. If you would like to begin customizing your radio based on the default settings, you can click New Profile.

    Motorola DLR Series Programming Basic SettingsThe screen that comes up will now give you the options to change your basic settings. These settings include options for setting the microphone gain, turning voice prompts on or off, setting volume levels, audible beeps, and selecting your "home" channel, just to name a few. This screen also has several options that you can choose to become part of your Advanced Settings, discussed in the next two paragraphs.

    Motorola DLR Series Programming Profile IDIn the top center of your screen, you will see a button labeled Switch to ADVANCED. These advanced settings offer several options, but the most commonly used is the Direct Call feature. This will give you the option to select and call an individual radio in your fleet, instead of transmitting to an entire group.

    This feature comes in handy when you want to have private conversations. For instance, if two supervisors need to discuss something privately, without employees hearing them, they would use Direct Call. In order to enable the Direct Call feature in your Basic Menu options, you need to first upload the unique “private” identification (12 digit) number of each radio. Click on the Switch to ADVANCED button. Under Privates (Advanced) tab, click Add for CPS to upload the radio ID. You can customize the radio ID name under the Name column. Once a radio ID is uploaded, the CPS will give the option to enable Direct Call. Customize your PROFILE ID Number for any 4 digit number different from “0000” to differentiate your radios in a radio fleet.

    Motorola DLR Series Programming Profile Save AsOnce you have changed all the settings, click Write to radio in order to program your radio with the new settings. The CPS will display a window confirming the writing (programming of your radio) is successful. You can also save your profile at any time in order to use the same settings when programming other radios by clicking on Save to profile. This will save the profile to the current default path in your computer. To specify a different path to save the profile, click on the Save As button.

    Your DLR radios are now programmed to your preferred settings, and you are ready to use them as needed! If you have any questions concerning the programming, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-584-1445, and one of our experts will be happy to assist. We thank you for choosing Buy Two Way Radios!

  • Using radios to minimize employee contact and enable social distancing

    Warehouse Employee With RadioIt's no secret that two way radios are great for managing the social distancing of your business or organization with customers and the public. From curbside service to managing visitor entry, business radios enable you to service your customers more efficiently while protecting both parties and abiding by the new social distancing rules of engagement. This isn't limited to front-facing transactions, either. A fleet of business radios can also benefit your internal operations, because they reduce direct, close contact between your employees or staff.

    Radios can reduce employee contact considerably. For example, fewer face-to-face meetings are required between managers and other staff members, as radios provide instant communications at a distance. A clerk at the front desk can instantly call for assistance or report an incident at the push of button, without interacting in person. Shift changes can be coordinated without face-to-face contact and staff breaks can be handled safely with remote communications. There's no need for close interaction during much of the work shift. With radios, over-the-air contacts can help your operation remain contagion free.

    This method of wireless communication provides another important benefit. In addition to enabling the recommended social distancing, business two way radios empower your workers to respond and react more quickly.

    Instead of walking to the back of the stockroom to find that size 9 sneaker, a shoe store clerk can call to check for its availability while serving the next customer. The cart attendant at the local supermarket can immediately be called back inside the building without the manager spending ten minutes in the parking lot on a search. As a result, you'll likely see improved efficiency by using radios. Greater operating efficiency translates into lower operating costs, adding to the bottom line. Tasks take time, and time is money. Radios can save you both. Considering this, radio communications may be practically indispensible for both the profitability and safety of your entire operation.

    But before you jump onto an international, online mass marketplace and order a pack of cheap, generic walkie talkies, it is important to understand that a radio is not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many different types of radios out there, and many, many models from which to choose. They may operate on different radio bands and radio services, some of which may or may not be feasible or even allowed in your area for your particular business operation.

    Every company is different, and your business may have needs that require a more customized solution. This is where our Business Radio Buyer's Guide can help.

    The Buy Two Way Radios Buyer's Guide is an excellent resource for business owners who need an optimized solution for wireless communications, but don't have the time, resources or inclination to research everything about radio technology (time is money, right?). The guide is easy to use, and quickly narrows your search based on your type of business, as well as your requirements, budget and needs.

    Professional two way radios are often designed and manufactured for specific types of businesses or industries. Here are some examples, along with a few recommended radios made for use in those niches. These general recommendations may help lead you to the right radio for your situation.

