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General

  • 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
    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 #NameMenu ItemDescriptionOption
    01(APO)Auto Power OffTurns off radio after set timeOFF/0.5H/1H/2H
    02ARSAuto Repeater ShiftEnables/disables the ARS featureON/OFF
    03ARTSAuto Range Transponder SystemSelects the ARTS beep modeIN RING/ALWAYS
    04BEEPBeep when key is pressedEnable/Disable BeepBEP.ON/BEP.OFF
    05CLK.SFTClock Frequency ShiftShifting of CPU clock frequencySFT.ON/SFT.OFF
    06DIMMERDisplay DimmerSet display brightness levelDIM.OFF/1/2/3/4
    07DCS.CODSet DCS CodeSets the 104 DCS code023
    08DCS.N/RSet DCS CodeSelects Normal or Inverted
    DCS coding
    TRX N/TX R/RX R/TRX R
    09DSP.MODMemory Channel Display ModeSelects memory channel display modeDSP.FRQ/DSP.NAM
    10DTMF DDTMF Autodialer
    Delay Time
    Sets DTMF Autodialer
    Delay Time
    50/250450/750/1000 MS
    11DTMF SDTMF Autodialer
    Sending Speed
    Sets DTMF autodialer
    sending speed
    50/75/100 MS
    12DTMF WDTMF Autodialer
    Memories
    Loading of DTMF
    autodialer memories
    16 autodialer memories
    available
    13HYPERHyper MemoryEnable/disable automatic writing
    feature of Hyper Memory
    MANUAL/AUTO
    14KEY.MODKey FunctionsSelects key functions for
    "right" band function switches
    KEY1/KEY2
    15LOCKKey/Button Lock FeatureEnable/disable Key/Button lock featureMANUAL/AUTO
    16LOCKTPTT Lock FeatureEnable/disable the PTT lock featureOFF/BAND R/BAND L/BOTH
    17MUTEMute AudioSelect the audio mute modeOFF/TX/RX/TX and RX
    18NAMEChannel NameStores name for memory channelEnter name
    19PG P1Set P1 ButtonProgram the mic P1 buttonBAND
    20PG P2Set P2 ButtonProgram the mic P2 buttonVFO/MR
    21PG P3Set P3 ButtonProgram the mic P3 buttonTONE
    22PG P4Set P4 ButtonProgram the mic P4 buttonLOW
    23RF SQLRF SQL LevelAdjust RF SQL threshold levelOFF/S-2/S-5/S-9/S-FULL
    24RPT.MODRepeater Shift DirectionSet repeater shift directionRPT.OFF/RPT.-/RPT.+
    25SCANScan-Resume ModeSets scan-resume modeTIME/BUSY
    26SCAN MScan ModeSets memory scan modeMEM/MSM
    27SHIFTOffset Repeater ShiftSets 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
    28STEPSynthesizer StepsSets synthesizer steps2.5-100 KHz
    12.5 KHz
    29SPKSquelch ModeSets squelch modeSQ/CTC/TON/C+T and C/T
    SQ
    30TONE FCTCSS Tone FrequencySets CTCSS tone frequency50 standard CTCSS tones
    100Hz
    31TONE MCTCSS/DCS Encode/Decode ModeSets the encode/decode modeOFF/ENC/ENC.DEC/DCS
    OFF
    32TOTTime-Out TimerSets the time-out timerOFF/1~30 min.
    6 min.
    33TALKARTalk AroundSwaps RX/TX frequencies
    to toggle simplex
    and repeater operation
    ON/OFF
    34-35WID.NARMic Gain and DeviationSelect bandwidth to reduce
    mic gain (and deviation)
    WIDE/MID/NARROW
    35X-RPTCross-Band RepeaterEnable/disable cross-band repeaterOFF
    36AMAM ModeEnable/disable AM ModeON/OFF
    37AUT.AMAutomatic AM ModeEnable/disable automatic AM modeON/OFF
    382TONE2-Tone memory channelAssign 2-Tone autodialer
    memory channel
    2T-01~2T-16
    2T-01
    395TONE5-Tone memory channelAssign 5-Tone autodialer
    memory channel
    5T-01~5T-16
    5T-01
    40SCRScrambleEnable/disable scramble featureON/OFF
    41COMPCompanderEnable/disable voice companderON/OFF
    42HSD.TYPTone SquelchEnable/disable tone squelchOFF/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.

  • What is the difference between walkie talkies and two way radios?

    business-consumer.pngRecently we received a comment from a customer who took issue with our use of the terms two way radio and walkie talkie in one of our older posts. Apparently the customer was searching for a two way radio but after locating radios listed as walkie talkies, considered it a misdirection to another line of products, presumably perceiving that an item labeled as a walkie talkie was inferior to another item labeled as a two way radio. According to the customer, walkie talkies and two way radios are not the same.

    In reality, the terms walkie talkie and two way radio are often considered interchangeable, at least here in the US, and are sometimes even used together in the same conversation to reference the same thing. As a US based company, our use of these terms is based on their common accepted usage within our country. These terms may be used differently in other countries, so it is, by no means, an absolute.

