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  • We now have books about two way radios!

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    When it comes to choosing and using your two way radios, we want you to be informed. There are informative blogs, articles, podcasts and videos available with tips, tricks and reviews to help you navigate the world of radio technology and keep you ahead of the curve. We have a number of resources at Buy Two Way Radios to help you get the most out of your radios. To make them even better, Here's one more. We now carry books about two way radios!

    Our new premium selection of books covers every type of two way radio available, including FRS and GMRS radios, marine radios, UHF/VHF business radios, CB and Ham. They're all listed right here on our web site and available now.

    Need a basic book for beginners? Two Way Radios and Scanners for Dummies is the perfect choice. It's easy to read, easy to understand, humorous and just a little technical without being boring.

    If you want to get into amateur radio, Ham Radio For Dummies is also a great choice. This book how to understand Ham jargon, prepare for your amateur license and how to set up a station. Getting acquainted with amateur radio has never been easier!

    Need a technical book for the serious amateur? The ARRL Handbook is a must read for you. Recognized as the standard reference for amateur radio operators everywhere, this handbook covers nearly every aspect of radio communication and is now available in a hard cover 90th edition for 2013.

    The ARRL Repeater Directory is a handy resource for locating repeaters across America. The directory lists 21,800 repeaters across the country in a spiral bound 2012-2013 desktop edition.

    These are just a sampling of the publications now available to provide you with the knowledge you need maximize the potential of your radios and put you in control of your communications. Whether you are new to two way radios, or you're a seasoned pro, There's a radio book waiting for you.

    If the publication you need is not listed on our site, please contact us and let us know.

  • Midland's 2012 FRS/GMRS Two Way Radio Lineup

    Last month we told you about some exciting changes to Midland's 2012 lineup of FRS/GMRS two way radios. We now have more details and we're even more excited to pass them along to you. Early this year, Midland promised technical and cosmetic upgrades to its line of consumer radios, including new models. Midland has made many enhancements and performance improvements to its entire line of two way radios during the last few years, and they are taking it all to the next level in 2012.

    Feature Upgrades
    Among new products to be introduced this year is the new GXT2000 Series. According to Midland, the new GXT2000 and GXT2050 radios will each offer a large, easy to read LCD display. A fast charging, higher capacity lithium polymer battery will also be included to provide longer battery life. This battery can charge from 0-90% in about an hour and trickle charge the final 10% in less than another. The battery upgrade will be a welcome one for hikers, campers and others who love the outdoors and need a battery that charges faster and lasts longer out in the field.

    In addition to the new models, Midland's 2012 lineup includes two popular, tried and true standards, the GXT1000VP4 and the GXT1050VP4.

    All Midland two way radios include a 3 year warranty, proving their commitment to stand behind their products.

    2012 Model Specifications
    Here is a sneak peek at the lineup of new models with the manufacturer's suggested retail prices. We expect to have them in stock by mid-summer of 2012. Note that actual prices may vary on release.

    LXT118 Pair.jpgNOW AVAILABLE! LXT118 (MSRP $24.99) - 22 channels, channel scan, keypad lock, eVOX, call alert, auto squelch, dual power options, keystroke tones, mic and headphone jacks, charges through the headset jack, battery life extender, water resistant.

    NOW AVAILABLE! LXT118VP (MSRP $34.99) - This is the LXT118 in a value pack with two radios, beltclips, rechargeable AAA batteries, AC adapter and owner's manual.

    LXT500VP3.jpgNOW AVAILABLE! LXT500VP3 (MSRP $39.99) - 22 channels, silent operation, HI/LO power settings, channel scan, keypad lock, call alert, auto squelch, dual power options, roger beep, keystroke tones, mic and headphone jacks, drop-in charger capable, battery life extender, water resistant.

    LXT535VP3.jpgNOW AVAILABLE! LXT535VP3 (MSRP $49.99) - 22 channels, silent operation, HI/LO power settings, channel scan, keypad lock, call alert, auto squelch, dual power options, roger beep, keystroke tones, mic and headphone jacks, drop-in charger capable, battery life extender, water resistant.