    Dining, shopping and marketplaces
    Restaurants, retail stores, mom-and-pop shops and many other localized, on-site businesses may only need a small, lightweight radio for light duty use indoors. The Kenwood ProTalk LT PKT-23, Motorola CLS1410 or Motorola DLR1020 are perfect choices for these types of businesses. The Motorola radios even have antimicrobial housings to inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold, a nice feature to have in a restaurant or diner.

    Big box businesses with a small box budget
    For larger facilities that need easy to manage, general purpose radios with high power at a low price, the Olympia P324 and Midland MB400 will give you solid performance without breaking the bank. These are medium duty transceivers with standard features that are also repeater capable.

    Larger facilities
    If you have a large facility with many floors or lots of walls, a high power 4-5 watt radio would probably be the best choice. Many radios in this category, such as the Motorola VX-261 or Icom F2000 also support repeaters. That means if you need to increase your range in the future with a repeater, you don't have to replace your radios.

    Hotel security, malls or commercial sites
    Larger commercial operations with multiple departments may need more than just simple on-site communications. Commercial tier radios such as the Motorola CP200d or SL300 provide advanced features and functionality for more expanded operations.

    Industrial, manufacturing and warehouse operations
    If your company needs heavy duty radios with great clarity for high noise environments, the Kenwood TK-3400-U16P or Motorola RMU2080d may be what you need.

    License Free radios
    Many of the radios listed above require an FCC radio license to operate business radios on assigned frequencies, but there are certain business class radios that are "license free" or, more officially, licensed by rule, meaning that you don't need a license at all to use them on their designated services. These radios are lower powered, but are nonetheless quite capable for use in many business environments and situations. The Motorola DTR600 is a digital model with great coverage indoors and a lot of powerful features. The Wouxun KG-805M is a 2 watt radio MURS radio that operates on 5 VHF frequencies and works very well for large retailers and big box stores. It's also quite rugged and is compatible with a large assortment of audio accessories from name brand manufacturers.

    Between buildings, locations, or extended distances
    If your company has a computer network with wireless connectivity and multiple buildings or locations, the Icom IP100H Two Way Radio for Wireless Networks (WiFI) may be exactly what you need. The IP100H connects over the air and directly to your network through a wireless controller for end-to-end voice communications without the use of repeaters. If wifi is available throughout facility, range concerns are totally eliminated. The IP100H also has advanced digital features and high quality, full duplex audio. IP radios are not traditional radios, so there is not much of a learning curve for support if your company has an IT department. The IP100H is also license free!

    Clearly, two-way radios are quite useful to minimize employee contact and enable social distancing. The challenge is choosing the right radios for your business or organization.  Our Business Radio Buyer's Guide at Buy Two Way Radios can make the choice a lot easier. If your business is even more specialize or has very specific requirements, no problem! Just give us a call at 1-800-584-1445 and we will be happy to help find a solution for your radio needs.

    Download this pdf and learn how Motorola CLS and DLR radios plus callboxes can increase efficiency and enable social distancing in your business!

  • Pros and Cons of the Motorola DLR Series Radios

    Motorola DLR Series Two Way RadiosAs we've mentioned in previous articles, podcasts and videos, the Motorola DLR1020 and DLR1060 radios can be great assets for many different types of businesses. In this article, we will note some of the many pros, as well as the few cons, that these radios have.

    One of the biggest pros of the Motorola DLR series radios is that they operate on 900 MHz digital frequencies. This feature is beneficial in several ways. First, consider the level of privacy that these frequencies offer. The 900 MHz frequencies are much less common than standard UHF or VHF frequencies, and the FHSS "frequency hopping" method used by these radios allows you to completely eliminate any chance of unwanted interference from neighboring two-way radio users.

    Second, these 900 MHz radios do not require any type of FCC licensing. This saves you hundreds of dollars in licensing fees and allows you to use the radios as-is, "out of the box", with minimal, if any, programming required.

    Third, because the DLR series radios are digital, the sound quality is impeccable. You will find that there is no background static or "white noise" like you may experience with normal analog radios.

    Another major plus is the ultra-compact size of the Motorola DLR radios. They are very small and incredibly lightweight, making them practical for use in almost any situation. Even with their small size and light weight, these units offer military-grade specs for durability and resistance against dust, water, vibration, shock, and extreme temperature variations. Like many of the other Motorola onsite business radios, the DLR radios have antimicrobial housings to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria.

