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Two Way Radios

  • Kenwood Announces New 2-Watt Digital Radio

    We just received word that Kenwood is planning to launch a 2 watt version of their NX-340U16P and NX-240V16P digital two way radios. The current radios are 5 watts, 16 channels, and operate using Nexedge FDMA digital technology, or conventional analog.

    The new models will be the NX-340U16P2 (UHF) and NX-240V16P (VHF), and are expected to be identical to the current models other than the difference in wattage. The new radios are expected to sell for $299, which will make it a definite consideration for current TK-3400 and TK-2400 users who are looking to go digital.

    Is it worth the extra cost to get a digital radio? Over the past few years there has been a significant price drop in digital radios. At this point, the benefits clearly outweigh the extra cost. While there are many benefits, the improvement in audio quality alone is worth the price of admission. With analog radios, the audio quality gets worse as the radios get further apart. With digital, the audio is always crystal clear. No more static, no more choppy audio.

    So who is the right customer for these two new models? Based on the performance of Kenwood's current 2-watt radios, the range is sufficient for most short to mid range applications. We have customers using the TK-3400 for applications such as warehouses, manufacturing, schools, retail stores and more.

    When can you purchase the new models? We expect to have them in stock in mid July.

    This post was updated on 6/28/2017.

  • 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.

  • Can I charge alkaline batteries in a two way radio or charger?

    The ability to accommodate multiple power options is a great feature to have in any device, and a two way radio with this attribute is an especially versatile transceiver. In addition to a rechargeable battery pack, such radios can operate from other power sources as well, such as 12v DC vehicle power adapters and, of course, regular AA or AAA alkaline batteries. It is rather common for some models of handheld radios to allow the use of both rechargeable batteries or proprietary battery packs and AA or AAA disposable alkaline batteries, a very useful and highly desirable feature. However, for all of its obvious benefits, this versatility also brings a certain level of risk: the possibility, whether by ignorance or accident, of the potentially costly or even dangerous mistake of charging the wrong batteries in the radio.

    Customers often ask us about battery compatibility with their radios, and most are the type of queries one would expect. Recently we received a question about the use of alkaline batteries in two way radios as a substitution for the supplied rechargeable cells that was a little different. While it is a very basic question, it's a very important one, with an answer everyone should know before they ever attempt to recharge their radio.

    If my two way radio accepts AA or AAA batteries, can I charge them when I plug the radio in to the charger?

    If they are alkaline or zinc-carbon batteries, the answer is no. These are disposable batteries and cannot be recharged. If they are rechargeable batteries, it depends. Some radios are designed specifically for AA or AAA rechargeable batteries and usually include a set of two, three, or four of these cells in the package with each radio. If so, only those rechargeable cells provided with the radio by the manufacturer are specifically intended to be charged while inside the radio itself. If the rechargeable batteries are not supplied by the radio manufacturer or are purchased separately from a third party battery manufacturer, they should only be charged outside the radio and only in a charger specifically made for those batteries.

    One might think this is just common sense, but it can be an easy mistake to make, especially with radios that support multiple battery types and charging options. Let's say you have a set of Motorola Talkabout radios with a battery pack inside each one that is charged when the radios are inserted into a desktop drop-in charger or plugged into a USB charger adapter. The radios also accept AA or AAA disposable alkaline batteries. Suppose you take your radios on a camping trip for the weekend. The camp has no electricity to recharge the batteries, but fortunately you carry along some disposables as a backup. During the trip, one of the radios drains its battery pack, so you naturally swap it for the alkalines. After returning home, you set the radios aside for a couple of months until you need them again and it's time to charge them for your next excursion.

    But, you forgot one of them has the alkalines, and which one? If you don't check first, you may get a nasty reminder after the fact, one that could pose a serious hazard to your radios, or, more importantly, to you.

    Think it can't happen? It certainly can. It isn't always due to operator error, either. Even the manufacturers themselves can make a mistake. The most recent example of this was related to the Midland GXT2000 and GXT2050 radios. These radios, which were intended to operate on either Lithium Polymer (Li-Po) battery packs or disposable alkalines, had chronic power issues, prompting Midland to change the power options of the series.

    Mistakes can happen, but they can usually be minimized or even prevented with a little care and common sense.

    To minimize the chance of an error or accident, follow these best practices when using batteries and charging battery packs for your radios:

    - Alkaline batteries are not rechargeable. NEVER attempt to charge alkalines either in or outside a radio.

    - Although you can use rechargeable batteries manufactured by a third party instead of alkalines to power the radio, you should never attempt to recharge them in the radio. ONLY charge rechargeable batteries in the charger they came with.

    - Never attempt to recharge one type of rechargeable battery in a charger intended for different type. For instance, do not charge Nickel Metal Hydride (NiCd) batteries in a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery charger or vice-versa.