    NOW AVAILABLE! LXT560VP3 (MSRP $59.99) - 22 channels plus 14 extra channels, 121 privacy codes, NOAA weather alert radio with weather scan, LCD backlit display, silent operation, HI/LO power settings, channel scan, keypad lock, call alert, auto squelch, monitor, dual power options, roger beep, keystroke tones, mic and headphone jacks, drop-in charger capable, battery life extender, water resistant.

    LXT600VP3.jpgNOW AVAILABLE! LXT600VP3 - (MSRP $69.99) - 22 channels plus 14 extra channels, 121 privacy codes, NOAA weather alert radio with weather scan, LCD backlit display, silent operation, HI/LO power settings, eVOX, channel scan, keypad lock, 5 call alerts, auto squelch, monitor, dual power options, roger beep, keystroke tones, mic and headphone jacks, drop-in charger capable, battery life extender, water resistant.

    GXT860VP4.jpgNOW AVAILABLE! GXT860VP4 - (MSRP $79.99) - 22 channels plus 20 extra channels, 142 privacy codes, NOAA weather alert radio with weather scan, LCD backlit display, vibrate alert, silent operation, HI/MED/LO power settings, eVOX, channel scan, keypad lock, 10 call alerts, auto squelch, monitor, dual power options, roger beep, keystroke tones, mic and headphone jacks, drop-in charger capable, battery life extender, water resistant.

    GXT895VP4.jpgNOW AVAILABLE! GXT895VP4 - (MSRP $89.99) - Camo shell, 22 channels plus 20 extra channels, 142 privacy codes, NOAA weather alert radio with weather scan, LCD backlit display, vibrate alert, silent operation, HI/MED/LO power settings, eVOX, channel scan, keypad lock, 15 call alerts, 5 animal call alerts, auto squelch, monitor, dual power options, roger beep, keystroke tones, mic and headphone jacks, drop-in charger capable, battery life extender, water resistant.

    GXT1000VP4.jpgGXT1000VP4 - (MSRP $89.99) - 22 channels plus 28 extra channels, 285 privacy codes, NOAA weather alert radio with weather scan, LCD backlit display, vibrate alert, silent operation, whisper mode, HI/MED/LO power settings, eVOX (9 levels), channel scan, keypad lock, group call, 10 call alerts, auto squelch, monitor, dual power options, roger beep, keystroke tones, mic and headphone jacks, drop-in charger capable, battery life extender, water resistant, JIS4 waterproof.

    GXT1050VP4.jpgGXT1050VP4 - (MSRP $99.99) - Camo shell, 22 channels plus 28 extra channels, 285 privacy codes, NOAA weather alert radio, LCD backlit display, vibrate alert, silent operation, whisper mode, HI/MED/LO power settings, eVOX (9 levels), channel scan, keypad lock, group call, 10 call alerts, auto squelch, monitor, dual power options, roger beep, keystroke tones, mic and headphone jacks, drop-in charger capable, battery life extender, water resistant, JIS4 waterproof.

    GXT2000VP4.jpg GXT2000VP4 - (MSRP $119.99) - 22 channels plus 28 extra channels, 142 privacy codes, NOAA weather alert radio with weather scan, LCD backlit display, vibrate alert, silent operation, whisper mode, HI/MED/LO power settings, eVOX (9 levels), channel scan, keypad lock, group call, 15 call alerts, 5 animal call alerts, auto squelch, monitor, dual watch, dual power options, SOS siren, roger beep, keystroke tones, HD dynamic audio, mic and headphone jacks, EXTREME Lithium-Polymer battery pack, ultra fast charge, drop-in charger capable, battery life extender, water resistant, JIS4 waterproof.

    GXT2050VP4.jpgGXT2050VP4 - (MSRP $129.99) - Camo shell, 22 channels plus 28 extra channels, 142 privacy codes, NOAA weather alert radio with weather scan, LCD backlit display, vibrate alert, silent operation, whisper mode, HI/MED/LO power settings, eVOX (9 levels), channel scan, keypad lock, group call, 10 call alerts, 5 animal call alerts, auto squelch, monitor, dual watch, dual power options, SOS siren, roger beep, keystroke tones, HD dynamic audio, mic and headphone jacks, EXTREME Lithium-Polymer battery pack, ultra fast charge, drop-in charger capable, battery life extender, water resistant, JIS4 waterproof.