    With all the  pros, there are also a few cons. One disadvantage of the Motorola DLR radios is their low power. The transmit power of radios that operate on this 900 MHz band is limited to 1 watt by the FCC. This means they are not practical for very large industrial job sites. Also, the FHSS frequency hopping technology will not work with typical repeaters, limiting the possibility of extending their range.

    Perhaps the biggest con would be the lack of cross-compatibility with an existing fleet of two-way radios operating on standard business frequencies. Based on their rather unique frequency hopping capabilites and the fact that they operate on 900 MHz frequencies instead of the UHF or VHF business bands, they are not universally compatible with other digital radios. Also, most companies still tend to use analog radios, which these digital units will not communicate with at all. The Motorola DLR technology is cross-compatible with only one other line of radios, the Motorola DTR series.

    On the plus side, if you happen to already have Motorola DTR series radios such as the DTR600 or DTR700, the DLR line will work with them and will be a much sleeker, smaller, more affordable option.

    With all this being said, the pros of the Motorola DLR1020 and DLR1060 radios far outweigh the cons, and tend to be an excellent option for almost any on-site business use!

  • Managing Visitor Entry with Radios and Callboxes

    As you probably already know, many essential businesses, ourselves included, are adjusting their business practices during the COVID-19 outbreak to help limit direct contact with their customers. Offering curbside pickup is one way to keep your business running while following safe social distancing guidelines, but what about businesses that don't sell directly to the public? Whether random sales solicitations or scheduled meetings with vendors and account managers, all businesses have to deal with visitors. We're hearing from businesses that are looking for solutions to help throttle these visitors so that they can be checked or tested, or just so that employees will have time to put on their PPE before greeting them. We have found that business handheld radios and two-way callboxes are perfect for this task of vetting visitors!

    An outdoor callbox, such as the Ritron Q1 Series Two-Way Radio Callbox, can be permanently mounted outside of your building for safe and simple use. An arriving visitor will simply press the "Call" button to speak, and their message will then be relayed to employees indoors, who can then talk back to the visitor or open the door and allow entry. These units are weatherproof, easy to use, and can easily be sanitized with disinfectant spray or wipes after each use.

    Callboxes can be programmed to communicate with other indoor units, such as the Ritron Jobcom 7 Series Two-Way Radio Base Station/Intercom. They can also be used to communicate with a handheld radio, such as the Icom IC-F4001 or Motorola VX-261. If your business already utilizes a two-way radio system, we may even be able to program these callboxes to integrate with your existing units! As always, we offer free programming on any radio that you purchase from us, so it will arrive fully ready to "plug-and-play".

    A callbox is a very effective and efficient communications device for use in curbside service, delivery operations and social distancing during the current pandemic.

    We have found that callboxes can be extremely beneficial in a warehouse environment as well, especially when multiple drivers per day are dropping off or picking up deliveries. The model we use here at our warehouse is the Ritron RQX-451-XT Outpost 1 Series. We have this unit mounted outside near our delivery bay doors, and incoming drivers can quickly alert our warehouse staff on their handheld radio that a truck has arrived. They can do all of this while avoiding any direct contact with one another. The Outpost 1 series callboxes are ultra-durable, weatherproof, and can also be sanitized after each use to ensure driver safety.

    These are just a few examples of how using callboxes can help your business run efficiently during these uncertain times, but the possibilities are endless. Keeping your employees and others safe is crucial, and we hope this gives you some ideas on how to achieve this. If you have any other questions about these callboxes, or any of our other products, please feel free to give us a call. Our sales staff is working remotely, but our warehouse is still shipping orders as needed, with no major shipping delays.

    Thanks, and stay healthy!

    Download this pdf and learn how Motorola CLS and DLR radios plus callboxes can increase efficiency and enable social distancing in your business!

  • Differences Between the Motorola DLR1020 and DLR1060 Radios

    Motorola DLR Series Two Way RadiosThe Motorola DLR series radios are an excellent choice for businesses that want a high-quality digital radio with excellent privacy features. These radios also operate on 900 MHz digital frequencies, which means they can be used legally without applying for an FCC license!

    The DLR series radios are ultra-compact, lightweight, and offer crystal-clear communication. They also use FHSS "frequency hopping" technology, which gives you a much higher degree of privacy from outside interference generated by neighboring businesses that may also be using these radios. Built to military-grade specifications for shock, dust, and water resistance, the Motorola DLR series radios are very versatile, and a great addition for almost any type of business.

