First, determine where the radio will be used: UHF is better indoors through concrete walls or floors, etc. VHF is better outdoors over open spaces or line of sight. Also, higher power (more WATTS) means a radio will have a wider coverage area.

Then, decide which features are most important - size, ease of use, privacy, audio quality, price, etc.

Finally, start on our home page to get an overview of the high-powered, low-priced versatility available with our Vertex Standard line of radios - they all come with a 3-year warranty!

Analog - When using an analog radio, your transmitted voice modulates the frequency you operate on. It competes with all other distant signals on the same frequency to deliver a crisp, clean sound through the receiving radio.

Digital - Digital radios convert your voice to a data stream that is decoded by radios that have matching programming only. Digital radios often have less background noise than analog and remain clear to the very edge of your coverage area. As the FCC is moving towards Narrowband only channels, it is becoming more difficult to get a strong clean sound from an analog radio whereas digital radios don't experience that problem.

In reality, your two way radio will not have a 25 mile range. Your average 4 to 5 watt radio will only cover about 2 miles. Why? There are so many natural factors that cause interference with your frequencies, even the human body blocks radio waves.

  • Topography (hills, deep canyons, ridgelines, tall formations)
  • Weather (such as thick clouds).
  • Electromagnetic interference (lightning)
  • Obstructions (dense forest, structures)
  • Large metal surfaces (inside a vehicle, range is usually less than 1 mile)

It's All About the Watts

Radios range from .5 to 5 watts. Your basic walkie talkie or talkabout will be about a .5 watt radio. The higher the watts, the more money you will spend but for a good reason.

Say your business is in a very large warehouse filled with shelving, cranes, and people. You would not want a .5, 1, or 2 watt radio. Why? Do to the obstructions, weather, and amount of space a 4 or 5 watt radio will cover more distance.

Think of it this way. The larger the area = the more watts you will need.

Remember there may be soft spots where your radio may not be able to reach another radio depending upon obstructions and natural occurrences.

Due to certain obstructions you may also want to think about whether or not your location needs a VHF (Very High Frequency) radio or a UHF (Ultra High Frequency) radio. VHF is for open locations. UHF is for dense locations.

Choose VHF if you plan to use your radio in the outdoors with few surrounding obstructions and are sure your two way radio can be used in line of sight with a crisp, clean sound. For instance, charter boats, sail boats, mining sites, etc...would be carrying VHF radios.

VHF radios have longer radio waves that can increase the range of a two way radio so long as the waves are not obstructed.

Choose UHF if you will be working in and around buildings. UHF radios keep strong contact in areas where there are more obstructions such as concrete walls, steel structures, or any other obstruction. Churches, indoor retail stores, offices, etc...would be circumstances where UHF would be the best choice.

UHF radios have shorter radio waves that can more easily penetrate solid man-made objects (walls).

It is not possible to match UHF and VHF frequencies, because UHF radios only communicate in UHF 430-520 MHZ range and VHF radios communicate in VHF 136-174 MHZ range.

It depends on how hard you work your radio, but your average battery will get you two to three years. The daily talk time also varies, but you should easily be able to get 8 hours of talk time.

Three Types of Batteries

Cadmium (Ni-Cd): Using Nickel-Oxide-Hydroxide, this battery was originally used in two way radios. These batteries hold memory which means the first charge is the most important. You are instructed to charge the battery the first time the required length of time so that the memory will hold a longer charge. If you don't, the battery will not be able to hold a longer charge than what it was first charged for. These batteries are still used in some two way radios though they are being replaced by Ni-MH and Li-Ion batteries. This battery can be damaged very easily if overcharged.

Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH): This rechargeable battery was created and replace the Ni-Cd. Ni-MH batteries can have two to three times the capacity as an equivalent size Ni-Cd battery. This battery is also more closely related to the Li-Ion battery. Overcharging of this battery is still possible though.

Lithium Ion Battery (Li-Ion): This battery has a high energy density, no memory effect, and a slow loss of charge when not in use. Li-Ion batteries are what we use in cell phones. No longer does the consumer need to worry about waiting until the battery is completely dead to charge or worry about overcharging.

Click the link below to view an informational PDF on the three battery types:

Battery Comparison PDF

Most two way radios are not waterproof, but some are IP57 rated, which means you can have your radio submersed in water up to 3 feet for 30 minutes. Check the IP rating on your radio to determine if it is submersible.

Repeaters are commonly used by commercial and amateur radio operators to extend signals in the radio frequency range from one receiver to another. A repeater has a different transmit frequency than the receiver frequency.

A series of repeaters make possible the extension of a signal over a distance. Usually a repeater is higher in power and is placed higher on a pole or tower to gain some antenna height.

As radio signals typically travel only so far, a repeater will receive those signals, re-amplify them at a higher power and rebroadcast them at a higher height, thus gaining the user extended range as opposed to a radio to radio solution.

A base station is typically a fixed piece of radio equipment that has a radio and a power supply. This is usually controlled by an operator. Base stations usually have higher power than a portable and thus have greater range.

In a nutshell, the frequency spectrum for two way radio communications is full. In order to achieve greater spectrum efficiency, the FCC has mandated that the bandwidth of a radio channel be cut in half.

Narrowbanding is an effort to ensure more efficient use of the VHF and UHF spectrum by requiring all VHF and UHF Public Safety and Industrial/Business land mobile radio (LMR) systems to migrate to at least 12.5 kHz efficiency technology by January 1, 2013.

Narrowbanding can be as simple as a programming change or as complicated as a system replacement.

Yes, on certain radio models you do. Read more about two way radio licensing here »

Click here to download FCC Licence form 601 »

Why you are asked to get an FCC license for Business Radios Professional two-way radios operate on radio frequencies that are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In order to transmit on these frequencies, you are asked to have a license issued by the FCC. This license is not required to purchase the radios.

You can also request these forms through the FCC forms hotline at 1-800-418-FORM. For questions concerning the license application, contact the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322).

Notice! We have no affiliation with the FCC, or the GMRS licensing process. We will never provide your information to any third party (outside of secure PayPal payment info) unless we are ever required to do so by law or to be in compliance with a court order.

How can I determine if I have a valid FCC license? Contact your preferred certified frequency coordinator. Refer to the FCC website for listing of frequency coordinators at: FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.