    We will keep you updated with more information as it becomes available.

  • Radio Compatibility: Which Models Will Work Together

    One of the questions that we are asked frequently is if a new two way radio that a customer is considering purchasing will be compatible with older radios that they already have. This compatibility question is best answered based on the type of radio (consumer vs. business), as the answer is very different.

    Consumer Radios
    Midland GXT2000 Two Way RadioConsumer radios operate on a standard set of frequencies, either the GMRS or FRS services or a combination of both. Most newer consumer radios are "dual service" radios that support both FRS and GMRS. These radios will typically have 22 channels. Older consumer radios may only have 14 channels, operating only on FRS.

    Regardless, all of these radios that support FRS and/or GMRS use the same frequencies and are compatible with one another. Simply set all radios to the same channel number and privacy code, and you will be able to communicate. Popular manufacturers of consumer radios are Audiovox, Cobra, Garmin, Midland, Motorola (Talkabout series), and Uniden. Kenwood used to make GMRS models (the TK3101 and TK3131, for example), but have moved away from consumer radios and no longer produce them.

    Business Radios
    Kenwood TK-3402 Two Way RadioCompatibility is not nearly as straightforward when it comes to business radios. First of all, there are several types of frequencies that business radios are made to support: VHF, UHF, and 800/900 Mhz frequencies, for example. The first step in finding a compatible radio is choosing a model that supports the same frequency type as your existing radios.

    These frequency types refer to an entire range of actual frequencies, and just choosing the same frequency type does not guarantee compatibility. If you purchased your existing radios from a true two way radio dealer, there is a possibility that the dealer could have programmed special custom frequencies into the radio. If this were the case, your radios may not be compatible with a new radio even if you purchased the exact same model.

    Usually most compatibility issues arise with 4 or 5 watt radios, which are much more likely to support custom programming. With one or two watt business radios, it is a little easier to ensure compatibility. The Motorola CLS series of radios and the two watt RDX series models will always be compatible, and two watt Kenwood radios that are marked with a ProTalk label will always be compatible, provided you purchase the same model.

    If you have any questions or concerns about business radio compatibility, the easiest option is to simply contact us and we can recommend a compatible solution. For older radios or radios that could have been custom programmed, we may ask that you send in the radio so that we can read the actual frequencies from the radio before making a recommendation.

    Related Resources
    Looking for a MURS Compatible Radio?
    It's Official: Vertex Digital and Motorola TRBO Radios Now Compatible
    The Two Way Radio Show TWRS-07 - Comparing Small Business Radios
    Radio 101 - The facts about GMRS two way radio compatibility

  • Do You Need A Business Two Way Radio?

    Construction WorkerWe frequently get questions from business customers asking if they really need to buy a "business" two way radio. Business radios are generally much more expensive than consumer radios and the features are often very similar, so it is easy to see why this can be confusing. In this post I'll try to explain the common differences between these types of radios, and hopefully provide enough information for you to decide what's best for your business.

    FCC Regulations
    Whether a 2 way radio is "business" or "consumer" is decided by the frequencies that it uses to transmit and receive communications. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set aside 22 UHF frequencies as general frequencies for use by consumers. These frequencies make up GMRS and FRS channels that are supported by the consumer radios that we sell.

    Technically, use of the GMRS channels requires an FCC license. This license is good for 5 years and covers the applicant and his/her immediate family. GMRS licenses are not issued to businesses. Here is a note from the FCC's GMRS license application form (form 605):

    Note: For GMRS: effective January 1, 1989, new or major modification applications may NOT be filed by non-individual (business) applicants/licensees. (See Rule 1.929(c) (4) & 95.5(b).