    Of course, there is a difference between a two way radio and a walkie talkie that is somewhat universal. Technically speaking, the two are not the same thing, although in some cases, they can be. To understand the difference, we need to define the terms.

    A two way radio is a radio that can operate two ways, that is, it has the ability to both transmit and receive a radio signal, as opposed to a radio that can only receive. A two way radio can either operate in a half-duplex or full duplex mode. Half-duplex allows the radio to transmit or receive in turn but not both simultaneously. Full-duplex allows the radio to transmit and receive at the same time. A two way radio is also commonly called a transceiver, because it can both transmit and receive radio communications. In either case, the radio operates two ways; it can send and it can receive.

    A walkie talkie is a portable two way radio, particularly one that can be held in the hand. This type of radio, also known as a handy talkie, handheld transceiver or HT, allows you to talk on the radio while walking around, hence the name walkie talkie.

    Now that we've defined the terms, let's consider the argument. Are these terms interchangeable? Well, yes and no.

    According to the definition, a walkie talkie is a two way radio, but a two way radio is not always a walkie talkie. This is because there are types of radios that are not portable handhelds, such as a mobile radio mounted in a vehicle or a desk or wall mounted base station.

    But, it can be one. In fact, most, if not all manufacturers of business, CB, consumer, marine and amateur portable handheld radios or walkie talkies do not usually refer to their products as "Walkie Talkies", but as "Two Way Radios".

    This is understandable, considering the history of the walkie talkie. It originally referred to the portable backpack transceivers used in the military during World War II. More recently it became associated with consumer grade FRS radios. The term has also long been used to refer to extremely low power radios sold as toys and that stigma, while misdirected, still exists today. Given that, it's no wonder some folks shun products labeled as walkie talkies in search of a "real" two way radio.

    Do you consider walkie talkies and two way radios different or the same things? How and why? It's a great topic and we'd like to know what you think. We will be discussing it in a January 2015 episode of The Two Way Radio Show Podcast and we want your comments. From now until December 31, 2014, for everyone who comments on the topic below, tweets a response @2WayRadios, or posts it on our Facebook or Google + pages, if we read it on the podcast, we will send you a FREE T-shirt!

    We have plenty of shirts to give away, so send in your comments now.

  • Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

    turkey2013.PNGBuy Two Way Radios would like to wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving! Our offices will be closed Thanksgiving Day Thursday, November 27 and Friday November 28, 2014. If you need assistance please send us an e-mail, visit our Two Way Radio Forums or give us a call after 8 AM EST Monday, December 1, 2014. Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and please stay safe while traveling.

  • FTDI driver update bricks cloned programming cables

    There are a lot of USB programming cables on the market, many of which are purportedly made with a chip manufactured by either Prolific or FTDI. Some cables use genuine silicon chips from one of these two companies, but many others, particularly the more inexpensive programming cables, may contain a cloned or counterfeit chip.

    Recently, FTDI took measures to combat the counterfeit cable issue with the release of a driver update that soft bricks USB cables with cloned chips. Distributed silently through Microsoft Windows Update, the driver update essentially changed the PID of the chip to render it completely inoperable, thus effectively making the cable useless on any computer system. The update caused an immediate uproar among consumers who suddenly discovered that their hardware no longer functioned.

    Counterfeit hardware is a serious problem on a global scale, so it is understandable for a manufacturer to do what it can to protect its products from such unauthorized duplication. However, FTDI didn't simply issue a driver update that would only ignore the clone cable while recognizing a legitimate one; it attempted to destroy the allegedly cloned hardware itself. The results were immediate and unpleasant for all involved: the update created a lot of suddenly useless devices and a lot of serious backlash from the owners of the affected hardware, many of whom were completely unaware that the products they purchased were not genuine.

    At Buy Two Way Radios, we understand the importance of "keeping it real" for our customers. We do our best to stock only genuine OEM products from name brand manufacturers and deal directly with them whenever possible to ensure authenticity of product and quality control. However, we are a dealer and do not manufacture the product ourselves, so as hard as we try, there is only so much we can do. If the manufacturer is using a counterfeit component within their branded product otherwise marked as genuine, it may be difficult to ascertain. When a situation occurs such as the notorious FTDI driver update, sometimes the only way to find out is to test its authenticity first hand.

    So we did.

    We tested it on the FTDI programming cable from XLT.

    The XLT Painless Programming Cable is very popular among users of handheld two way radios, and with good reason. It's easy to install and easy to use for a painless programming experience. It also uses an FTDI chip. But is it genuine?

    To be sure, we intentionally installed the infamous version of the FTDI driver that performs the soft brick on fake chips and then tested it with the XLT Painless Programming Cable. We tested it with the update in Windows 7 and Windows 8, putting the cable through its paces. Each time, Windows quickly recognized the FTDI chip as genuine and the XLT cable worked flawlessly.

    Since its covert release, the FTDI driver update has received quite a lashing from angry consumers and a lot of unwanted attention from the press. In response, FTDI pulled the driver update, replaced it with the previous driver that was not hostile to clones and said it would work on other alternatives to fighting counterfeit hardware that are not as intrusive as the last one.

