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General

  • 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.

  • Great alternatives to the Baofeng UV-5R

    Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way RadioThere's no denying it. The Baofeng UV-5R is one of the most popular and prolific handheld two way radios in the world. It's no wonder, really. It's extremely compact, feature packed, and extremely affordable, or, to put it bluntly, it's really, really cheap. A power packed dual bander at a powerfully low price, the UV-5R is without a doubt the preferred choice of many radio operators across the globe.

    Of course, with high popularity comes high demand. With such demand comes the challenge of keeping the UV-5R in stock and available to ship same day to our customers. Usually this is not a problem, but the current worldwide pandemic has created an unusual situation for retailers in general, and it affects our warehouse operations as well.

    Due to the sudden interest in personal preparedness during the coronavirus emergency, we've experienced an uptick in demand for certain makes and models of two way radios by the general public. As such, some of our most popular radios may be in short supply or temporarily out of stock. The Baofeng UV-5R is one of those affected models.

    But there's absolutely no reason to panic, or panic buy. On the contrary, we have plenty of other radios in stock and available that fit the bill. While some may not be at the same price point as the UV-5R, they are certainly capable of powerful, reliable operation on the same bands and frequencies as the Baofeng. Not only that, these models are of equal or higher build specifications for greater ruggedness and better durability, adding greater value for the price!

    For instance, the TYT TH-UV88 is a dual band analog radio that matches the UV-5R in almost every respect, even down to the built-in LED flashlight. Some even call it a potential UV-5R killer. Sure, it costs just a little more than the UV-5R, but it has something the UV-5R doesn't, a more rugged and durable housing. It also has a real one year manufacturer warranty from TYT, something that Baofeng claims to offer, but in most cases makes it all but impossible for the end user to actually redeem.

    Then there's a great selection from Wouxun. These are powerful dual band radios with exceptional features and capabilities, some of which are not available at all on the Baofeng UV-5R. Does the UV-5R have a full color LCD display? No? Well, it's a standard feature on many Wouxun models. Can the bands be freely set in the UV-5R for VHF TX and UHF RX or UHF TX and VHF RX on the same channel? Well, you can do it on the Wouxun KG-UV6D. Does the UV-5R have cross band repeat capability? The Wouxun KG-UV8D does, and so do several other Wouxun models, including the KG-UV8E, and it's a tri-bander!

    Yes, the Baofeng UV-5R is Part 90 type accepted for business use, and some of the other models mentioned are not. But some of them are. And if you need a radio specifically for business use, why settle for a cheap little transceiver when you can get much more durability, and in turn, greater ROI with more rugged Part 90 type accepted radios specifically designed for business use? Icom, Motorola and other manufacturers offer many models that fit the bill. And, if you really need to buy on price alone, Why not consider the Olympia P324? This is a great little radio for business applications. It's Part 90 type accepted, and it's an incredibly inexpensive buy. Note: at the time this article was written, it's also on sale!

    We could go on and on, but you get the point. Why be disappointed that the UV-5R is out of stock, when there are so many other great radios to choose from that are also a bargain, and are better radios, to boot?

    So the UV-5R is out of stock? No problem. Just upgrade. Considering all this, when you upgrade your purchase from a UV-5R to another model, you aren't settling for less, you're getting something more. It's a win-win for you. And that's a smarter buy.

    Here are some great alternatives to the Baofeng UV-5R:

    Manufacturer Model Type Acceptance Bands Service
    Baofeng UV-82 Part 90 UHF/VHF Business
    Icom F4001
    F3001
    Part 90 UHF
    VHF
    Business
    Motorola VX-261 Part 90 UHF or VHF Business
    Olympia P324 Part 90 UHF Business
    TYT TH-UV88 Part 15B UHF/VHF Amateur
    Wouxun KG-UV6D Part 90 UHF/VHF Business
    KG-UV6D PRO Part 90 UHF/VHF Business
    KG-UV7D Part 90* UHF/VHF Business
    KG-UV899 Part 15 UHF Amateur
    KG-UV8D Part 15B UHF/VHF Amateur
    KG-UV8D Plus Part 15B UHF/VHF Amateur
    KG-UV8E Part 15B Tri-Band Amateur
    KG-UV9D Part 15B UHF/VHF Amateur
    KG-UV9D PLUS LE Part 15B UHF/VHF Amateur
    KG-UV9P Part 15B UHF/VHF Amateur

    *The 2M/70cm version has been approved by the FCC. Type accepted for Part 90, FCC ID WVTWOUXUN07. The 2M/1.25M and 2M/6M versions are for amateur use only.

  • Two Way Radio Holiday Gift Guide 2019

    GiftsThe holidays are upon us once again, and with it comes the hassle of trying to find the perfect gifts for those you care about, and without busting your budget. Of course, walkie talkies make great gifts for young and old alike. But with so many different types and options to choose from, how do you find the right radio that fits? No worries. At Buy Two Way Radios, we specialize in matching the right radio for your needs. To help you get started, here are our recommended picks of two way radios that make great holiday gifts for 2019!

    Road Warriors

    CB Radios are the natural choice for professional drivers such as long haulers, emergency road service operators and other who traverse the roads and highways for business or pleasure. They are also great for recreational vehicles and those who use them for snowbirding or sightseeing across the continent.

    Top Choice

    Uniden BearTracker 885 Hybrid CB Radio / Digital ScannerUniden BearTracker 885

    Part CB radio, part digital scanner, the Beartracker 885 does both very well. It has the legal maximum 4 watts of RF power, all 40 CB channels, NOAA weather channels, weather alerts, and a 7 color LCD display. It is also a digital trunktracking scanner with the capability to receive public safety traffic within range where ever you are located in the US and Canada!

    The 885 is equipped with the BearTracker Warning System, a legal alternative for drivers when a radar detector is not an option. The 885 also includes GPS so it can automatically select scanner channels to monitor in your immediate area.