    If you've decided the DLR series is right for you, your next task is to decide on a model. This series offers two options: the DLR1020 and the DLR1060. What are the differences between these two radios? Well, there are really only two, and for the most part, the model you choose depends on how many channels you need.

    The DLR1020 is the base model in the DLR series, and offers 2 channels. For most small, single location retailers and mom-and-pop type stores with simple operations and just a few employees, this is likely all you really need. The DLR1020 is priced at $209.00.

    For larger restaurants, retail operations, and businesses that need more channel groups, the DLR1060 model supports up to 6 channels. This allows you to assign a dedicated channel to different departments, such as front clerks, stock clerks, managers and maintenance personnel. The DLR1060 is priced $10 more than the DLR1020, at $219.00.

    Other than the number of channels and the price, there is no difference between these models.

    Need more than 6 channels? Move up to the Motorola DTR series!

  • Best MURS Two Way Radios of 2020

    The Best MURS Two Way Radios for 2020When searching for a two way radio to fit a particular terrestrial activity or application, it generally comes down to a choice between either a business or consumer grade model. Each category is intended for use on a specific radio service, and each has its own advantages and limitations. Fortunately, there is one category that has all the best qualities of both. We're talking about the MURS.

    The Multi-Use Radio Service, or MURS, is a rather unique radio service that is usually overlooked, quite underused and greatly underrated. There are five MURS frequencies, all reserved on the VHF band for business, personal or recreational use at up to two watts of power, and without a license. MURS is license-by-rule, meaning that simply owning and operating an FCC type accepted MURS radio gives you the license to use it.

    Now, two watts may not seem like a big deal, but it's actually a fair amount of power when applied to the VHF band. And as any seasoned radio operator knows, when it comes to maximizing range, wattage is not what really counts anyway. It's the antenna and where it's positioned within line-of-sight that makes all the difference. This is an important point to consider, because MURS allows for detachable and external mount antennas. You can hear All About MURS on our podcast, The Two Way Radio Show.

    If MURS is so great, where are all the MURS radios? Good question. As mentioned before, MURS is often overlooked for a multitude of reasons, and most are market driven. But that doesn't mean they aren't out there. On the contrary, a number of MURS radios do exist, and in several different forms. There are handheld models, base stations, Intercoms and Callboxes and even a PA System available for MURS. With this eclectic selection, the question now becomes, which is the best MURS radio?

    Of course, the best form factor largely depends on your application, but as far as portable handhelds go, it's really no contest. Here are our picks for best MURS radio.

    Best Value MURS Radio
    Wouxun KG-805The Wouxun KG-805M is our winner for the best value MURS radio on the market. Introduced in 2019, it's also a fairly new model. It has five channels programmed with all five MURS frequencies and transmits at a full 2 watts, the maximum for the MURS. It sports a backit LCD display with an option to choose one of three backlight colors, which can be customized for transmit, receive or standby modes. The keys are also backlit for operation at night or in poorly lit areas.

    The KG-805M features 155 CTCSS tones and DCS privacy codes, channel scan, a built-in FM radio, channel name edit and display, and VOX. The 805M can also be programmed from a PC to receive NOAA weather channels and for other advanced customization. It's rated IP55 for dust and water, which means it's a fairly tough little radio for use in the field.

    As an added bonus, the antenna is also removable! This is a powerful advantage over other handheld MURS radios with fixed antennas, as it allows the operator to swap out with the stock antenna for another to optimize range or possibly even to attach an external antenna to considerably increase it.

    Overall, the Wouxun KG-805M is a solid MURS radio, and it's packed with features at a cost that is both advantageous for businesses and affordable for the average consumer. For these reasons, we consider the KG-805M to be the best overall value MURS radio out there. Price: $79.99

    Best Overall MURS Radio
    Motorola RMM2050 MURS Two Way RadioThe Motorola RMM2050 gets the award for best overall MURS radio currently available. Designed specifically for on-site business operations, the RMM2050 offers great audio and excellent range on VHF. It has five channels and the maximum 2 watts of power, a multi-color LED indicator, and two programmable buttons. It features three audible call tones, hands-free VOX mode, three voice-inversion scramble codes, and channel announcement with voice alias.