    In the meantime, Buy Two Way Radios will continue to provide our customers with quality products at great prices, deliver great service and do our best to keep it real.

  • Have a Safe Memorial Day!

    Buy Two Way Radios would like to wish everyone a great and safe Memorial Day! Our offices will be closed for the day on Monday, May 26, 2014. If you need assistance please send us an e-mail, visit our forums or give us a call after 8 AM EDT Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 1-800-584-1445. Have a great Memorial Day and please stay safe while traveling.

  • Two Way Radio Antenna Connector Chart

    The antenna is one of the most crucial components of a radio. While the type of radio, wattage, and battery life are important things to consider, it is the choice of antenna that ultimately determines the overall quality of a transceiver's signal.

    A properly tuned antenna is key to obtaining the maximum range of any radio. There are many antennas available on the market today, and the one you choose can not only affect performance, but also the life of the radio itself. However, though there are options, there are also limitations. While base stations and mobile radios allow considerable latitude when it comes to choosing an antenna, handheld transceivers or walkie talkies are another matter.

    A handheld two way radio will have one of two types of antennas, either fixed or removable. A fixed antenna is built into the case of the radio itself and cannot be removed. Consumer FRS/GMRS radios and some low wattage business radios such as the Motorola RDU2020 and RMU2080d have permanently mounted, fixed antennas. Most higher end, higher wattage handheld business two way radios have a removable antenna that is tuned specifically to the band and frequencies used by each model. For instance, a UHF antenna tuned to business frequencies between 403 and 470MHz theoretically should work with a busines radio that uses those frequencies.

    But there is one caveat. While such an antenna may be removable, it may not necessarily be swappable. This is because the connector on the antenna may be different from the connector on the radio.

    There are several types of connectors used for attaching antennas to handheld radios. Most are standard types, but a few may be proprietary to a specific manufacturer. The chart below lists the makes and models of popular radios with removable antennas along with the types of connectors used to attach an antenna to specific models. Refer to this chart before you purchase an antenna to ensure it will fit the connector on your radio. To learn more these connectors are and how to identify them, see our chart of Two Way Radio Antenna Connector Types.

    ManufacturerModelAntenna ConnectorRadio Connector
    BaofengUV-3RSMA Male (Standard)SMA Female (Standard)
    BaofengUV-5R
    UV-82
    UV-B6
    BF-F9
    SMA Female (Standard)SMA Male (Standard)
    BlackboxBlackbox Plus UHF
    Blackbox Plus VHF
    SMA Female (Standard)SMA Male (Standard)
    HyteraTC-518 OBRSMA Female (Standard)SMA Male (Standard)
    IcomIC-F50V
    IC-F60
    IC-F60V
    SMA Male (Standard)SMA Female (Standard)
    IcomIC-F14
    IC-F24
    IC-F3001
    IC-F3011
    IC-F3021S
    IC-F3101D
    IC-F3161DT
    IC-F4001
    IC-F4011
    IC-F4021S
    IC-F4101D
    IC-F4161DT
    J MaleJ Female
    Icom MobileIC-F5011
    IC-F6011
    IC-F5021
    IC-F6021
    UHF Male (PL-259)UHF Female (SO-239)
    Leixen MobileVV-898
    VV-898S
    VV-898P
    VV-898SP
    UHF Male (PL-259)UHF Female (SO-239)
    KenwoodNX-240V16P
    NX-340U16P
    TK-2300
    TK-2302
    TK-3300
    TK-3302
    TK-2400
    TK-2402
    TK-3400
    TK3402
    SMA Female (Standard)SMA Male (Standard)
    MidlandMXT100UHF Male (PL-259)UHF Female (SO-239)
    MotorolaDTR550
    RDU4100
    RDU4160d
    RDV5100
    SMA Female (Motorola/Vertex)SMA Male (Motorola/Vertex)
    OlympiaP324SMA Male (Standard)SMA Female (Standard)
    TYTMD-280
    MD-380
    MD-390
    SMA Male (Standard)SMA Female (Standard)
    TYT MobileTH-7800
    TH-8600
    MD-9600
    UHF Male (PL-259)UHF Female (SO-239)
    Vertex StandardVX-231
    VX-351
    VX-354
    VX-424
    SMA Male (Motorola/Vertex)SMA Female (Motorola/Vertex)
    Vertex StandardEVX-531
    EVX-534
    EVX-539
    VX-261
    VX-451
    VX-454
    VX-459
    VXD-720
    SMA Female (Motorola/Vertex)SMA Male (Motorola/Vertex)
    Vertex Standard MobileVXD-7200-D0
    VXD-7200-G7
    BNC MaleBNC Female
    WouxunKG-D901
    KG-UV6D
    KG-UV6D PRO
    KG-UV8D
    KG-UV8D Plus
    KG-UV8E
    KG-UV9D
    KG-UV9D Plus
    SMA Male (Standard)SMA Female (Standard)
    WouxunKG-UVD1PSMA Female (Standard)SMA Male (Standard)
    WouxunKG-UV920P-A
    KG-UV950P
    UHF Male (PL-259)UHF Female (SO-239)

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