    Buy Now$314.99

    Best Value

    Midland 75-822 Portable / Mobile 2 in 1 CB Radio
    Midland 75-822

    The 75-822 is a 2-in-1 plug and play two way radio that's a lightweight handheld and a mobile CB all in one powerful package! The 75-822 has 4 watts of transmit power, the maximum allowed for Citizen's Band, and covers all 40 CB channels. It also has 10 NOAA weather channels for all hazards weather information 24/7, to keep you informed of weather conditions while out in the field or on the road. the Midland 75-822 also has 5 memory channels, plus instant channel access for emergency channels 9 and 19. But that's not all.

    The Midland 75-822 also features a large channel display, Hi/Lo power settings, channel scan, dual watch, auto battery save and an external jack for headsets. All together, these features make the 75-822 a great companion for your next road trip.

    Buy Now$99.99

    Outdoor Enthusiasts

    Popular outdoor activities include camping, hiking, climbing, skiing, biking and various recreational sports. Two way radios are commonly used in many outdoor activities for instant calling and group communications.

    Top Choice

    Motorola Talkabout T800 Two Way Radio w/ App SupportMotorola Talkabout T800

    The T800 is an FRS walkie talkie and with a Bluetooth® connection to your smartphone! This allows you to instantly share locations, messages and and more through the Motorola Talkabout app while you go off-grid with your group.

    The T800 has all 22 FRS channels, with 121 privacy codes, 11 weather channels and NOAA weather alerts. It is also fully compatible with other FRS/GMRS radios.

    The T800 also features an amazing, hidden blue display that's easy to read when the radio is on, and virtually disappears when the radio is turned off. Add raised front panel buttons, an emergency alert button and a built-in flashlight, and you have a radio for use almost anywhere adventure takes you.

    Buy Now$99.99

    Best Value

    Motorola TALKABOUT T605 Two Way RadiosMotorola Talkabout® T605

    The T605 H20 is an FRS radio designed and built specifically for the outdoors. it has 22 GMRS channels and 121 privacy codes, 11 NOAA weather channels and weather alerts. It features an LCD display, 20 call tones, Dual Watch, hands-free VOX operation, channel scan, PTT power boost, a built-in flashlight, and VibraCall® vibrating alert.

    The T605 is also IP67 waterproof, submersible and floats! Plus. the belt clip doubles as a whistle! The value pack includes two radios, AC charging adapter, 12V DC vehicle power adapter, carry case and a one year warranty.

    Buy Now$119.99

    Happy Hunters

    Radios are commonly used during hunting season for instant communications, along with accessories such as earpieces to keep them quiet and discreet. Here are our prime picks of popular two way radios for hunters.

    Top Choice

    Midland GXT1050VP4 Radios With Headsets and ChargerMidland GXT1050VP4

    The GXT1050 is a camo version of the popular GXT1000, specifically designed for hunters. In has 22 GMRS channels, 142 privacy codes , 28 extra channels with the pre-set privacy codes, and 10 NOAA weather channels. In addition to all the other standard features of the GXT1000, it also has a "Mossy Oak" camouflage coloring and 5 animal call alerts. The GXT-1050 is also JIS4 water resistant for those dank, wet outings during duck season or those dewy, early mornings sitting in a tree stand.

    The GXT1050VP4 value pack has everything you need in one complete package, including a pair of headsets with boom microphones, a dual pocket desktop charger, two rechargeable batteries, two belt clips, and both home and vehicle charging adapters.

    Buy Now$74.99

    Best Value

    Motorola TALKABOUT T265 Two Way RadiosMotorola Talkabout® T265

    The T265 is Motorola's answer to license free communications for hunters, hikers, campers and other activities in the wild. It has 22 GMRS channels and 121 privacy codes, 11 weather channels, and weather alerts. It also has channels scan, 20 call tones, and a backlit LCD display, all wrapped up in a camo shell.

    The T265 can operate on rechargeable batteries or alkalines. It comes with two radios, belt clips, rechargeable batteries, AC charging adapter, a pair of earpieces with boom microphones, and a camo carry case.

    Buy Now$69.99

    Gadget Gurus

    Amateur hobbyists, techies and those who experiment with radios have a myriad of options from which to choose in both analog and digital communications. Based on popularity, performance and price, here are our picks for best gifts in this category.

    Top Choice

    TYT MD-2017 Dual Band DMR Digital Two Way Radio with GPSTYT MD-2017

    The TYT-MD-2017 is a dual band DMR digital two way radios with GPS. It features a large, color LCD display, DTMF keypad and programmable side keys. It also has a rather unique feature for a two way radio, a trackball!

    The TYT MD-2017 is capable of both analog and digital operation on UHF and 136-174MHz VHF at up to 5 watts of power using Time-Division Multiple-Access (TDMA) digital technology. It has 3000 channels, 10000 contacts, built-in CTCSS/DCS (analog mode only), single call, group call and all call, remote kill/stun/activate, transmit interrupt, VOX, and lone worker function. It is MOTOTRBO™ compatible, DMR Tier I and II compatible, is firmware upgradeable and is IP67 waterproof.

    Buy Now $169.99

    Best Value

    Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band UHF/VHF RadioBaofeng UV-5R

    The UV-5R is probably one of the most iconic and inexpensive dual band two way radios in the world. The Baofeng UV-5R is an economical Dual Band UHF/VHF Amateur Radio that's extremely compact. It has 128 programmable channels with priority channel scanning, dual watch, built-in 65-108Mhz FM radio, UHF/VHF Dual Standby, Ani code, DTMF code, Dual display switch and CTCSS manual input. The UV-5R also supports VOX hands-free operation. Plus, it has a built-in flashlight.