    The RMM2050 is programmable and can be easily cloned with an optional cloning cable connected to the charger. It's also one of the toughest MURS radios around, with an IP54/55 rating and built to meet MilSpec 810 standards for shock, rain, humidity, salt fog, vibration, sand, dust, and temperature. As with many other radios in the Motorola RM Series, the RMM2050 also includes antimicrobial protection. Want a closer look at this model? Watch our Motorola RMM2050 unboxing video!

    If it looks somewhat familiar to longtime MURS users, that's because it is. The RMM2050 is the successor to the classic RDM2020. While a bit pricier than the Wouxun model, Its tough exterior and excellent quality sound is well worth the investment. Price: $189.00

  • Improve your Curbside Pickup Efficiency with Two Way Radios

    Using a Radio for Curbside ServiceGreetings from the Buy Two Way Radios team. We hope everyone is staying safe during the ongoing pandemic, and would like to extend some ideas for using two-way radios to help streamline your business practices while keeping your employees and customers safe and healthy. During these unprecedented times, many essential businesses such as retail stores and restaurants have moved to curbside pickup only service, and two-way radios can be indispensable for this application!

    For example, many of you may want to ensure that your customers can remain in their car while their orders are being processed and personally delivered. Having a designated employee assigned to an outside pickup station is a great idea, and can be a better way to keep things organized and running smoothly. To ensure safety, minimizing this employee's need to walk back and forth to relay messages could be huge. This will help limit person-to-person exposure while speeding up your delivery process at the same time. For these short-range communications, a simple handheld solution could be utilized. Our recommendation would be the Cobra PX500-BG FRS Two Way Radios For Business. These radios are cost-effective, easy to use, and will not require any license from the FCC, even for business use.

    If you are looking for something a little more professional-grade and robust, you could go with a business radio such as the Motorola CLS1410 Two Way Radio. In addition to its immense popularity for use in on-site business applications, this radio has an antimicrobial housing to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria.

    To optimize your curbside communications, Audio accessories such as earpieces and headsets are also readily available for any of our handheld radio options.

    If an outdoor pickup station is not an option for your business, then we also have another solution in the form of an outdoor callbox, such as the Ritron Q1 Series 2-Way Radio Callbox. This model can be permanently mounted outside your business location for customers to use upon their arrival. All they would need to do is simply press the button and speak, and they would instantly reach an employee inside the building with a compatible handheld radio who could then deliver their order. These callboxes are also weatherproof and can quickly and easily be sanitized with disinfectant spray or wipes after each use.

    We hope that these solutions can provide some safety and peace of mind to your business and your employees, while helping to keep your business coordinated and operating more efficiently during these tough times. Like most of you, our sales staff is working remotely for the foreseeable future, but please do not hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-584-1445 if you have any questions or if you need other recommendations. We will be happy to assist!

    Thanks, and stay safe!

  • How to clean and disinfect your two way radios

    Cleaning and Disinfecting RadiosThe two way radio is an important tool for both business and personal short range communications, particularly during a national emergency such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. From curbside service to personal home care, radios can keep us in constant, instant communication with one another while we practice social distancing and protect our personal space to minimize the spread of germs.

    But what about the radios? Don't they need to be cleaned and disinfected as well?

    Absolutely! Your radios should be cleaned regularly for general maintenance. They should be disinfected as well, especially when used in environments and situations involving possible contagions. This becomes even more critical when the radios are shared between users, or handled and operated directly by the user close to the face or mouth.

    Think about it for a moment. Like any portable personal device, a handheld radio or walkie talkie can pick up and carry germs at the very first touch. When you hold and or carry it around in the palm of your hand, press the buttons, bring it up to your face, and speak into the microphone, you are transmitting any germs you carry directly to your radio, both on the surface and into any crevice that can catch them. Pass the same radio around to others, and, well, you get the idea.

    In such cases, the radios should be thoroughly disinfected immediately after each shift or use. This applies to any type of operating environment, business or personal. Germs don't discriminate, and neither should you. Keep your radios clean and sanitized for your personal protection and the safety of those around you.

    But you can't just dump your radio in the water and give it a twenty second washing like you would with your hands. As with any electronic device, cleaning and disinfecting a two way radio requires some care. There are some specific things you can do but there are also some things that you shouldn't do, primarily because they could be harmful to you and/or the radio itself.