    - You should ONLY use the radio charger to charge the radio with the rechargeable batteries or battery pack that came with the radio or a replacement rechargeable battery pack specifically approved to replace the original battery pack for that make and model radio.

    - Using the radio charger for any other type of radio, battery or battery pack than the one it is intended for can be very dangerous for you and/or your radio and is NOT recommended.

    - Always check the type and condition of the batteries in your radios before you charge them, especially if they have not been used for extended periods.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Happy New Year 2014!

    Buy Two Way Radios would like to wish everyone a happy, prosperous and safe 2014! Our offices will be closed to ring for the day on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 and Wednesday, January 1, 2014. If you need assistance please send us an e-mail, visit our forums or give us a call after 8 AM EST Thursday, January 2, 2014. Please stay safe while traveling during the new year.

  • One Week Only Special on Midland Two Way Radios!

    The holidays are fast approaching, and this year we are excited to offer something really special to our customers! BuyTwoWayRadios.com is teaming up with Midland to offer special discounts on Midland two way radios! For ONE WEEK ONLY, Take an additional 10% off our already low prices on Midland two way radios in our store! This offer begins at 8 AM ET December 2 and ends midnight December 8, 2013. To take advantage of this offer, enter promo code MIDLAND at checkout and your 10% savings will be applied immediately to your order! You can also order by phone. Call us at 1-800-584-1445 before this offer expires at midnight, Dercember 8, 2013!

    But that's not all. There is no purchase limit, either. Mix and match the models and buy as many as you need or want with Promo Code MIDLAND. The more Midland radios you buy, the more you save!

    The following Midland two way radios qualify for this exclusive, ONE WEEK ONLY offer:

    Questions? Give us a call at 1-800-584-1445 or enter our live chat.

  • Happy New Year 2013!

    Buy Two Way Radios would like to wish everyone a happy, prosperous and safe 2013! Our offices will be closed for the day on Monday, December 31, 2012 and Tuesday, January 1, 2013. If you need assistance please send us an e-mail, visit our forums or give us a call after 8 AM EST Tuesday, January 2, 2013. Please stay safe while traveling during the new year.

  • Two Way Radio Basics

    In this article, we will be discussing some of the basic features and functions of two-way radios. Two way radios are tools for communicating, similar to telephones, and can come in handy for many situations. Whether it be for personal use, for your business or for emergency purposes, two-way radios are an excellent and reliable form of communication.

    Two-way radios (also called walkie talkies), allowing for a few exceptions, all work essentially the same way. There is a battery that powers the unit which is typically rechargeable. Volume can often be controlled with the use of a knob or button on the unit itself. When using the radio to communicate, the transmission is activated with the use of a Push-To-Talk or "PTT" button. Simply press the PTT button and speak into the microphone and your voice is sent over the air! When the PTT button is released, the receiver becomes active, allowing other radios to communicate back.

    A two-way radio, in its most basic description, is a "transceiver". This means that it is a device that can both transmit and receive content. Radios communicate with one another using certain frequencies. The radios can "speak" to each other only when they are set to the same frequency. The two most popular frequency ranges that two-way radios use are called "VHF - Very High Frequency" and "UHF - Ultra High Frequency". VHF frequencies are best for exclusive outdoor use, as these frequencies will hug the ground and travel further in open areas. UHF frequencies, the more popular of the two, tend to penetrate obstructions and will work well both indoors and out.

    Most two-way radios have the capability to work on multiple "channels". A specific frequency can be assigned to each channel, giving the radio many different alleyways of communication. Businesses often take advantage of channels by assigning a channel to each department. This keeps employees from being distracted by irrelevant conversations while still allowing management to easily communicate with all groups. On consumer or family radios the channels are useful as a way to cut down on eavesdroppers or interference when in an area where there are many radios in use.

    The maximum range of a two-way radio will vary, depending on any number of things. In the unit itself, the range will be directly linked to the wattage of the unit and the antenna. The higher the wattage and better the antenna, the more range your two-way radio will be able to achieve. Outside factors can also affect range. Certain terrain, solid obstructions, or even day-to-day weather can be factors that will affect the maximum range your radio will transmit. Despite high range claims by manufacturers, we usually tell our customers not to expect more than 1-2 miles in an environment such as a city or town.

    Two-way radios can range from very basic to very complex pieces of equipment. This article is meant to introduce you to some of the basic features and how they operate, but we have barely begun to scratch the surface as to what two-way radios can actually achieve. Check our site or contact us for more in-depth information!

  • Preview the Midland GXT2000!

    Want a first look at the Midland GXT2000? Here it is! This video is a brief overview of the new series of Midland GMRS two way radios due sometime this fall. Better yet, you can pre-order the Midland GXT2000VP4 now at Buy Two Way Radios!

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