    The Baofeng UV 5R can transmit at up to 4W of power and includes a 1800mAh Li-Ion battery pack for up to 12 hours (approx.) of operation. Used by amateur radios hobbyists and professionals around the world, the Baofeng UV-5R provides reliable communications at a very low cost.

    Buy Now $29.99

    Family Fun

    Radios are handy for family and personal use anytime, anywhere! They can be used around the neighborhood, at an amusement park, shopping at the mall, family day trips, bird watching, and model railroad clubs.

    Top Choice

    Cobra ACXT545 FRS Two Way RadiosCobra microTALK ACXT545

    The ACXT545 is an all-around general purpose radio with 22 license-free FRS channels plus 10 weather channels. It has rubberized side moldings for a comfortable grip and a weather resistant exterior for use outdoors.

    The ACXT545 has 121 CTCSS and DCS codes, 10 selectable call alert tones, and hands-free VOX operation. It has front panel push buttons, a backlit LCD screen, and a built-in LED flashlight. It also features Channel scan, maximum range extender and Cobra's VibrAlert® silent paging. The ACXT 545 is also lead free.

    The Cobra ACXT545 operates on 3 AA alkaline batteries or AA rechargeable batteries. It also has a Micro-USB charging port for use with any standard Micro-USB charger.

    Buy Now $69.99

    Best Value

    Midland X-Talker T31X3VP Two Way Radio - 3 PackMidland X-Talker T31X3VP

    The Midland T31 is a license-free FRS radio with 22 channels, NOAA weather channels, weather alert, and 38 privacy codes. It is fully compatible with other FRS and GMRS radios. Features include dual power options and e-Vox hands-free voice activation when used with optional VOX capable earpieces.

    The T31X3VP is a value pack with three Midland T31 two way radios, belt clips, rechargeable batteries, and micro-USB charging cables. These radios also accept AAA alkaline batteries.

    Buy Now $59.99
    -

    Generally Mobile Users

    Want something for the more serious GMRS radio operator? These radios are great for activities such as neighborhood watches, paintballers, clubs, and extended family use.

    Top Choice

    Midland GXT1000VP4 Radios With Headsets and ChargerMidland GXT1000VP4

    The GXT1000 is one of Midland's most popular GMRS radios. it has 22 GMRS channels and 142 privacy codes plus 28 additional channels with pre-set privacy codes. It also has 10 NOAA weather channels and Midland's Weather Scan + Alert technology. It has hands-free VOX operation, 10 call alerts, vibrating alert, selectable high, medium and low power modes, and channel scan.

    The GXT-1000 is also JIS4 water resistant for use in inclement weather and has a 3 year warranty. The value pack includes two radios, headsets, a desktop charger, and vehicle charging adapter!

    Buy Now $69.99

    Best Value

    Midland MXT275 MicroMobile GMRS 2-Way RadioMidland MXT275

    The MXT275 is a MicroMobile radio for discreet mounting in your vehicle. It has a full 15 watts of power and detachable external magnetic mount mobile antenna for several times the wattage and range of a handheld GMRS unit! It supports 15 GMRS channels, 8 GMRS repeater channels and 142 privacy codes for full coverage on all available frequencies of the General Mobile Radio Service. It also supports NOAA weather channels with weather alert and weather scan. It's compatible with all handheld GMRS radios.

    The Midland MXT275 features 5 selectable tones, tone alert, channel scan, monitor mode, keypad lock, keystroke tones and silent operation. It has the 7 color backlit LCD display, large built-in speaker and hand microphone with integrated controls, so all functions can be handled from the hand mic and the unit can be mounted in a vehicle completely out of sight!

    Buy Now $149.99

    Recreational Boaters

    Marine radios aren't just handy to have when you're on the water, they are vital for ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communications. They make great gifts for any recreational boater.

    Top Choice

    Cobra MR F77B / MR F77W Class-D Fixed Mount Marine Radio w/GPSCobra MR F77

    This installed marine radio combines short and long range communication with GPS reception for maximum marine radio operation! The MR77 is a Class-D (DSC) fixed mount VHF marine radio with U.S., Canada and international channels plus pre-programmed NOAA weather channels. It has a built-in GPS receiver, a large LCD display, channel scan, channel names, Triwatch, automatic radio check, signal strength meter, and Cobra's Rewind-Say-Again® feature for up to 20 seconds of audio replay.

    The MR77 is built specifically for maritime use on the open water. It is waterproof, submersible and duable. It comes with a noise-cancelling microphone and a flush mount kit for easy installation in your vessel. Available in black (MR F77B) or white (MR F77W).

    Buy Now $209.95

    Best Value

    Uniden Atlantis 275 Handheld Marine RadioUniden Atlantis 275

    The Atlantis 275 is a 6 watt portable handheld capable of operation on all VHF marine radio channels. It has NOAA weather channels and weather alert which is vital for any boater on the water. It features a large LCD display and backlit keypad, an LED flashlight/emergency strobe light, Dual and Triple Watch, weather channel watch, memory scan mode, and a battery save feature.

    The 275 is JISX8 waterproof, submersible, and even floats! To ensure trust in its durability, Uniden includes a 3 year limited warranty.

    Buy Now $109.99

    Offroad Enthusiasts

    Off-roading is a popular recreational activity enjoyed for fun and sport. whether exploring country back roads for the weekend, dune bashing for the day or engaged in professional racing competitions, off-roading is an intense actitivy that often requires reliable, off-grid communications. Here are our picks for popular two way radios used for off-road activities.

    Top Choice

    Midland MXT400VP3 MicroMobile GMRS 2-Way Radio Value PackMidland MXT400VP3

    The MXT400 is the most powerful FCC approved GMRS MicroMobile radio available today. With a maximum of 40 watts, the MXZT400 operates on 15 GMRS channels and 142 privacy codes plus 8 repeater channels for full coverage of the General Mobile Radio Service. It features a crisp backlit LCD display, high quality hand microphone and a built-in internal speaker for clear audio communications for noisy, off-road conditions.