    While not all radio manufacturers have specific instructions for such maintenance, some manufacturers including Motorola, Kenwood and Midland do have guidelines and recommendations about how to properly clean and disinfect their radios. With a few slight differences and variations, the instructions are pretty much the same. It is important to note, however, that all radios are not the same. Some are rather basic in design, with few buttons, no displays, simple speaker grilles and non-detachable antennas. Others have full keypads, large displays, large, deeply penetrable audio jacks, external battery contacts or terminals, rotating knobs and various other physical features that can make a thorough cleaning session a little more involved.

    Also, the materials used for the radio housings may vary. Consumer grade radios often use lighter, lower grade plastics that may not withstand a lot of stress and strenuous cleaning or liquid solutions. Business grade radios tend to use heavier duty materials capable of withstanding external elements and stress. The housings of most quality business and marine radios are often designed to be more water resistant, and may even repel some liquids. Many Motorola on-site business radios even have antimicrobial properties. While these antimicrobial housings do not protect against viruses, they can help slow the growth of bacteria and make the radios easier to clean and disinfect.

    So, how do you clean and disinfect your two way radios?

    Before you start, let's talk about what not to do. Especially the don'ts.

    Don't

    • Do not immerse the radio in water.
    • Do not clean the radio while it is turned on or charging.
    • Do not pour or spray any cleaning solution or liquid directly to the surface of the radio.
    • Don't use anything abrasive. Do not use metallic or heavy duty brushes. Do not use any rough or abrasive cloths. Don't use any abrasive cleansers.
    • Do not use bleach or solvents or cleaning sprays or anything like that to clean or disinfect the device. At the very least these chemicals can discolor the surface of the radio, and at worst they may melt the plastics or eat away at the surface of the radio. They can also scratch or damage the displays, so you really don't want to do that sort of thing.

    Do

    • Be sure the radio is turned off.
    • Remove the batteries or battery pack before cleaning.
    • Clean a battery pack housing separately, and only the outer facing plastic shell or housing.
    • Remove the belt clip if possible and clean it separately.
    • Remove any externally connected accessories such as earpieces, headsets or hand microphones before cleaning.
    • Clean your radios in a well ventilated area and away from heat sources.
      Avoid breathing vapors or fumes from approved cleaning solutions.

    General Cleaning of your radio

    • Removing heavy dust, soil, mud, grime, stains, etc.
    • Prepare a solution of a non-abrasive dish detergent and water, with no more than 0.5% detergent in the solution. Some manufacturers recommend using distilled water.
    • Apply the solution to the surface of the radio with a soft, non-abrasive cloth. Note: do not apply any liquid directly to the surface of the radio. Apply it to the cloth first, then to the radio from the cloth.
    • Use a stiff, non-metallic and short bristled brush to loosen and remove the dirt from the surface and crevices of the radio.
    • Wipe the debris and moisture from the radio with a dry, soft, lintless, absorbent cloth.
    • Be sure to remove all moisture from the radio, including any metallic contacts, connector ports, cracks and crevices.
    • Allow the radio to fully dry before attempting to install the battery(ies), charge or use the device.

    Disinfecting your radio

    • Wipe down the radio using isopropyl alcohol with a 70%-80% concentration. Below 70% will not be effective.
    • Apply the isopropyl alcohol to the surface of the radio with a soft, non-abrasive cloth first, then to the radio from the cloth. Do not apply it directly to the radio.
    • Be sure wipe down into the cracks and crevices in the radio to effectively disinfect from germs.
    • Some manufacturers allow the use of an antibacterial wipe, but excess liquid must be squeezed out of the wipe before use so that it is merely damp, not wet, to avoid over saturating the radio with fluid.
    • Be sure to remove all moisture from the radio, including any metallic contacts, connector ports, cracks and crevices.
    • Allow the radio to fully dry before attempting to install the battery(ies), charge or use the device.

    Your radio is a powerful tool for communication, but as with any object, it can also be a germ magnet. Whether they are used in a dental office, medical facility, warehouse, retail store, restaurant, on the water, in a cockpit, on the trail, at home with the family or out in the field, clean and disinfect your radios regularly to ensure maximum personal protection and health.

    For an in-depth discussion on cleaning and disinfecting two way radios, listen to The Two Way Radio Show Podcast TWRS-148 - The COVID-19 Pandemic and Two Way Radios.

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