    For GMRS radios to be legally used by businesses, each person using the radios would need an individual GMRS license ($80 each). A business could use the radios on an FRS channel without a license, but when using FRS channels the radio cannot transmit at more than a half watt of power. This is generally only good for a quarter to a half mile of outdoor range.

    Business radios use different frequencies ranges that have been approved by the FCC for business use. These frequencies are not as popular, so you typically don't have to worry about "chatter" on your channels. You can also get business radios that operate on VHF frequencies, which work better than UHF outdoors or inside of and around wood structures. An FCC license for your business is $105. You will pay more upfront for your business radio, but if there are several employees that will use it you will likely save money after factoring in the license cost.

    Durability
    Business radios are usually designed to hold up to abuse better than consumer radios. Consumer radios are usually built for infrequent use: weekend hunting trips, multiple car caravans, skiing, camping, amusement parks, etc. They are usually lightweight with a thin plastic casing. Business radios are designed to be used for hours every day, and they will hold up better than consumer radios. Many are built to military specifications.

    Battery Life
    If your business plans to use radios for more than a few hours a day, battery life is something that you will not want to overlook. Most consumer radios include rechargeable batteries that are good for 8 hours or less of use. As is typical of batteries, this life will likely diminish slightly over time. Some business or professional radios are also limited in their battery life, but most will provide 12 hours or more on a charge.

    Accessories
    Business radios typically have a better selection of accessories than consumer radios. If accessories, such as headsets or earpieces, are important to your business, you should look at what accessories are available before you choose a radio. Things like rapid chargers and multi unit chargers are only available for business radios.

    Common Scenarios
    There are some scenarios where a business radio is always your best choice. For example, anytime you expect to use the radio frequently and for more than 8 hours with each use. If you purchase a consumer radio for this, there is a good chance you will be disappointed with the battery life. Also, if you are in a "tough" work environment, such as a construction or industrial situation. Consumer radios are not designed to take this kind of beating.

    It may be best to choose a consumer radio in a light-duty situation where very little range is needed. This would allow you to get away with only using the FRS channels and avoiding the license fees. A great example is a school that needs radios for directing traffic in mornings and afternoons.

    I hope this has been helpful. If you have any specific questions you can, as always, feel free to call or email us!

    Related Resources
    Buyer's Guide - Business Radios
    Common Business Radio Uses/Industries
    The Two Way Radio Show TWRS-02 - An Introduction to Business Radios
    The Two Way Radio Show TWRS-07 - Comparing Small Business Radios

  • Getting The Most Range From Your Radio

    Hiking through the mountainsOne question that we are frequently asked is "how can I get more range out of my two way radio?" In the case of consumer (FRS / GMRS) radios the amount of range you can expect is usually not even close to what the manufacturers advertise. There are, however, several things that you can do to be sure you are getting the most range possible from your radio.

    If your radio supports GMRS channels, be sure that you are using one. Most consumer radios support 22 channels, some FRS and some GMRS. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not allow transmission on an exclusive FRS channel at more than half a watt of power. This means that if you are on an FRS-only channel, your radio will only transmit using "low power" mode. The FRS-only channels are 8 through 14. Channels 15 through 22 are exclusively for GMRS, and channels 1 through 7 are shared by both FRS and GMRS.

    Most consumer radios support two or more power modes. To get the most range, be sure that you are using high power mode. Lower power modes will not use all of your radio's possible output power and will reduce range.

    Be sure to fully charge your battery. The transmission power of two way radios tends to weaken if the battery is low. Always be sure your batteries are fully charged before using your radios, especially if you will need maximum range.

    Finally, if you still find yourself pushing the range limits of your radio you can try the "monitor channel" feature. Enabling this feature will cause the radio to open the channel, allowing you to hear static and transmissions too weak to be received by the radio in normal mode.

    Related Resources
    GMRS Radio Range Chart
    30 Miles? The Truth About Range
    The Two Way Radio Show TWRS-05 - Radios in Range
    The Two Way Radio Show TWRS-45 - The Truth About GMRS Radio Range
    Radio 101 - The truth about FRS / GMRS two way radio range
    How To Optimize Range for Motorola Talkabout Two Way Radios

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