    The radio is great, but there's more. This version is the MXT400VP3 value pack, with everything you need to install in your vehicle and get on the air. It includes the Midland MicroMobile MXTA11 stainless steel NMO 6dB gain antenna to quadruple the signal strength of your MXT400, the Midland MicroMobile MXTA6 Mounting Bracket with mounting screws and bolts, and a Midland MicroMobile MXTA8 RG174 antenna cable with PL-259 (UHF Male) connectors.

    Buy Now $299.99

    Best Value

    Midland MXT115 Mobile GMRS 2-Way RadioMidland MXT115

    The Midland MXT115 is a MicroMobile™ GMRS 2-way radio with three times the wattage of a typical handheld. It provides 15 watts of power and an external magnetic mount mobile antenna that can be attached to your ATV, 4x4 or other off-road vehicle for maximum coverage outdoors.

    The MXT115 supports 15 GMRS channels and 142 privacy codes plus 8 repeater channels for instant communication with other radios on the General Mobile Radio Service. It also supports NOAA weather channels, weather alert and weather scan to keep you on top of weather conditions off-road.

    The MXT115 features a high quality hand microphone, backlit LCD display with 8 selectable colors, internal speaker, 5 selectable tones, tone alert, channel scan, monitor mode, silent operation, keypad lock, keystroke tones. It also has a 3.5mm external audio jack to connect an external speaker if needed.

    Buy Now $149.99

    Weather Watchers

    Weather radios make great gifts for anyone. Be ready for weather warnings and other emergencies with an emergency weather radio. Here are our favorite weather radios.

    Top Choice

    Midland ER310 Emergency Hand Crank Radio w/ FlashlightMidland ER310

    The Midland ER310 is a digital emergency crank radio that has it all! It combines an AM/FM radio, NOAA weather alert radio, LED flashlight, dog whistle and multiple portable power options into a single multi-tool that's your companion for emergency preparedness.

    The ER310 is equipped with a powerful Cree® LED flashlight that's also an emergency beacon programmed to signal SOS in Morse Code at the press of a button. It features a powerful 2600 mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery with the option to charge it through the built-in USB port, the built-in dynamo hand crank or the solar panel built into the top of the unit. It also accepts AA alkaline batteries.

    The Midland ER310 also includes a USB output port, for charging cell phones, tablets or other devices when the power is out.

    Buy Now $59.99

    Best Value

    Midland EX37VP Two Way Radio Emergency KitMidland EX37VP

    The EX37VP is a full featured emergency radio kit. It contains two T31 FRS two way radios with 22 channels, NOAA weather channels, weather alert, and 38 privacy codes. These radios feature e-Vox voice activation for hands free operation and are fully compatible with other FRS and GMRS radios.

    The EX37VP kit also has a 9 LED emergency flashlight, a multi-function emergency whistle with built-in compass, thermometer and magnifier. They are all neatly packed into a softshell case that fits in a backpack or glove compartment of a vehicle.

    Buy Now $49.99

    Just for Kids

    Like bicycles, Barbie dolls and board games, walkie talkies are popular holiday gifts for kids. They are fun and practical for many play activities. But with so many to choose from, which radios offer the best value for the dollar? Here are our picks for best radios for the kids.

    Top Choice

    Cobra Kids Series CX396A FRS Two Way Radios (Police Badge)Cobra CX396A

    The CX396A is part of the Cobra Kids Series of FRS Two Way Radios. Although designed for kids, it's not really a toy. This is a real working radio for use in both playful and practical applications. The CX396A can keep everyone in your family or group connected with one another around the home or while playing outdoors.

    The CX396A transmits and receives on all 22 FRS channels. It also has 10 weather channels. It features 121 CTCSS and DCS codes, front panel push buttons, 5 selectable call alert tones, a backlit LCD screen, battery saver and a low battery indicator. The CX396A is a lead free product, so it's safe for young and old alike. The packaging is eco-friendly. Best of all, it's license-free, so practically anyone can use it!

    The Cobra CX396A operates on 3 AA alkaline batteries or rechargeable batteries and has a Micro-USB charging port so you can charge it with almost any standard Micro-USB charger. A toy police badge is included for even more kid-friendly fun.

    Buy Now $39.99

    Best Value

    Motorola TALKABOUT T107 Two Way RadiosMotorola Talkabout® T107

    The Motorola Talkabout T107 is a fun way to keep all the kids connected while in the park, at the playground, in the house or out in the yard. This a real, 22 channel FRS radio compatible with all open FRS and GMRS two way radios within range. It features 1 call tone, keypad tone, talk confirmation tone, auto squelch, keypad lock and timeout timer. It operates on 3 AAA alkaline batteries (not included).

    The T107 is easy to hold, easy to carry and easy to use by kids of all ages. Simply press the PTT button to talk, and release it to listen. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

    Buy Now $29.99

    Of course, if you're still confused about what to buy, no problem. We're open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM Eastern, throughout the holiday shopping season. Just give us a call toll free at 1-800-584-1445 or enter our live chat online at buytwowayradios.com, and we'll be happy to help.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • The Icom IP501H LTE Two Way Radio

    Icom IP501H Sim Card / LTE Two Way RadioToo often we hear from customers who desperately need radios that can communicate over a large distance, but they have no simple or viable options. Usually, our solution involves repeaters. While Installing one or more repeaters will often get the job done, they can also be expensive, time consuming, and may not be practical in some cases. Now, there is good news. Icom has a solution.

    It's called The IP501H.

    The Icom IP501H is a small and very lightweight radio that looks almost identical to Icom's original IP radio, the IP100H. However, they are not the same radio. This is a completely different animal. While the IP100H used a LAN to interconnect with other radios, the IP501H takes it to another level. This radio attempts to solve the two way radio range problem. And it does.

    The Icom IP501H isn't your typical walkie talkie. It is an LTE radio. This small yet powerful IP based radio uses LTE networks, the same ones used by cell phones, to deliver coast to coast coverage. The IP501H uses a sim card, so anywhere you have a 4G or 3G LTE network, which is essentially nationwide in the United States, you can communicate with these radios.

    Icom IP501H Right Side ViewRange is an important difference, but what really sets the IP501H apart from other two way radios is the way it handles two way communications. A typical two way radio is a half-duplex device, which means it only allows one person to talk at a time. One operator presses the PTT button to transmit, then releases it to receive, and the other operator presses the PTT button on the next radio to transmit, and so on. The IP501H is capable of full duplex operation, which means that a user can transmit and receive simultaneously, just like a cell phone. Imagine a radio that provides instant, full duplex communication using an LTE network for telephone-type calls and conversations without the need for repeaters or a wired network. That's the Icom IP501H.

    Anywhere your cell phone works, the IP501H should work as well. With this in mind, there is so much potential for where it could be used. This product is perfect for companies with a fleet of vehicles, such as an HVAC company with service or repair technicians. Any company that's currently buying cell phones for employees might find that the IP501H does everything that they need and saves them money at the same time. It's also a simple solution for businesses with multiple locations that need an easy way to stay in contact.

    The nationwide coverage is clearly the biggest reason to buy this radio, but it's not the only one. When it comes to features, the IP501H is loaded with them. Like you would expect, it has clear digital audio, and as already mentioned, like a cell phone, it supports full duplex conversations. Yet, there is more. It features a 500 memory address book with room for individual, group, talkgroup and telephone lists. It has a vibrate alert, message recording, lone worker function, man down function, and is GPS capable.

    Icom IP501H Vehicle ChargerA vehicle charger is available for the IP501H that enables Bluetooth® support, allowing hands free communications via a headset. The included lithium-ion battery provides over 17 hours of operation on a single charge. This makes it a great choice for use in service trucks, and is ideal for long shifts out in the field.

    The IP501H is also quite durable. This is kind of a heavy duty radio for its small size. It is also IP67 dust and waterproof. Best of all, you don't need to purchase an FCC license to operate the IP501H. It's license free!

    But what about the price? is It a good value for the cost?

    The IP501H radio itself starts at $540 per unit, which is less than the cost of a lot of cell phones. There is also a monthly fee for use of the Icom's service network, called LTE Connect. The monthly fee is $28 a month per radio, but there are some contract and month-to-month packages you can work out for the radio and the service.

    The radios will be configured by us before they ship and will work right out of the box, with no other devices or controllers to install. It's simple and it works! If you'd like to learn more, or would like to receive a quote for IP501H radios, please contact us at 1-800-584-1445 and we'll be happy to help.

  • List of two way radio resources

    info-circle.jpgAs a trusted dealer, Buy Two Way Radios doesn't just sell radios. We strive to provide guidance, information, tutorials and other resources so you can choose the radios that best fit your needs.

    While we are unable to support products purchased from competitors and other retailers, we do fully support the products purchased from us. In addition, we make most these resources available to the general public at no charge. Here is a complete list of our two way radio resources and where to find them on our site.

    Two Way Radio Forum
    Our community driven forum is online 24/7, 365 days a year and monitored daily. The forum is a great place to meet other radio users to share information and exchange experiences and ideas. It is also an excellent resource for anyone who needs advice or assistance with a specific technical question or issue.

    Two Way Radio Blog
    The Buy Two Way Radios Blog contains over 700 articles in 36 categories about radio products, topics, news and reviews. These articles can also be easily bookmarked in your browser for personal reference. Readers can comment on each article with questions and feedback on each article posted. The comments are monitored weekdays during normal business hours. The comment section of the blog is considered by some users as another community driven source of support, updates and information on radio related issues.

    Buy Two Way Radios Help Center
    What's the best way to use our web site? Which radio is best for my application? The Help Center provides links to tools, guides and basic information to keep things simple when choosing and ordering products.

    The Two Way Radio Show Podcast
    The Two Way Radio Show is a podcast about all things related to walkie talkies and radio technology. Launched in February 2011, this long running show is hosted by Danny Feemster, Anthony Roque and Rick Savoia from Buy Two Way Radios. The podcast is formatted into three basic segments: the discussion topic, the product review and the Q&A, during which the hosts answer specific questions from actual customers, listeners and shoppers to our site. Each episode covers a specified topic in great detail, which is particularly useful for those who would like a reference to in-depth explanations of a specific concept or product. Episodes are syndicated across the web through major podcast directories and platforms, including iTunes, Blubrry, Stitcher Radio and Google Play Music. Listeners can subscribe through any of these platforms, as well as from our web site. You can also subscribe by e-mail! All episodes are listed on the main podcast episodes page so you can search the topics at a glance.

    Two Way Radio Smart Search
    This is a useful tool when you want to know what's available to choose from on our site. You can narrow your choices by any combination of price range, manufacturer, and features.

    Two Way Radio Buyer's Guide
    This guide will help you find the best choice for your needs. Simply click the answer that best fits your situation.

    Two Way Radio Comparison Tool
    Located in the upper left corner of a page on the Buy Two Way Radios web site, the Compare link is used online to compare the features of two different (or not so different) radios. The Product Comparison Tool is a great resource for those who are on the fence as to which radio best meets their wants and needs.

    Two Way Radio Feature Guide
    This guide is an index of terms and features for each radio product. Click on the link for each term for a brief definition or explanation as to what each feature of a radio is or does.

    Two Way Radio Owner Manuals and User Guides
    Located on the product page, the Owner Manual or User Guide will contain the basic instructions for operation of the products we carry, including directions on the use of specific features. This is often a good source for learning what a certain feature is or how it works, as well as providing information on the specifications, strength and limitations of these products. The manuals are generally available as a downloadable .pdf file. Hint: use the search feature in Acrobat Reader to quickly locate a specific term or feature. When in doubt, read the entire manual.

    Two Way Radio Product Sheets and Brochures
    Located on the product page, the Product sheet will have an overview of the product, its features and technical specifications. This product sheet is usually downloadable as a .pdf file. Some models may not have one, but most do. Note: most radio accessories do not have a manual or spec sheet.

    Two Way Radio Product Videos
    Videos are a great resource for a number of reasons. They are both audible and visual representations of the product so you can see them up close and in operation. Some are detailed product unboxings and reviews, others are quick introductory overviews. Some are previews of products due for future release. They can also be somewhat entertaining. Hosted from our YouTube channel, these videos can be linked to or shared with others easily.

    Radio 101 Videos
    A subset of our video library, Radio 101 is a series of informational and tutorial videos an easy lesson format. They are quick and to the point, making the information easy to absorb and comprehend, usually one to three minutes in length. Radio 101 videos are useful for those who want a quick and simple demonstration of a product or explanation of a concept that may otherwise confuse them.

  • What to do if the radio is damaged

    The two way radio is considered one of the most stable and reliable modes of communication available to modern man. This is why industry, commerce, emergency responders and consumers around the world rely heavily on radio technology to communicate every day. As stable and reliable as it is, the two way radio itself is still a man-made device, and like all devices, stuff happens. It's inevitable. So if it does happen, and your two way radio becomes damaged, what do you do?

    Troubleshooting radio damage
    Follow these steps to troubleshoot possible radio damage before contacting the manufacturer or dealer for warranty support.

    Step 1. Check for exterior damage.
    Inspect the exterior of the radio for any sign of external damage or trauma. Check for the following:

    • Excessive wear or stress
    • Missing knobs or other parts
    • Broken or missing antenna
    • Broken, cracked, scratched or discolored display
    • Chips, gashes scrapes or other signs of trauma to the chassis
    • Traces of contamination from bodily fluids, i.e vomit, urine, blood, etc.
    • Burn marks
    • Outward signs of moisture

    If your radio shows signs of exterior damage, skip to step 4.
    If no exterior damage or trauma is visible, proceed to step 2.

    Step 2. Check for internal damage.
    Inspect the radio for any sign of internal damage. Check for:

    • Moisture or condensation inside the display, particularly around the edges.
    • Slight or heavy burnt smell when battery compartment opened or back of radio exposed
    • Slight dank or moldy smell when battery compartment opened or back of radio exposed
    • Water or moisture
    • Excessive dirt or dust
    • Traces of contamination from bodily fluids, i.e vomit, urine, blood, etc.
    • Signs of corrosion on battery terminals
    • Signs of leakage in battery compartment

    If your radio has signs of internal damage skip to step 4.
    If your radio does not have signs of internal damage, proceed to step 3.

    Step 3. Check to determine if the radio is operable.

    • If the radio shows no signs of physical damage and is still operable, no warranty support is needed*.
    • If your radio shows signs of external or internal damage, go to step 4.

    *Important: If an intrinsically safe radio is subjected to possible damage, never turn it on or attempt to use it in a potentially hazardous environment until it has been thoroughly inspected offsite. Just because the radio looks undamaged, doesn't necessarily mean it is safe to use in such an environment.

    Step 4. Review the terms of the manufacturer warranty.
    In most situations, the manufacturer warranty does NOT cover damage to the radio, including damage caused by intentional or unintentional misuse, contamination from foreign substances, electrical damage, battery leakage, improper storage or failure to follow proper usage or care as instructed in the owner's manual. The damage from improper use may even void the manufacturer warranty, depending upon the situation. when in doubt, contact the manufacturer of the radio.

    In such situations, an extended warranty or service plan could be the answer. These service plans can not only extend the life of the existing warranty on your radios, they may also provide some coverage or provision for the repair or replacement of your radio when the damage is not covered under the warranty provided by the manufacturer.

    A selection of service plans is available from Buy Two Way Radios through CPS. These service plans are flexible and provide coverage for a wide variety of electronic devices, including consumer and business two way radios.

    Icom also offers a 3 year extended warranty for its line of business two way radios.

    For more information on these extended warranty and service plans, contact us.

  • What to do if the radio does not power on

    You stored your walkie talkies away for awhile and now you're planning that big weekend hiking or camping trip with your family or friends across the great outdoors. Naturally, you need them again, so you take them out, dust them off, turn them on and -

    Uh oh. Nothing happens. They won't go on.

    You have your company fleet of two way radios packed and ready to take to the next job. When you arrive onsite, you take them out of their case, pass them out to your workers, instruct everyone to stay on Channel 1, and -

    No, wait. They don't turn on.

    Yeah, it happens. Sometimes a radio may not power on. Of course, if it happens, it is a big deal, because the two way radio as we know it is considered one of the most stable and reliable modes of communication available to the modern world, especially during an emergency. As stable and reliable as two way radios are, it still happens. So if or when it does happen, what do you do?

    Follow these steps to troubleshoot, identify and hopefully resolve the issue when your radio does not power on.

    Step 1. Verify the batteries or battery pack is/are installed correctly.

    • Verify the battery pack is seated or batteries are installed correctly or with the correct polarity. If correct, proceed to Step 3.
    • If not installed correctly, reseat the battery pack or batteries.

    Step 2. Check to be sure the radio is really on.

    Some consumer FRS/GMRS radios turn on by pressing a power button or holding it down for one to two seconds. Sometimes there is a delay or there is poor contact internally and it needs to be held down a little longer. Other models, such as business, air band, amateur, CB and marine portable handheld radios have a power knob on top of the unit that must be turned to power them on. If the knob is loose, you might think it turned the shaft of the switch when it didn't. The on/off switch could also be defective.

    • If the radio is turned on and there is power, proceed to Step 5.
    • If radio switch is on but there is no power, check to be sure the battery or batteries is/are fully charged.

    Step 3. Check to be sure the battery is charged.

    • Swap out the battery pack or batteries with another or fresh one(s). If no spare batteries are available, put the battery(ies) in another known working radio to test.
    • If no other battery(ies) or radio is available, go to Step 4.
    • If swapping the battery(ies) or radio was successful and the radio has power, skip to Step 5.
    • If there is still no power, proceed according to battery type.

    Step 4. Troubleshoot according to battery type.

    • If the battery is rechargeable, recharge it according to the manufacturer instructions. If the battery charges, go to Step 5.
    • If the rechargeable battery pack does not charge, troubleshoot the battery pack and charger.
    • If the battery is non-rechargeable and replacement batteries do not power on the radio, check the radio for damage.

    Step 5. Turn the radio on.

    • If the radio turns on, the issue is resolved.
    • If the radio does not turn on, check the radio for damage and refer to the manufacturer for warranty support.

    If these instructions are followed correctly, you should be able to quickly determine the cause of the issue and possibly resolve it. If these troubleshooting steps did not resolve your issue and your radio is out of warranty, contact us at Buy Two Way Radios.

  • New Tytera TYT TH-7800 Mobile Radio

    Tytera-TYT-TH-7800.jpgWe've been impressed with the Tytera TYT product line ever since the introduction of their digital DMR handheld radios, the MD-380 and the MD-280. So, When Tytera came to us with the announcement of a new dual band mobile radio, jumped right on it, ordered one in and tested it out. The result is the Tytera TYT TH-7800.

    So far, the TH-7800 hasn't disappointed us, and based on the majority of reviews from our customers who have purchased this mobile, they seem to feel the same way.

    Compared to other dual band amateur mobiles such as the Wouxun KG-UV920P-A, the TYT TH-7800 appears to be a simple radio. In some ways it seems oddly reminiscent of a mobile Yaesu, and when we showed it at several local hamfests, hams who give it a first look agreed. This may be due, at least in part, to a chassis with rounded edges and the orange backlit detachable display. While it isn't outwardly flashy, there seems to be a lot of functionality packed inside.

    The TH-7800 is, indeed, a dual band mobile two way radio. Like many other amateur mobiles in its class, it transmits on the 2 meter VHF (136-174MHz) and 70cm UHF (400-480MHz) bands. With 40 watts on UHF and 50 watts on VHF, the 7800 seems to have the TX on these two bands adequately covered.

    Reception is a bit broader. it receives wide band AM and FM on 108-180MHz, 134-174MHz and 350-520MHz. It supports 800 memory channels (809 to be more precise, according to the manual) and allows settings to be configured independently for each individual channel.

    As a dual bander with separate A and B sides, The TH-7800 is capable of V+U full duplex operation and V+U simultaneous reception, with independent controls for each (left and right) band. Not surprisingly, it can function as a cross-band repeater.

    Tytera TYT TH-7800 Key features

    • Dual Band UHF/VHF transmit and receive
    • 108-180/134-174MHz/350-520MHz (Receive Only)
    • 5/10/20/40W Transmit Power (UHF)
    • 5/10/20/50W Transmit Power (VHF)
    • 809 Memory Channels
    • 8 Group Voice Scrambler
    • Repeater Capable
    • V+U Full Duplex Operation
    • Cross-Band Repeater
    • Power Selectable
    • Companding
    • Busy Channel Lockout
    • CTCSS/DCS Encode/Decode
    • CTCSS/DCS Tone Scan
    • 2-Tone and 5-Tone
    • Backlit LCD Display
    • Backlit Keypad
    • Channel Name Edit and Display
    • Channel Scan
    • Priority Scan
    • Skip Channel
    • Dual Watch
    • Talk Around
    • Auto Power Off
    • Timeout Timer
    • Keypad Lock
    • Audible Button Beeps
    • 3.5mm Speaker Port
    • Cloning Capable
    • PC Programmable (Requires Optional Cable)
    • Programmable Buttons
    • Built-in Internal Speaker
    • Backlit DTMF Hand Microphone
    • Cooling Fan
    • DTMF Encoding and Decoding
    • Remote Front Panel Installation Option
    • Reset

    One interesting feature to note is the inclusion of the Auto Range Transponder System, or ARTS. When another radio equipped with ARTS is within communications range, it notifies both radios. This allows everyone within a group to maintain contact. When the radios move out of range, for more than one minute the radio will sense it and inform you that one or more stations are out of range. This is particularly useful in case of an emergency or Man Down situation, such as a search and rescue operation. ARTS is commonly found on Vertex Standard business radios.

    As for the quality of transmission, we tested the TH-7800 quite a bit on a local repeater and everyone who heard it seemed to really like how it came through. When we first began to transmit, we received reports about over modulation, however, this was quickly remedied by moving the hand microphone a little farther back from the mouth. It seems the pickup of this mic is a bit more sensitive than the hand mics on some other radios, so, if you traditionally hold the mic up close to you during transmit, you will need to back it off a few inches when using this one. Then it sounds great.

    Speaking of audio, one advantage the Tytera TYT TH-7800 has over the Wouxun KG-UV920P-A is the volume control for the speaker. As great and popular as the Wouxun is, the one drawback is the volume adjustment. It isn't very gradual. It is a series of level "steps", and there are fifteen levels. When set to the first level, the audio is so low you can barely hear it. However, when set to the second level, the loudness is increased significantly, much more than one would expect at a second level, and about where one would expect it to be at a level 4 of 5. The volume control on the TH-7800 is more like a real potentiometer, a volume control you would find on just about any other audio device that allows you to adjust the volume very, very gradually, fading the audio in and out. Simply put, you have more control over the volume.

    Like the Wouxun mobiles, the Tytera TH-7800 has a detachable front face plate. This allows you to put the main unit in the trunk, under a seat or in another location, and mount the display in your dash or somewhere else in the interior of your vehicle.

    Programming the TH-7800
    The TH-7800 can be programmed direct from the radio or through a computer via programming software. Although it really is simple to program through the unit itself, If you have more than a few frequencies to program into it or if you are adding more than one repeater, it is highly advisable to get the programming the cable and software. It will make life a lot simpler for you.

    If you really want to program the radio directly on the fly, the chart below will help you navigate and understand the menu. It consists of 42 items. Default settings are bold.

    Menu # Name Menu Item Description Option
    01 (APO) Auto Power Off Turns off radio after set time OFF/0.5H/1H/2H
    02 ARS Auto Repeater Shift Enables/disables the ARS feature ON/OFF
    03 ARTS Auto Range Transponder System Selects the ARTS beep mode IN RING/ALWAYS
    04 BEEP Beep when key is pressed Enable/Disable Beep BEP.ON/BEP.OFF
    05 CLK.SFT Clock Frequency Shift Shifting of CPU clock frequency SFT.ON/SFT.OFF
    06 DIMMER Display Dimmer Set display brightness level DIM.OFF/1/2/3/4
    07 DCS.COD Set DCS Code Sets the 104 DCS code 023
    08 DCS.N/R Set DCS Code Selects Normal or Inverted
    DCS coding
    TRX N/TX R/RX R/TRX R
    09 DSP.MOD Memory Channel Display Mode Selects memory channel display mode DSP.FRQ/DSP.NAM
    10 DTMF D DTMF Autodialer
    Delay Time
    Sets DTMF Autodialer
    Delay Time
    50/250450/750/1000 MS
    11 DTMF S DTMF Autodialer
    Sending Speed
    Sets DTMF autodialer
    sending speed
    50/75/100 MS
    12 DTMF W DTMF Autodialer
    Memories
    Loading of DTMF
    autodialer memories
    16 autodialer memories
    available
    13 HYPER Hyper Memory Enable/disable automatic writing
    feature of Hyper Memory
    MANUAL/AUTO
    14 KEY.MOD Key Functions Selects key functions for
    "right" band function switches
    KEY1/KEY2
    15 LOCK Key/Button Lock Feature Enable/disable Key/Button lock feature MANUAL/AUTO
    16 LOCKT PTT Lock Feature Enable/disable the PTT lock feature OFF/BAND R/BAND L/BOTH
    17 MUTE Mute Audio Select the audio mute mode OFF/TX/RX/TX and RX
    18 NAME Channel Name Stores name for memory channel Enter name
    19 PG P1 Set P1 Button Program the mic P1 button BAND
    20 PG P2 Set P2 Button Program the mic P2 button VFO/MR
    21 PG P3 Set P3 Button Program the mic P3 button TONE
    22 PG P4 Set P4 Button Program the mic P4 button LOW
    23 RF SQL RF SQL Level Adjust RF SQL threshold level OFF/S-2/S-5/S-9/S-FULL
    24 RPT.MOD Repeater Shift Direction Set repeater shift direction RPT.OFF/RPT.-/RPT.+
    25 SCAN Scan-Resume Mode Sets scan-resume mode TIME/BUSY
    26 SCAN M Scan Mode Sets memory scan mode MEM/MSM
    27 SHIFT Offset Repeater Shift Sets offset frequency of
    the repeater shift
    0.00~99.5 MHz
    600 KHz (UHF), 600 Hz (VHF)
    Shift can be set independently
    for each band
    28 STEP Synthesizer Steps Sets synthesizer steps 2.5-100 KHz
    12.5 KHz
    29 SPK Squelch Mode Sets squelch mode SQ/CTC/TON/C+T and C/T
    SQ
    30 TONE F CTCSS Tone Frequency Sets CTCSS tone frequency 50 standard CTCSS tones
    100Hz
    31 TONE M CTCSS/DCS Encode/Decode Mode Sets the encode/decode mode OFF/ENC/ENC.DEC/DCS
    OFF
    32 TOT Time-Out Timer Sets the time-out timer OFF/1~30 min.
    6 min.
    33 TALKAR Talk Around Swaps RX/TX frequencies
    to toggle simplex
    and repeater operation
    ON/OFF
    34-35 WID.NAR Mic Gain and Deviation Select bandwidth to reduce
    mic gain (and deviation)
    WIDE/MID/NARROW
    35 X-RPT Cross-Band Repeater Enable/disable cross-band repeater OFF
    36 AM AM Mode Enable/disable AM Mode ON/OFF
    37 AUT.AM Automatic AM Mode Enable/disable automatic AM mode ON/OFF
    38 2TONE 2-Tone memory channel Assign 2-Tone autodialer
    memory channel
    2T-01~2T-16
    2T-01
    39 5TONE 5-Tone memory channel Assign 5-Tone autodialer
    memory channel
    5T-01~5T-16
    5T-01
    40 SCR Scramble Enable/disable scramble feature ON/OFF
    41 COMP Compander Enable/disable voice compander ON/OFF
    42 HSD.TYP Tone Squelch Enable/disable tone squelch OFF/2 Tone/5 Tone/DTMF

    The TH-7800 matches up very well to the Wouxun KG-UV920P-A in price. At only $199, this radio seems like a great value compared to $259 for the Wouxun.

    For $199.99 you get the radio, the mic, the mounting brackets and hardware, power cords, extension cord, and owner's manual. The TH-7800 is available from Buy Two Way Radios.

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